Medically Reviewed by
Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS
5 min read
Vitamin C, also known ascorbic acid, is an essential nutrient that helps our bodies in multiple ways. Many people take vitamin C supplements to ensure they get enough of this valuable vitamin. However, it’s widely believed that vitamin C can make you have more frequent bowel movements. But is this true? To find out, it’s helpful to understand how vitamin C works in the body.
Vitamin C isn’t produced by the body, so it needs to be gained through the consumption of foods and drinks that contain ascorbic acid. Vitamin C helps the body in numerous ways. It helps support a healthy immune system by providing a key ingredient in neutrophils, the body’s main defense cells that fight off invaders in the body. One study found that consuming more vitamin C (in the form of kiwifruit) increased the neutrophil vitamin C levels over the course of eight weeks.
Vitamin C is also a well-known antioxidant, meaning that it aids in minimizing the damage of free radicals that cause oxidative stress and cell damage. In addition, vitamin C can help support seasonal lung and sinus issues, assist with maintaining proper adrenals and stress levels, aid in the absorption of iron, and play a key role in collagen production. It may even be a crucial vitamin to brain function.
According to this study, Vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid can help stimulate digestive acids like pepsin. Additionally, the organs of the digestive system depend on collagen for their structure. Since vitamin C aids in the production of collagen, it can play a role in supporting the overall health of the digestive system.
Vitamin C may help to bolster the function of the gut barrier, which helps to keep endotoxin from escaping the gut area and damaging other parts of the body. Because the digestive system is a complex collection of organs and functions, there are multiple ways vitamin C can influence this system. One study showed a link between vitamin C consumption and maintaining healthy glucose levels in the blood.
So, does vitamin C really make you poop? There’s no scientific data to support this claim. Vitamin C isn’t a laxative, but low vitamin C levels may be linked to constipation. One study noted a correlation between constipation and low levels of vitamin C, magnesium, and folate. So, one guess is that sluggish bowel movements may be given a boost by vitamin C, and this causes people to believe that it makes you poop. Another study showed that vitamin C can promote gastric motility, that is, the movement of food throughout the gastrointestinal tract. Since consistent, frequent bowel movements are a beneficial part of a healthy digestive system, these effects make vitamin C a beneficial part of a healthy diet.
Have you heard of a vitamin C flush and wondering if it’s worth a try? A vitamin C flush refers to the practice of slowly increasing the amount of vitamin C supplements you consume over a period of time. When you reach your bowel’s tolerance level, which means when your stool becomes loose, then you shift your dose down a bit to maintain healthy stool formation. This is believed to be a good way to find your body’s vitamin C consumption ceiling, in order to take large doses of vitamin C. It is also purported to be a beneficial way to cleanse. However, there is no scientific evidence that this is beneficial to the body. Generally, only people with a vitamin C deficiency should try taking high doses of vitamin C to restore balance to the body.
Since there is no scientific research to support the benefits of a vitamin C flush, caution should be taken. There may even be some health risks of a vitamin C flush, such as dehydration from water loss due to watery stools. People with kidney issues or pre-existing health conditions should use particular caution, as such large amounts of vitamin C can have health implications. Too much vitamin C can also cause digestive discomfort like stomach pain, gas, and bloating. Pregnant people and children should not do a vitamin C flush unless advised by their healthcare provider.
No matter your medical history, it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor before undertaking a vitamin C flush. Although the recommended daily allowance for vitamin C is 75-90 mg per day, it’s safe to go slightly above this quantity. Care/of’s vitamin C, for example, provides a safe 250 mg and uses ascorbic acid derived from fruit to make it more easily digestible. The daily dose upper limit for vitamin C is 2000 mg.
Vitamin C is an essential micronutrient that the body has to get through external sources, such as food and supplements. It supports the immune, digestive, and nervous system while promoting collagen production and helping with the absorption of iron.
Some people might believe that vitamin C can make you poop more than usual. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this belief. There is a correlation, though, between vitamin C and helping maintain healthy digestion.
Vitamin C flushing is the practice of consuming more and more vitamin C supplements to reach the highest amount until loose stools occur. This is thought to be a good method of detoxing and consuming extra vitamin C. However, it can be dangerous and pregnant people, children, or those with health conditions should not attempt it without doctor’s approval.
Maintaining healthy levels of vitamin C through food and supplements is a good way to ensure you get the recommended daily amount of 75-90 mg a day.