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Vitamin C

Vitamin C belongs to the water-soluble vitamins and is also called ascorbic acid (E 300). It is mainly found in fresh fruit and vegetables, especially blackcurrants, red peppers or broccoli. Numerous other foods, such as lemonades and juices, are partly fortified with vitamin C. Processed animal-source foods can also contain vitamin C as an additive, for example salami. Here it is added for technological purposes to support the so-called reddening of sausages. Therefore, these foods can also contribute to the supply. Overall, the supply is good: studies show that the vitamin C intake in Germany is currently more than sufficient and far above the intake recommendations of the nutrition societies.

In the human body, the vitamin is involved in numerous metabolic processes, such as the formation of connective tissue (collagen), wound healing or immune defence. It also improves the absorption of iron from plant-based foods. Finally, vitamin C is a so-called radical scavenger - that is, it has an antioxidant effect and thus protects molecules and cells in the body from oxidative attack by free radicals.

The German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends a daily intake of around 100 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C per day for adults (men: 110 mg, women: 95 mg). Smokers should take in more vitamin C (135 or 155 mg/day). Children should consume 20 to 100 mg daily, depending on their age. These values are easily reached when following a balanced diet. Excess vitamin C is excreted by the body.

Based on the available data, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) assumes that an additional intake - i.e. over and above the amount taken in with food - of up to 1,000 mg of vitamin C per day has no adverse effects on the gastrointestinal tract. Larger amounts, on the other hand, increased the risk of this. According to EFSA, the risk of kidney stones is also not increased by a habitual intake of 1,500 mg of vitamin C per day.

However, acute gastrointestinal disturbances (e.g., flatulence, diarrhoea, transient colic) have been observed with intake of high amounts. Other potentially negative effects are, for example, an increased excretion of oxalate, associated with an increased risk of kidney stones or an increased uric acid excretion.

Proposed maximum level for the addition of vitamin C to food supplements (per daily dose of an individual product):

Vitamin C Höchstmenge

In order to provide consumers with significant additional nutrient intake via food supplements when needed and at the same time protect well-supplied people from excessive intake, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) recommends not adding more than 250 mg of vitamin C per daily dose to a food supplement.




Date Title Size
BfR Opinion No. 009/2021
Updated recommended maximum levels for the addition of vitamins and minerals to food supplements and conventional foods 478.3 KB


Press information

Date Title Keywords
"Vitamin C" - A profile of the substance


Eine Initiative des BfR:

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