Is Too Much Vitamin C Harmful?


Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) is an essential nutrient for your body; It helps keep your immune system healthy, makes your bones strong, improves brain function, helps wound healing, and the list goes on! 

This is why nutritionists recommend including fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C in your daily diet. 

But what if you overdose on Vitamin C in an attempt to keep yourself healthy?

 Is too much Vitamin C harmful? Is Vitamin C overdose even possible to begin with? 

Keep reading to get these questions answered! 


Is It Possible to Consume Too Much Vitamin C? 

The daily recommended dose of Vitamin C for women is 75mg. For men, it is 90mg, which can be easily fulfilled by consuming Vitamin C rich foods such as Broccoli, Oranges, Strawberries, etc. 

But, even if you consume a bit more than the recommended daily doses, it's not much of a problem! 

Firstly, your food may give you just the amount of Vitamin C as required, or more, but not so much to cause an overdose (the established upper tolerable limit of Vitamin C is 2000 mg per day)! 

Secondly, since Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient, your body excretes any excess amounts of it naturally via urine.

However, Vitamin C supplements are trendy nowadays. Some manufacturers claim that these supplements provide several additional health benefits than dietary vitamin C, so people are more inclined to use them. And this is where the risk of overdose arises! Some people don't even need supplements in the first place, yet they use them for more extended periods, which may eventually result in an overdose. 


Side Effects of Vitamin C Overdose

The following are the harmful effects of consuming too much Vitamin C:

1. Digestive Stress 

Your digestive system maintains a healthy equilibrium of vitamins and minerals, so consuming excessive amounts may result in a digestive disturbance. 

Generally, taking Vitamin C in the dietary form doesn't produce any adverse effects on the digestive system. However, taking it in the supplement form and above the tolerable limit (2000 mg) will cause digestive stress. This may result in adverse symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea. It may also cause acid reflux and other such complications. 


2. Iron Accumulation 

Vitamin C facilitates the absorption of iron in the body. It binds with the plant-based (non-heme) iron, making its absorption easier. 

Although this function of Vitamin C is beneficial for health, an overdose may lead to complications. Especially in people who have conditions such as hemochromatosis, which makes their body prone to iron accumulation. 

Taking excessive amounts of Vitamin C increases the risk of iron overload in such patients, which may cause serious harm to the liver, nervous system, heart, etc. 


3. Kidney Stones 

Extra Vitamin C is naturally excreted by the body through urine, as mentioned earlier. It leaves the body in the form of oxalate, a principal constituent of kidney stones. 

Consuming excessive amounts of Vitamin C increases urinary oxalate concentration, thereby increasing its potential to bind with minerals and turn into kidney stones. 


Final Word

Taking Vitamin C from foods rather than supplements is the best way to eliminate the risk of overdose and protect yourself from its overdose's adverse consequences. 

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