Too much vitamin C: Good or bad for you?

Vitamin C is an essential immunity-boosting nutrient, however, too much of anything can be bad, and this vitamin is no exception. An expert shares the side effects of vitamin C overdose!
Vitamin C overdose
What happens when you consume too much vitamin C? Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Published: 9 Sep 2023, 12:00 pm IST
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The immunity-boosting vitamin C is considered one of the most essential vitamins that is abundantly found in many fruits and vegetables. It plays a pivotal role in healing wounds, enhances our bone health and improves brain function. Naturally, we don’t think twice before squeezing a lemon or adding citrus fruits to our diet. But have you ever thought that it is possible to consume too much vitamin C? Can having excess vitamin C in the body have adverse effects? If you are wondering, read on to find out!

Health Shots got in touch with naturopathy specialist Dr Manoj Kutteri, who leads Atmantan Wellness Centre, to understand the side effects of vitamin C overdose.

vitamin c
Know everything about the overdose of essential nutrient, vitamin C. Image courtesy: Adobe stock

Why is vitamin C important?

Vitamin C is a crucial nutrient known for its immune-boosting properties, helping prevent and reduce the duration of infections. To prepare your immune system for protection against monsoon-related bacteria and viruses, incorporate vitamin C-rich foods into your diet. Furthermore, one should inculcate sprouts, fresh green vegetables, and oranges as they are excellent sources of this essential nutrient.

The vitamin C found in limes is particularly effective in enhancing immunity and guarding against various infections that tend to arise during the monsoon season.

Benefits of vitamin C-rich foods in your diet

• Vitamin C is an excellent micronutrient to support our immune system and acts as a great antioxidant helping to protect from damages caused by free radicals.
• It increases collagen production in the body and contributes to cardiovascular performance.
• It is widely used as a cancer-preventing nutrient and accelerates the healing process in our body.
• Along with vitamin A, vitamin C is also essential for eye care.
• It has a wider role in pain management, reducing stress, improving skin health and also increasing iron absorption.

Natural forms of vitamin C such as lime, oranges, gooseberry and apple cider vinegar are used for preventing allergies as well.

Side effects of too much vitamin C

As per the expert, here are some potential side effects of having too much vitamin C.

1. Gastrointestinal distress

“Consuming too much vitamin C through supplementation can result in gastrointestinal discomfort. This may manifest as diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramps, and gas. This is primarily due to the laxative effect of excess vitamin C,” says the expert.

vitamin c overdose
Citrus fruits are not only healthy but they also help curb anxiety, however, excess vitamin C also brings along some side effects! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Increased risk of kidney stones

Excessive vitamin C intake can contribute to the formation of kidney stones in individuals predisposed to this condition. Vitamin C is metabolized in the body to oxalate, which, when combined with calcium, can lead to the development of kidney stones.

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Also read: Can I use vitamin C with any skin care ingredient?

3. Disruption of iron absorption

The expert says, “Heavy doses of vitamin C can hamper the absorption process of nonheme iron coming from plant-based foods and supplements. While this may not be a significant concern for most people, it can potentially lead to iron deficiency in individuals who rely heavily on non-animal sources of iron.”

4. Upsetting nutrient balance

Excessive vitamin C intake can disrupt the balance of other essential vitamins and minerals in the body. It may interfere with the absorption or utilization of certain nutrients, potentially leading to imbalances.

5. Potential medication interactions

“Excess of vitamin C in the body may interfere with the effect of certain medications, affecting their efficacy or leading to unintended side effects. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional if you’re taking medications and considering high-dose vitamin C supplementation,” adds the expert.

6. Skin flushing or redness

In some individuals, especially when taking high doses of vitamin C supplements, skin flushing or redness may occur. This is a temporary side effect and typically harmless.

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