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Vitamin C Intolerance

By Victoria Weinblatt

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that is not stored in your body. This means you must ingest the recommended RDA of 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women over 18 years of age daily. Eat a balanced diet to obtain a sufficient amount of vitamin C. Excellent dietary sources of vitamin C include grapefruit, strawberries and watermelon, as well as broccoli, green peppers and cabbage. Vitamin C supplements come in natural and synthetic forms.


How much vitamin C your body can tolerate per day depends on how old you are. As a general guideline provided by the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, the maximum daily amount tolerable by age group for children 1- to 3-years-old is 400 mg, children 4- to 8-years-old is 650 mg, and children aged 9- to 13-years-old is 1,200 mg. Adolescents 14-to 18-years-old can tolerate no more than 1,800 mg per day, and adults 19 years and older have a maximum intake of 2,000 mg per day.

Over-the-Counter Pain Medication

Over-the-counter pain medications affect your body’s ability to tolerate vitamin C. If you take aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, your body can tolerate more vitamin C per day because these medications increase the amount of vitamin C lost in urine. However, vitamin C can reduce your body’s ability to excrete these same medications along with acetaminophen, lowering your tolerance for this nutrient. Check with your health professional when combining these medications with vitamin C.

Side Effects

You may experience side effects when you take vitamin C orally including chewable tablets, time-release capsules and lozenges if you are intolerant to it. The most common side effects for chewable vitamin C include, but are not limited to an upset stomach which may present with diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. An individual with a severe intolerance may experience difficulty breathing, swelling in the mouth, kidney stones and painful urination.

Alternative to Tablets

For those who cannot tolerate swallowing vitamin C pills or chewing the tablets, such as children or the infirmed, alternate forms are available. Drink liquid vitamin C or use vitamin C powder mixed with water instead. A vitamin C injection is available by prescription from your doctor.


Vitamin C is a common ingredient in skin cream, face serum and other beauty products. Although it’s a natural ingredient, you can still have a reaction if you are intolerant to vitamin C. Sensitive individuals may experience a stinging sensation in the area on the skin where the topical was applied.

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