Vitamin C: How Much Is Too Much? Know The Potential Side Effects Of Too Much Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients for the body, which helps in strengthening immune system and speeds up healing of wounds. But, too much of Vitamin C, in the form of supplements, can lead to side effects like digestion problems. Here's what you need to know.

Vitamin C: How Much Is Too Much? Know The Potential Side Effects Of Too Much Vitamin C

Vitamin C: Excess of its intake can lead to iron overload in the body


  • Vitamin C is needed by the body for a stronger immunity
  • Excess of it, however, can lead to formation of kidney stones
  • Increase intake of Vitamin C through food sources, instead of supplements

Vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients for the body. Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is needed for growth, development and repair of body tissues. This water-soluble vitamin helps in many body functions including formation of collagen, strengthening the immune system, speeding up wound healing and maintaining cartilage, bones, teeth, etc. Along with these functions, Vitamin C is important for the body to absorb iron. Daily recommended intake of Vitamin C for adults is 65 to 90 mg. However, intake of Vitamin C beyond a certain extent can cause some side effects like digestive problems and iron accumulation in the body.

Side effects of too much Vitamin C you must take note of

Diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, headache and insomnia are some of the side effects of high Vitamin C intake.

Also read: Vitamin C For Cold: Does This Really Work? Know Benefits, Dosage And Best Foods Sources

1. Digestion problems

Digestion problems are most likely to be caused not by eating too much Vitamin C-rich foods but by taking supplements of Vitamin C in excess. Consuming more than 2,000 mg of Vitamin C supplements in a day can cause diarrhoea, nausea and even acid reflux


Excess intake of Vitamin C can lead to digestion problems
Photo Credit: iStock

2. Overload of iron

As mentioned above, Vitamin C is known to facilitate absorption of iron in the body. Vitamin C has the capability to bind non-heme iron, which is found in plant-based foods. Non-heme iron is not absorbed as efficiently by the body as heme iron-a type of iron found in animal foods. Taking too much of Vitamin C can lead to iron overload in the body, which can cause damage to liver, heart, pancreas, thyroid and central nervous system.

Also read: Best Iron-Rich Foods To Boost Your Haemoglobin Naturally

3. Vitamin C is not stored in the body

Being a water-soluble vitamin, Vitamin C is not stored in the body. Most of it gets transported to your tissues through body fluids, and the excess of it passes through urine. And when you consume excess of it in the form of supplements, it results in digestion problems.

4. Kidney stones

Excess intake of Vitamin C has also been linked to risk of kidney stones. This nutrient is excreted from the body as oxalate via urine. In some cases, the oxalate binds with minerals and form crystals, leading to the formation of kidney stones. Excess vitamin C intake can increase oxalate in urine, thus increasing risk of kidney stones as well.


Vitamin C in excess can increase risk of kidney stones
Photo Credit: iStock

Also read: Got Kidney Stone? Try Apple Cider Vinegar: Here's How It Works

How to manage Vitamin C intake?

The best way to maintain optimum intake of Vitamin C is to get it through food sources. Following are some foods with high content of Vitamin C

  • Lemon
  • Oranges
  • Strawberry
  • Kiwi
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Green and red peppers
  • Spinach and leafy greens
  • Cabbage
  • Turnip greens
  • Tomatoes
  • Guava
  • Grapefruit

Risks of Vitamin C are higher when you consume supplements. So make sure you don't consume supplements unless prescribed by a doctor. Make sure you consume in only approved dosages.

All in all, Vitamin C is an important nutrient for the body and its deficiency can result in weak immunity and may put you at risk of diseases.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.