Is It OK to Take Vitamin C Every Day
It is OK to take vitamin C every day in recommended dosages. Too much vitamin C, however, can cause side effects

It is OK to take vitamin C every day in recommended dosages. Since your body can’t produce or store vitamin C on its own, you need to get it through food or supplements

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, also called ascorbic acid, is an important micronutrient that belongs to the water-soluble group of vitamins that includes folate and other B vitamins

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?

Daily upper limits for vitamin C include that which is obtained from all sources—food, beverages, and supplements. Experts recommend that most of your vitamin C needs should be met through your diet.

Table 1. Upper limits for 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.

Table 2. Recommended vitamin C dosages by age and gender
Age group Gender Recommended daily intake (mg) Pregnancy (mg) Breastfeeding (mg)
0 to 6 months Males 40
Females 40
7 to 12 months Males 50
Females 50
1 to 3 years Males 15
Females 15
4 to 8 years Males 25
Females 25
9 to 13 years Males 45
Females 45
14 to 18 years Males 75 80 115
Females 65
19 years and above Males 90 85 120
Females 75
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).

SLIDESHOW

Vitamin D Deficiency: How Much Vitamin D Is Enough? See Slideshow

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
  • Peppers
  • Kiwi
  • Watermelon
  • Grapefruit
  • Papaya
  • Tomatoes
  • Pineapple
  • Berries
  • Leafy greens
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Potatoes

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:

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:

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Medically Reviewed on 2/2/2022
References
Image Source: iStock Images

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/