Side effects of taking too much vitamin C can include diarrhea, nausea, heartburn, and stomach cramps.
Too much vitamin C is bad for you because it can cause side effects and symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, heartburn, and stomach cramps. If you have a medical condition in which iron gets deposited in various organs of your body (hemochromatosis), taking too much vitamin C can complicate the condition.
Other conditions in which excessive amounts of vitamin C can result in negative side effects include:
- Chronic kidney disease: Excessive levels of oxalate in the urine due to consumption of vitamin C supplements may be a problem for people with kidney disease due to an increased risk of kidney failure.
- Kidney stones: If you develop kidney stones, it is better to avoid taking vitamin C supplements unless advised by your doctor. High levels of vitamin C can increase the risk of kidney stones.
- Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (a metabolic deficiency): People with this condition may develop broken red blood cells when they consume a large amount of vitamin C.
It is unlikely that you will consume too much vitamin C from your diet. Doctors recommend that adults should get 65 to 90 mg of vitamin C per day. Excess vitamin C is removed from your body through urination. However, you still need to make sure you do not consume more than the tolerable upper limit, which is 2,000 mg in a day.
Problems of taking too much vitamin C are more likely to occur from consuming too many vitamin C supplements.
What is vitamin C and what is its role in your body?
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that naturally occurs in foods.
It serves the following functions in the body:
- Produces collagen: Collagen is a protein that plays a vital role in the healing of wounds.
- Enhances iron absorption: Having an adequate amount of vitamin C in your diet ensures that iron from plant-based foods is absorbed well into the body.
- Antioxidant: Antioxidants are substances that protect cells from damage caused by free radicals and improve immunity. Free radicals are compounds that are formed out of the oxidation process, which causes various diseases including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Which foods contain vitamin C?
Vitamin C is found in abundance in fruits and vegetables, such as:
- Citrus fruits
- Red and green pepper
- Baked potatoes
Moreover, you will also find foods and drinks that have been fortified with vitamin C, which you can verify by checking food labels.
Most people will get the required amount of vitamin C from an orange or a cup of strawberries, chopped red pepper, or broccoli.
What happens if you have low levels of vitamin C in your body?
Low levels of vitamin C in the body (vitamin C deficiency) are rare in the United States. However, you should remember to consume foods that contain vitamin C daily because the vitamin does not get stored in the body and is excreted daily through urine. A condition known as scurvy can result only when you intake little or no vitamin C for many weeks.
Signs and symptoms of scurvy include:
Conditions that can lower vitamin C levels in your body include:
- Tobacco intake: Smoking and chewing tobacco lower the vitamin C level in your body.
- Alcohol use disorder: People who drink alcohol frequently and in excessive amounts and have alcohol addiction often have a vitamin C deficiency.
- Chronic kidney disease: Chronic kidney disease might increase your odds of developing vitamin C deficiency.
Medically Reviewed on 9/20/2021
Is it possible to take too much vitamin C? https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/vitamin-c/faq-20058030