How Much Vitamin C is Too Much?
If you've lived through 2020 (congrats on that by the way), you probably already know that Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is essential to the body and its immune function. In fact, you may have heard that supplementing with Vitamin C can help keep your immune system in fighting shape. But many supplements out there contain large amounts of Vitamin C and are designed for "Emergency" (one-off) use. Is that really something you want to take every day?
So some questions you may want to ask yourself are: (a) Am I getting enough of this essential nutrient? and conversely, (b) Is it possible I'm getting too much? We will look at all of that in this piece, but first: how does Vitamin C actually work?
How Vitamin C Works
As earlier mentioned, vitamin C is an antioxidant. So that means it helps the body and other healthy cells stay safe from harmful free radicals which age and wreak havoc on the body. Vitamin C is also critical for the function of leukocytes – white blood cells that help fight infections – and your body needs a lot more of them when you're sick. That's why it is a popular recommendation when it comes to fighting viruses. If you want to boost your immune system against illness, you need to take more Vitamin C. Vitamin C also boosts the absorption of iron. Iron plays a role in the general functioning of your body and is good for growth.
Am I Getting Enough Vitamin C?
Some good sources of Vitamin C are oranges and orange juice, which are some of the most potent sources of Vitamin C out there. That said, even if you eat a whole orange every day, you may still come up short on C: even one whole orange only provides about 50 mg of Vitamin C, which is still shy of the Daily Recommended Value of 75-90mg a day. You can also find Vitamin C in tomatoes, strawberries, potatoes, kiwi, grapefruit, cantaloupe, broccoli, bell peppers, and more, so over the course of the day, if you have a healthy and diversified diet, you may get just enough. But like everything else: many people believe more is better, especially for immune support during a pandemic (note: Vitamin C does not prevent COVID or any other infection).
Some Vitamin-C containing foods - is there such a thing as too much of a good thing?
Which leads us to our more relevant question for 2020:
How Much Vitamin C is Too Much?
The Food and Nutrition Board is aware of the effects that come from taking too much vitamin C. So it has gone on to establish upper intake levels that can be tolerated. The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) stipulates that 2000 mg is the upper intake limit for anyone who is 19 years and above, whether male or female. This also applies to breastfeeding or pregnant adults.
For infants and children, read below to see the recommended upper vitamin C levels for daily consumption.
- Infants within the age range of 1 to 3 years (400 mg)
- Children within the age range of 4 to 8 years (650 mg)
- Children will learn the age range of 9 to 13 years (1200 mg)
- Teenagers within the age range of 14 to 18 years (1800 mg)
- Teenagers within the age range of 14 to 18 years who are pregnant or breastfeeding (1800 mg)
These upper intake limits have some exceptions. These exceptions only apply if your doctor recommends that you do otherwise. That's because there are medically related cases where patients may have to take vitamin C in much larger amounts.
The Effects of Taking Excess Vitamin C
There really are no adverse effects if you eat vitamin C rich foods frequently. But if you get your vitamin C supply through supplements, you need to be careful. That's because taking too much may lead to side effects.
75 mg and 90 mg of vitamin C is the recommended dietary allowance for female and male adults, respectively. But if adults end up taking more than 2000 mg daily, there’s a risk of experiencing some adverse effects.
In general, you shouldn’t take above the recommended vitamin C limit. Doing so may cause some digestive disturbances because your gastrointestinal tract can become irritated by unabsorbed vitamin C. Taking vitamin C in excess can also lead to other side effects like bloating, stomach cramps, nausea, and diarrhea.
Is your Vitamin C Intake Enough?
While ensuring you're getting enough C should be on everyone's to-do list this year, who are the groups who are most likely to be deficient in Vitamin C?
Smokers and people dealing with secondhand smoke exposure
If you smoke or suffer exposure to secondhand smoke on a regular basis, you might not be getting enough vitamin C. That's because smoke increases the presence of free radicals in your body, thereby causing more damage. So your body will need more amounts of vitamin C to carry out repair work. Compared to nonsmokers, consider taking an extra 35 mg of vitamin C daily.
People suffering from some conditions or who don’t consume as much food varieties as possible
Some people don't get access to so many food varieties and this limits their ability to get a healthy supply of vitamin C. Some health conditions like kidney disease which need dialysis, certain forms of cancer, and severe malabsorption can also lead to vitamin C deficiency.
Infants fed cow’s milk (boiled or evaporated)
Vitamin C can be destroyed by heat. And that’s added to the fact that the amount of vitamin C in cow's milk is very little. If your infant is not up to 12 months old, it's best to avoid feeding them cow’s milk. There are better options that contain vitamin C in sufficient amounts such as infant formula and breastmilk.
Not getting enough vitamin C deprives your body of one of its most essential nutrients. That's because vitamin C helps to boost your immunity and keeps your defenses up. If you fail to get enough vitamin C for a long time, it will lead to scurvy.
Some effects of scurvy include corkscrew hairs, wounds not healing fast, joint pain, small spots on the skin, gum inflammation, and fatigue. You may also experience loosening of the teeth or teeth loss and depression. Scurvy can also lead to anemia and will result in death without adequate treatment.
Get Just the Right Amount of Vitamin C with Hyrbal Defend
Your body doesn't store much vitamin C but it needs it in constant supply. In the United States, Vitamin C deficiency is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies. And your lifestyle plays a role in increasing your everyday needs. That's true especially if you spend long hours at work, chasing the everyday hustle and bustle of high-performing, driven people.
Don't give stress and other factors a chance to break down your body's immunity. That's why we've created Defend, an immune support blend made just for your body’s needs. This supplement is a blend of essential herbs, antioxidants, and vitamins like turmeric, garlic, elderberry extracts, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, Zinc, and more. The ingredients work together to support your respiratory system while delivering cellular immunity.Don’t hesitate to order Hyrbal’s Defend today and rest assured that you're getting the right amount of Vitamin C for your daily supplementation needs: not too much, not too little.