How much vitamin c is considered high dose

Posted by Fruit Of Spirit on

Vitamin C is an important nutrient which is quite essential for our body. However, most people tend to continue the intake of heavy dosage for an extended period of time without keeping a check on their vitamin C levels. It ultimately leads to worrisome medical complications, which could’ve been easily avoided.

Doubtless to say, vitamin C holds critical importance for your health. Incessant intake of Vitamin C in any form can prove to be unhealthy. How much vitamin C is considered a high dose? This is an important question that needs an equally authentic answer.

Although vitamin C is beneficial for your health, you need to keep its intake in check. | Image: Freepik.com

Vitamin C has endless benefits, but unregulated use is still bad. Something as useful and beneficial as vitamin C can become toxic and harmful for the body when taken in high doses. 

The recommended daily intake of vitamin C is 90 mg/day for healthy men and 75 mg/day for women. [1]

Other than the daily intake of Vitamin C, tolerable upper intake level (UL), which is the highest daily dose that is safe to consume, is 2000 mg per day. As soon as this intake level is crossed, symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, flushing, headache, insomnia, fatigue, gastritis, and heartburn occur. [1]

In this article, we will discuss the recommended intake dose of Vitamin C, Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), Daily Value (DV), signs and symptoms of Vitamin C toxicity. Moreover, you will find out more about the benefits and natural sources of vitamin C. 

Vitamin C, also called L-ascorbic acid or simply Ascorbic acid, is a vital nutrient. The human body relies on vitamin C in numerous ways. There are numerous critical mechanisms that Vitamin C initiates and catalyzes to secure several body functions and developments. Since the human body can’t synthesize vitamin C on its own, it is necessary to acquire it from external sources. These sources include food as well as supplementation. However, the amount of vitamin C intake is critically important. 

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of Vitamin C

According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), vitamin C has standard intake values. The set of guidelines released by IOM named Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) considers the average dietary and supplementary intake of vitamin C. RDA for Vitamin C is categorized as follows. [3]


RECOMMENDED DIETARY ALLOWANCE (RDA)

Children

0-6 months

40 mg/day
Adequate Intake (AI)

7-12 months

50 mg/day
Adequate Intake (AI)

1-3 years

15 mg/day

4-8 years

25 mg/day

9-13 years

45 mg/day

Females

14 to 18 years

65 mg/day

19 years and up

75 mg/day

Pregnant

18 years and under: 80 mg/day
19 years and over: 85 mg/day

Breastfeeding

18 years and under: 115 mg/day
19 years and over: 120 mg/day

Males

14 to 18 years

75 mg/day

19 years and up

90 mg/day

Daily Value (DV) of Vitamin C

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Vitamin C has standard daily intake values. FDA released Daily Value (DV) for all nutrients. This was specially designed for the labels of food, beverage, and supplements. On product levels, it is mentioned as %DV. This makes it easier for the consumer to determine the value of vitamin C and other nutrients in the product to avoid high dose or toxicity. [2]

Regardless of gender, the recommended DV for Vitamin C for adults and children aged four and above is 60 mg. [2]

Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL)

Other than RDA and DV for vitamin C, another protective scale is the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL). It helps keep the potential adverse effects of Vitamin C under check by effectively conveying the essential information to the end-consumer. 

UL refers to the highest level of a specific nutrient intake, which causes no harmful effects in most of the individuals in a population. Surpassing this limit exponentially increases the risk of toxicity-related side effects. [2]

AGE GROUP

UL

Kids (1–3 years)

400 mg

Kids (4–8 years)

650 mg

Adolescents (9–13 years)

1,200 mg

Teens (14–18 years)

1,800 mg

Adults (aged 19 and older)

2,000 mg

Natural sources of Vitamin C

We all know oranges and lemons are rich in Vitamin C, but what else? Let’s take a look at a few more sources of vitamin C. These include:

  • Red pepper
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Strawberry
  • Broccoli
  • Tomato
  • Potato
  • Cauliflower
  • Papaya
  • Grapefruit

Lemons are one of the best natural sources of vitamin C. | Image: Freepik.com

What happens in Vitamin C toxicity?

Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient. Any extra amount is not stored in the body and gets excreted through urine. Therefore Vitamin C has a very low toxicity risk. However, this does not mean that a high dose of vitamin C should be consumed casually. In fact, one should be very careful about the levels of vitamin C in their body. Dose higher than the recommended RDA, DV, and UL according to age and gender, can cause serious concerns. [3]

Signs and symptoms of Vitamin C toxicity include [3]:

  • Gastrointestinal disturbances
  • Heartburn
  • Cramps
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Kidney stones

Caution!

People with calcium oxalate kidney stones must be very cautious when taking vitamin C. Dietary and supplementary intake of vitamin C exceeding 1000 mg per day can worsen their condition and may cause serious complications. [1]

Avoid high doses of vitamin C to lower the risks of any potential toxicity symptoms. | Image: Freepik.com

In pregnancy, women need 80-85 mg of Vitamin C per day. Higher doses can cause serious complications. [3] It may increase the risk of preeclampsia and preterm premature rupture of the membranes. Some of the other mild symptoms of vitamin overdose during pregnancy include nausea, headache, frequent urination, mood changes, and appetite loss.

Patients of chronic liver and kidney diseases and other chronic disorders must also avoid high doses of vitamin C in order to prevent potential complications in their medical condition. [1]

Patients of hemochromatosis, a condition in which the body develops the tendency to retain too much iron, must also limit their intake of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps our body to absorb non-heme iron. More vitamin C causes increased absorption of iron; thus, worsening the condition. [2]

Do you know? Smokers need 35 mg/day more vitamin C than nonsmokers.

Bottom Line

As mentioned in the beginning, excess of everything is bad. Vitamin C is essential for the development of your body and the smooth execution of crucial metabolic processes. Therefore, follow the RDAs and DVs to keep the level of vitamin C in check. 

References:

  1. Nicholson, CR. (2010). By the way, doctor: What's the right amount of vitamin C for me? Harvard Health Publishing. Retrieved from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/whats-the-right-amount-of-vitamin-c-for-me
  2. Snyder, C. (2019). How Much Vitamin C Should You Take? Heathline. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-vitamin-c-should-i-take-daily#1
  3. How much vitamin C should you take? WebMD. Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/diet/supplement-guide-vitamin-c#2

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