Dr. Becky Maes - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Becky Maes

Is Too Much Vitamin C Bad For You?



Short answer

Ascorbic acid is necessary for life and provides significant benefit to overall health, but consuming more than the recommended daily limit can result in short-term undesirable or uncomfortable side effects.



Long answer

Ascorbic acid is the chemical name of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is naturally present in many fruits and vegetables including oranges, sweet peppers, strawberries, grapefruit, papayas, kiwis, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and peas. It is also added to foods like cold cereals, vinegar, cured meats, rolled oats, powdered milk, fruit juice, sorbet, wine, and mustard as a natural preservative. People who suspect they may be getting sick sometimes take over-the-counter Vitamin C to fight infection and shorten the duration and severity of the illness. Those who do not receive enough Vitamin C in their daily diet may also supplement with over-the-counter vitamins.

Incorporating an adequate dose of Vitamin C into one's daily diet can help prevent illness and infection. However, exceeding the recommended daily dose of 2,000 milligrams can result in uncomfortable (but typically not harmful) side effects. Because the intestine is not able to absorb excessive amounts of ascorbic acid, water volume in the gastrointestinal tract increases, causing severe abdominal cramps, pain, diarrhea, and the potential for dehydration. Those experiencing gastrointestinal side effects should lower their daily dose of Vitamin C. Furthermore, a 2005 Journal of Clinical Nutrition study found that intake of excessive ascorbic acid increases the risk for development of kidney stones, which can be painful to pass and may require medical attention.

While these untoward effects are both undesirable and uncomfortable, neither is proven to result in long-term harm to the body.

Possible short-term side effects

  • abdominal cramps
  • pain
  • diarrhea
  • dehydration

Possible long-term side effects

  • kidney stones

Big is too much vitamin c bad for you.

Healthier alternatives

  • stay below 2,000 milligrams daily

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Written by Desmond | 03-16-2016

Written by Desmond
Suggest improvement or correction

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