What is a Vitamin C Injection?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
A vitamin C deficiency can cause bleeding gums.
A vitamin C deficiency can cause bleeding gums.

A vitamin C injection is an administration of a vitamin C solution through a needle, provided in situations such as when a patient cannot take pills, a large amount of the vitamin is needed, or a doctor wants it delivered as rapidly as possible. Vitamin C injections can be administered in a hospital or clinic if a doctor feels they are indicated and patients may also be taught to self administer if they need several injections over the course of treatment for a medical condition. These injections are generally low risk, as a very high dosage is needed before side effects will appear.

While a vitamin C deficiency can lead to serious health problems, large doses of vitamin C may cause nausea and headaches.
While a vitamin C deficiency can lead to serious health problems, large doses of vitamin C may cause nausea and headaches.

The most common reason to offer a vitamin C injection is in the treatment or prevention of scurvy, a connective tissue disease caused by a vitamin C deficiency. If a patient appears to have low levels of this vitamin or is experiencing scurvy symptoms like bleeding gums, the doctor can provide an injection to get levels up quickly. Low-level deficiencies may also be treated with injections of vitamin C, even if the patient doesn't appear to be at immediate risk of developing scurvy.

Vitamin C injections can be administered in a hospital or clinic or self administered if a doctor feels it is necessary.
Vitamin C injections can be administered in a hospital or clinic or self administered if a doctor feels it is necessary.

If someone appears to be experiencing slow wound healing time, vitamin C injections may be offered to facilitate more rapid healing. Some medical conditions like diphtheria can also respond to an injection of vitamin C, when combined with other treatment options. Doctors concerned about vitamin deficiencies in their patients may request bloodwork to see if a patient is low on vitamin C or other needed nutrients, especially if a patient appears to be responding slowly to a usually effective treatment.

Mega-doses of vitamin C have been used to treat symptoms associated with Alzheimer's disease.
Mega-doses of vitamin C have been used to treat symptoms associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Doctors can administer a vitamin C injection intravenously, subcutaneously, or intramuscularly. In the case of intravenous injections, the solution needs to be diluted in sterile saline for safety and administered slowly. This is designed to prevent complications that can emerge when medications are delivered rapidly to the bloodstream. This vitamin is relatively low risk and the most common adverse effect from a high dosage is mild indigestion.

Untreated scurvy may cause the teeth to loosen and eventually fall out.
Untreated scurvy may cause the teeth to loosen and eventually fall out.

As long as a vitamin C injection is administered in clean conditions with the use of a sterile needle, the risks to the patient are very low. While it is possible to experience irritation and infection at the injection site, swabbing the site with alcohol will limit this chance. There can be some soreness after the shot, especially if a patient needs a series of injections of vitamin C, and doctors are usually careful to give shots in different locations each time to prevent this problem.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

CaithnessCC

I had a vitamin C injection a while ago, following a period of sickness which had left me quite under nourished. Perhaps it is psychological but I felt it really boosted my energy.

The doctor asked me a lot of questions before prescribing this treatment. She wanted to know about any current medications, if I smoked and various other things. It seems that vitamin C may have an effect on other things you put into your body.

yumdelish

@Windchime - I would be wary of any kind of claim like that. I once asked my doctor about getting a course of vitamin B12 injections for weight loss. I'd heard that this would make my body burn fat faster and I was desperate for a quick fix.

I didn't get the shots, but I did learn a lot about the way the body works! These days I am happy to leave vitamin injections to those who need them for medical care, rather than beauty treatments!

Windchime

I am a member of a health and beauty forum and remember a discussion there about vitamin C injections. Some countries promote them as an anti-aging treatment, though I've never read anything that convinces me this actually works!

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    • A vitamin C deficiency can cause bleeding gums.
      By: Zsolt Bota Finna
      A vitamin C deficiency can cause bleeding gums.
    • While a vitamin C deficiency can lead to serious health problems, large doses of vitamin C may cause nausea and headaches.
      By: lithian
      While a vitamin C deficiency can lead to serious health problems, large doses of vitamin C may cause nausea and headaches.
    • Vitamin C injections can be administered in a hospital or clinic or self administered if a doctor feels it is necessary.
      By: Aptyp_koK
      Vitamin C injections can be administered in a hospital or clinic or self administered if a doctor feels it is necessary.
    • Mega-doses of vitamin C have been used to treat symptoms associated with Alzheimer's disease.
      By: chuugo
      Mega-doses of vitamin C have been used to treat symptoms associated with Alzheimer's disease.
    • Untreated scurvy may cause the teeth to loosen and eventually fall out.
      By: Igor Gromoff
      Untreated scurvy may cause the teeth to loosen and eventually fall out.
    • Doctors concerned about vitamin deficiencies in their patients may request bloodwork.
      By: Boggy
      Doctors concerned about vitamin deficiencies in their patients may request bloodwork.
    • A patient may be taught to self administer a vitamin C injection.
      By: Marcin Sadlowski
      A patient may be taught to self administer a vitamin C injection.
    • Consuming sufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables that contain vitamin C is an effective way to prevent scurvy.
      By: DreanA
      Consuming sufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables that contain vitamin C is an effective way to prevent scurvy.
    • A vitamin C injection may be delivered intravenously.
      By: Tyler Olson
      A vitamin C injection may be delivered intravenously.