The vitamin C is very important for the proper function of the body nutrient, and is abundant in many fruits and vegetables. One of the most common reasons for your intake is to prevent the common cold. However, getting enough of this vitamin is especially necessary to keep the immune system healthy. Also to support wound healing, maintain strong bones and improve brain function.
Some experts claim that vitamin C supplements provide benefits beyond those that can be obtained with the vitamin that is present in food. Despite this, can eating extremely high amounts of vitamin C cause side effects? Find out if this can happen.
How to know if we take too much vitamin C
1. Is it possible for the body to accumulate a lot of vitamin C?
Vitamin C is soluble in water, that is, it dissolves in water. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body.
The vitamin C that you consume is transported to the tissues through body fluids and any extra amount is eliminated in the urine. Because of this, and because the body does not store vitamin C, nor produce it by itself, it is necessary to consume foods rich in this vitamin daily.
However, supplementation in high doses can cause adverse effects, such as digestive distress and kidney stones. It is important to keep in mind that for most people it is not necessary to take vitamin C supplements, as it is present in many foods, particularly fruits and vegetables.
2. What is the most common symptom of taking too much vitamin C?
The most common side effect of ingesting too much vitamin C is digestion, manifesting specifically with nausea and diarrhea. Stomach reflux has also been reported, although this is not supported by science.
In general, these effects do not occur by eating many foods with vitamin C, but by taking the vitamin as a supplement. Likewise, you are more likely to experience digestive symptoms by ingesting more than 2000 milligrams (mg) at a time. Therefore, a tolerable upper limit of 2000 mg per day of vitamin C has been established.
If you are experiencing digestive problems as a result of taking too much vitamin C, simply reduce the dose of the supplement or avoid them altogether.
3. Does taking too much vitamin C affect the absorption of iron?
The vitamin C is known to improve iron absorption. It has the ability to bind with non-heme iron, which is found in plant foods and which is not absorbed by the body as efficiently as heme iron, which is of animal origin. This is an important function, especially for people who get most of the iron from plant sources.
A study in adults found that iron absorption increased by 67% when they took 100 mg of vitamin C along with food. However, people with conditions such as hemochromatosis, a condition that accumulates iron in the body, should be careful with vitamin C supplements.
Under that condition, taking too much vitamin C can cause an excess of iron in the body, which can cause serious damage to the heart, liver, pancreas, thyroid and the central nervous system.
Also note that an overload of iron in the body is unlikely to consume too much of this micromineral in the form of a supplement.
4. Can excess vitamin C develop kidney stones?
A high intake of vitamin C is eliminated in the form of oxalate, a waste product of the body. Oxalate normally leaves the body through urine. However, in some circumstances it can bind with some minerals to form crystals that form kidney stones.
Excessive intake of vitamin C has the potential to increase the amount of oxalate in the urine, which increases the risk of developing kidney stones. This was demonstrated in an investigation in adults who took a supplement of 1000 mg of vitamin C twice a day for six days, observing how it increased by 20% the elimination of oxalates. This fact was also related to the development of kidney stones, especially with an intake higher than 2,000 mg.
5. How much vitamin C is considered too high?
Since vitamin C is soluble in water, and the body excretes the excessive amount in a few hours after being consumed, it is quite difficult to accumulate much of this vitamin. In fact, it is almost impossible to get too much vitamin C through diet. In healthy people, any additional vitamin C that is ingested beyond the recommended daily allowance will be removed from the body.
- The risks of vitamin C overdose are higher when people take supplements, and it is possible to affect those under certain health conditions such as hemochromatosis.
- All adverse effects of vitamin C, including digestive failure and kidney stones, appear to occur when taking doses greater than 2000 mg.
Finally, it is recommended to choose a vitamin C supplement that contains more than 100% of daily needs; 90 mg per day is required for men and 75 mg for women.
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