Can Too Much Vitamin C Hurt the Liver?

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Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, and this means that your body gets rid of what it does not use. For this reason, it is rare to develop serious side effects from too much vitamin C. Taking an excessive amount can lead to stomach upset, but vitamin C is not known to harm your liver. Nevertheless, check with your health care provider before adding this or any vitamin to your diet or supplement regimen.

Importance and RDA of Vitamin C

Your body depends upon vitamin C for development and growth, and it also needs it for tissue repair. This vitamin aids in the production of collagen, healing wounds and maintaining your teeth and bones. It also acts as an antioxidant, which helps to ward off the damage that free radicals can cause in your cells, and therefore may help prevent certain cancers and diseases. Men need 90 mg a day, and women need 75 mg. Good sources include oranges, peppers, watermelon, grapefruit, tomatoes, potatoes, blueberries and pineapple.

Too Much Vitamin C

When a vitamin is water-soluble, this means that your body eliminates what it does not use through your urine, and therefore, the excess is not stored. Because your body cannot store vitamin C, it is nearly impossible for you to overdose on it, and it is not likely to harm your liver or other organs. The tolerable upper limit of vitamin C has been set at 2,000 mg per day, notes MedlinePlus, and this is largely because high doses can cause diarrhea or other types of digestive upset.

Too Little Vitamin C

Because vitamin C is water-soluble, this also means that you need to continually supply your body with more to avoid becoming deficient. Many people may have a mild deficiency of this vitamin, and some of the symptoms include a compromised immune system, bleeding gums, nosebleeds, unintentional weight gain, rough skin, swollen joints and dry hair. If you become severely deficient in vitamin C, you may develop a condition known as scurvy, though this is rare in the developed world.

Considerations and Warnings

If you choose to take vitamin C supplements, discuss this with your doctor before doing so, as it may interact with certain conditions and medications. Because vitamin C enhances your body’s ability to absorb iron, you should not take a supplement if you have hemochromatosis, and people with kidney problems should discuss their use of vitamin C with their health care provider as well. Also be aware that vitamin C has a diuretic effect, and it is therefore essential that you drink enough water while taking it to prevent dehydration. If you experience any side effects from vitamin C or suspect a problem with the functioning of your liver, seek medical attention.

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