(Author Update: The author’s current opinion on Vitamin C in the supplement forms listed below is that it should not be used unless circumstances are dire; I would consider using it as an anti-cancer protocol only, in the mega-doses referenced in this article. Outside of that, I would not use supplemental C in any form except whole food form, such as the powdered dried food supplements available)
One of the biggest problems with information about vitamin C online, is that rarely are the experts discussing how much of it they take, what kind, and why. We hope this information serves as a useful starting point in that regard, instead of overwhelming you with the benefits or possible side effects of using high-dose Vitamin C.
The first thing we feel is important to understand is in settling what we can of the controversy around the use of Vitamin C. The Daily Values of vitamin C are considered to be extremely low…survival level values…by the experts universally. The values are considered *just enough* to prevent scurvy, survive, and little more. Certainly not thrive.
We report on personal experience as well as research by experts in the field.
In this regard, we have used “mega-dosing” of vitamin C to very effectively reduce disc-related inflammation, after suffering a disc herniation that actually happened several years before, as well as several other issues like UTI (Urinary Tract Infections) and oral/dental problems.
When symptoms of the herniated disc for example returned abruptly, which seemed to have been in part due to nutritional deficiencies and in part due to lack of strengthening the back muscles, a near-total inability to move was once again experienced due to the severe pain of the herniation and impingement of nerves.
20 Grams of Vitamin C, considered a somewhat even “low dose of mega dosing” of vitamin C, over the course of several days, alleviated the pain symptoms so effectively that there was about an 80% recovery by the fourth day, and continued improvement from there.
Ascorbic acid was used (more on the different kinds shortly), powdered, in a half or more glass of water every several hours to get to this level.
The way vitamin C is taken, is based on what is called “titrating to bowel tolerance” when used more as a medicine for therapeutic use, as compared to using it simply as a supplemental vitamin.
What is claimed in this process, is that if your body NEEDS vitamin C for healing purposes…be it due to illness, recovery, inflammation or free radical condition…your bowels will let you know how much you need, based on how much you take.
In other words, if you’re healthy, you may experience flatulence and/or diarrhea quickly upon exploring higher dose vitamin C for optimal health purposes. In this sense, we WANT to have these side effects available to us, since they act as an effective barometer in determining our own unique best dosages. It is believed that once your body has enough, it will let you know via the gas and/or needed trips to the bathroom with loose stools.
This is the most common and expected “side effect” of vitamin C mega-dosing.
If however your body has a huge demand…perhaps a huge free radical burden that a potent anti-oxidant like Vitamin C can help quench…you may be able to take in a full 20 grams AT ONE TIME (or MORE), without experiencing diarrhea.
This has been shown to happen to people who are very ill, suffering from things like mono or other infection or cold/flu. We’ve even read of reports of an ill person taking two to three *tablespoons* worth of ascorbic acid without any diarrhea whatsoever, while dealing with a chronic infection causing chronic fatigue-like symptoms.
Over time, the high doses you could handle when you were sick, you will likely find become much less, with diarrea coming on much more readily at lower doses, since the apparent bodily need for the vitamin C has been greatly reduced.
An interesting side note, is that Vitamin C is also being used for drug addicts to help them in their withdrawl stage. It has been reported (please search this if interested) that they too, during this intervention stage, can handle huge amounts of vitamin C, and best yet…seem to get tremendous relief through this kind of alternative therapy.
THE KINDS OF C:
The whole food varieties are what we would turn to first to get added vitamin C into our bodies, when not being used in a therapeutic environment such as illness or recovery. In that regard, camu and amla are favorites, the former being just a gargantuan powerhouse of naturally occurring vitamin C. If we are not in need of using vitamin C for medicinal-type use, the whole food sources are always going to be our chosen road.
Ascorbic acid in powdered form is considered to be the most rapidly absorbed and most readily used, bio-available form to the body. It can be derived from several sources but most often comes from corn. In that regard, we like to make sure it is as clean as possible, with emphasis on non-GMO varieties.
Animals can make their own…us humans cannot. Ever see your pet kitty or doggie get a “cold?” It is believed that they make between the equivalent of a bare minimum of two, up to twenty (or more) grams per day (in comparing their size/weight to ours). Meaning, the amount of vitamin C they produce naturally, would be the same as if we were taking 2 to 20 grams of ascorbic acid as a supplement per day.
You can see why Linus Pauling, the “grandfather of vitamin C,” lived to 93 taking 18 grams worth every day. He mixed his with sodium bicarbonate in about a 1 to 2 ratio (one part SB to 2 parts AA) to make a delish effervescent drink, and help offset the acidity of drinking straight AA, which can be damaging to teeth (more on the metabolic aspects of ascorbic acid creating acid conditions in the body in a moment…suffice it to say, as a weak acid, it does not tend to cause the body to “lean acidic.” People take it for many years without this issue)
Brush with aluminum-free sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) after drinking due to acidity on tooth enamel, OR, to avoid the abrasion of baking soda, I would simply dip my finger in a small cupful of baking soda I’d have on had for the very purpose of neutralizing the acidity, and simply place a few finger tips worth in my mouth to bring the pH up…feeling the acid being neutralized in a sizzle as I did so.
While I was on what most people would consider a “mega-dose,” I had metabolic testing done to keep tabs on my blood pH. The tests showed no acidosis after over 3 weeks of daily megadosing. Other researchers have claimed many years to literally decades worth of ascorbic acid mega-dosing without experiencing symptoms of acidosis.
My research shows that the kidney stone concern is largely a medical community myth; that large doses of C do NOT cause oxilate kidney stone issues, and actually help prevent them. HOWEVER, people prone to kidney stones must still be very careful in my opinion, and I would avoid any buffered calcium form of Vitamin C at all costs to help prevent calcium-based stones. It may in fact have been the calcium variety of C that caused this problem, and a perhaps even a host of other organ and calcification issues. I would personally never use it, and I even go so far as to support the almost total banning of calcium-based supplements and calcium-enriched foods. The calcium-magnesium balance in western civilization is enough of a problem as it is, with a projected 80% of us dealing with magnesium deficiency, while we’ve had calcium added to our foods for many years now that HAS to be compounding this problem. It’s something I feel strongly about. Having a magnesium deficiency will almost certainly cause over-calcium issues in the body.
But to continue on the kidney stones topic, if I were at risk for this condition, I would make darn sure I had adequate magnesium, and then drink at least half my weight in ounces of a clean spring water each day. Water is crucial to preventing kidney stones.
Are other nutrients “robbed” from the body when taking in ascorbic acid? My research suggests a minor copper “robbing,” but which I feel should be dealt with ONLY via eating foods high in copper, and never via a copper supplement. Too much copper in the body can cause much more serious complications, and copper-containing foods suffice for copper intake just fine.
VITAMIN C AND “REBOUND SCURVY”…A REAL CONCERN.
Vitamin C taken as ascorbic acid, with its high absorbancy rate in the body, can perform near-miracles. I have experienced this first hand. People either use it orally, or as sodium ascorbate in an IV (and when they do use the IV, researchers have strongly suggested that oral ascorbic acid be used *concurrently* WITH and WHILE using the IV…it enables the C to completely saturate all areas of the body).
If you take very large amounts of vitamin C, it is EXTREMELY important that the amounts are SLOWLY reduced OVER TIME, when the therapy is being completed.
If you do not, you may experience the rebound scurvy effect, and it is very…very…unpleasant, and takes a lot to recover from.
It’s not common that this happens.
Some people can take 20 grams for a disc herniation for example, and just take smaller amounts over a few days perhaps afterwards and be absolutely fine.
But for others, perhaps because of an existing underlying condition that the Vitamin C is also impacting in a positive way, a cut-off of vitamin C levels can disrupt enzyme functions to the point where side-effects are experienced.
This is easy to avoid!
Simply tapering off the C, perhaps reducing a gram a day over two to three weeks is taking it REAL slow, and none of the side effects will likely happen.
The writer of this article has experienced both: Rebound scurvy from going off high dose ascorbic acid too quickly, AND, has re-taken *even larger amounts* and tapered off slowly over two to three weeks, and experienced NONE of the unpleasant side effects of scurvy.
And again, it appears from my research that the vast majority…perhaps 90% of people…would not experience the rebound effect at all.
But it’s not worth risking.
So be conscious of this, and be prudent, should you decide to experiment.
Vitamin C can be AMAAAZING. I avoided disc herniation surgery thanks to ascorbic acid!
But it must be respected, and treated as a literal drug, when it’s used at these quantities.
(More info pending, a huge topic folks!)
Notes: Combining sodium ascorbate IV with to-titration oral ascorbic acid for complete saturation.