Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an essential nutrient. Still, it's possible to have too much vitamin C.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that supports normal growth and development. Vitamin C also 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, a large orange or a cup of strawberries, chopped red pepper or broccoli provide enough vitamin C for the day. Any extra vitamin C will simply be flushed out of your body in your urine.
For adults, the recommended dietary reference intake 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 may cause:
- Abdominal bloating and cramps
- Kidney stones
Studies of hospitalized patients who often have lower than normal vitamin C levels have found that they experienced an improvement in mood after they received vitamin C.
The link between vitamin C and mood may seem surprising, and it's not so far-fetched. People who have vitamin C deficiency often feel fatigued or depressed. Plus, some studies show that vitamin C can have mood-elevating effects.
So it makes sense that vitamin C levels could affect mood and more research is needed.
In the meantime, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C.
When you also take a supplement,
Do not exceed the upper limit of 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C a day.
As always, talk to your doctor first before taking any supplement.