Too much vitamin C: What you should be aware of

Zu viel Vitamin C: Was du beachten solltest

Vitamin C is one of the best-known vitamins and is used in many German households to strengthen the immune system. The water-soluble vitamin, which is also called ascorbic acid, is mainly found in fruit and vegetables.

Since, as the saying goes, a lot always helps a lot, so people can't actually get enough of "good" vitamins! Or does it? In this article we would like to give you an understanding of the signs that indicate too much vitamin C in the body and how you can deal with it, and above all how you should ideally behave in exceptional situations such as pregnancy.

the essentials in brief

  • As a water-soluble vitamin, vitamin C is involved in many metabolic processes in the body and is used, among other things, to build connective tissue, bones and teeth.
  • Taking vitamin supplements can quickly lead to an overdose, which becomes apparent through various signs.
  • In the event of an overdose of vitamin C, the body reacts on its own and simply excretes excess vitamins.

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Definition: Too Much Vitamin C - Is It Possible?

Basically, you might think that you can never get enough of vitamins. Vitamins and nutrients support the body in vital processes and are therefore beneficial. Vitamin C is not produced by the body itself and must be obtained from food.(8)

Getting enough vitamin C is not a big problem as many fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C. There are also so-called dietary supplements for vitamin C, which can also be taken. In addition to vitamin C, the supply of vitamin B and vitamin D is also ensured in this way.

Every person's vitamin C balance is different. If this is exceeded, i.e. if you take in too much vitamin C than the body needs, then there is an overdose. In principle, you can consume too much vitamin C. We will go into more detail about the signs of an overdose and the consequences later in this article.

Background: What you should know about taking too much vitamin C

Many vitamins and nutrients cannot be stored and produced by the body itself. Also vitamin C, which belongs to the group of water-soluble vitamins. Therefore, you should make sure to eat enough vitamin C-rich foods every day.(10)

Ingestion through food is usually completely sufficient. If you also take vitamin supplements, you can easily tend to overdose. Excessive amounts of vitamins can cause undesirable side effects, which negates the actually health-promoting idea.(2)

How much vitamin C should the body take in per day?

The daily recommended intake of vitamin C depends on age and gender. In the following table we have summarized the needs by age.

age and gender Need for vitamin C
Babies and children under 4 years old 20 mg per day
Adolescents aged 13 to 15 years 85 mg per day
Males aged 15 to 19 years 105 mg per day
Women aged 15 to 19 years 90 mg per day
Adult 110 mg per day

Pregnant and breastfeeding women have an increased requirement of around 125 mg per day. An increased intake of approx. 135 mg for women and 155 mg for men is also recommended for smokers.(8)

Can You Take Too Much Vitamin C?

When a person's daily needs are met, what is known as an overdose occurs. That means yes, it is possible to consume too much vitamin C.

An increased intake of 1 mg above the requirement is usually justifiable without health side effects. With an intake of 3 to 4 mg more than the daily requirement, the first signs of an overdose can become noticeable.(1) This amount is in 6 liters of orange juice, for example.

Much more frequently, however, there is an undersupply and a so-called vitamin deficiency . However, this topic will not be discussed further in this article. You will also find interesting articles here on the topics of vitamin A deficiency, calcium deficiency and other health issues.

Does the body excrete excess vitamin C?

If too many vitamins are taken in with food or with additional vitamin preparations, the body usually excretes them again after a few hours via urine or faeces. (2)

Excessive intake is of no benefit to the body. As a result, vitamin C is no longer absorbed after saturation.

Does Too Much Vitamin C Make You Sick?

An increased dose of vitamin C can cause problems in the stomach and intestines. It has not yet been proven whether a permanent, severe overdose leads to kidney or bladder stones. However, the German Association of Internists (BDI) recommends that people who tend to form kidney stones should stay away from high-dose preparations. (3)

Orange cut down the middle

Oranges and lemons are the most well-known foods rich in vitamin C. (Image Source: Jennifer Hyman / Unsplash)

You should also make sure that foods containing vitamin C do not remain in your mouth for too long. Ascorbic acid can corrode tooth enamel due to its high acidity.(3)

What Are the Signs of Too Much Vitamin C?

Too much vitamin C in the body can manifest itself through very different signs. Side effects such as stomach problems and digestive problems are often mentioned. However, these symptoms are more common when taking dietary supplements and not when consuming too much vitamin C through food.(2)

Other signs include stomach cramps, intestinal cramps , nausea or diarrhea. Once the excess vitamin C has been eliminated from the body, the symptoms also subside.(6)

Does too much vitamin C affect fertility?

Women who want to have children are often unsure of the extent to which various influences affect fertility. Basically, vitamin C supports the formation of certain hormones for the thyroid and adrenal glands in this regard and helps to better absorb iron.(5)

Since too much vitamin C is excreted by the body, taking it cannot have a negative effect on fertility. On the contrary: a study has proven that taking enough vitamin C has a positive effect on fertility.

If you want to have children, it is advisable to ensure a balanced diet and an adequate intake of vitamin C.

Over a period of 6 months, two groups of women were tested to see how vitamin C intake and pregnancy were related. In the group in which the women took more vitamin C, significantly more women became pregnant than in the group without any additional intake.(5)

Is Too Much Vitamin C Harmful During Pregnancy?

The intake of vitamin C during pregnancy has a positive influence on the development of the child and is therefore essential. However, taking vitamin C does not necessarily guarantee that the pregnancy will progress properly, and complications can still occur. (9)

pregnant woman

Adequate vitamin C supply should be ensured during pregnancy. (Image source: freestocks / Unsplash)

If you take in more vitamin C during pregnancy than your body needs, any excess will be excreted here as well.

Accordingly, too much vitamin C during pregnancy is in no way harmful to you or the child. It should be noted that vitamin supplements often contain other ingredients such as flavor enhancers, sweeteners and starch, which should not be lost sight of.

Too Much Vitamin C: The Best Tips to Avoid Overdosing

Since too much vitamin C in the body has unpleasant consequences for humans, this case should be avoided. It is easiest if you pay attention to your diet and then also avoid dietary supplements.

In this section we would like to give you some tips on how to avoid overdosing. We have also collected important tips from people who have already gone through this situation.

Foods that contain natural vitamin C

In addition to oranges, which are considered absolute vitamin C bombs, there are many other foods that can cover the vitamin C content in a short time. If you consume these foods regularly, you do not need any additional supplements. We have listed some of the vitamin C-rich foods for you below.(4)

  • Spinach: Fresh spinach contains about 50 mg of vitamin C per 100 g and also provides a lot of folic acid
  • Peppers: A red pepper contains about 140 mg of vitamin C per 100 g. The content depends on the color and preparation.
  • Broccoli: Raw contains 95 mg of vitamin C per 100 g. It is best to prepare it gently steamed.
  • Brussels sprouts: 110 mg of vitamin C are contained in 100 g. A very sensitive vegetable that is best steamed briefly with a little water.
  • Kale: Raw kale contains approx. 105 mg vitamin C per 100 g and should also be prepared gently.
  • Parsley: As an inconspicuous vitamin C bomb, parsley contains around 160 mg of vitamin C per 100 g. As a garnish, the optimal vitamin C supplement.
  • Blackcurrant: In addition to a high iron content, blackcurrants have around 195 mg of vitamin C per 100 g.
  • Acerola: The cherry, which is originally found in South and Central America, has an amazing vitamin C content of 1700 mg per 100 g.

In general, fruit and vegetables should be kept warm for long periods of time. Fruits and vegetables contain most of the nutrients in their raw state.

There is also a lot of vitamin C in the peel. It is therefore recommended to eat it after washing it well.(3)

Avoid fortified foods

Some foods are artificially fortified with vitamins. Eating these foods can quickly lead to an overdose of vitamin C, especially if there is another intake of vitamin C.

An overdose of vitamin C is by no means dangerous for a healthy person. Since vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, excess is eliminated from the body and mild digestive problems often occur. You should be careful if you have kidney problems because long-term damage can occur.

In America, researchers discovered this phenomenon when they looked more closely at vitamin intake in children. They suffered from an overdose, although their parents were completely unaware of it.(7)

It is therefore essential to pay attention to the composition of food. Enrichment is often the case with ready-to-eat products.

Vitamin C capsules...

with slow release technology!

  • Vegan, free from sugar and gluten 🌿
  • for a stronger immune system 🤗
  • automatically get 21% discount if you buy now 💰


Vitamin C supports the body in many important metabolic processes. As a rule, it can be ingested in sufficient quantities through food and additional dietary supplements are not necessary. Additional intake can therefore quickly lead to an overdose.

Adequate intake of vitamin C is also more beneficial during pregnancy or if you are trying to get pregnant. So if you eat a balanced diet, you can rarely take in too much vitamin C. And when it does, your body reacts automatically.


  1. An article on vitamin C that answers selected questions about vitamin C. Various sub-topics are dealt with in more detail in various sections. Source
  2. An article in a nutrition magazine about taking too much vitamin C and the associated side effects. Source
  3. An article that deals with the myths and facts surrounding vitamin C. The handling of products containing vitamin C is also discussed in detail. Source
  4. An article about foods to optimally supply yourself with vitamin C. Source
  5. A study in which women with luteal insufficiency took a high daily dose of vitamin C for a period of 6 months. It was examined to what extent there is a connection between intake and pregnancy. Source
  6. An article on the side effects associated with vitamin C overdose. Source
  7. A report on a study from the USA in which the cause of too high a vitamin intake in children was sought. Source
  8. An article summarizing the daily requirement for vitamin C based on the German, Austrian and Swiss Societies for Nutrition. Source
  9. A study examining how taking vitamin C during pregnancy can prevent complications. Source
  10. An article about vitamin C in general, its composition and effects. Source
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