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Since time immemorial Vitamin C has been associated with winter, taken to keep colds and sniffles at bay. However, recent research has shown there is a lot more to Vitamin C, and most relevant to modern lifestyles, is its proven ability to aid weight loss.

Although exercise and dietary adjustments remain at the forefront of all weight-loss techniques, another way to lose or maintain body weight is to increase your Vitamin C intake above the recommended minimum daily dosage.

The body needs approximately 100 mg of Vitamin C daily. However, to reap the fat burning properties of Vitamin C you need to increase the daily intake to about 1,000 mg as this amount will cause your body to dissolve fat in all the right places.

Exceeding the daily upper limit of 2000 mg may cause adverse effects including an upset stomach and cramps.

You could take the easy way out and pop a Vitamin C pill, but it is far healthier to opt for a natural source. Although citrus fruits are the best source, in summer try fulfilling your Vitamin C requirements with bell peppers (yellow and green) broccoli, cauliflower, guava, kiwi fruit, melon, papaya and strawberries, all of which are Vitamin C rich.

A sure way to get the required dosage is to drink a concoction of warm water and juice from half a lemon every day before breakfast (those prone to low blood pressure should add a dash of salt). This propagates weight loss and increase energy levels (Vitamin C helps in ATP production, the energy providers of the body); radiant complexion is a bonus.

Research conducted at the University of Arizona found that adding Vitamin C to a diet, and regular exercise, speeds up weight loss by 30%. However, remember, consistency and patience will give the best results.

Note: People with kidney stones should consult their physicians before taking Vitamin C.

– Dr Summaiya Tariq Khan
The writer is a senior forensic practitioner
at the Police Surgeon Office, Karachi.

First published in the Health Advertiser Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on June 9, 2013.