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Side effects of Vitamin C

Data source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_c

Common side-effects

Relatively large doses of vitamin C may cause indigestion, particularly when taken on an empty stomach.

When taken in large doses, vitamin C causes diarrhea in healthy subjects. In one trial, doses up to 6 grams of ascorbic acid were given to 29 infants, 93 children of preschool and school age, and 20 adults for more than 1400 days. With the higher doses, toxic manifestations were observed in five adults and four infants. The signs and symptoms in adults were nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, flushing of the face, headache, fatigue and disturbed sleep. The main toxic reactions in the infants were skin rashes.[86] On the other hand, Cathcart has demonstrated that sick patients, with influenza and cancer for example, do not suffer any adverse effects whatsoever until the dosage is raised to fairly high levels such as 100 grams or higher.[87]

Possible side-effects

As vitamin C enhances iron absorption[88], iron poisoning can become an issue to people with rare iron overload disorders, such as haemochromatosis. A genetic condition that results in inadequate levels of the enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD), can cause sufferers to develop hemolytic anemia after ingesting specific oxidizing substances, such as very large dosages of vitamin C.[89]

For decades, large doses of vitamin C have been speculated to trigger oxalate formation and increase absorption of dietary oxalate, possibly causing kidney stones.[90] However, this speculation may not be justified since there is no clear relationship between excess ascorbic acid intake and kidney stone formation. [91]

In a study conducted on rats, during the first month of pregnancy, high doses of vitamin C may suppress the production of progesterone from the corpus luteum.[92] Progesterone, necessary for the maintenance of a pregnancy, is produced by the corpus luteum for the first few weeks, until the placenta is developed enough to produce its own source. By blocking this function of the corpus luteum, high doses of vitamin C (1000 mg) are theorized to induce an early miscarriage.

In a group of spontaneously aborting women at the end of the first trimester, the mean values of vitamin C were significantly higher in the aborting group. However, the authors do state: 'This could not be interpreted as an evidence of causal association.'[93]

However, in a previous study of 79 women with threatened, previous spontaneous, or habitual abortion, Javert and Stander (1943) had 91 % success with 33 patients who received vitamin C together with bioflavinoids and vitamin K (only three abortions), whereas all of the 46 patients who did not receive the vitamins aborted. [94]