By Ganda Putra
Vitamin C is the world’s most talked about and consumed vitamin supplement. You have probably read all the great claims, endorsements, and about ongoing studies about taking Vitamin C in mega-doses to heal a variety of ailments. This leads to the important question. Can you overdose on vitamin C?
The Possible Effects of Taking Too Much Vitamin C
In high dosages Vitamin C can have a few very uncomfortable side effects. The symptoms associated with too much vitamin C can include:
- Flushing of the Face
These symptoms are not common and usually only occur in people take extreme dosages of vitamin C far beyond the recommended dosages or the suggested upper tolerable level recommended by the North American Academy of Sciences.
The recommended levels of Vitamin C are:
- 60-95mg of Vitamin C for a Healthy Adult
- 2000mg at the Upper Tolerable Level
To put this in perspective, it would require you eat approximately 20 oranges in a single day to even approach 2000mg of vitamin C. Not a feat you are likely to try to pull off. You can be quite sure eating 20 oranges in one day would almost definitely lead to indigestion, nausea, and diarrhea whether vitamin C was involved or not.
The most dangerous effect of taking too much Vitamin C would be the potential of having an overdose of iron in your body. Vitamin C causes you to retain higher amounts of iron in the bloodstream which can cause serious side effects. From this aspect, the answer to the question of “Can you overdose on vitamin C?” is a definite yes.
Vitamin C the Magically Disappearing Vitamin
The one factor which makes a true overdose of vitamin C quite unlikely is water solubility. Excess vitamin C is removed by the kidneys and flushed from the body in your urine very rapidly. This water solubility is one of the reasons vitamin C must be consumed daily. Taking high dosages of vitamin C, above the 2000mg range, to try to battle an illness is usually a wasted effort. The excess will be washed away by the next day.
A much safer plan is to take a reasonable vitamin supplement and add fruits and vegetables which are rich in vitamin C to your diet. This would include broccoli, oranges, strawberries, mango, grapefruits, kiwi fruit, green peppers, and many other items. This combination will make sure you attain the health benefits of vitamin C without unnecessary risks.
One important note about vitamin C is the effect of infections and disease on your vitamin C levels. The body uses Vitamin C at an amazing rate during times of illness. The recommendations suggested by family and friends of drinking orange juice and taking added vitamin C during times of illness carries merit due to this fast depletion.
Can you overdose on vitamin C? It is possible to create a range of symptoms and cause an overdose of iron by abusing vitamin C, but our bodies are well equipped to quickly eliminate the excess.