- What Is It
- Upper Limits
- Daily Intake
- Side Effects
- Role in the Body
- Vitamin C Deficiency
- Related Resources
Too much vitamin C, however, can cause side effects. Learn about the upper limits of vitamin C intake, how much you should have each day, and good sources to include in your diet.
What is vitamin C?
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, which means that it protects cells and tissues from free radical damage. It also helps synthesize important substances, such as collagen protein, in the body.
What are the upper limits of vitamin C intake?
|Age group||Upper limit (mg)|
|0 to 12 months||Not known|
|1 to 3 years||400|
|4 to 8 years||650|
|9 to 13 years||1200|
|14 to 18 years||1800|
|19 years and older||2000|
Your upper limit of vitamin C may vary depending whether you have any underlying conditions. For example, if you have chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, a history of kidney stones, or gout, you must not take more than 1000 mg of vitamin C per day.
If you are pregnant, you should also avoid Vitamin C supplementation in large doses because it can cause vitamin C deficiency in the baby after delivery.
How much vitamin C should you have each day?
Your daily vitamin needs vary depending on your age, gender, and overall health. For example, exposure to secondhand smoke may increase your vitamin C requirements.
|Age group||Gender||Recommended daily intake (mg)||Pregnancy (mg)||Breastfeeding (mg)|
|0 to 6 months||Males||40|
|7 to 12 months||Males||50|
|1 to 3 years||Males||15|
|4 to 8 years||Males||25|
|9 to 13 years||Males||45|
|14 to 18 years||Males||75||80||115|
|19 years and above||Males||90||85||120|
|Smokers and those exposed to secondhand smoke||Males||Recommended daily amount+35 mg|
|Females||Recommended daily amount+35 mg|
Vitamin C supplements should be used with caution if you are taking certain medications such as lipid-lowering drugs (niacin and statins) or certain medications used for Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin C can also interfere with cancer treatment (chemotherapy and radiation therapy).
What are the side effects of taking too much vitamin C?
Excessive vitamin C intake can lead to the following side effects:
If you have hemochromatosis, excessive vitamin C intake can worsen the condition and lead to organ damage.
What foods are high in vitamin C?
Vitamin C is present in various fruits and vegetables, including:
- Citrus fruits
- Leafy greens
- Brussel sprouts
What does vitamin C do for your body?
Vitamin C plays an important role in various functions of the body:
- Maintains healthy bones, cartilage, teeth, and gums
- Promotes immune system health
- Protects cells and tissues from the damaging effects of free radicals
- Helps wound healing
- Helps absorb iron from the gut
- Helps produce neurotransmitters in the brain and nerves
- Helps the adrenal glands produce crucial hormones
- Keeps the skin healthy
- Helps generate energy in the body by contributing to the formation of carnitine (a compound that helps release energy from fats)
- Maintains heart and blood vessel health
- Promotes brain health
- Helps maintain eye health
What are signs of vitamin C deficiency?
Signs that you may not be getting enough vitamin C include the following:
- Bleeding or swollen gums
- Pale appearance
- Hair loss
- Delayed wound healing
- Easy bruising
- Loosening or falling teeth
- Frequent infections
Scurvy is a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency. Symptoms such as gum bleeding, loss of teeth, and increased skin bruising are caused by a decreased synthesis of collagen, which is the result of a lack of Vitamin C.
Conditions that may increase the risk of vitamin C deficiency include:
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Harvard Health Publishing. By the way, doctor: What's the right amount of vitamin C for me? https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/by-the-way-doctor-whats-the-right-amount-of-vitamin-c-for-me
National Institutes of Health. Vitamin C. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/
Chambial S, Dwivedi S, Shukla KK, John PJ, Sharma P. Vitamin C in disease prevention and cure: an overview. Indian J Clin Biochem. 2013;28(4):314-328. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3783921/
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