Your body needs vitamin C, but megadoses can cause many digestive problems. Find out how much of the nutrient you really require.
While vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an essential nutrient, it’s possible to have too much of it.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that supports normal growth and development and helps your body absorb iron. Because your body doesn’t produce or store vitamin C, it’s important to include vitamin C in your diet. For most people, an orange or a cup of strawberries, chopped red pepper, or broccoli provides enough vitamin C for the day.
Whole foods are believed to be better sources of vitamins than supplements and are also packed with other essential nutrients. Whole foods are complex, containing a variety of the micronutrients your body needs — not just one. An orange, for example, provides vitamin C plus some beta carotene, calcium and other nutrients. It’s likely these compounds work together to produce their beneficial effect.
For adults, the recommended daily amount for vitamin C is 65 to 90 milligrams (mg) a day, and the upper limit is 2,000 mg a day. Although too much dietary vitamin C is unlikely to be harmful, megadoses of vitamin C supplements might cause:
• Abdominal cramps
Remember, for most people, a healthy diet provides an adequate amount of vitamin C.