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Vitamin C Overdose Symptoms

Vitamin C Overdose Symptoms

Do you know that an overdose of vitamin C can be harmful to your health? Read on to know everything about the overdose symptoms and treatment, as it is an important and frequently taken vitamin.
Leena Palande
Ascorbic acid is commonly known as vitamin C. It helps in the secretion of adrenal hormones, increases iron and calcium absorption, enhances the immunity, reduces cholesterol, prevents arteriosclerosis, and improves health of gums and teeth. The list of its benefits is very big. Its deficiency leads to loose teeth, bleeding gums, hair loss, chronic anemia, easy bruising and delayed wound healing, dry skin, etc. Importance of vitamin C is well-known. However, most people do not know that an excess of vitamin C is harmful to health. The food you eat should contain it in a proportionate amount. Let us first take a look at its recommended intake for different age groups so that the concept of 'overdose' will be clear.
Recommended Intake of Vitamin C
As per the fact sheet provided by National Institutes of Health (NIH), the recommended daily intake levels for vitamin C are:
Age
(years)
RDA (mg)
Male Female
1 - 3 15 15
4 - 8 25 25
9 - 13 45 45
14 - 18 75 65
Above 19 90 75

For pregnant and lactating women, the recommended daily intake is 80 - 85 mg and 115 - 120 mg respectively. In case of individuals who smoke, the requirement of vitamin C is about 135 mg per day.
Your body eliminates vitamin C every twelve hours, because of which, its adequate daily intake is essential. Fruits like lemon, orange, grapes, kiwi, guava, etc., and vegetables like cauliflower, garlic, spinach are the common sources of vitamin C.
Vitamin C Overdose
Human body never stores vitamin C, and so it is very rare to have an excessive amount of this vitamin in the body. The excess is excreted by your body through urine regularly. The overdose symptoms are noticed when people take excessive doses of vitamin C supplements to enjoy the health benefits of antioxidant properties that it carries. You might be knowing that free radicals (molecules having a single unpaired electron in their outer shell) are responsible for diseases, like cataracts, cancer, heart, and lung diseases. The antioxidants prevent the damage of cells due to free radicals. Vitamin C intake can be increased sometimes, with this purpose in mind.
Minor Symptoms
  • Mouth Ulcers
  • Gases
  • Nausea, vomiting, dizziness
  • Strong smelling urine
  • Bloating
  • Upset stomach
  • Indigestion
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Increased stress level
  • Reddened face
  • Skin rashes
  • Foot cramps
  • Abdominal cramps
Major Symptoms
These problems may arise if you consume vitamin C more than 6000 mg/day.
  • Vitamin B12 depletion is caused.
  • There can be increased need for oxygen, resulting in an added pressure on heart.
  • Copper deficiency arises.
  • Jaundice infection may occur.
  • Dental cavities can form.
  • Severe back pain can be noticed.
  • Insomnia is also noticed due to the discomfort and effects of its toxicity.
  • Iron poisoning due to increase in absorption of iron is noticed.
Treatment
Ascorbic acid is non-toxic. Vitamin C overdose symptoms can be different for every individual, depending upon age, genes, and the ratio of other reactive elements in the body. A professional medical advice should be sought if a person exhibits the symptoms of excess of vitamin C in his/her body. First thing you can do is decrease its intake, as quickly as possible, under the guidance of your physician. The doctor can help lower the symptoms of this unusual condition. Drinking plenty of water is recommended, as it can be flushed out through urine.
Hemochromatosis is a hereditary disease. Those who are diagnosed for this disease, usually face the problem of excessive absorption of dietary iron, leading to an increase in total body iron storage. Such individuals should avoid vitamin C, as it enhances accumulation of iron. High doses of vitamin E can treat iron poisoning.
Vitamin C is considered as an anti-aging agent and so is consumed in large quantities. But, after reading about 'too much of vitamin C and side effects', we are sure, you will definitely prefer a balanced intake of this vitamin.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for professional medical advice.