Photo: Victoria Rachitzky Hoch
Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is a vital part of a healthy immune system and keeps us guarded from infection. It also promotes faster wound healing. Though the vitamin is a crucial component for the human body, considerably high amounts of Vitamin C intake can also prove to be disadvantageous and may result in several mild to severe side effects. Thus, maintaining normal intake of the vitamin is essential.
Classified as a water-soluble vitamin, Vitamin C is an essential vitamin found in various fruits, particularly citric fruits, and vegetables. Vitamin C has several benefits for living organisms. This particular vitamin is commonly associated with preventing colds and flu and has been perceived as a means to strengthen the body’s immunity against harmful external agents.
Is It Really Possible To Experience An Overdose In Vitamin C?
First, Vitamin C is not stored inside the body and requires regular replacement. This makes it very difficult to overdose on the Vitamin. However, many medical experts have stated that a person shouldn’t get over 2000mg per day in pill or tablet form. If the limit is exceeded, the person may experience mild to severe stomach aches and diarrhea, depending on the amount of vitamin C they consumed.
The recommended value of Vitamin C intake varies with the age and gender of the individual. For children from 9 to 13 years of age, 25 to 50mg per day is recommended. For male teenagers, 75mg per day is ideal while 65mg is required for female teenagers. For adult males, 90mg is required daily while women need 75mg of Vitamin C. Special cases require higher doses of Vitamin C, such as heavy smokers, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
Symptoms Of A Vitamin C Overdose
People suspected of having vitamin C overdose can either experience minor or major symptoms or sometimes a combination of both. For minor symptoms, the patient will experience mouth ulceration, gases, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, feeling of bloating, indigestion, diarrhea, fever, headache and an aggregated level of stress. For severe cases, which usually arise when the individual consumes more than 6000mg/day of Vitamin C, one should expect much worse and painful effects. One common major symptom seen in most individuals are kidney stones, as ascorbic acid helps absorb calcium and excess amounts of calcium inside the kidney can result in formation of kidney stones. Copper deficiency is also entailed with Vitamin C overdose. Other major symptoms include dental cavities, jaundice infection and severe back pain.
Take Action, Be Smart
The best way to get your adequate fix of Vitamin C is, of course, through diet. Include more fruits and vegetables at each meal. Though there are multivitamins and pills that can supply your adequate take of Vitamin C, fruits and vegetables are your best sources of vitamin C because you are getting a plethora of other nutrients (not just one vitamin) that work together for absorption, digestion, etc. Citrus fruits are a great source for Vitamin C. In fact, just one cup of fresh squeezed orange juice can yield 125mg of vitamin C which may give you more than enough of the recommended daily allowance you require (which is 50 to 75mg). Kiwi is another good source of Vitamin C with up to 70mg for one medium fruit.
Vegetables are also loaded with ascorbic acid. This includes broccoli, red pepper and green pepper. Tomato juice is also an OK food choice with 45mg for each cup. It is difficult to overeat fruits and vegetables in your diet. Choosing to get Vitamin C from raw foods and not from supplements is single most safe way you can prevent overdose and insufficiency of Vitamin C.