Spoiler: it’s not everyone. High doses of vitamin C may seem like they would benefit everyone. After all, vitamin C is water-soluble, meaning your body will only absorb what it needs and will flush out the rest, so what harm could there be in taking high doses? Well, for one, it can be expensive and lead to a very expensive bathroom break, if you catch our drift. So, who really could benefit from a high dose of vitamin C, and who should skip it?
How Vitamin C Helps You
Vitamin C is a powerhouse that is an important daily supplement your body needs to support your immune system. It boosts your immune system by encouraging the production of white blood cells. It also protects white blood cells, which is your body’s natural line of defense against diseases, from harm!
On top of that, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant to protect your cells against the effects of free radicals, such as air pollution, cigarette smoke, and irritants that cause lung inflammation.
It also helps your cells store and process essential minerals like iron. Iron helps increase general energy and focus, and regulates the gastrointestinal processes, the immune system, and body temperature.
Are There Any Risks in Taking High Doses of Vitamin C?
Consuming excessive amounts of vitamin C through supplements may cause adverse effects in susceptible individuals. These include:
Excess vitamin C is removed by the body as oxalate, a waste product. In some cases, though, oxalate may form crystals and lead to kidney stones.
Consuming excess vitamin C through supplements may cause digestive symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps.
Causes of Vitamin C Deficiency
In developed countries, vitamin C deficiency can occur from a diet low in vitamin C, but severe deficiency (which causes scurvy) is uncommon.
Vitamin C deficiency usually results from:
- A diet low in vitamin C
- Disorders that cause a high fever or inflammation
- An overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism)
- Diarrhea that lasts a long time
Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency
You may feel tired, weak, and irritable if your diet is low in vitamin C. You may also lose weight and have vague muscle and joint aches.
Infants who need more vitamin C tend to be irritable, have pain when they move, and lose their appetite. Infants do not gain weight as they normally do. In infants and children, not having enough vitamin C impairs their bone growth, and may lead to bleeding and anemia.
Who Needs a High Dose of Vitamin C?
With all of that information out of the way, let’s finally answer the question of “Who needs high doses of vitamin C?”
There are certain groups of people who are more at risk for a deficiency and who need to increase their intake of vitamin C. They include:
- People dependent on drugs and/or alcohol who may not have a healthy, balanced diet.
- People who go on very restrictive diets.
- Such a Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, IBS, or vegans
- People living on a low income who tend not to buy foods with a high vitamin C content.
- Older people who may eat a less varied diet.
- Smokers, as smoking affects the absorption of vitamin C from foods and also vitamin C is used up in the body more quickly in those who smoke.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women because they need higher amounts of vitamin C.
- People looking to shorten a cold
- Vitamin C helps shorten colds, flus and other respiratory illnesses as well. Harvard Medical School found that taking 200mg of vitamin C during the course of a cold shortened the duration of the virus by one day in both adults and children.
Who High Doses of Vitamin C Won’t Help
If you’re feeling fine and want to prevent a cold or just want to give your body a boost of vitamin C, high doses likely won’t impact you that drastically. Vitamin C does not prevent colds or flus in most individuals and, those who eat enough regularly, will likely just flush it out of their system.
Therefore if you’re looking for a boost to keep you healthy, or want to benefit from its anti-inflammatory properties before or after a big workout, then you’re better off eating foods high in vitamin C or taking a IV with a regular dose of vitamin C.
If you do feel like you need some extra vitamin C – whether a regular dose or a high one – give us a call at IV Revival. Schedule your appointment online or by calling 602-755-9525.