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Side effects of the overdose of vitamin C

By Sruthy Susan Ullas

Vitamin C is a nutrient that has provided several contradictory results in the researches on its effects on the human body - be it common cold or cancer -- leaving its role still shrouded in mystery.

Ascorbic acid, as it is scientifically called, is a water soluble nutrient that is essential for the physiological functions of the human body. It is vital in protein metabolism and the synthesis of collagen, a protein that holds our body together.

Found aplenty in citrus fruits, around 90 mg of vitamin C per day is recommended for males and slightly less in females. It is tolerated by the body to a large extent. However, extremely large doses of the element can cause many side effects and drug interactions.

The tolerable upper intake level, which is the maximum intake that can cause no harm, of ascorbic acid has been kept at around 2,000 mg/day.

It is around 400 mg in children of 1-3 years, 650 mg for children of 4-8 years and 1,200 for children between the age group of 9-13 years.

Side effects of the overdose of vitamin C


Nausea And Diarrhoea:

They are the most common complaints of overdose of vitamin C, especially when taken on an empty stomach. This is due to the osmotic effect of the vitamin in the gastrointestinal tract.


Kidney Stones:

Vitamin C has the property to increase the excretion of uric acid and urinary oxalate, both of which contribute to the formation of kidney stone. Therefore, people who already have complaints of kidney stones of oxalate type must be cautious.


Excess Iron Absorption:

One of the great properties of vitamin C is that it can enhance iron absorption. However, it can turn out to be problematic for patients who suffer from hereditary hemochromatosis.


Dental Decay:

The low pH of ascorbic acid can damage the enamel, which is the hard outer layer of the teeth which protects them from wear and tear, when taken over a long period of time. However, there are still contradictions to this study.


Skin Rash:

One of the toxic reactions due to excess of vitamin C is skin rash. This is predominantly seen in babies. It presents itself like an allergic reaction.



Taking vitamin C beyond the tolerable upper intake level can cause fatigue. The person might also experience dizziness and drowsiness.

Read more about: vitamin c nausea kidney
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