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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 July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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