Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
In this Article
- What other names is Vitamin C known by?
- What is Vitamin C?
- How does Vitamin C work?
- Are there safety concerns?
- Are there any interactions with medications?
- Dosing considerations for Vitamin C.
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.
Alcoholism: Alcohol intake can cause the body to excrete vitamin C in the urine. People who regularly use alcohol, especially those who have other illnesses, often have vitamin C deficiency. These people might need to be treated for a longer time than normal to restore vitamin C levels to normal.
Alzheimer's disease: Taking vitamin C along with vitamin E and alpha-lipoic acid might worsen mental function in people with Alzheimer's disease.
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.
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.
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.
Kidney transplant rejection: Long-term use of vitamin C in high doses before a kidney transplant may increase the risk of transplant rejection or delay how long it takes until the transplanted kidney works.
Schizophrenia: Taking vitamin C along with vitamin E might worsen psychosis in some people with schizophrenia when taken with antipsychotic drugs.
Sickle cell disease: Vitamin C might make this condition worse. Avoid using large 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.
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