Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water soluble vitamin and the body will only use what is required and eliminate the rest, leading people to assume that the risk of overdose is non existent. However there is a growing concern that mega doses of this vitamin can have negative consequences and overdoses may be possible.
Due to well known vitamin C benefits for general good health and particularly in cold and flu season, many people load up on mega doses of Vitamin C believing they can suffer no ill effects.
But in spite of the fact that vitamin C is not stored in the body and whatever the body does not use will be eliminated, there is the possibility in extended periods of excessive doses, for the vitamin to do the damage before it is excreted.
The recommended daily dose for Vitamin C is 90 mg. However many people take in excess of 1,000 mg daily. These people are more at risk for overdose along with the consumption of other vitamins and nutrients due to the interaction between them.
Some of the less serious signs of vitamin C overdose are nausea and vomiting, flushing of the face, headache, fatigue, disturbed sleep, mouth ulcers, gas and bloating, and strong smelling urine. Decrease your do
sage of vitamin c and these symptoms should disappear. Diarrhea is also considered a symptom of overdose but is more of a guideline for determining your maximum allowable dose. This symptom
would more likely indicate a dose just below potentially dangerous.
More serious signs of overdose would be more of a concern in those taking up to and over 6,000 mg of vitamin C or those taking other supplements along with these excessive amounts. These signs
would include kidney stones, copper deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms and an increased need for oxygen.
Prolonged high doses of vitamin c with overdose effects could produce severe consequences such as kidney disease, diabetes, hypoglycaemia, and acute right-sided conjunctivitis.
At the other end of the spectrum is Vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C plays a crucial role in growing and repairing bone, skin and connective tissue. It is also important in helping our bodies to absorb iron necessary for
the formation of red blood cells. Some of the other Vitamin C benefits are that it also plays other roles in fighting infection and healing processes so you can see how critical it is in our day to day dietary needs.
Some indicators of Vitamin C deficiency are weakness, fatigue, and irritability. Signs of a severe deficiency, also known as scurvy, are anaemia, bruising easily, dry hair and skin, and gum and dental problems.
Vitamin C deficiency is generally caused by lack of proper dietary sources such as fresh fruits and vegetables although there are other possible causes. Cooking does destroy some of the vitamins in foods and so fresh fruits and vegetables are the more desirable choice. There are other conditions which can increase the body’s need for vitamin c and therefore cause a deficiency if intake is not increased as well, such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, surgery, severe burns and some disorders causing inflammation and/or high fever.
The safest way to ensure you are getting sufficient Vitamin C or avoid overdoses is with a proper diet including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and a dietary supplement of the recommended daily dosage if you are still unsure.