Are There Any Benefits to Taking Very Large Doses of Vitamin C?
Written by Ryan Raman on April 20, 2021 — Medically reviewed by Amy Richter, RD
Vitamin C is essential for good health, but is it beneficial to consume more than the recommended daily amount? Our nutritionist says it’s unlikely.
Q: Are there any benefits to taking large doses of vitamin C, say, five times the recommended amount?
Vitamin C is an important nutrient that plays many roles in your health.
It helps support your immune system, aids in iron absorption, and has antioxidant properties that help protect against damage from oxidative stress (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source).
In recent years, many people have started taking high doses of vitamin C in an attempt to improve their health and gain benefits beyond the amount obtained through their diet.
However, high doses of vitamin C are unlikely to provide any additional benefit.
This is because vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means it dissolves in water. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, water-soluble vitamins aren’t stored in your body — instead, excess amounts get excreted through your urine (3Trusted Source).
In addition, consuming excessive amounts of vitamin C through supplements may cause adverse effects in susceptible individuals. These include:
Kidney stones. Excess vitamin C is removed by the body as oxalate, a waste product. In some cases, though, oxalate may form crystals and lead to kidney stones. Consuming too much vitamin C may increase the amount of oxalate in your urine and increase the risk of kidney stones (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source).
Digestive symptoms. Consuming excess vitamin C through supplements may cause digestive symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps (6Trusted Source, 7).
Iron overload. Individuals with hemochromatosis, a condition that raises the risk of iron accumulation in the body, may experience iron overload. This is a serious condition that may cause damage to various organs (8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source).
Vitamin C has a daily value (DV) of 90 mg per day, which is the recommended amount you should consume each day. It can easily be reached by consuming vitamin C–rich foods, such as strawberries, citrus fruits, broccoli, and bell peppers (7).
However, you can safely consume up to 2,000 mg of vitamin C per day without experiencing adverse health effects. This is the established tolerable upper limit for vitamin C intake (7).
It’s important to note that it’s nearly impossible to consume excessive amounts of vitamin C through foods. It’s far more likely to happen through supplements.
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