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Is It Bad To Take Too Much Vitamin C

Risk Is Real Benefits Arent

The danger of taking too many vitamins

The Swedish study isnt the first to link vitamin C with kidney stones. A similar connection was observed in men by Dr. Gary C. Curhan and colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health. Curiously, in an almost identical study in women, Curhans team didnt find any association between vitamin C intake and kidney stones.

Kidney stones form for a variety of reasons. Genes matter, as do gender , weight , and diet . The most common type of stone is a mixture of calcium and oxalate, a substance found in many foods. Some people break down vitamin C into oxalate, which may explain the connection with kidney stone formation.

Is there enough evidence to warn men, at least, from taking vitamin C supplements? Yes, says Dr. Curhan. High dose vitamin C supplements should be avoided, particularly if an individual has a history of calcium oxalate stones.

accompanying the vitamin C article, Dr. Robert H. Fletcher, emeritus professor of ambulatory care and prevention at Harvard Medical School, made the point a different way. If theres truly a cause-effect relationship, then one of every 680 people who take high-dose vitamin C would develop kidney stones. This is not an insignificant risk, Fletcher writes. But more to the point, is any additional risk worthwhile if high-dose ascorbic acid is not effective?

About the Author

Patrick J. Skerrett, Former Executive Editor, Harvard Health

Almost All Ascorbic Acid Is Made In China

To be clear, we are not inferring or implying that products using vitamin C made in China are less safe. With proper manufacturing processes and quality control, the molecule of ascorbic acid will be identical regardless of where it was made.

Still though, many consumers ourselves included simply prefer to buy foods and supplements made in America, UK, and other countries which have a better reputation for both quality control and human rights.

How much is made in China? The New York Times reports 80% and that was years ago.

That percentage is likely even higher today.

Now heres the real disgusting part. A dirty secret in the supplement world is that when a product says made in the USA, that doesnt mean the active ingredient are from America.

A company can legally claim to be US-made if the actual product capsule, tablet, etc. is manufactured in this country. As far as where the active ingredients come from, that can be anywhere in the world and theres no legal requirement to disclose it to you.

In fact, many supplement brands refuse to cite the country of origin, claiming its a trade secret. Yeah right, one can guess what their real motive is for not telling you they dont want to tell you its coming from China!

Can You Overdose On Vitamin C

Most people get plenty of vitamin C from the foods they eat to meet the recommended dietary allowance. This is the amount that meets the nutritional requirements for most healthy people .

The general recommendation is that people over the age of 19 should not consume more than 2,000 mg of vitamin C in a day. This is called the tolerable upper limit intake the maximum amount of a vitamin or mineral people can consume without the likelihood of experiencing adverse health effects .

The NIH notes that this tolerable upper limit intake recommendation does not apply to people who are receiving vitamin C as a form of medical treatment. But these people should also be under the care of a healthcare provider .

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Stick To Recommended Intake

So how much vitamin C can you take safely? The recommended intake for adult males is 90 mg a day, while the level suggested for adult females is 75 mg. However, if a woman is pregnant she will need 85 mg every day, and if she is nursing, that requirement rises to 120 mg daily. Pregnant women, nursing mothers, smokers, burn victims, and those recovering from surgery may need more vitamin C as prescribed by their doctor. The Food and Nutrition Board of the US Institute of Medicine has set the tolerable upper intake level of vitamin C to 2000 mg . This indicates the maximum amount you can take daily without any adverse effects on your health. But even this level of intake should be under the guidance of a physician.16

Can We Overdose On Vitamin C

Is 500mg Of Vitamin C Daily Too Much

Yes, you can. Many people assume that since vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, you can never take too much of it. Their reasoning is that youll essentially just pee out any excess. Although this is true, if you take more than the amount your body is able to excrete, it will not go over well. Side effects include nausea and diarrhea two things any sane person should avoid.

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Does Vitamin C Make You Gain Weight

Weight Gain Early research has found a link between low levels of vitamin C and higher amounts of body fat, especially belly fat.

Should you take vitamin C daily?

The recommended daily intake for vitamin C is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men . While its commonly advised to get your vitamin C intake from foods, many people turn to supplements to meet their needs.

Is vitamin C bad for your liver?

The serum ALT elevations that occur with extremely high doses of vitamin C are likely due to a direct but minimal toxic effect on the liver. The injury is, however, short lived and has not been linked to cases of acute or chronic hepatitis, acute liver failure or cirrhosis.

How To Treat And Prevent Vitamin C Overdose

The single best way to prevent vitamin C overdose is to avoid taking supplements in high doses and to get the vitamin C your body needs from foods instead, especially fresh vegetables and fruits. Some of the foods richest in vitamin C include citrus fruits like oranges, leafy green vegetables, red peppers, melon, berries, kiwi, mango and sweet potatoes.

As mentioned above, vitamin C is water-soluble. What does this mean in terms of getting extra vitamin C out of your body? Do you pee out excess vitamin C?

Because vitamin C is water-soluble, its not as risky to take too much vitamin C as it is to take fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A or D. Unmetabolized ascorbic acid is excreted in the urine.

That said, overdose of vitamin C is still possible if someone takes supplements in high doses for an extended period of time, especially if that person also consumes lots of vitamin C from his or her diet and/or fortified foods.

How long does it take to get vitamin C out of your system?

Vitamin C can stay in the body for weeks. However, excess amounts are usually urinated out in a matter of hours.

Vitamin C will stay in someones body longer if that person doesnt already have high levels or are deficient. In order to prevent vitamin C from being lost in the urine, its best to take smaller, multiple doses spread out throughout the day.

Read Also: How Much Vitamin C Should You Have A Day

Vitamin C Benefits And Uses

Supplement use should be individualized and vetted by a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietician, pharmacist, or healthcare provider. No supplement is intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Vitamin C has been marketed for use to treat and/or prevent many conditions, from the common cold and COVID-19 to arthritis and Alzheimers disease. Even so, theres scant evidence to support most claims about vitamin C.

What researchers have learned is that vitamin C appears to play a lot of important roles in your body. The most beneficial aspect may be its antioxidant activity.

Negative Side Effects Of A Vitamin C Overdose

Taking too much vitamin C could lead to kidney stones

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that supports your immune system, helps your body absorb iron and promotes growth and development. But while conventional wisdom may suggest that it’s good to load up on the nutrient, that’s not always the case. So, can you overdose on vitamin C?

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First things first, here’s how much vitamin C adults should eat per day, according to the Mayo Clinic:

But overdosing on vitamin C is possible, per the Mayo Clinic. Though the nutrient is water-soluble , you may not be able to process megadoses fast enough to avoid side effects. As a result, you can experience temporary symptoms of vitamin C overdose.

It’s best to get vitamin C from plant sources rather than supplements, according to the Mayo Clinic. This will help you avoid vitamin C overdose symptoms while still ensuring you get enough of the nutrient.

Still, to help you determine if too much vitamin C is the source of your discomfort, here are the vitamin C side effects to be aware of.

How Many Milligrams of Vitamin C Is Too Much?

According to the Mayo Clinic, adults shouldnât take more than 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C per day.

But if you check the label of vitamin C supplements, you may notice that some contain more than the recommended daily dose. And indeed, taking megadoses like 3,000 or 6,000 milligrams of vitamin C is too much.

Also Check: What Are The Health Benefits Of Vitamin C

What Is Vitamin C And Where Is It Found

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Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an essential nutrient.

Common food sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits, broccoli, kale, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, kiwifruit, cantaloupe, papaya, and peppers.

Its also often sold as a dietary supplement in pill or tablet forms. Some vitamin C supplements are marketed as immune system-supporting, like Emergen-C and Airborne.

Neurodegenerative And Mental Health Disorders

Vitamin C’s antioxidant activity may play a role in brain heath.

Research suggests regular dietary intake plus supplements may protect you from neurodegeneration related to aging and diseases such as:

Studies suggest vitamin C deficiency may contribute to the development of these mental and neurodegenerative conditions and that supplementation may help alleviate symptoms. However, this work is preliminary and more research is needed.

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Can Taking Too Many Vitamins Be Deadly

Although its extremely rare to die from a vitamin overdose, there have been reported instances of death related to vitamin toxicity.

For example, hypervitaminosis A can be caused by taking one large dose of over 200 mg of vitamin A, or chronic use of more than 10 times the recommended daily intake .

Vitamin A toxicity may lead to serious complications, such as increased spinal fluid pressure, coma, and potentially fatal organ damage .

Additionally, taking megadoses of vitamin D more than 50,000 IU daily over long periods can lead to high blood levels of calcium , which can lead to death .

Overdosing on other vitamins can likewise cause potentially fatal side effects, such as liver damage.

A case report found that taking very high doses of over 5 grams of extended-release niacin can lead to metabolic acidosis, a buildup of acid in body fluids, as well as acute liver failure both of which can be fatal .

Keep in mind that these potentially deadly side effects are associated with taking exceptionally high doses of vitamins. Even so, caution should always be taken when consuming any dietary supplement.


Which Vitamins Do I Need To Avoid If I Have Kidney Disease

Can Vitamin C Prevent Leukemia?

You may need to avoid some vitamins and minerals if you have kidney disease. Some of these include vitamins A, E and K. These vitamins are more likely to build up in your body and can cause harm if you have too much. Over time, they can cause dizziness, nausea, and even death. You should only take these vitamins if your healthcare professional gives you a prescription for them. There is also some concern about vitamin C. Although some people may need to take a low dose of vitamin C, large doses may cause a buildup of oxalate in people with kidney disease. Oxalate may stay in the bones and soft tissue, which can cause pain and other issues over time.

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Whats The Best Way To Take Vitamin C

Both experts stress that the best way to take vitamin C is through food. Whole foods contain a vitamin and micronutrient complex which cannot be fully replicated in vitamin supplements, says Dr. Serino. Also, your body absorbs more of the vitamin through food than through a supplement.

In my experience, most people do not need to supplement with vitamin C since it is abundant in food, says Greaves. The best sources of vitamin C are foods like bell pepper, brussels sprouts, strawberries, and citrus fruit. For example: A half cup of raw red pepper has about 95 mg of vitamin C.

If you dont like any of that stuff, you can eat a medium potato and a cup of red cabbage to get your daily dose. If youve got guava around, youll get 206 mg from eating just one!

Make sure to eat a few servings of fruits and vegetables each day, and youll likely have more than enough vitamin C to make your body happy. Its important to know that research doesnt show any benefit of supplementing with vitamin C beyond the recommended daily intake, says Greaves. So more is definitely not better!

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Taking Supplements In High Doses May Lead To Kidney Stones

Excess vitamin C is excreted from the body as oxalate, a bodily waste product.

Oxalate typically exits the body via urine. However, under some circumstances, oxalate may bind to minerals and form crystals that can lead to the formation of kidney stones .

Consuming too much vitamin C has the potential to increase the amount of oxalate in your urine, thus increasing the risk of developing kidney stones .

In one study that had adults take a 1,000-mg vitamin C supplement twice daily for 6 days, the amount of oxalate they excreted increased by 20% .

High vitamin C intake is not only associated with greater amounts of urinary oxalate but also linked to the development of kidney stones, especially if you consume amounts greater than 2,000 mg (


Consuming too much vitamin C may increase the amount of oxalate in your kidneys, which has the potential to lead to kidney stones.

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Stay Healthy With A Good Health Insurance Plan

Part of staying healthy is not taking too much Vitamin C or other supplements that can have adverse effects on your body and health. Another part of staying healthy is seeing your doctor regularly.

Having good health insurance ensures that you can keep your health in check all year round. And that starts by picking a good medical network.

Tips To Optimize Immune Health

Gravitas: Is too much Vitamin D killing you?

Sure, you can take in some vitamin C . If you really want to keep those germs away try these tips.

  • Sleep: aim for 7 to 8 hours a night to keep your immune system strong
  • Eat a balanced diet to prevent any nutrient deficiencies.
  • Take steps to manage stress as it can wreak havoc on your system.

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What Are Some Good Natural Sources Of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables. Fruits include citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit and lemon, kiwi fruit, blackcurrants, strawberries and guava. Vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, cooked kale, Brussels sprouts and Chinese cabbage. The amount of vitamin C in fruits and vegetables varies, and can be influenced by season, transportation, shelf life and storage time.

Eating fresh fruit and vegetables is ideal because cutting, bruising, cooking, heating or exposing food to certain materials can destroy the vitamin C. To boost your intake, try adding in a fruit or vegetable thats high in vitamin C to some of your meals, or having an orange as a snack.

Also Check: What Is The Amount Of Vitamin C Needed Daily

You Could Suffer From Digestive Problems

Another likely symptom youâll experience if you consume too much vitamin C is digestive distress. While you wonât get this issue from eating too many vitamin Cârich foods, overdosing on the supplement is likely to cause diarrhea, nausea, and sometimes acid reflux.

To avoid an upset stomach, you shouldnât take more than 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C supplements at once, as thatâs been identified as the tolerable upper limit per day.

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Vitamin C tends to fall into this category of over-enthusiastic use. Most people think its fine to take as much Vitamin C as they want, said Prof Rosenbloom. I know people who take 10,000mg a day when the upper tolerable limit is 2,000mg a day, she said.

There are repercussions for doing so. Excessively large amounts of Vitamin C have been occasionally linked to hyperoxaluria, a condition where there is too much oxalate in the urine, said Kong. The excess oxalate can combine with calcium to form crystals and possibly, kidney stones. Otherwise, the most common side effects reported include diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting.

Kong also warned against an excessive calcium intake. It can harm the kidneys and reduce absorption of other essential minerals like magnesium and iron, she said, adding that fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K are stored longer in the fatty tissues and the liver, and can lead to increased risks of toxicity if consumed excessively.

If youre not sure what the maximum safe limits of the vitamins and minerals are, check here.


Keeping to the expiry date isnt the only thing to ensure your vitamins effectiveness. Png advised to keep them in a cool and dry place, or refrigerated once opened.



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