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How Much Vitamin C Is Too Much? Key Facts About Vitamin C Intake

How Much Vitamin C Is Too Much? Key Facts About Vitamin C Intake

Vitamin C, less commonly known as L-ascorbic acid, is a natural and essential nutrient found in numerous fruits and vegetables. It is responsible for the synthesis of particular neurotransmitters, collagen, and L-carnitine, and it also helps mediate metabolism of proteins.

Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that orchestrate the execution of vital functions such as motor behavior, memory, learning, mood and sleep to name a few. Collagen is a structural protein and one of the primary components of connective tissues and L-carnitine is an amino acid derivative  that plays a role in fat metabolism.

Moreover, within the body vitamin C operates as a key antioxidant which is able to govern the generation of additional antioxidants such as vitamin E, and can further help absorption of other nutrients, mainly iron. [1] Since humans are incapable of endogenously manufacturing this water-soluble vitamin, acquiring it through diet is necessary for certain imperative biological functions to occur.

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Can I take too much vitamin C?

While the importance of vitamin C intake may be fairly well-known, is there a limit to how much of this essential vitamin your body can handle?

Research says yes, and here’s why: as previously mentioned, vitamin C is water-soluble meaning it dissolves in water, and therefore is not stored in the body. [2] Rather, it is eliminated once excess amounts are reached, creating a false sense of comfort for ingesting too much vitamin C.

However, a recent study demonstrated the dangers of overdoing this nutrient. A team of British scientists conducted a study in which participants were administered more than 6 times the recommended daily dose for 6 weeks. They found that in such high doses vitamin C damaged DNA by converting iron stores into harmful ferrous iron which damages internal organs. [3]

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Beyond this, numerous studies dating back to the 70s have indicated a correlation between excessive vitamin C and damage of genetic material. Further, the department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Michigan State University has highlighted the potentiality of excess nutrient intake to result in toxicity. [4]

What does too much vitamin C look like?

Now that it has been established it’s possible and harmful to ingest too much vitamin C, how do you know if you are exceeding appropriate doses?

The main indicator is gastrointestinal distress: nausea, indigestion, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting and upset stomach are a few examples of possible symptoms. [5] It also can manifest as hemochromatosis, hormone imbalances, kidney stones, and poor athletic performance. Hemochromatosis can be toxic and in severe cases result in organ failure, since it is the excessive production of iron in the body.

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Hormone disruption can interfere with the first stages of pregnancy increasing the probability of birth defects since vitamin C can inhibit release of certain sex hormones. Kidney stones are mineral deposits that form within the kidneys resulting in severe pain. In the process of vitamin C metabolism, some are converted into oxalate which promotes the development of kidney stones.

Furthermore, too much vitamin C has been shown to reduce endurance in athletes through inhibition of the body’s cellular alterations while exercising.

How much should I take?

So vitamin C is a critical nutrient but when taken in excess causes extreme discomfort and harmful symptoms, how much are you supposed to ingest? The Food and Nutrition Board generated a recommended intake chart based on age and gender. [6]

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Ultimately, the daily intake should be between 65 and 90 mg and harmful effects begin to appear with continued intake exceeding 500mg over long periods of time, and 2000mg for a single day.

How can I get vitamin C?

The best sources of vitamin C is through digestion of natural fruits and vegetables. Some primary examples and amount of vitamin C in 100g portion: [7]

  1. Strawberries: 58.8mg (98% of the daily value)
  2. Oranges: 53.2mg (89% of the daily value)
  3. Peppers: 183.5mg (306% of the daily value)
  4. Broccoli: 89.2mg (149% of the daily value)
  5. Papaya: 60.9mg (102% of the daily value)
  6. Lemon: 100mg (166% of the daily value)
  7. Kale: 120mg (200% of the daily value)
  8. Brussel sprouts: 85mg (142% of the daily value)
  9. Kiwi: 92.7mg (155% of the daily value)
  10. Peas: 60mg (100% of the daily value)

If cannot be consumed naturally, supplementation is available to meet the recommended daily dose.

Featured photo credit: servingjoy.com via servingjoy.com

Reference

[1] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/
[2] http://www.consumerlab.com/answers/Is+it+possible+to+take+too+much+vitamin+C%3F/too_much_vitamin_c/
[3] http://www.nytimes.com/1998/04/09/us/taking-too-much-vitamin-c-can-be-dangerous-study-finds.html
[4] http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrition-vitamins-11/fat-water-nutrient
[5] http://www.livestrong.com/article/499159-disadvantages-of-vitamin-c/
[6] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/
[7] http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20745689,00.html

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Lindsay Benster

Student pursuing a degree in Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of San Diego

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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