Should Emergen-C Be Taken Daily?

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Should you take Emergen-C every day? (Image: Boarding1Now/iStock/GettyImages)

If you've ever felt a cold coming on, only to have it thwarted by a high dose of vitamin C, you may be tempted to take it every day to prevent ever getting sick. After all, who has time to be sick?

But just as with any dietary supplement, there are precautions you should take before incorporating Emergen-C into your daily health routine. First, consult your doctor, and second, consider if you can get sufficient vitamin C (and other micronutrients) from the food you eat.

Tip

Although you can take Emergen-C on a daily basis, you may wish to limit the supplement if you are exceeding the recommended allowance of certain nutrients in your diet.

What Is Emergen-C?

Emergen-C is an over-the-counter dietary supplement manufactured by Alacer Corp., which was founded in 1972. Alacer Corp. began the Emergen-C product line in 1978, marketing it as a supplement to support a healthy immune system. The product is sold in the US and Canada in a wide variety of flavors and formula for different needs, such as immune support, promotion of energy and to restore electrolytes in your body.

The original formula Emergen-C supplement is for everyday immune support. The main ingredient is a very high dose of vitamin C, with each serving containing 1,000 milligrams. Emergen-C also includes B vitamins to support metabolic function. Electrolytes found in each serving of Emergen-C are potassium, phosphorus and sodium, in addition to other nutrients including calcium and magnesium. The gummy form of Emergen-C contains 500 mg of vitamin C.

Emergen-C also offers a supplement to promote energy, known as Emergen-C Energy +. It contains 250 milligrams of vitamin C in addition to 50 mg of caffeine The gummy form contains 500 milligrams of vitamin C. The function of the energy supplements is to help with cognitive ability, promote wakefulness and assist in the immune function in your body.

Emergen-C Immune + is a product with 1,000 IU of vitamin D and increased zinc added to the original formula that contained 1,000 mg of vitamin C. The gummy form has 500 mg of vitamin C and 800 IU of vitamin D. In addition to supplying extra vitamin D, Emergen-C Immunity's function is to help restore electrolytes and to aid the immune system.

Emergen-C also offers some new products, including formulas containing probiotics, electrolytes and melatonin.

Emergen-C Dosage

For optimal health, males age 19 and older need 75 milligrams of vitamin C per day; for women in the same age group, it's 90 milligrams, according to Linus Pauling Institute.

To supplement your vitamin C and other nutrients, the manufacturer recommends taking 1 packet of the original formula Emergen-C <ahref="https: www.emergen-c.ca="" products="" emergenc-super-orange"=""> </ahref="https:> mixed with water for a fizzy drink once per day. This product is for ages 14 and older. In the gummy form, the dosage is 3 per day. All types of Emergen-C packets and gummies should be taken with food a few hours before or after taking other medications.

The dosage for Emergen-C Energy+ is 1 packet twice a day, or 2 packets at once, not to exceed 2 packets per day. In the gummy form, the dosage is 2 to 4 per day, individually or all at once.

The dosage for Emergen-C Immune+ supplements is 1 packet per day. In the form of gummies the dosage is 3 per day.

Emergen-C Kidz – Fruit Punch is formulated for children ages 4 to 13. The dosage is one packet daily, according to iHerb.

Emergen-C Warnings

Emergen-C warns not to exceed 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C per day, which is the upper limit allowance for adults, according to the Mayo Clinic. It is suggested that you consult your doctor for use beyond 6 months.

Vitamin C is water soluble and is secreted by your kidneys. ConsumerLab.com warns that taking one gram or more of vitamin C daily may increase the amount of oxalate in your kidneys, which may lead to oxalosis — the accumulation of the by-product of ascorbic acid. These deposits have the potential to lead to kidney stones. If you are prone to kidney stones you should be cautious with your vitamin C intake.

Vitamin C can often cause a laxative effect, warns Supplement News. It's rare but possible to experience side effects from Emergen-C, which may include diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, heartburn, headache, kidney stones and difficulty sleeping.

Pregnant women should adhere to a warning for Emergen-C and not take mega-doses of vitamin C or use Emergen-C on a daily basis. According to the Infant Risk Center, in rare cases, scurvy can occur in infants soon after delivery by mothers who took large amounts of vitamin C during pregnancy. The recommended amount of vitamin C during pregnancy is 85 milligrams per day; for breastfeeding women, it's 120 milligrams per day.

The only product offered for children through Emergen-C is the Kidz Complete Multi-Vitamin. Speak to your doctor before giving a child the multivitamin since the dosage of vitamin C is higher than the recommended daily allowance and can result in gastrointestinal distress symptoms.

Many drugs or other supplements can interact with Emergen-C, including aspirin, warfarin and folic acid, so caution is advised, states Supplement News.

Why Take Emergen-C?

Some people take large doses of vitamin C supplements with the belief that vitamin C may be important to cardiovascular health. This has likely stemmed from the thinking that vitamin C is responsible for the proven benefits of fruit and vegetables on heart health. However, there is little scientific support showing a relationship between vitamin C supplementation and reduced risk of heart disease.

A 2017 study published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews assessed the effectiveness of vitamin C intake on the prevention of cardiovascular disease. From eight trials, the author's conclusion suggested no evidence that vitamin C supplementation reduces the risk of heart disease in healthy individuals or those at risk for cardiovascular disease.

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