What do you know about the side effect of vitamin C



Though Vitamin C is one of the leading vitamins, it has some side effects on some certain cases. But this is very limited even though it can be severe in some extreme cases.

Common Effects:

If there is a large dose of ascorbic acid, it may cause indigestion. It generally happens particularly when one takes vitamin C on an empty stomach. But if you take vitamin C in sodium ascorbate form and calcium ascorbate, it may minimize this side effect. When we take Vitamin C in large doses, the ascorbic acid of it causes diarrhea in some different cases.


In a trial of 1936, the dose of 6 grams (up to) of ascorbic acid was given to the infants (29), 93 children of preschools and school-age, and 20 of the adults for more than 1400 gram a day. Toxic manifestations were observed with the higher doses in five adults and in four infants. The sign and symptom in adults include nausea, vomiting, headache, flushing of the face, fatigue and disturbed in sleep. The main toxic reaction in the infants was skin rashes.

Effects of Overdose:

Generally, vitamin C is considered as water-soluble with the dietary excesses that are not absorbed.  But excesses in the blood very rapidly excreted into the urine.

Vitamin C exhibits low toxicity naturally. The LD50 (the dose which kills 50% of a population) in rats is accepted generally to be 11.9 grams per kilogram according to body weight when it is given by forced orally.

The mechanism of death from such kind of doses (1.2% of body weights, or the 0.84 kg for a 70 kg human) is unknown, but it may be more mechanical than chemical. The LD50 in human remain is unknown, given that lack of any accidental and intentional poisoning of the death data. However, as with all substances that are tested in this way, the rat LD50 is considered as a guide for the toxicity in humans.

General Effects:

In the year of 2000, the Food and Nutrition Board of National Academy of Sciences sets a Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) that is above 2,000 mg/day. They choose the amount because the human trial had reported diarrheas and other gastrointestinal disturbance at an intake of greater than 3,000 mg/day. That was the Lowest-Observed-Adverse-Effect Level meaning that another adverse effect was observed at higher intake.

The biological roles of ascorbatic are to act as reducing agents donating the electron to various enzymatic and a few non-enzymatic reaction. The one- and two-electron oxidized’s form of vitamin C, semi-dehydro-ascorbic acids, and dehydroascorbic acids respectively, have to be reduced in the body from glutathione and NADPH-dependents enzymatic mechanism. The presence of glutathione in cell and extracellular fluids help maintain ascorbate into a reduced state.

Biological Effects:

In humans, vitamin C is always essential to a healthy diet as well as being a highly effective antioxidant that is acting to lessen oxidative stresses. A substrate for ascorbate peroxides in plants and the enzyme cofactor for the biosynthesizes of a lot of important biochemical have an effect into it. Vitamin C also acts as electron donors for an important enzyme.

Ascorbate is essential for a wide range of essential metabolic reactions in all animal and plant. It makes internally by almost all the organism; the main exceptions are most bats, all guinea pigs, capybara, and a Haplorrhini (one of the two main primate suborders that consist of tarsier, monkeys, and humans and other apes). Ascorbate is not every time synthesized by various species of bird and of fish. All species which do not synthesize the ascorbate require it in the diet.

Biological Effects on the Organism:

The vast majority of the animal and plant are naturally able to synthesize vitamin C, through the sequence of enzyme-driven step that converts monosaccharide to vitamin C. In the plant, it can accomplish through the conversions of mannoses or galactoses to ascorbic acid. In some of the cases of animals, glucose needs to produce ascorbate in the liver (generally in mammals and perching birds). It also extracts from glycogen; a glycogenolysis-dependent process. In reptile and bird, the biosynthesis is carried out in the kidney. 

Some scientists have pointed out that the loss of the vitamin C biosynthesis pathway might have played an important role in rapid evolutionary change that leads to the hominid and also the emergence of the human being. However, other theory points that the loss of abilities to make vitamin C in simian might occur much farther back in the evolutionary history than the emergence of human or even ape. It has noted that the loss of the abilities to synthesize ascorbate parallel the inability for breaking down of uric acid and also a characteristic of primate. Uric acid, as well as ascorbate, is both strong in reducing agents. This leads to the suggestion that in higher primates, uric acid has taken over some of the functions of ascorbate.

The effect during Pregnancy:

In a study that was conducted on the rat has found that during the first months of pregnancy, high doses of the vitamin C might suppress the production of the progesterone, from the corpus luteums. Progesterone that is necessary for the maintenance of a healthy pregnancy is produced by corpus luteums for the initial few weeks. It continues until the placenta develops good enough to produce its own sources.

By blocking the functions of the corpus luteum, high dose of vitamin C that is (1000+ mg) is theorizing to happen an early miscarriage. In another study, a group of spontaneously aborting women finds that at the end of their first trimester, the mean value of vitamin C was significantly much higher in the aborting groups. However, the researchers do state: ‘This happening would not be interpreted as the shreds of evidence of causal association.

However, we find  in a previous study that was conducted on 79 women with threatened, past spontaneous, or habitual abortions, had 91% success rate  with 33 patients who took vitamin C together with bio-flavonoid and vitamin K (where only three abortions), whereas all the rest of the 46 patients who had not received the vitamins aborted. In fine, we can conclude saying that above reasons cause a lot of effects if Vitamin C is overdoses and inappropriate usages.

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