July 1, 2016

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

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How does Vitamin C (ascorbic Acid) work?

Vitamin C is required for the proper development and function of many parts of the body. It also plays an important role in maintaining proper immune function.

Are there safety concerns?

Vitamin C is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth in recommended doses, when applied to the skin, when injected into the muscle, and when injected intravenously (by IV) and appropriately. In some people, vitamin C might cause nausea, vomiting, heartburn, stomach cramps, headache, and other side effects. The chance of getting these side effects increases the more vitamin C you take. Amounts higher than 2000 mg daily are POSSIBLY UNSAFE and may cause a lot of side effects, including kidney stones and severe diarrhea. In people who have had a kidney stone, amounts greater than 1000 mg daily greatly increase the risk of kidney stone recurrence.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Vitamin C is LIKELY SAFE for pregnant or breast-feeding women when taken by mouth in amounts no greater than 2000 mg daily for women over 19 years-old, and 1800 mg daily for women 14 to 18 years-old, or when given intravenously (by IV) or intramuscularly and appropriately. Taking too much vitamin C during pregnancy can cause problems for the newborn baby. Vitamin C is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in excessive amounts.

Infants and children: Vitamin C is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately. Vitamin C is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in amounts higher than 400 mg daily for children 1 to 3 years, 650 mg daily for children 4 to 8 years, 1200 mg daily for children 9 to 13 years, and 1800 mg daily for adolescents 14 to 18 years.

Angioplasty, a heart procedure: Avoid taking supplements containing vitamin C or other antioxidant vitamins (beta-carotene, vitamin E) immediately before and following angioplasty without the supervision of a health care professional. These vitamins seem to interfere with proper healing.

Cancer: Cancerous cells collect high concentrations of vitamin C. Until more is known, only use high doses of vitamin C under the direction of your oncologist.

Diabetes: Vitamin C might raise blood sugar. In older women with diabetes, vitamin C in amounts greater than 300 mg per day increases the risk of death from heart disease. Do not take vitamin C in doses greater than those found in basic multivitamins.

Blood-iron disorders, including conditions called "thalassemia" and "hemochromatosis": Vitamin C can increase iron absorption, which might make these conditions worse. Avoid large amounts of vitamin C.

Kidney stones, or a history of kidney stones: Large amounts of vitamin C can increase the chance of getting kidney stones. Do not take vitamin C in amounts greater than those found in basic multivitamins.

Heart attack: Vitamin C levels are reduced during a heart attack. However, low vitamin C has not been linked to an increased risk for heart attack.

A metabolic deficiency called "glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase" (G6PD) deficiency: Large amounts of vitamin C can cause red blood cells to break in people with this condition. Avoid excessive amounts of vitamin C.

Smoking and chewing tobacco: Smoking and chewing tobacco lowers vitamin C levels. Vitamin C intake in the diet should be increased in people who smoke or chew tobacco.

Sickle cell disease: Vitamin C might make this condition worse. Avoid using large amounts of vitamin C.


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