Taking vitamin C is an essential part of many of our wellness routines. And why shouldn’t it be? Experts say vitamin C not only helps boost your immune system to avoid sickness during cold and flu season, but may reduce your risk of chronic disease, lower your risk for heart disease and high blood pressure, prevent gout attacks and iron deficiency, and protect your memory as you age (via Healthline). Researcher Mark Moyad, MD, MPH, of the University of Michigan says that “Higher blood levels of vitamin C may be the ideal nutrition marker for overall health…The more we study vitamin C, the better our understanding of how diverse it is in protecting our health, from cardiovascular, cancer, stroke, eye health [and] immunity to living longer” (via WebMD).
It’s a veritable holy grail of antioxidant vitamins, so it’s no surprise people are loading up on it. But it’s important to note that more isn’t always necessarily better. In fact, there are some negative side effects associated with overdosing on vitamin C.
Too much vitamin C can cause tummy troubles
The standard recommended dose of supplemental vitamin C for an adult is 65 to 90 milligrams (mg) a day, with the upper limit being about 2,000 mg a day. And while taking more than that is unlikely to be harmful to you, taking mega doses of the supplement can cause some unpleasant side effects, especially for the GI tract, including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and abdominal cramping (via The Mayo Clinic). It can also cause headache or trouble sleeping. None of these are life threatening or likely to be long lasting once the hyper-dosing has been discontinued.
While a healthy and well-rounded diet should provide your body with the complete daily recommended allowance of vitamin C on its own, the majority of studies that show improved health while taking vitamin C supplements are based on 500mg daily doses, which is much higher than the recommended daily allowance, so taking a supplement is likely not a bad idea as long as you don’t overdo it (via WebMD).
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