Is Emergen C Safe While Breastfeeding?

Emergen C is a nutritional supplement containing a variety of vitamins and minerals including vitamin C. People take this nutritional supplement to help boost their immune system and increase their energy levels.

It’s quite popular during cold and flu seasons to give extra protection against infections. Emergen C intake is easy since you only need to mix it with water or any other beverage.

Emergen C may be safe when used occasionally by nursing mothers. However, it’s not clear whether using it frequently is safe. Emergen-C’s website recommends that you should consult a doctor before using this drug if you’re breastfeeding, just like you would before taking other supplements.

What is Emergen-C?

This nutritional supplement comes in powdered form and contains high doses of vitamin B, as well as vitamin C. Emergen C is available in single-serving packets that you should stir into 118ml to 177ml of water to create a slightly fizzy drink. The resulting beverage provides more vitamin C than you will get from eating 10 oranges.

Emergen C has different available formula all of which are appropriate to take with the doctor’s recommendation. There are five different Emergen C formulae which include Joint Health, Heart Health, Immune Defense, Bone Health, and Energy Booster formulae.

The original Emergen C formula comes in 12 different flavors and contains 1,000mg of vitamin C to boost your immunity, 6g of sugar, 10mg of vitamin B6, and 25mcg of vitamin B12.

Emergen C Ingredients

The ingredients found in Emergen C will depend on the flavor or formula chosen. Most packets of this nutritional supplement contain fructose to sweeten them but also contain vitamin C as ascorbic acid, chromium ascorbate, and zinc ascorbate. Some formulae use vegetable and fruit juice powders to add some flavor and color to the resulting fizzy drink.

This nutritional supplement also provides 25% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) and manganese.

Emergen C also contains trace amounts of other minerals and vitamin B3, also known as niacin. Emergen C is also available in chewable and gummy forms for those who don’t like mixing the powdered form into their drinks.

Taking Emergen C While Breastfeeding

While nursing, Emergen C may be safe when used occasionally. It’s not clear whether taking it frequently while breastfeeding is safe. It’s also vital that you consult your doctor before taking this nutritional supplement.

Although most people use it to treat cold, it’s not a proven fact that Emergen C prevents colds. However, taking it may slightly shorten the length of your cold or flu.

Each serving of this nutritional supplement exceeds the recommended DV of vitamins C, B6 and B12. Nonetheless, the servings don’t exceed the maximum intake levels required.

The Emergen C packets have directions that recommend taking it only once daily. Taking this supplement for more than one time daily over an extended period increases the risk of getting harmful side effects.

You should take into account all the vitamins and minerals included in your diet before considering to take nutritional supplements. This should include all multivitamins and fortified foods such as cereals and energy bars. There are health risks involved if you regularly exceed the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) when taking nutritional supplements.

Safety of the Individual Ingredients while Nursing

Vitamin C

Listed as ascorbic acid on Emergen C packets, each serving of this supplement contains 1,000mg of vitamin C. This is above the RDA of 115mg to 120mg per day for breastfeeding mothers. The maximum allowable daily allowance of vitamin C that lactating mothers should take is 2,000mg and they shouldn’t exceed it.

Breastfeeding mothers will require a nutritional supplement of vitamin C if they’re undernourished. If taken in large doses, vitamin C may increase the risk of getting kidney stones. However, taking large high doses of vitamin C will slightly raise the milk levels in the breastfeeding mother.   

Vitamin B1

Listed as thiamine on packets, each serving of Emergen C contains 0.38mg of vitamin B1. The RDA for vitamin B1 is 1.4mg and there’s no maximum daily allowance established for intake. Breastfeeding mothers may need vitamin B1 supplements if they have a limited diet, but are most likely to get enough thiamine from their usual diets.

There are no known risks involved with taking large doses of thiamine in diets or nutritional supplements. However, breastfeeding mothers should avoid taking large doses of vitamin B1 since it increases the levels of thiamine in breastmilk.

Vitamin B2

Emergen C packets list vitamin B2 as riboflavin on their packets. Each serving contains 0.43mg against a recommended daily allowance of 1.6mg. Breastfeeding mothers shouldn’t exceed taking 50mg of vitamin B2 in each serving. Since you can find vitamin B2 in meat and dairy products, vegan mothers will have to use nutritional supplements.

Taking high doses of riboflavin may change the color of urine to a yellow-orange color. The body expels excess vitamin B2 through urine. Taking Emergen C increases the amount of riboflavin in breast milk.

Vitamin B9

Listed as folic acid, each serving contains 0.100mg of vitamin B9 against a recommended daily allowance of 0.5mg. The maximum limit that breastfeeding mothers should take is 1mg daily. Women should take this supplement before and during pregnancy.

Breastfeeding mothers should take vitamin B9 supplement only if they’re malnourished. Emergen C doesn’t affect the levels of folic acid in breast milk.  


There are 2mg of zinc in each serving of Emergen C against a recommended amount of 12mg. Vegetarian women who are breastfeeding will have to take zinc supplements due to low zinc absorption in vegetarian diets. Taking zinc above the maximum RDA of 40mg can cause loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and headaches. Taking Emergen C doesn’t significantly affect the zinc levels in breastmilk.  


Emergen C is a nutritional supplement that comes in different flavors and formulae. Each formula contains different ingredients to help in improving a person’s immune system and energy levels.

It may be safe to occasionally use this nutritional supplement while breastfeeding. However, taking it frequently will increase the doses of the individual ingredients and pose health risks for the nursing mother.

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