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How Much Vitamin C Should I Take Anyway?

Everyone wants to have a strong and healthy immune system. That’s especially true given today’s global health concerns. Many people are turning to vitamin C supplements to help give them some assurance that they’re doing everything they can to give their bodies a bit of an “edge” to fight against illness, disease, or injury. But exactly how much vitamin C is the optimal amount? Let’s take a closer look at exactly how much vitamin C you should be taking to keep your immune system strong.

How much vitamin C should I take?

Many people take those little packages of vitamin C with 1,000 milligrams per pack. It’s an easy and efficient way to ensure that you’re taking in plenty of the nutrient, but is that the best dose possible for your body and needs? According to researchers at Harvard Medical School, it turns out that we might need less of the vitamin than previously assumed. In fact, they put the most effective value at around 75 mg for adult women who are not pregnant and 90 mg for adult men. This aligns with the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) guidelines set forth by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), which outlines the following recommended vitamin C doses:

  • Children aged 1-3: 15 mg
  • Children aged 4-8: 25mg
  • Adolescents aged 9-13: 45 mg
  • Teenagers aged 14-18: 65-75mg
  • Adult women aged 19 or above: 75 mg
  • Adult men aged 19 or above: 90mg
  • Pregnant women aged 19 and above: 85 mg
  • Breastfeeding women aged 19 and above: 120 mg

As you can see, while the recommended intake of vitamin C varies, even the highest dose is far less than 1,000 mg. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to worry if you’ve been taking a bit more than that, however, as there are other factors in play.

How much vitamin C is too much?

While the RDA guidelines for vitamin C intake are listed above, it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean that taking more than the recommended dose is a bad thing. In fact, the tolerable upper intake level (UL) of vitamin C for adults is 2,000 mg daily. The UL of a certain nutrient determines how much you can take before it becomes harmful to your body. For vitamin C, that UL is quite high. Anything over 2,000 mg, however, could potentially pose risks if the amount is exceeded regularly.

Because vitamin C is water-soluble, your body can general excrete what it doesn’t need via urination. With that said, taking too much vitamin C can sometimes cause symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, gastritis, flushing, fatigue, insomnia, and headache.

Keep in mind that even if you take more than 2,000 mg and don’t experience these symptoms, you’re still likely spending more money than you need to spend on vitamin C supplements. There is only so much the body can absorb, and everything else, as mentioned briefly above, is flushed out through your urine, meaning you gain no additional benefits from it.

What is the easiest way to take vitamin C?

There are a few different ways to take vitamin C supplements. There are many different varieties of supplements in pill form that offer a wide range of doses and taking them can be as simple as swallowing one pill a day with a glass of water. If you have trouble swallowing, however, you might be more comfortable with supplement gummies. This option allows you to chew pleasantly-flavored gummies to meet your recommended dose of vitamin C.

Meeting your daily intake of vitamin C doesn’t have to be complicated. Take a look at the information and sources above and shop around for the best-priced supplements on the market.

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