Trends in Vitamin C Consumption in the United States: 1999-2018

Nutrients. 2021 Jan 28;13(2):420. doi: 10.3390/nu13020420.


Low intakes of fruits and vegetables have resulted in suboptimal intakes of several micronutrients, including vitamin C. This cross-sectional study used data from 84,902 children/adults (≥1 y) who completed a 24-h dietary recall as part of the United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999-2018). Mean vitamin C intakes from foods/beverages were calculated as were trends in major food/beverage sources of vitamin C. Percentages below the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) were estimated. Overall, mean vitamin C consumption declined by 23% (97-75 mg/d; p-value for trend < 0.001). 100% fruit juice was the leading source of vitamin C (25.6% of total or 21.7mg/d), but this declined by 48% (25-13 mg/d; p-value for trend < 0.001). Whole fruit increased among children/adolescents (+75.8%;10-17 mg/d; p-value for trend < 0.001), but not adults, while the vegetable contribution was generally unchanged. The proportion of the population below the EAR increased by 23.8% on a relative scale or 9 percentage points on an absolute scale (38.3-47.4%). Declines in vitamin C intake is driven largely by decreases in fruit juice coupled with modest increases in whole fruit. Due to associations between vitamin C intake and numerous health outcomes these trends warrant careful monitoring moving forward.

Keywords: United States; descriptive studies; dietary surveys; fruit; fruit juice; trends; vegetables; vitamin C.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ascorbic Acid / blood
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Beverages
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Child
  • Female
  • Food
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Ascorbic Acid