Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
- What other names is Vitamin C (ascorbic Acid) known by?
- What is Vitamin C (ascorbic Acid)?
- How does Vitamin C (ascorbic Acid) work?
- Are there safety concerns?
- Are there any interactions with medications?
- Dosing considerations for Vitamin C (ascorbic Acid).
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) Safety and Side Effects
Vitamin C is safe for most people when taken by mouth or applied to the skin. 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. Doses higher than 2000 mg per day might not be safe and may cause a lot of side effects, including kidney stones and severe diarrhea. In people who have had a kidney stone, doses greater than 1000 mg per day greatly increase the risk of kidney stone recurrence.
Vitamin C is likely safe for pregnant or breast-feeding women when taken in the recommended amount of 120 mg per day. Taking too much vitamin C during pregnancy can cause problems for the newborn baby.
Do not take vitamin C in doses greater than those found in basic multivitamins if:
- You have had a heart attack.
- You have had angioplasty, a heart procedure.
- You have cancer.
- You have diabetes...
- Treatment and prevention of vitamin C deficiency, including a condition called "scurvy."
Likely Effective for...
- Improving the way the body absorbs iron.
- Treating a disease called tyrosinemia in newborns.
Possibly Effective for...
- Wrinkled skin.
- Reducing the risk of certain cancers of the mouth and breast. This only works when fresh fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C are eaten, not with vitamin C supplements.
- Treating the common cold. But it is not effective for preventing the common cold.
- High blood pressure.
- Reducing the risk of gallbladder disease.
- Reducing the risk of bone and cartilage loss.
- Helping medicines used for chest pain, such as nitroglycerin, to work longer.
- Flushed looking skin (erythema).
- Decreasing lung infections caused by heavy exercise.
- Reducing the risk in women of a circulatory system disorder called peripheral arterial disease.
- Preventing "hardening of the arteries" (atherosclerosis).
- Preventing kidney problems related to contrast media used during angiography.
- Treating ulcers in the stomach caused by bacteria called H. pylori.
- Decreasing protein in the urine of people with type 2 diabetes (albuminuria).
- Reducing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission by mothers to their newborns when taken with vitamins B and E.
- Treating an eye disease called AMD (age-related macular degeneration) when used with other medicines.
- Reducing complications after a broken wrist called complex regional pain syndrome, or reflex sympathetic dystrophy.
- Reducing lead in the blood by eating foods high in vitamin C.
- Reducing complications of a high risk pregnancy (pre-eclampsia).
- Improving physical performance and strength in the elderly.
Possibly Ineffective for...
- Preventing the common cold.
- Reducing the risk of stroke.
- Reducing the risk for Alzheimer's disease and other brain diseases causing intellectual loss.
- Preventing eye disease associated with a medicine called interferon.
- Treating bronchitis.
- Reducing skin problems in people being treated for cancer with radiation.
- Preventing pancreatic cancer.
- Preventing prostate cancer.
- Preventing type 2 diabetes.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Wounds, pressure sores, gout, tuberculosis, dental cavities, constipation, acne, allergies (hayfever), cystic fibrosis, infertility, diabetes, heart disease, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), lowering cholesterol, kidney disease, liver disease, esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, mental stress, Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), treating and preventing sun-damaged skin when vitamin C is put on the skin, and other conditions.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
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