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Taking Vitamin C Supplements: How Much Is Too Much?

Most of the nutrition our body needs come from food, but there are times that we turn to supplements to get other vitamins or minerals. This happens when we are unwell or recovering from sickness, especially if we are unable to eat or digest food properly.

One of the most essential vitamins is ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, which is very abundant in many fruits and vegetables. This nutrient helps our bodies in many different ways, including maintaining a healthy immune system, keeping our bones strong, enhancing brain function, and healing wounds.

Because of these reasons, some people believe that vitamin C supplements can help provide more benefits. However, supplements have high amounts of nutrients and taking large doses may cause undesirable side effects.

Vitamin C is water-soluble, therefore it dissolves in water and does not get stored in the body. So whatever excess becomes oxalate, goes through the kidneys, and gets flushed out through urine. But high amounts of vitamin C, up to 2,000 milligrams per day, can accumulate and may result in kidney stones. An overload may also upset the digestive tract and cause symptoms like diarrhea or nausea.

So how much is too much, then?

We need to consume at least 29 oranges to reach the tolerable upper limit of vitamin C intake daily. But of course, a normal diet doesn’t include eating that many oranges daily. In fact, our normal diet is not sufficient to overdose us with vitamin C.

That risk becomes high when we take supplements, especially if they go greater than 2,000mg. You can minimize this risk by limiting supplement intake to no more than 90 mg a day for men and 75 mg a day for women.

And you can lower the risk further If you avoid taking vitamin C supplements unless you have a vitamin C deficiency (scurvy).