Vitamin C – who’s likely to need more of it?

Vitamin C – who’s likely to need more of it?

Author -  Vicki Martin, Nutritionist and Naturopath

Naturopath Vicki Martin explains why some people are likely to need more Vitamin C than others

Vitamin C – who’s likely to need more of it?

Although severe Vitamin C deficiency (called “scurvy”) is rare, many people don’t get as much as they need through their diet.

Signs you’re not getting enough Vitamin C

How can you tell if you’re one of the people who’d benefit from more Vitamin C in your day? Some of the signs your Vitamin C levels might be a bit low include:

  • Fatigue
  • Easy bruising
  • Bleeding gums
  • Constantly catching coughs, colds and sniffles when they’re going around

Specific groups that are likely have low Vitamin C levels

Some groups of people are more likely than others to be low in Vitamin C, and may benefit from taking extra. These groups include:

  • Smokers
  • People who drink alcohol
  • Pregnant women who have high blood pressure
  • People who are on certain prescription medication (including the Oral Contraceptive Pill)
  • People who’ve had kidney failure 

Of course, as with any natural supplement, if you’re taking prescription medication or have a medical condition, check with your doctor before taking Vitamin C.

What about side effects and interactions?

If you take Vitamin C at the dose recommended on the pack, side effects are rare. It’s even generally safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women to take at normal doses. That said, if your health professional has recommended you take higher-than-normal doses, there are a few things you might want to know:

  • Diarrhoea: this is the most common side effect from high Vitamin C intake. It’s usually only temporary, and should stop as soon as you stop taking the Vitamin C.
  • Copper levels: high Vitamin C doses can deplete your copper levels. Copper is an essential nutrient, so it’s a good idea to take a multivitamin that contains copper with higher Vitamin C doses.
  • Iron levels: Vitamin C increases your body’s ability to absorb Iron. If you have any kind of Iron overload condition (e.g. haemochromotosis or haemosiderosis), you shouldn’t take Vitamin C.