If You Have Arthritis, You Might Be Taking Too Much Vitamin C

An orange is a healthy snack, right? Maybe not. Here's what you need to know about the vitamin C-arthritis connection.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. But what about oranges? Citrus fruits are loaded with the antioxidant vitamin C, which has been linked to an improved immune system, wound healing and even preventing arthritis. Perhaps your rheumatologist has recommended a vitamin C regimen every day.

Unlike some other vitamins, our bodies can’t make vitamin C, so we need to obtain it from our diets. When we don’t get enough vitamin C, we can experience fatigue, slower healing and more infections. According to the Arthritis Foundation, taking vitamin C may help prevent inflammatory arthritis. Unfortunately, when it comes to vitamin C, you can definitely have too much of a good thing.

This is how the vitamin C arthritis-connection could be affecting you.

The Dangers of Too Much Vitamin C

In 2004, Duke researchers found that when patients with osteoarthritis consumed high amounts of vitamin C, they were more at risk for developing bone spurs and joint damage. This was due to a protein in the blood triggered by vitamin C. Because a vitamin C deficiency can put you at a higher risk of developing arthritis, it’s important to find the right balance.

Take a look at the other foods to avoid if you have arthritis.

How Much Is Too Much?

The Office of Dietary Supplements recommends 90 milligrams of vitamin C for men and 75 milligrams for women each day, and the Arthritis Foundation agrees. This amount fulfills your body’s need for the vitamin without overdoing it.

The Best Sources of Vitamin C

It’s best to skip the supplements and opt for real foods instead. Vitamin C supplements like Emergen-C contain significantly more vitamin C than the recommended daily amount, which could put you at risk for arthritis complications.

Start with fresh fruits and vegetables. Of course, citrus fruits are a great source of vitamin C but watch the milligrams. Eating one whole orange will deliver 97 milligrams of vitamin C!

For men, one heaping cup of fresh broccoli will take care of your daily vitamin C requirements. For women, a baked potato has enough daily vitamin C.

Ideas for Salads That Star Fresh Citrus
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Carrie Madormo, RN
Carrie is a health writer and nurse who specializes in healthy eating and wellness through food. With a master’s degree in public health from the Medical College of Wisconsin, she strives to translate the latest health and nutrition research into interesting, actionable articles. During her six years at Taste of Home, Carrie has answered hundreds of reader questions about health and nutrition, such as if pomegranate seeds are safe to eat, why pregnant women crave pickles and how much caffeine is in a shot of espresso. Carrie is also a former health coach and food blogger.