Monday, February 11, 2013

Vitamin C: What Your Doctor Won't Tell You

I recently had a conversation on Twitter with a blogger friend who happened to have a cold. Like most people, this person thought that taking too much vitamin C could be harmful rather than beneficial.

I thought the same thing until recently.

A few months ago, I read the book "Vitamin C: The Real Story" by Steve Hickey, PhD. and Andrew Saul, PhD. This book taught me so much about this miracle vitamin.

For example: The RDA of vitamin C is 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women, which is barely enough to prevent scurvy. Why the government thinks women need less than men is beyond me.

But, I digress...

Did you know that most animals produce their own vitamin C? In fact, so did humans at one time. We lost the ability to produce this vitamin, most likely because it increased the ability of the human race to survive in times of starvation because it decreased our energy requirements. However, the loss of this ability has increased the incidence of arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and cancer among other things.

At the time, humans got their vitamin C from their diet, and it is estimated that our ancestors ingested about 9,000 to 10,000 mg PER DAY. In this day and age, we don't get anywhere near that.

What is Vitamin C?


Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a cofactor in a number of different enzymatic reactions. It's also a potent:
  • Antibiotic
  • Antiviral
  • Antihistamine
  • Antioxidant
  • Antitoxin
  • Antidepressant
Vitamin C is necessary for the production of collagen, a protein that makes up muscle, ligaments, organs, skin, bone, and cartilage. Without it, the result is scurvy, which can be deadly. It leads to loss of hair and teeth as well as bruising, bleeding into the joints which causes edema (swelling) and severe pain. Some of the early symptoms of scurvy include:
  • Fatigue
  • Increased susceptibility to stress
  • Depression

Megadose Therapy


Megadose therapy involves massive doses of vitamin C, typically anywhere from 2,000 mg to 20,000 mg every day or more. The goal of doses this high is to completely saturate the blood plasma with the vitamin. 

Many people think that taking high levels of the vitamin is dangerous, but this could not be further from the truth. Vitamin C is safer than milk! It DOES NOT cause kidney stones, in fact it prevents them. It also prevents gallstones by facilitating the break down of cholesterol in the gallbladder. 

In the book "Vitamin C: The Real Story," Andrew Saul has this to say about the safety of vitamin C:

"To put the safety of vitamin C in context, we consider that it might be easier to commit suicide by overdosing on pure water than by eating too much vitamin C."

So, I decided to conduct my own experiment.

My husband came down with strep throat shortly after I finished the book. He had the characteristic little white pustules on the back of his throat as well as redness and pain.

As you probably know, strep throat is especially contagious bacteria. I, too, came down with it. However, I realized the symptoms early, and I began a regimen of a gram (1,000 mg) of vitamin C every ten minutes until I hit bowel tolerance (which took about an hour).

My symptoms were gone in four hours.

I gave my husband two grams of vitamin C before he left for his doctors appointment. When he came back, the white pustules were gone and he said his doctor couldn't see them. The doctor told him he probably just had a cold and gave him antibiotics and sent him on his way.

Greg filled the prescription, but didn't want to take them. I completely understood why, so I gave him 4 grams of vitamin C and then 1 gram every 10 minutes until bowel tolerance. Both of us took one gram every four hours to maintain blood plasma levels.

We were completely cured in 24 hours, and our daughter never caught the bacteria. This little experiment proved to me that everything I read was true.

How to Take Vitamin C

When you begin taking vitamin C, you should start by taking 500 mg every hour or two until you reach what is known as bowel tolerance. This is a bad case of diarrhea, which is unmistakeable. It's also uncomfortable, but it only has to happen when your dosage is adjusted.

The dosage you should take daily will be about 50 to 90 percent of what you took to reach bowel tolerance. You can't take the dose all at once, however. Vitamin C has a very short half-life, approximately four hours. This means you'll need to take it every 4 hours to keep the amount of vitamin in the blood plasma at a constant level.

It also needs to be noted that the vitamin C molecule is almost identical to glucose (sugar). If taken with glucose, vitamin C is flushed instead of absorbed because the body gives precedence to glucose.  What does this mean? Don't take the chewable vitamin C tablets. They are made of mostly sugar, which means very little of the vitamin will be absorbed.

The amount of vitamin C the body needs varies by health. If you're sick, your going to need a much more than when you aren't. So if you catch a cold, you'll need to increase the dose of vitamin C until you reach bowel tolerance again (like I did in my little experiment).

Do not shy away from vitamin C if you're pregnant, or plan to become pregnant. Most children are born vitamin C deficient and scientists in Australia have found that SIDS may be a result of infantile scurvy. Many pregnant women will need over 10,000 mg a day by their third trimester. For more information on vitamin C during pregnancy, visit the Doctor Yourself website.

Do You Take Vitamin C? Let Me Know in the Comments!


  1. Very interesting stuff, DOM! I'm gonna have to check that out!

    1. Thanks Terrye!! Vitamin C is AMAZING!! Feel free to shoot me any question. The last cold I had (about a week ago) lasted a whole 24 hours and all I had was the sniffles and sneezing!