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Taking too much vitamin C could lead to kidney stones

Taking too much can lead to a painful problem.

TAMPA, Fla. — Many of us are looking for ways to boost our immune system to protect ourselves from COVID-19, so we are turning to supplements. 

But, some of those supplements cause other major issues. You may have it in your cabinet right now: vitamin C. 

It's supposed to help with all kinds of things by boosting your immune system, but doctors warn taking too much can also lead to kidney stones.

Dr. David Hernandez is a urologist and professor for USF Health. He says vitamin C is good for you, but it's best to get it from your diet.

"There are some studies suggesting that not dietary, but supplemental vitamin C at doses more than a gram a day, a thousand milligrams a day, can increase your risk for stones because of the effect of the oxalate levels in your urine increasing," Hernandez said.

He suggests people get their daily dose from the foods they eat.

 "In general a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, preferably lean meats and things like that, you're going to get everything," Hernandez said.

Dr. Hernandez says another key to avoiding kidney stones is to stay hydrated.

"You have to drink plenty of fluid, what you drink is not nearly as important as how much you drink, though water is fantastic for preventing stones."

Dr. Hernandez has other helpful suggestions too. 

 He says to avoid a diet high in sodium and processed food and one you're not getting enough fruits and veggies and eating lots of meats. He says supplements can be helpful, just remember everything in moderation. And if you're taking more than one supplement, know what's in it, so you aren't unknowingly doubling doses of anything.

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