VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID): Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews (2022)

Overview

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that must be consumed in the diet. Good sources include fresh fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits.

Vitamin C is needed for the body to develop and function properly. It plays an important role in immune function. Most experts recommend getting vitamin C from the diet rather than taking supplements. Fresh oranges and fresh-squeezed orange juice are good sources.

Historically, vitamin C was used for preventing and treating scurvy. Today, people most commonly use vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold. It's also used for autism, breast cancer, heart disease and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support many of these uses. There is also no good evidence to support using vitamin C for COVID-19.

How does it work ?

Side Effects

When taken by mouth: Vitamin C is likely safe for most people. In some people, vitamin C might cause side effects such as stomach cramps, nausea, heartburn, and headache. The chance of getting these side effects increases with higher doses. Taking more than 2000 mg daily is possibly unsafe and may cause kidney stones and severe diarrhea. In people who have had a kidney stone, taking amounts greater than 1000 mg daily increases the risk of getting more kidney stones.

When applied to the skin: Vitamin C is likely safe for most people. It might cause irritation and tingling.

Special Precautions and Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Vitamin C is likely safe to take by mouth during pregnancy in amounts no greater than 2000 mg daily for those 19 years and older and 1800 mg daily for those 14-18 years old. 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 1-3 years, 650 mg daily for children 4-8 years, 1200 mg daily for children 9-13 years, and 1800 mg daily for adolescents 14-18 years.

Alcohol use disorder: 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.

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.

Chronic kidney disease: Long-term kidney disease might increase the risk of vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C supplements might also increase the amount of oxalate in the urine in some people. Too much oxalate in the urine can increase the risk of kidney failure in people with kidney disease.

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.

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.

Smoking and chewing tobacco: Smoking and chewing tobacco lowers vitamin C levels. People who smoke or chew tobacco should consume more vitamin C in the diet.

Interactions ?

    Moderate Interaction

    Be cautious with this combination

  • Aluminum interacts with VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID)

    Aluminum is found in most antacids. Vitamin C can increase how much aluminum the body absorbs. However, it is not clear if this interaction is a big concern. Take vitamin C two hours before or four hours after antacids.

  • Estrogens interacts with VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID)

    Vitamin C might decrease how quickly the body gets rid of estrogens. Taking vitamin C along with estrogens might increase the effects and side effects of estrogens.

  • Fluphenazine (Prolixin) interacts with VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID)

    Large amounts of vitamin C might decrease how much fluphenazine is in the body. Taking vitamin C along with fluphenazine might decrease the effectiveness of fluphenazine.

  • Medications for cancer (Alkylating agents) interacts with VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID)

    Vitamin C is an antioxidant. There is some concern that antioxidants might decrease the effects of some medications used for cancer. If you are taking medications for cancer, check with your healthcare provider before taking vitamin C.

  • Niacin interacts with VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID)

    Taking niacin with vitamin C and other antioxidants can decrease the effects of niacin on good cholesterol levels. It is unknown if vitamin C alone decreases the effects of niacin on good cholesterol levels.

  • Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID)

    Warfarin is used to slow blood clotting. Large amounts of vitamin C might decrease the effects of warfarin. Decreasing the effects of warfarin might increase the risk of clotting. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin might need to be changed.

  • Indinavir (Crixivan) interacts with VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID)

    Taking large amounts of vitamin C along with indinavir might decrease how much indinavir stays in the body. It's not clear if this interaction is a big concern.

  • Medications for cancer (Antitumor antibiotics) interacts with VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID)

    Vitamin C is an antioxidant. There is some concern that antioxidants might decrease the effects of medications used for cancer. If you are taking medications for cancer, check with your healthcare provider before taking vitamin C.

  • Levothyroxine (Synthroid, others) interacts with VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID)

    Taking vitamin C along with levothyroxine might increase how much levothyroxine the body absorbs. This can increase the amount of levothyroxine in the body and increase its effects and side effects.

Dosing

Vitamin C is an important nutrient. Fresh fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits, are good sources of vitamin C. The amount that should be consumed on a daily basis is called the recommended dietary allowance (RDA). For adult males, the RDA is 90 mg daily. For females 19 years and older, the RDA is 75 mg daily. While pregnant and breastfeeding, the RDA is 120 mg daily for people 19-50 years old. In children, the RDA depends on age.

Vitamin C is also available in supplements, combination products, liquids, lotions, creams, serums, sprays, and patches. Supplements have been used safely by adults in doses up to 2000 mg daily. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what type of product and dose might be best for a specific condition.

CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2018.

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