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Safety of high-level vitamin C ingestion.


Reports suggesting that gram doses of ascorbic acid are beneficial for the prevention and treatment of several disorders have led to widespread ingestion of vitamin C supplements. Possible adverse health effects of this practice have, therefore, received considerable scrutiny. Of major concern has been the influence of ingesting gram amounts of ascorbic acid on renal calcium oxalate stones, systemic conditioning, uricosuria, vitamin B12 destruction, mutagenicity, and iron overload. Despite contradictory reports, the consensus from an extensive literature is that these adverse health effects are not induced in healthy persons by ingesting large doses of ascorbic acid. Possible interactions of ascorbic acid with other nutrients and physiological processes may be of importance to human health and, therefore, merit further research. The ingestion of large doses of ascorbic acid is contraindicated in cases of renal insufficiency, chronic hemodialysis patients, unusual forms of iron overload, and oxalate stoneformers.

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