How Much Vitamin C Is Enough
Most of the studies Moyad and his colleagues examined used 500 daily milligrams of vitamin C to achieve health results. That’s much higher than the RDA of 75-90 milligrams a day for adults. So unless you can eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, you may need to take a dietary supplement of vitamin C to gain all the benefits, Moyad says. He suggests taking 500 milligrams a day, in addition to eating five servings of fruits and vegetables.
“It is just not practical for most people to consume the required servings of fruits and vegetables needed on a consistent basis, whereas taking a once-daily supplement is safe, effective, and easy to do,” Moyad says. He also notes that only 10% to 20% of adults get the recommended nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
Moyad says there is no real downside to taking a 500-milligram supplement, except that some types may irritate the stomach. That’s why he recommends taking a non-acidic, buffered form of the vitamin. “The safe upper limit for vitamin C is 2,000 milligrams a day, and there is a great track record with strong evidence that taking 500 milligrams daily is safe,” he says.
Still, American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Dee Sandquist, RD, suggests doing your best to work more fruits and vegetables into your diet before taking supplements.
Oral Ascorbic Acid Versus Zinc Gluconate Versus Both Agents Versus Standard Of Care
In an open-label clinical trial that was conducted at two sites in the United States, outpatients with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection were randomized to receive either 10 days of oral ascorbic acid 8,000 mg, zinc gluconate 50 mg, both agents, or standard of care.3 The primary end point was the number of days required to reach a 50% reduction in the patients symptom severity score. The study was stopped early by an operational and safety monitoring board due to futility after 40% of the planned 520 participants were enrolled .
Patients who received standard of care achieved a 50% reduction in their symptom severity scores at a mean of 6.7 days compared with 5.5 days for the ascorbic acid arm, 5.9 days for the zinc gluconate arm, and 5.5 days for the arm that received both agents . Nonserious adverse effects occurred more frequently in patients who received supplements than in those who did not 39.5% of patients in the ascorbic acid arm, 18.5% in the zinc gluconate arm, and 32.1% in the arm that received both agents experienced nonserious adverse effects compared with 0% of patients in the standard of care arm . The most common nonserious adverse effects in this study were gastrointestinal events.
Should I Take A Vitamin C Supplement
If you are eating a balanced diet, most likely you do not need to take a vitamin C supplement, says McGowan. Vitamin C is water-soluble meaning the body utilizes it but doesnt store it. For most healthy individuals, the body can only hold and use about 200 to 250 mg of vitamin C a day, and any excess is lost through urine, explains McGowan.
Despite this, you can overconsume vitamin C. This is most likely to occur with supplement use, so make sure your daily intake falls below the tolerable upper limit , or the maximum daily intake thats unlikely to result in negative health effects. That amount for a 1- to 3-year-old child is 400 mg, while its 650 mg for a 4- to 8-year-old child, 1,200 for a 9- to 12-year-old child, and 1,800 mg for a 14- to 18-year-old teenager. The UL for an adult is 2,000 mg. Keep in mind that if you take a multivitamin, youre getting vitamin C there, too dont forget to add that amount to your total supplemental intake.
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Is Taking A Huge Dose Of Vitamin C Bad For Me
Vitamin C is an important nutrient, but as the old saying goes too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.
After taking too much vitamin C, you may experience symptoms such as:
So how much vitamin C is too much?
For adults, the daily upper limit of vitamin C is 2,000 mg. For teens, it’s 1,800 mg. For children, the upper limit depends on age, and it ranges from 400 to 1,200 mg per day.
In addition, vitamin C is water-soluble, making it hard for your body to store it with excess being secreted in your urine. So even if you’re adult and can handle the 1,000 mg in each vitamin C packet or pill, just know that your body can’t absorb more than about 400 mg. This means that most of the vitamin C in that supplement you’re taking just goes down your toilet .
All this to say, however, that getting the recommended amount of vitamin C is still a critical step in staying healthy, as this vitamin plays many important roles in your body. But, you don’t need to take a supplement to make that happen.
Vitamin C For Infants Toddlers And Children
How do I give my kids vitamin C without giving them excess sugar to get it down?I have found that with my kids, making vitamin C tasty gets it down. Lately we have been mixing powdered vitamin C with a little bit of juice. While it is not a sugar free delivery system, for us, the benefits of getting the vitamin C into them outweighs the downside of using a little sweetness to do so. We just see to it that they otherwise have a low sugar diet.
What do you think about liposomal vitamin C? How much should you give children if bowel tolerance can’t be used as an indicator? “Quality liposomes are generally almost completely absorbed long before the colon is reached,” says Thomas E. Levy, MD. While bowel tolerance is a helpful indicator of “enough” C, a child that looks and feels better is too. We have used liposomal C with success in the past, however currently, my children prefer vitamin C powder in a little fruit juice. Our protocol with any form of C is “take enough C to be symptom free, whatever the amount may be.”
How do you get little kids to take high-dose vitamin C?We do whatever works. If it gets the C down, we are happy. Keeping it tasty is key. I write about this in detail here: “Tips from a Megavitamin Mom: Getting Kids to Take Vitamins and Lots of Them” available at .
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Supplementing With Vitamin C Treats Scurvy
It may come as no surprise that scurvy a disease that results from vitamin C deficiency is commonly treated with vitamin C supplementation. According to research, the recommendation is to take 1 to 2 g of vitamin C for the first two or three days of treatment, 500 mg a day for the next week, then 100 mg a day for up to three months afterward.
The majority of people treated for scurvy experience symptom improvement within 48 hours and are fully recovered within 14 days, says Kelly Springer, RD, owner of Kelly’s Choice based in Skaneateles, New York.
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Common Nutrient Deficiencies: Know The Signs
Severe vitamin C deficiency may bring about scurvy, a condition that includes symptoms ranging from fatigue to depression, joint pain, poor wound healing, and bleeding gums. Though serious, scurvy and even vitamin C deficiency are rare in developed countries. Theres one exception: Smokers have a more-than-threefold-greater risk of vitamin C deficiency, according to research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This is likely because smoking causes greater vitamin C turnover in the body. Cigarette smoking increases free radicals in the body, which damages our cells antioxidants such as vitamin C counteract this damage but are depleted more quickly in people who smoke.
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Side Effects Of Vitamin C Supplementation
Many studies have shown no significant adverse health effects to humans, from vitamin C supplementation. People who may experience some discomfort, are those who have:
- a history of kidney stone formation,
- iron overload,
- taken other drugs, as well.
Side effects may be diarrhea, gastrointestinal disturbances due to the osmotic effect of unabsorbed vitamin C, or mild nausea.
Vitamin C Can Do A Lot Of Good For Your Body But Not If It Leaves You Nauseated Or You Forget To Take It Every Day Here’s The Best Time To Take Your C
irishe4kaaa/ShutterstockVitamin C is an antioxidant powerhouse that may help shorten the duration of common colds and improve healing after surgery and thats not allcheckout 13 more potential health benefits of vitamin C. But to get the most from your supplements, you have to take C at the right time of day.
Also known as L-ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin. This means it is easily absorbed into body tissue. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, water-soluble vitamins cant be stored by your body, so you need to replenish vitamin C regularly by eating C-rich foods or by taking supplements. Excess C and other water-soluble vitamins are cleared from your blood by your kidneys and excreted in your urine.
The National Institutes of Health experts recommend that men get 90 milligrams of vitamin C a day women should aim for 75 milligrams. If you smoke, add 35 mg to those values. Smoking can deplete vitamin C these are the signs you may be deficient in vitamin C.
Another option is to split up your doses, says Zembroski: This can improve absorption, reduce the chance that it will make you nauseated, and it can help keep your blood levels high all day as you wont be excreting as much of it in urine. Scheduling your dose after the same meal each day will help you remember to take it, he says.
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What Are The Preferred Sources Of Vitamin C
There is no reason to take vitamin supplements if you eat a healthy whole food plant-based diet. Vegetables and fruits are good sources of vitamin C. You can see analytically the list with the richest foods in vitamin C here. For instance, kale, broccoli, or peppers are particularly high in vitamin C.
The Importance Of Vitamin C For Older Women And A Few Problem Signs
For the longest time, I used to associate vitamin C deficiency with scurvy. Maybe this was from watching too many pirate movies when I was younger or my interest in maritime history that came from growing up on an island. For whatever reason, whenever I heard about not getting enough vitamin C in my diet, I immediately conjured up visions of toothless pirates in the 18th Century.
Back then, sailors started their long voyages with tons of fresh fruits and vegetables which they had to eat before it spoiled. So, they often went for very long periods without having any fruits or vegetables. Their gums would swell and bleed, their teeth would fall out, their legs would swell and they were generally exhausted and in poor health. As you can imagine, I was terrified of not getting enough vitamin C and ending up liking fruits and most veggies.
Luckily, today, scurvy is relatively rare since most of us have access to a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and vitamin C fortified foods in our local markets. But vitamin C deficiency that may not rise to the level of scurvy is still a problem especially for older women.
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Heart Disease And Cancer
Vitamin C is often erroneously lauded for its ability to fight heart disease and cancer. Much of the misperception has been fueled by vitamin C’s antioxidant properties.
While antioxidants seem to reduce the oxidative stress associated with these diseases, there is little to no evidence that vitamin C supplements can directly influence the risk.
Among the clinical findings:
- A 10-year study involving 14,641 men over the age of 50 showed that a 500-mg dose of vitamin C did nothing to alter the rate of heart attacks or stroke compared to a placebo.
- A nine-year study involving 8,171 older women demonstrated that 500 milligrams of vitamin C have no impact on the rate of cancer compared to the general population.
- A 5-year study involving 77,721 older men and women also showed no association between vitamin C intake and the risk of lung cancer.
Recommended Sodium Intake For Older Adults
Sodium is another important mineral. In most Americans diets, sodium primarily comes from salt . Whenever you add salt to your food, you’re adding sodium. But the Dietary Guidelines shows that most of the sodium we eat doesnt come from our saltshakers its added to many foods during processing or preparation. We all need some sodium, but too much over time can lead to high blood pressure, which can raise your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
How much sodium is okay? People 51 and older should reduce their sodium intake to 2,300 mg each day. That is about one teaspoon of salt and includes sodium added during manufacturing or cooking as well as at the table when eating. If you have high blood pressure or prehypertension, limiting sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day, about 2/3 teaspoon of salt, may be helpful. Preparing your own meals at home without using a lot of processed foods or salt will allow you to control how much sodium you get. Try using less salt when cooking, and dont add salt before you take the first bite. If you make this change slowly, you will get used to the difference in taste. Also look for grocery products marked low sodium, unsalted, no salt added, sodium free, or salt free. Also check the Nutrition Facts Label to see how much sodium is in a serving.
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Vitamin C: Pregnancy And Lactation
I heard taking too much vitamin C during pregnancy causes infantile rebound scurvy. Is this true?According to Alan Gaby, MD, infantile “rebound scurvy” is a myth: consuming large quantities of vitamin C during pregnancy does not cause the baby to be born with infantile scurvy. However, why stop a good thing after they are born? Frederick R. Klenner, MD, recommended 50 mg of vitamin C a day starting at birth and 1,000 mg per day per year of age up to age ten for a total dose of up to 10,000 mg per day.
I’m a nursing mom. How much vitamin C should I take?Your optimal dose really depends on you and your baby. How do you feel? How is baby doing? For example, if mom is under a great deal of stress, less vitamin C will be available for baby in breastmilk. The way I approached it with my kids is this: I was really comfortable taking a lot of vitamin C. While I was breastfeeding, I took 8,000 to 10,000 milligrams of vitamin C a day in frequent divided doses. We also gave the kids supplemental liquid vitamin C throughout the day in small, but frequent doses, in addition to what they were getting from breastfeeding. As long as they were happy and healthy, all was good.
Vitamin C May Make Cancer Treatments More Effective
At this point, itd be wrong to say vitamin C can prevent or cure cancer, but it may be a beneficial addition to cancer treatment. A meta-analysis published in the European Journal of Cancer, for instance, found that people with breast cancer who supplemented with vitamin C had a reduced risk of mortality.
And it appears that vitamin C may boost standard treatments as well, Dr. Zive says.
According to a small study published in March 2017 in Cancer Cell, taking high doses of vitamin C for two months during cancer treatment weakened the cancer cells and made radiation and chemotherapy more effective.
Its worth noting, however, that most of this research involves taking vitamin C intravenously rather than orally, Samuels says. Anyone undergoing cancer treatment should consult with their healthcare providers before taking vitamin C or any other supplements because of the risks of potential interactions with their cancer treatments.
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Effects Of Mega Doses Of Vitamin C
According to a study, researchers have treated cancer patients with high dosages of vitamin C, through IVC therapy . Scientists gave cancer patients up to 100g of vitamin C a day! Thats 100,000 mg. 100 times more vitamin C than a dosage of 1,000 mg or 100,000 times the recommended daily intake of vitamin C Thats a huge dose. So, what happened to these patients?
Regarding cancer, researchers observed:
- improvement in the quality of life,
- improved tolerance of conventional therapy,
- deterioration in clinical condition, in the absence of vitamin C dosage.
The side effects of mega dosages of vitamin C seem to be minimal, though. Patients experienced symptoms of Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction. This is a reaction of the body to endotoxins produced by the necrosis of harmful cells. Fever, chills, strong body odor, and pimples may be other side effects.
Dont forget that these side effects happened to cancer patients, after megadoses of vitamin C. Symptoms resolved after 2 to 3 hours, after injection with vitamin C.
On the other hand, therapy with high dosages of vitamin C may:
- stabilize cancer,
- have anti tumor activity in some cases,
- help patients regain strength, even walking again
Vitamin C Supplements Can Help Reduce The Length And Severity Of Illness
Its unlikely that vitamin C can protect you from coming down with a cold, but supplementing with it may help reduce the length and severity of your sickness, according to a review published in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Of the studies the researchers looked at, all of which involved supplementing with more than 0.2 grams of vitamin C per day, some found that vitamin C reduces the duration of colds. Even though the results were somewhat varied, with some showing no benefit, the researchers concluded that supplementing with vitamin C may still be worthwhile since its safe and inexpensive.
Vitamin C supplements may help you recover from more serious illnesses, as well. According to a meta-analysis published in April 2019 in Nutrients, vitamin C supplements reduced the length of intensive care unit stays by about 8 percent and shortened the duration of mechanical ventilation for patients by 18.2 percent. For the studies, vitamin C doses of 1 to 3 g were used.
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