The 3 Surprising Side Effects of Taking Too Much Vitamin C

too much vitamin C

For your immune system to function properly, you need to add vitamin C-rich foods to your diet. But it’s also important not to go over the recommended daily intake. Otherwise, taking too much vitamin C could sometimes result in unwanted side effects.

Let’s look at the three possible side effects of taking more vitamin C than your body needs.

1. Iron Overload

Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron more efficiently. According to one study, taking 100mg of vitamin C supplements can boost iron absorption by up to 67%.

But if you take too much vitamin C on a regular basis, it may lead to an iron overload. This risk usually only applies if you have a medical problem that makes your body absorb more iron than it needs. Also, it’s more common in people who get their iron from supplements as opposed to dietary sources.

2. Digestive Problems

Taking too much vitamin C can sometimes also cause digestive problems. This usually happens when you exceed the tolerable upper limit of about 2,000mg per day.

The most common digestive symptoms include nausea and diarrhea. In some people, a high vitamin C intake could also cause acid reflux. Luckily, reducing your daily dose is enough to reverse these side effects.

3. Kidney Problems

In rare cases, overloading on vitamin C could lead to the formation of kidney stones. That’s because vitamin C converts to a waste substance known as oxalate before it exits your body. When it reacts with certain minerals, oxalate can sometimes form crystals that are responsible for kidney stones.

If you take more than 2,000mg of vitamin C a day, your oxalate levels could rise by up to 20%. Over time, this might even lead to kidney failure in some cases.

Final Word

If you get all your vitamin C from the foods you eat, there’s little to worry about. You would have to eat dozens of fruits each day to get a vitamin C overload. But if you also take supplements, make sure not to go over the 2,000mg daily limit. Also, unless you have a vitamin C deficiency, it is best to avoid supplements altogether.

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