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The Effects of Emergen-C

author image Melodie Anne
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.
The Effects of Emergen-C
A young woman drinking a glass of Emergen-C in bed. Photo Credit: View Stock/View Stock/Getty Images

Emergen-C is a powdered drink mix containing a variety of vitamins and minerals. Even though Emergen-C is sold over the counter and is generally safe, side effects such as gastrointestinal problems, gluten reactions, poor drug interactions and allergic reactions could occur. For these reasons, it’s important to talk with your doctor about Emergen-C before you start using it for the first time.

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Improved Immune Health

One of the most notable vitamins in Emergen-C is vitamin C. In general, a high vitamin C intake hasn’t been proven to minimize your chances of getting sick, although it could shorten the duration of a cold. Each dose of Emergen-C gives you over 1,600 percent of the daily recommendation of vitamin C. Emergen-C even provides one-fourth of your requirement for zinc, a mineral that helps your immune system work at its best.

Steady Energy Levels

Emergen-C contains B vitamins, including 25 percent of your daily value of thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid, per dose. Each portion has over 415 percent of your B-12 needs and 500 percent of your B-6 requirement for the day. The B vitamins are essential for helping the body process foods for energy. B-12 and B-6 have major roles in producing red blood cells, which carry oxygen to every part of your body.

Electrolyte Replenishment

If you’re sick with a flu, have diarrhea or work out extensively and sweat a lot, you’ll lose electrolytes. Your heart functions, muscle movements and nerve transmissions all rely on these minerals that carry electrical charges. Electrolytes keep you properly hydrated by balancing fluid levels in your body. A serving of Emergen-C can help replenish some of the electrolytes in your system. You’ll get small doses of multiple electrolytes, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium, from a dose of Emergen-C.

Potential Side Effects

Emergen-C could cause belly cramping, diarrhea and nausea. These effects stem from the extremely high dosage of vitamin C in the supplement. Although Emergen-C doesn't contain grains, the manufacturer says it isn't tested for gluten, so if you have celiac disease or are gluten-intolerant, use caution. Additionally, it’s possible for Emergen-C to interact poorly with prescription medications, so check with your doctor before taking it if you're on medications. If you have hives, rashes, swelling or difficulty breathing after taking Emergen-C, seek emergency care right away.

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