Is 5000 mg Liquid Vitamin C an Excess Amount?

Karen Frazier
liquid vitamin and dropper
Expert Fact Checked

Do you need a 5000 mg liquid vitamin C supplement? Vitamin C plays key roles in your body and is an essential nutrient. While your body needs some vitamin C, does it require 5,000 mg?

All About Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, which means an excess is unlikely to build up in your body. Instead, when you take too much vitamin C, there is a good chance the excess will flush out as urine. Vitamin C plays vital roles in your body including:

  • It serves as an antioxidant, helping your body fight oxidative stress from free radicals.
  • It enhances iron absorption
  • Helps synthesize collagen, which builds the structures of organs, bones, skin, and other tissue
  • Helps synthesize norepinephrine, which regulates mood
  • Prevents scurvy
  • Protects against cardiovascular disease

Recommended Daily Allowance and Upper Limit

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) sets a recommended daily allowance (RDA) for nutrient intake. The RDA sets the amount of certain nutrients you need to reduce the risk of disease. Many experts suggest, however, that the USRDA does not set the amount for optimal health. Health professionals have also set an upper daily limit (UL) for nutrients, which suggests the maximum daily dosage you can take of a vitamin to avoid health problems. The USRDA and UL for vitamin C are as follows:

  • Children 1-3 years of age require 15 mg per day
  • Children 4-8 years require 25 mg per day
  • Children 9-13 require 45 mg per day
  • Children 14-18 require 65 to 75 mg per day
  • Adults require 75 to 125 mg per day with smokers needing more vitamin C
  • The Merck Manual lists the UL for vitamin C as 2,000 mg per day

5000 mg Liquid Vitamin C

Taking 5000 mg liquid vitamin C clearly exceeds the recommended UL as described in the Merck Manual; however, Linus Pauling suggested megadoses of vitamin C can be taken with few adverse health effects. Pauling experimented with dosage amounts, experimenting with up to 3 g (3000 mg) of the vitamin each day. Pauling himself took even more vitamin C, up to 14,000 mg (14 g) per day, if he felt a cold coming on.

A 5,000 mg supplement exceeds the 3 g per day that Linus Pauling experimented with; however, if you have a liquid supplement, it is relatively easy to change the dosage amount by taking a smaller amount of the liquid. Many believe that liquid vitamins provide a better form of the supplement due to increased absorption and the ability to tailor the amount of the supplement taken.

If you are in good health, taking 5 g (5,000 mg) of vitamin C may be excessive, and can lead to some unpleasant side effects including:

  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased risk of kidney stones
  • May worsen conditions of too much iron in the blood
  • Amounts over 3 g may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in women with diabetes

Many experts recommend slowly raising the amount of vitamin C you take, using bowel tolerance as your guide. However, you should see your physician for serious symptoms resulting from megadoses of of vitamin C.

Questions About Supplemental Vitamin C

Many health experts believed vitamin C supplementation could decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease; however, one meta-analysis showed that supplemental vitamin C didn't proffer this decreased risk, but dietary vitamin C did. Instead of taking megadose supplements of this vitamin, you may experience more benefits to your health, if you take vitamin C from natural food sources, such as oranges, strawberries, and other vitamin C rich foods.

Liquid vitamin C may offer benefits superior to other types of supplements; however, for the best results, seeking vitamin C from natural sources may be your best bet. If you eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, you're sure to get the vitamin C you need to live a healthy life.

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Is 5000 mg Liquid Vitamin C an Excess Amount?