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How safe is high-dose vitamin c?

MagazineMarch 2006 (Vol. 16 Issue 12)How safe is high-dose vitamin c?

In over 25 years of experience, he has found that healthy people can take 10-15 g/day before suffering from diarrhoea, reaching 30-60 g/day for people with colds, and 200 g/day for those with serious infectious diseases

In over 25 years of experience, he has found that healthy people can take 10-15 g/day before suffering from diarrhoea, reaching 30-60 g/day for people with colds, and 200 g/day for those with serious infectious diseases.

Reports of vitamin C raising blood uric-acid levels - or 'rebound scurvy' - have proved to be unfounded, as is the supposed increased risk of kidney stones - which, although postulated in theory, have never been found in practice. As a recent review of all the evidence puts it: "Numerous studies of vitamin C supplementation have provided no pattern of evidence to support concerns about safety other than occasional gastrointestinal upset" (Am J Clin Nutr, 2005; 81: 736-45). Neither has anyone yet found a dose above which the vitamin becomes unsafe (Nutr Rev, 1999; 57: 71-7).

Vitamin C boosts iron uptake, so individuals with the genetic iron-overload problem called 'haemochromatosis' should take extra vitamin E to counteract the effects of vitamin C.


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