Vitamin C is a very important nutrient that’s abundant in many fruits and vegetables.
Getting enough of this vitamin is especially important for maintaining a healthy immune system. It also plays an important role in wound healing, keeping your bones strong, and enhancing brain function.
Interestingly, some claim that vitamin C supplements provide benefits beyond those that can be obtained from the vitamin C found in food.
However, many supplements contain extremely high amounts of the vitamin, which can cause undesirable side effects in some cases.
This article explores the overall safety of vitamin C, whether it’s possible to consume too much, and the potential adverse effects of taking large doses.
Vitamin C is Water-Soluble and Not Stored in Your Body
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means it dissolves in water.
In contrast to fat-soluble vitamins, water-soluble vitamins do not get stored within the body.
Instead, the vitamin C that you consume gets transported to your tissues via body fluids, and any extra gets excreted in urine (1Trusted Source).
Since your body does not store vitamin C or produce it on its own, it’s important to consume foods that are rich in vitamin C daily.
It’s important to note that it’s unnecessary for most people to take vitamin C supplements, as you can easily get enough by eating fresh foods, especially fruits and vegetables.
Too Much Vitamin C May Cause Digestive Symptoms
The most common side effect of high vitamin C intake is digestive distress.
In general, these side effects do not occur from eating foods that contain vitamin C, but rather from taking the vitamin in supplement form.
Excessive intake has also been reported to lead to acid reflux, although this is not supported by evidence.
If you’re experiencing digestive problems as a result of taking too much vitamin C, simply cut back your supplement dose or avoid vitamin C supplements altogether.
Taking Supplements in High Doses May Lead to Kidney Stones
Excess vitamin C is excreted from the body as oxalate, a bodily waste product.
Oxalate typically exits the body via urine. However, under some circumstances, oxalate may bind to minerals and form crystals that can lead to the formation of kidney stones.
Consuming too much vitamin C has the potential to increase the amount of oxalate in your urine, thus increasing the risk of developing kidney stones.
In one study that had adults take a 1,000-mg vitamin C supplement twice daily for 6 days, the amount of oxalate they excreted increased by 20%.