Vitamin C overdose: what are the side effects?

Published: September 9, 2023, 12:00 IST

Immunity-boosting vitamin C is considered one of the most essential vitamins found in abundance in many fruits and vegetables. It plays a central role in wound healing, improves the health of our bones 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’s possible to consume too much vitamin C? Can excess vitamin C in the body have harmful effects? If you’re wondering, read on to find out!

Health Shots contacted naturopathy specialist Dr. Manoj Kutteri, who runs Atmantan Wellness Center, to understand the side effects of vitamin C overdose.

Everything you need to know about overdosing on the essential nutrient, vitamin C. Image courtesy: Adobe stock

Why is vitamin C important?

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

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

Benefits of foods rich in vitamin C in your diet

• Vitamin C is an excellent micronutrient for support our immune system and acts as an excellent antioxidant helping protect against free radical damage.
• He increases collagen production in the body and contributes to cardiovascular performance.
• It is widely used as anti-cancer nutrient and accelerates our body’s healing process.
• Besides vitamin A, vitamin C is also essential for eye care.
• It plays a broader role in pain management, reduce stressimproving skin health and also increasing iron absorption.

Natural forms of vitamin C such as lime, oranges, gooseberries, and apple cider vinegar are also used to prevent allergies.

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Side effects of too much vitamin C

According to the expert, here are some potential side effects of excessive vitamin C consumption.

1. Gastrointestinal distress

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

vitamin C overdose
Citrus fruits are not only healthy, but they also help reduce anxiety. However, excess vitamin C also causes side effects! Image provided by: Shutterstock

2. Increased risk of kidney stones

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

Also Read: Can I Use Vitamin C With Any Skincare Ingredient?

3. Disruption of iron absorption

The expert says: “High doses of vitamin C can hinder the absorption process of non-heme iron from foods and herbal supplements. Although this is not a major concern for most people, it can potentially lead to iron deficiency in people who rely heavily on non-animal sources of iron.

4. Disruption of the nutritional balance

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

5. Potential drug interactions

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

6. Redness or redness of the skin

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

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