Vitamin C: 9 Side Effects of Excessive Lemon Juice Consumption

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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Lemon juice is a great source of vitamin C, but consumed in excessive quantities can have several side effects

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Lemon juice is a great source of vitamin C, but consumed in excessive quantities can have several side effects

Lemon juice can have side effects, but the good news is that these only occur when consumed excessively. L'overdose of vitamin Cin fact, it occurs when about 2.000 mg of vitamin C is taken; a cup of lemon juice, on the other hand, contains about 94,4 mg. So it would take about 21 cups of lemon juice to manifest an overdose of vitamin C.

Lemon is an acid fruit with a pH of 2, thanks to theascorbic acid (vitamin C) and citric acid which make up about 8% of the weight of the dry fruit. Most of the side effects of lemon are due to its high acidity, and some are due to an overdose of vitamin C, but the risk of vitamin C overdose by lemons it is quite rare. 

It is best not to consume more than 2 lemons a day or 3 cups of lemon juice; Also, remember that side effects may also depend on your general health, as well as that of your teeth and gums. (Read also: Lemons: 15 Health Benefits)

Let's find out the possibilities side effects of lemon juice overdose.


It can deteriorate tooth enamel

Have you ever noticed how sensitive your teeth are after tasting a slice of lemon? This is due to the acids acting on the tooth enamel. The tooth enamel has a pH around 5.5, so it can be eroded by more acidic substances. The studies have shown that any acid below a pH of 4 can cause tooth erosion. Citric acid, malic acid (in apples and pears) and tartaric acid (in tamarind) are the worst culprits. To protect your teeth, we recommend that you drink lemon juice with a straw to minimize contact with your teeth.

It can make canker sores worse

Le canker sores (small open sores inside the mouth) are often caused by an allergic reaction. You may have them if you are allergic to acidic foods like lemon juice. The advice is to avoid it or dilute it well with water so as not to irritate any ulcers even more. There is little evidence to support the claim that lemon juice can cause canker sores in people who are not allergic, however, one study recommends avoiding acidic foods such as fruit juices and fizzy drinks when you have these injuries.

It can make heartburn, reflux, and ulcers worse

Lemon juice can irritate the stomach lining and esophagus, causing burning or acid reflux. This drink, in fact, can cause stomach acids to rise up into the esophagus, causing heartburn.

All this occurs because it activates thepepsin enzyme, responsible for the breakdown of proteins. When your digestive juices travel back to your throat and esophagus, you experience the burning sensation associated with reflux. However, studies have not been able to definitively prove that lemon acidity is responsible for this problem; however, for those suffering from disease from gastroesophageal reflux or heartburn, this drink should be avoided.

It can cause nausea, vomiting and stomach pain

Lemon juice is chock full of vitamin C, although this is an essential nutrient, taking too much is a health risk. Nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain after drinking lemon juice may indicate that you need to reduce your intake. When you drink too much lemon juice, the body can't absorb all the vitamin C contained in it, consequently to eliminate it and restore balance, water flows into the intestine causing nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea.

It can cause urination and dehydration

Lemon juice increases urine output Due to its high vitamin C content, some scientists suggest giving it to patients with hypertension or urinary disease. Therefore it is essential to increase your water intake as well to avoid dehydration.

It can increase the iron content

Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron. This is bad news if you suffer from a rare hereditary condition called hemochromatosis, which is a condition in which your body stores excess iron. Excess iron can damage organs; therefore, in such a case it is necessary to reduce the intake of lemon juice.

It can cause migraines

If lemon juice is there cause of migraine, do not go beyond 1/2 cups a day. For some people, citrus fruits like lemon can trigger migraines. In one study, 11% of 490 migraine patients said eating citrus caused a pain attack. This is because citrus fruits have tyramine, a protein product, which is considered to be a trigger of migraines. 

Causes sunburn

Lemon juice is a popular one anti-tan remedy Often used to whiten skin, but if you have fair skin, lemon juice can increase the chances of sunburn. This drink helps remove the tan, but it is not a sunscreen, so it is advisable not to expose yourself to the sun with lemon juice on the skin.

This condition is called phytophotodermatitis which makes the epidermis sensitive to light, and lead to sunburn even after only 2 minutes in the sun. The reaction is attributed to the organic chemical compound furocoumarine present in lemons; moreover, it is good to avoid this juice even in case of dry and flaky skin. (Read also: Dry skin: causes and natural remedies for cracked skin)

Aggravates the Kapha Dosha

Ayurveda suggests not mixing lemon juice with milk, yogurt, tomatoes and cucumbers. Furthermore, theAyurveda suggests that whoever has one kapha imbalance should avoid foods that aggravate it, one of which is lemon juice. A kapha imbalance causes indigestion and lethargy. (Read also: Vata, Pitta or Kapha: what is your Dosha?)

In conclusion, we recommend that you continue drinking lemon juice but in moderation, as the benefits outweigh the side effects. Obviously, if you are taking certain medications or would like to take a vitamin C supplement always contact your doctor to find out the most appropriate dosages for your needs.

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