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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 September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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