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:
- Swollen and red gums
- Bleeding from the gums
- Poor wound healing
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
- Petechiae (small red or purple spots on the skin)
- Joint pain
- Corkscrew hair
- Loss of teeth
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.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
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
Top Why Is Too Much Vitamin C Bad for You Related Articles
Vitamins You Need as You AgeYour body needs more of certain vitamins and minerals as you hit your 40s and beyond. Find out which ones will benefit you -- and which won't.
Signs You're Low on Vitamin CWorried you're coming up short on vitamin C? Here are some telltale symptoms to watch out for.
Vitamins and Calcium SupplementsVitamins are organic substances that are essential for the proper growth and functioning of the body. Calcium is a mineral essential for healthy bones and is also important for muscle contraction, heart action, and normal blood clotting.
What Vitamins and Supplements Should I Avoid During Pregnancy?You should always clear it with your obstetrician before taking any vitamins or supplements while pregnant.
Vitamins QuizTake the Vitamins & Supplements Quiz to learn just how many essential vitamins your body needs to function!
Vitamins and Supplements: What Can You Take to Fight Inflammation?Arthritis, intense exercise, and sugary or fatty foods are some of the things that can lead to inflammation. Here’s what you can take or add to your diet to help fight it.
What Vitamins and Supplements Should I Take During Pregnancy?Even if you eat a variety of nutritious foods, you may need to take pregnancy vitamins and supplements. This is especially true if you have a restricted diet, are pregnant with twins or multiples, have food allergies, or nutrient deficiencies. Talk to your doctor about your needs.
What Is the Best Vitamin Supplement to Take?Dietary supplements are a general term that includes vitamins, minerals, botanicals, probiotics and other products to supplement the diet. The best vitamin supplement differs from person to person depending on their gender, age and any health conditions they have.
What Is the Most Effective Vitamin C Serum?Vitamin C serums are skincare products that contain L-ascorbic acid, ascorbyl-6-palmitate, or magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. Effective vitamin C products contain between an eight and 20 percent concentration of vitamin C. They may also contain tyrosine, zinc, and vitamin E and be in an opaque bottle.
Vitamins and Supplements: What to Know Before You Take Herbal SupplementsNot all herbs and supplements are safe, especially if you have certain medical conditions or take some drugs. Find out which ones you may need to skip with the help of this WebMD slideshow.