Are You Genetically Predisposed to Vitamin C Deficiency? - Pathway Genomics
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Are You Genetically Predisposed to Vitamin C Deficiency?

Nutrition is one of the most important lifestyle factors that may not only have a significant impact on your overall health and wellbeing, but it may affect your risk for developing certain chronic medical conditions as well.

Over the past few years, there has been growing evidence regarding the role of genes in the nutritional status of an individual. The human genome consists of 25,000 unique genes, with each of them occurring in more than one variant. The presence or absence of a variant influences how our body responds to certain foods. For example, the absence of a particular gene variant may make us lactose intolerance or subject us to more frequent sweet cravings.

In this article, we are discussing how our genetic makeup can increase or decrease our risk of developing vitamin C deficiency, as well as different foods that are rich in ascorbic acid, and therefore, suitable for people who are deficient in vitamin C.

Genetics and Vitamin C Deficiency

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that must be obtained from dietary sources. Since it is a water-soluble vitamin, our body can store only a small amount of it. In order to replete the body stores of vitamin C, we must consume vitamin-C containing foods, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, and potatoes. Low blood levels of vitamin C are associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer.

Research has shown that apart from dietary habits, the genetic makeup of an individual also has an impact on their risk of developing vitamin C deficient. This is primarily due to the absence of a variant of a gene called GSTT1. People with the insertion (Ins) variant of GSTT1 are better able to process vitamin C obtained from dietary sources as compared to people with the deletion (Del) form of the gene. Therefore, those with the Del variant will have lower blood levels of vitamin C at given level of nutrient intake as compared to people with Ins variant.

How to Prevent Vitamin C Deficiency?

The only way to prevent vitamin C deficiency is to take sufficient amount of the vitamin on a daily basis. If you possess the Ins variant of GSTT1, following the RDA guidelines is sufficient for you to prevent vitamin C.

RDA for Vitamin C:

Women: 75mg per day

Men: 90mg per day

Smokers: Additional 35mg per day

Those with the Del variant require a higher daily dose of vitamin C. While the exact dose will depend on a number of factors, such as their age, weight, and medical condition, making the following foods a routine component of diet can help prevent vitamin C.

Food Sources of Vitamin C Amount (mg)
Red peppers 216
1 cup of strawberries 96
1 cup of pineapple 92
1 cup of orange juice 86
1 cup of broccoli 82
Grapefruit 78
Mango 75
Kiwi 70

Nutrigenomic testing is a good way to determine your risk of developing vitamin C deficiency and various other diseases. By opting for Pathway FIT, you will get your personalized genetic nutrition profile which will help you develop a dietary plan suitable to fulfill your body’s unique nutritional needs.

To learn more about Pathway FIT, please contact us at 877 505 7374 or email at