Vitamin C, or ascorbic Acid, has many beneficial functions, from providing better iron absorption to efficient fighting against infection and its ability to preserve skin elasticity. In general, taking vitamins is very good for maintaining good health. Vitamin C is one of the most important and most frequently taken vitamins. The human body does not store it though. The recommended daily dose is 75 to 90 mg daily for adults, and a bit higher for adult smokers (110 to 125 mg).
Anything over 3 to 500 mg is excreted by the body in urine. Several people experience a vitamin C overdose because of its famed antioxidant properties. Antioxidants protect cells against damage by free radicals (free radical is any molecule that has a single unpaired electron in an outer shell). Free radicals cause diseases, like cancer, cataracts, heart and lung disease. There is no scientific evidence that high doses of vitamin C protect us from any of these diseases other than protection against cataracts.
A vitamin C overdose generally is non-toxic. It may cause diarrhea, kidney stones, nausea, and tamper with the analysis of blood work results. Continued excessive use of the vitamin can cause harmful symptoms. Overdose amounts varies with individuals, depending on factors such as age, genes, and the ratio of other reactive elements in the body.
The most common result of an overdose is diarrhea. The minimum amount which causes this ranges from 5 to 25 grams a day or 500 to 2500 milligrams a day. A very effective treatment against an overdose is simply to decrease the dose as quickly as possible. Drinking plenty of water is recommended in cases of an overdose.
At high doses, symptoms of overdose include vomiting, face flushing, fatigue, sleep disturbances and headaches. Also, symptoms such as increased urination, gas, stomach cramps, insomnia, and back/joint pain can occur. Vitamin C overdose causes iron poisoning because vitamin C increases iron absorption. High doses of vitamin E may treat this particular side effect.
Another significant damaging effect of Vitamin C overdose is that it causes deficiency of copper, a necessary element present in our bodies. Hemochromatosis (A hereditary disease in which there is excessive absorption of dietary iron resulting in a pathologic increase in total body iron stores) patients should not take vitamin C due to enhanced accumulation of non-heme iron in the presence of this vitamin.
Vitamin C is beneficial but within limits. You are free to take the recommended daily dose. But remember too much of anything is bad.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.