Eating just half an orange a day or other foods rich in vitamin C halves the risk of dying from strokes, according to a British study.
“I don’t like to make any definite public health recommendations, but I think this study points the way forward. And it’s hard to believe there’s any harm eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables,” said Dr. Christopher Martyn, the investigator at the Epidemiology Unit of Britain’s Medical Research Council in Southampton.
Whether vitamin C or other vitamins truly ward off disease is controversial. Some studies suggest anti-oxidant vitamins - including vitamins A, C and E - ward off strokes and heart disease. Other studies do not support such claims.
Other experts said the new findings appear consistent with some previous reports, but they could not comment specifically because the findings have not been published in a scientific journal.
A summary of the findings was released in a press statement by the Medical Research Council, claiming the study would be in Saturday’s issue of the British Medical Journal.
But the article is not in this week’s journal, and editors would not say when or whether the study will be published.
A Medical Research Council press officer said he wrote the release because the scientist had told him the article would be published this week. But now the journal, he said, has threatened to pull the study if it gets too much publicity in the press.
Touting study results in a press statement before publication in a scientific journal irks fellow researchers who tend to think their colleagues are seeking publicity or funding.
And editors of scientific journals do not like to be scooped by the lay press. They can decide to pull the article - a blow to researchers who need to publish scientific articles.
Martyn’s team gleaned the information from death records of 643 people who had taken part in a large health survey which was started 20 years ago. People in the top third for vitamin C intake - the equivalent of half an orange a day - were half as likely to die from strokes as those in the bottom third.