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Cons of Vitamin C Before Surgery

author image Maura Banar
Maura Banar has been a professional writer since 2001 and is a psychotherapist. Her work has appeared in "Imagination, Cognition and Personality" and "Dreaming: The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Dreams." Banar received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Buffalo State College and her Master of Arts in mental health counseling from Medaille College.
Cons of Vitamin C Before Surgery
Vitamin C may impair your healing after surgery. Photo Credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient that your body uses to construct tissues like skin, hair and nails. The University of Maryland Medical Center explains that vitamin C may be effective in decreasing the risk of developing hypertension and certain types of cancer. Although vitamin C is often believed to help ward off colds, research has only supported this nutrient's effectiveness in decreasing the length of a cold. Eating vitamin C rich foods after surgery may help your body heal, but some of its properties may make the supplemental version inappropriate for use before the procedure.

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Diuretic Effect

Diuretic medications, also known as water pills, are meant to draw excess fluid out of your tissues, relieving the strain they place on your organs. Vitamin C supplements, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, have an effect similar to diuretics and should be avoided prior to surgery. According to St Mary's Health Care in Grand Rapids, Michigan, diuretics should be discontinued the day prior to having surgery. Dr. Gareth S. Kantor of Case Western University states that using any diuretic prior to surgery can significantly decrease blood volume, creating a potentially dangerous complication during surgery.

Stomach Upset

Taking a vitamin C supplement prior to surgery can cause stomach upset, diarrhea or abdominal gas. This is particularly true if you are required to fast the day before your procedure, because the supplement will be digested on an empty stomach. The University of Maryland Medical Center adds that stomach upset from vitamin C supplements generally occurs in dosages of more than 2,000 milligrams, but can affect the gastrointestinal system in smaller doses as well.

Increased Blood Glucose Levels

High levels of blood glucose are usually a symptom of diabetes and can be triggered by taking vitamin C. The University of Maryland Medical Center explains that the risk of a vitamin C supplement increasing blood glucose is higher in older women who have diabetes. In fact, high dosages of vitamin C, it adds, have been correlated with an increased mortality rate among people with cardiovascular disease. If you have diabetes, taking a vitamin C supplement may cause an unwanted and dangerous elevation or instability of your blood glucose levels during and after surgery.

Impaired Healing After Angioplasty

Angioplasty is a surgical procedure used to relieve blocked blood flow in your arteries, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that patients undergoing this type of surgery should avoid vitamin C supplements because they can delay your healing after surgery. Vitamin C can also cause an unwanted interaction with medications used to thin the blood in angioplasty patients and should be avoided. Check with your doctor before using any dietary supplement.

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