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Vitamin C Cures and Side Effects

Last Modified on May 23, 2016

Side Effects  
95 User Reviews | 31 SIDE EFFECTS

Posted by Christine (Virginia Beach, VA) on 12/17/2008

Have been reading your Vitamin C section; I do so wish you would have a link to Dr. Klenner's paper on Vitamin C, particularly the pregnancy section. Dr. K. was able to help expectant mothers who would have died otherwise by prescribing Vitamin C for them. In fact, the mothers who took Dr. Klenner's prescribed doses of Vitamin C had no stretch marks and easy births.

Sometimes you need an objective health professional to tell you whether taking Vitamin C is related to symptoms that you are experiencing. Or is it a component of the Vitamin C, such as aspartic acid, or the type of Vitamin C you are taking? E.g. taking straight ascorbic acid in water can corrode your digestive tract because Vitamin C is an acid. That's why it's usually buffered with sodium. If you take calcium ascorbate, be sure to balance it with magnesium citrated (magnesium oxide is not readily absorbed).

As for a person being "allergic" to Vitamin C, that is impossible. Vitamin C is a universal detoxifier. High doses of Vitamin C are used to stop hayfever. It has to be a component of the tablet, not the Vitamin C, that is causing an allergic reaction.

EC: Here is a link we found on Google to "Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C" by Dr. Klenner.

If you have another link, please send it along!

Replied by Ron
Emporia, Kansas
Here's another paper by Dr. Klenner "Observations On the Dose and Administration of Ascorbic Acid When Employed Beyond the Range Of A Vitamin In Human Pathology"
Replied by Lynn
Greenwich, Ct
please explain why calcium ascorbate needs to be "balanced" with magnesium? I've been taking powdered calcium ascorbate for years, and not balancing it with anything, so I want to know why the magnesium and pls refer me to your research source. Tks

Posted by Philip Lim (Makati, Philippines) on 12/09/2008

[SIDE EFFECTS]  Can vitamin c cause urinary tract burning sensation and hair lose? I take 1000 mg daily for one year. is it overdose? Im 45 yrs old.

Posted by Wes (Webster, TX) on 01/10/2008

[SIDE EFFECTS]  I'm 220 and work out almost everyday. I started taking 2000mg of vitamin C. Ester C tablets. A few days later I noticed I was very easily enraged. I did this for about 4 weeks and decided it wasn't worth it. I recently started taking and animal pack vitamin package. After taking for several days I noticed the same effect. Read the ingredient 2000 mg Vitamin C. So I stopped taking it. Is there anyway to counteract the aggressiveness. IE some other vitamin.

Replied by Ted Donate

388 Posts
First off 2000 mg of vitamin C is too much, for an oil soluble Ester C. Most remedies I used revolves around the use of a much safer water soluble sodium ascorbate. To reduce the problem of ester C is to remove them. Since ester C is oil soluble, one tablespoon of granulated lecithin is preferably three or four times a day to displace it, and drink plenty of water. The other thing that may reduce rage effects is taking plenty of amino acid supplements plus some added tryptophan amino acid. A 1/2 teaspoon baking soda in 1/2 glass of water taken at least twice a day may also further reduce the problem. A neutral pH ester C is really acid for the body as the body is generally more alkaline than the ester C, and hence the baking soda remedy is used.

Another that might be useful in brain biochemistry, to reduce this problem is the flaxseed oil and fish oil, to protect normal brain function, besides the other remedies already considered.

Replied by Christine
This afternoon, I visited your site and noted a comment by a reader who said that Ester C made him enraged. It's not the Vitamin C, it's the aspartic acid in the Ester C product. I verified this with an aspartame activist. Aspartic acid is an excitotoxin, a poison that kills brain cells. Yep, it's the same stuff as in aspartame. All of the studies done on Vitamin C were done with sodium ascorbate, which is a type of chemically buffered Vitamin C. It's best to take it as a powder in water, because you can get gastritis if you take too many pills.

Hope that helps,

"Aspartic acid is an amino acid. Well, amino acids are good for us, right? Don't they keep us healthy ? The answer is yes, amino acids are necessary for good health, EXCEPT when you separate the individual amino acid from its protein chain, and use it as an "isolate" or by itself. (S.Sawada, et al '98)

In aspartame, these become synergistic toxins; one component playing off the other in a dangerous, systemic downward spiral. This eventually gives way to clinical manifestations; "hard-to-diagnose" health complications, and a myriad of medical symptoms and illnesses, which can eventually cause irreversible medical complications and death.

Aspartic acid, in aspartame, is an excitotoxin. An excitotoxin, is a deleterious substance that excites or over stimulates nerve cells. This occurs in the brain, as well as the peripheral nerves, because aspartic acid, in free form, easily crosses the blood-brain barrier. This pathological excitation of nerve cells creates a breakdown of nerve function, as we will see. (L.E.Rosenberg, McGraw-Hill 1991)

Replied by Roxanne
Easton, Pennsylvania
[SIDE EFFECTS]   I found the information about aspartame in Ester C product interesting. I've had two spinal fusion and my Doctor wants me to take vitiman C for healthy cell growth etc. I could not take regular vitamin C after awhile needing nexium for months. I switched to Ester C. 6 months ago taking 500-1000mgs. a day. I had have a burning, tingling and pain in legs for months only getting extremely worse over the past 2 months. Now I am taking Neurontin 300mg;bid. My neurosurgeon wants me to go through an EMG again. I've been throught every MRI/scan to rule out my fusions/nerves at spine. After reading this and how aspartame can effect peripheral nerves it makes sense. It must be the Ester C? Thanks again for the insight.

Posted by Kat (Albuquerque, New Mexico) on 12/11/2007

[SIDE EFFECTS]  I just wanted to comment on a reply were you stated that vitamin c can help prevent miscarriage. ascorbic acid (synthetic vit c i believe) is actually and abortificient in early term pregnancy, so you should be sure to note that unless a woman is trying to terminate a pregnancy, she should never take ascorbic acid while pregnant (ascorbic acid is the main ingredient in most off brand and lower priced vit c supplements.)

Replied by DarenM
Trenton, MI

Ascorbic acid IS Vitamin C. Just the scientific name. It by no means refers to the ingredient in "off brand" and "lower priced" vitamin C supplements. Other ways you may see it on the back of bottles and such is "sodium ascorbate" or "calcium ascorbate" which is actually mineral vitamin C and can help people who suffer any heatburn problems from taking to much ascorbic acid. The sodium, and calcium ascorbates are cut as to not be so acidic. The downside is that you need to watch your intake as i think calcium is NOT water soluable. As far as it being used for miscarriages, I doubt it. You'd have to take quite a bit.

Posted by JD (NYC) on 11/08/2007

[SIDE EFFECTS]  I remember that my brother used to get nose bleeds when he took too much vitamin c when he was sick during college years. I can take up to 3,000 milligrams of Ester C for about 3 days before I get diarrhea. I know at that point to stop because my system can't take it anymore. Interestingly, the sicker I am, the more C I can take without the diarrhea.

Replied by John
Your body uses the C to heal your sickness. Less sick, less C needed so you throw out wha'ts left. Use Organic Sulphur with the C, amazing results.

Posted by Annie (Chicago, IL) on 10/10/2007

[SIDE EFFECTS]  I got a facial for the first time in my life four days ago and the vitamin C products the aesthetician used seems to have caused a reaction on my skin. I have a rash all over my forehead, although it is not red. It's more like a breakout, except when I scratch it, it is itchy--unlike acne. This seems to be a mild allergic reaction to vitamin C. I am worried because my wedding is this weekend! Has anyone had a similar experience and can I expect it to go away in a couple days?

Replied by Jennifer
Denver, CO
RE: VITAMIN C PRODUCTS CAUSED FACIAL RASH 10/10/2007: Annie I have the same problem, athough I myself am an esthetician. I cannot use C or A on my face without a similar reaction. Ironically, the C products are prescribed for sensiteive skin!

Posted by Eve (Upper Marlboro, MD) on 08/08/2007

[SIDE EFFECTS]  I've had an allergy to vitamin c since birth. As a child, my parents observed rashes on my face and body when I consumed too much vitamin c. Now, as an adult, I have acne breakouts when I eat oranges, or drink juices or take supplements with higher than 100% of the daily value of vitamin c. I'm assuming my body is highly acidic. My dad tells me to try taking vitamin c in liquid form. Is it possible that this would prevent the breakouts?

Replied by Yvette
Choctaw, Oklahoma
[SIDE EFFECTS]   Response to Eve-Marlboro, MD -- I also had a reaction to vitamin c all my life. I was so sensitive I would eat an orange and breakout with rash in the back of my knees. I noticed you said your Dad was recommending a liquid supplement. I am taking a liquid all natural supplement. Have had no reactions at all. You are welcome to contact me.

Posted by Kula (Semarang, Indonesia) on 04/15/2007

[SIDE EFFECTS]  vit c side effect: I had been consuming blended tomato, carrot and apple every morning (before breakfirst) since 2005 till last month. Lately I feel tight or cramp inside my neck. When I stopped those blended fruits, my throat/neck is OK.

Replied by Aelphabae
Milton, Wi
Keep in mind tomatoes are part of the nightshade plant family and are actually TOXIC to humans. You woud have to eat a large amount to experience dramatic effects but it is shown to cause inflammation in the body in small doses... Generally you want to avoid tomatoes and other nightshade plants (eggplant, potatoes, etc)
Replied by Timh Donate

Louisville, Ky, Usa
I just happened to research this a little yesterday as I had a large portion of unpeeled potatoes night fore last and became major drowsy, totally lost libido, and slept way ahead of my usual bed-time. The cumulative affect of regular consumption of the nightshades causes calcium to become gated from normal ionic cell membrane channels causing weak bones, arthritis, etc. As for acute toxicity from the nightshade's Solanine, it looks like I did exactly what was necessary for poisoning. The skin of the potato, when exposed to light and warm temps, causes a rapid increase in Solanine content as a natural protector. This is noticed in the "greening" of the skin. The sprouts are also toxic. It is recommended to peel these "greened" potatoes and cook in veg oil NOT water (not sure about baking).

Posted by Wendy (Ontario, Canada) on 04/01/2007

[SIDE EFFECTS]  One thing worth noting is what vitamin c is made from... my children and I cannot eat corn and would get headaches when we would consume sodium ascorbate. Then I learned it is typically derived from corn! You can find 'corn free' pure grade sodium ascorbate online. I lost my source in Toronto and have had to get it from the U.S. via internet. From my understanding it can be derived from corn, beets, cassava... that's all I've found out so far. The corn free variety does not give us headaches.

Posted by Antoine (Los Angeles, California) on 03/21/2007

[SIDE EFFECTS]  I was born allergic to Vitamin C. It causes me to itch all over my body, sometimes even break out in Hives. As a matter of fact, doctors have suggested that i even avoid taking ANY vitamins.

Replied by David
Elkton, MD
What you are allergic to are the fillers and/or bioflavanoids. You need vitamin C to live .. without it you get scurvy. Humans do not create their own vitamin C like most all other animals do.

Many ailments, like the common cold, are a kind of scurvy. In fact you can experience temporary acute scurvy by taking large Vit C doses over a long period and then stopping cold-turkey - it will last a day or so but you will experience all the symptoms of scurvy and then very quickly recover, so best bet is to taper off usage after consuming therapeutic ascorbate levels.

For allergy sensitive people your best bet is to get powdered pure ascorbic acid with no additives of any kind. Mix 1 teaspoon with 8 oz water, add sweetner if desired. Add .5 teaspoon of baking soda to neutralize the acid if desired to create sodium ascorbate.

If taking the acidic version (not buffered with baking soda), brush teeth after wards or it can attack enamel. If you keep it off your enamel vitamin C in your bloodstream will build your enamel (Vit C is also called the "invisible toothbrush" for this reason).

Posted by Heather (Pompano Beach, FL) on 01/28/2007

[SIDE EFFECTS]  Whenever I take Ester-C pills or use a Vitamin C facial cream, I get a really bad breakout on my face. It is almost like a rash. When I stop taking the pills or stop using the cream, the rash goes away in a couple of days. I have tried different types of these products, so I know it isn't just one manufacturer -- it's the Vitamin C.

Replied by David
Elkton, MD
It might be the calcium, as well as bioflavanoids. Ester C is C buffered with calcium and it also contains bioflavanids, and some people are more sensitive to calcium supplements than others and bioflavanoids are a problem for many people. Most creams with Vitamin C buffer it with calcium and throw rose hips and other junk in there to make it sound even more beneficial even though it's they're far more likely to give you an adverse reaction.

Skin especially needs vitamin C. It's a primary ingredient in the process of creating collagen which gives skin elasticity and keeps it from getting saggy.

I would suggest pure ascorbic acid for consumption. Most studies indicate pure Vit C is just as viable as buffered solutions and complexes including bioflavanoids.

With adequate C intake local application of the C to your skin should not be necessary. You could however put super concentrated vit C fluid + baking soda (to make sodium ascorbate, a non-acidic version of Vitamin C) in a dropper and rub it in to your face each night before you go to bed. Powdered pure vit C and baking soda is cheap and easily obtainable and I guarantee it will not give you a rash if mixed to become neutral.

Posted by Pat (Lamper, MO) on 01/28/2007

[SIDE EFFECTS]  Recently had bladder infection, solved with soda and ACV. Nobody ever discusses Vit C problem. If I take Vit C or even a health bar with citric acid, I develop kidney or bladder problem. Would love to cleanse with your 1/4 tsp lemon, soda and pinch of Magnesium and potassium.

Replied by Ted Donate

388 Posts
Dear Pat: If I have a bladder infection or even a kidney problems, yes, vitamin C and citric acid is not helpful. But it is NOT the vitamin C or the citric acid being the problem. It is the pH of the things you are consuming. In event of this problem (uti), the pH should be over 8.

Vitamin C are of two types and people tend to lump them all together. One is the ascorbic acid which is acid and tends to promote bacteria growth by acidity. A sodium ascorbate vitamin C has a pH of about 8 and it prevents bacterial growth. A vitamin C can be both a pro-oxidant and an anti-oxidant depending on the pH. Vitamin C is a two edge sword. If the vitamin C is acid, it is a pro-oxidant. If the vitamin C is alkalline it is an anti-oxidant.

Citric acid and sodium citrate are very different, but chemically they are the similar in most ways, but at different pH.

When a baking soda is reacted with citric acid, it becomes sodium citrate and its pH is over 8. So in event of a kidney and bladder infection whatever you eat, its pH should be 8, or at least 7.

How do I know this is the issue. You mentioned you were helped with baking soda and ACV. The pH is about 7, but if reacted long enough it is between 7.5 to 8.0

It is the same with the other ones. It helps therefore to get a good pH paper and measure it and make sure it is alkaline and pH is about 8 in event of an infection.

Sea salt -- 1 teaspoon one dose only in one glass of water usually will kill the bladder infection. But for tough cases take this along with cranberry juice and some baking soda to increase the alkalinity of cranberry juice to about pH of 8. Sea salt pH is quite often pH is between 7.5 to 8.5. A good quality sea salt will have a pH of 8, a very bad one I have seen (overprocessed overpurified) can be as low as 6. A good sea salt is light brown and never bleached white.

Posted by John (Oakland, CA) on 01/10/2007

[SIDE EFFECTS]  re: Large doses of Vitamin C. I took 3 grams/day for periodontal disease. I'm cutting back because I would sneeze so hard I became congested and would turn to inhalers. My lungs constricted.

Posted by Robert (Orlando, FL) on 12/24/2006

[SIDE EFFECTS]  Whenever I get a toothache I think back to see if I took large amounts of vitamins, especially C, and then suddenly stopped. Toothaches can be the result of sudden withdrawal from vitamin C. If so, it's best to return to using it and gradually withdraw from its use rather than do it all at once. Sudden withdrawal from C can cause joint pains as well. Such pains are normally temporary, but they can be quite disconcerting if one doesn't know their source.

Replied by David
Elkton, MD
Congratulations: You're one of the first people I've ever encountered to correctly assess what is happening in this scenario. Most people blame it on the vitamin C, when in reality it's a reaction to going cold-turkey from the most beneficial nutrient known to mankind.

What you are experiencing when you go cold-turkey on Vit C is nothing less than acute scurvy. The phenomenon is technically known as "rebound scurvy" in orthomolecular circles. The condition is temporary and can be dangerous if a patient's health is already extremely weak, and it is avoided precisely as you have indicated.

Rebound scurvy is also used as a natural means to cause miscarriages, and perhaps the most dependable and safest ways to do so. In involves taking massive doses for a few days (like 10-30 grams per day) then going completely cold turkey. Some have wrongly concluded that the Vitamin C causes the miscarriage, but it is in fact the rebound scurvy brought on by starving a body of this essential molecule after it has grown accustomed to use it up quickly and not conserve it.

Posted by Sarah on 12/20/2006

[SIDE EFFECTS]  I take high doses of Vitamin C whenever I get a cold. I always get a rash on my abdomen, breasts and underarms afterward. I don't know if the vitamin C causes it, but I wonder now if the two are linked.

Replied by Bret
Phoenix, Arizona
I thought I had an allergy to vitamin c growing up. My pediatrician said no, it was an allergy to contaminants and biproducts. Some experts feel you cannot be allergic to a vitamin, but that plant biproducts, bioflavenoid, rhutin can induce allergic reactions. I know because I used to break out in pinpoint rash on my abdomen from vitamin c and had to take liquid drops which were pure. While I was growing up, I had to take this liquid form. If I was truly allergic to c, I would still have broken out, which I did not in the purest form.

Stay away from rose hips and extras. Buy the powder without the extra's. Buffered is good so don't mistake potassium, magnesium, calcium as extras. Just straight c, buffered or not.

Your liver used to make vitamin c as does every mammal. Somewhere along the line, primates lost their ability to manufacture their own c. This is why some people feel you can't be allergic to the vitamin, but can be allergic to the stuff that comes along with it. It's like being allergic to a hormone that your body already makes. If you take synthroid and have a reaction, chances are it's not the synthroid as your body manufactured this hormone naturally, it is something in the synthroid which causes reactions.

So seek out powder form, no flavenoids and such. No rose hips.

Good luck. This is a very important vitamin. Bret Peirce