High-Dose Vitamin-C Therapy
QUANTITY, FREQUENCY, and DURATION are the keys for the effective use of high-dose vitamin C therapy (orally or intravenously).
Often we hear from clients, “I shouldn’t have to take so much vitamin C.” That’s certainly true; you don’t have to. But if you want a quick recovery, and use vitamin C, you might as well use it effectively. When it comes to health, we are interested in results.
And high doses of vitamin C gets results better than any toxic drug on the market, with minimal or no side effects. So, remember, we take what the body requires and wants, NOT what WE THINK we need or SHOULD take.
The safety of vitamin C is extraordinary. There is not one case of vitamin C toxicity anywhere in the world’s medical literature. Frederick R. Klenner, M.D. of North Carolina cured diphtheria, staph and strep infections, herpes, mumps, spinal meningitis, mononucleosis, shock, viral hepatitis, arthritis and polio using high doses of vitamin C (Journal of Preventive Medicine).
Dr. Klenner, “Ascorbic acid is the safest and the most valuable substance available to the physician” and “If you want results, use adequate ascorbic acid.”
The only mammals on the planet that don’t produce Vitamin C in their bodies are: Humans, Primates, Guinea Pigs and Fruit Bats?
The USDA daily recommended dosage for vitamin C is only 90 mg. ALL other mammals on-average consume between 3,000 to 11,000 mg. per day. Interestingly, the very fact that the Guinea Pig cannot make any Vitamin C is one of the primary reasons it has served scientific researchers so well. The Guinea Pig can be made ill or toxic much more easily than a Vitamin C producing research animal. MMMmmm.
Of the four mammals mentioned above, only humans have changed their dietary preferences to include meat, yet unable to produce their own Vitamin C. Gorillas, Guinea Pigs and Fruit Bats seem to know by instinct that to stay healthy they must ingest large quantities of foods containing Vitamin C. Fruit Bats are so named because they favor fruit as their primary source of food.
You need very little vitamin C to stay alive, but without any you die. It is called scurvy. The reason: vitamin C is involved in making collagen, and collagen is the main protein in artery walls. No vitamin C and you literally bleed to death from the inside-out. That’s a margin of error of 90 mg per day to preserve your life.
So, at the minimum USDA level of 90 mg you live. At moderate levels of consumption—from 500 to 1,500 mg— the vitamin works to build health. Fewer colds will be reported; incidence, severity, and duration of influenza will be less. But at high levels— 8,000 to 40,000 mg per day—we obtain therapeutic effects, which include antihistamine, antitoxin, and antibiotic properties.
Vitamin C works a lot like money and gasoline. Money buys things. It’s nature does not change–even if you have a lot of it–but its power does. And if it takes 100 gallons of gas to drive from New York City to Los Angeles, you simply are not going to make it on 10 gallons, no matter how hard you try. Likewise, if your body wants 70,000 mg of vitamin C to fight an infection, 7,000 mg won’t do. The key to vitamin C supplementation is to take enough, often enough, and long enough.
Let me repeat: the safety of vitamin C is amazing, even in extremely high doses. Compared to commonly used prescription drugs, side effects are almost nonexistent. The most common side effect is diarrhea. This indicates saturation, and your daily dose is then dropped back to the highest amount that will not bring on diarrhea. This is called the “therapeutic level.”
- Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, M.D., Ph.D. won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1937 for the discovery of vitamin C. His work in defining the chemical structure of vitamin C, along with isolating and purifying it, allowed many subsequent researchers to study the continuing and expanding role of vitamin C in medicine and science.
- Dr. Linus Pauling, Ph.D. believed that vitamin C deficiency caused weak arteries, which the body then would repair with plaque. Eventually, plaque accumulation would cause blockage of arteries. Dr. Pauling deserves an enormous amount of credit for helping to educate the world on the many benefits of vitamin C.
Dr. Pauling won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1954 and the Nobel Prize in Peace in 1962. He did not hesitate to put his credibility on the line in promoting vitamin C to the world and a medical profession that did not want to be advised by a non-physician. Even though vitamin C is still greatly under-utilized today, Dr. Pauling managed to get more people taking a good daily dose of vitamin C than any other individual in history. Although he was not a medical doctor, Dr. Pauling probably had a far greater positive effect on world health than he did in his chosen field of chemistry. Pauling himself is said to have taken 12,000 mg per day. He noted that veterinarians recommended far higher doses of vitamin C for primates than what was recommended for people. So he initially extrapolated the dosages from monkeys, and determined that humans likely need a minimum of six grams per day — 200 times more than the RDA.
- Dr. James Enstrom from the University of California studied the vitamin C intake of over 11,000 people for 10 years. He found that a mere 300 mg of vitamin C a day reduced risk of heart disease by 50 percent in men and 40 percent in women. The test also revealed that a higher intake of vitamin C boosted life expectancy by 6 years–6 years! In another study, Dr. Willis found that people taking 1,500 mg of vitamin C a day for 12 months reversed plaque while those who didn’t take vitamin C had worsening plaque.
Because our food supply is compromised and nutrient deficient, besides optimal vitamin c intake, a good supplementation program of whole food supplements, minerals, and vitamins (Top 11 Supplements click here), should probably be on everybody’s agenda.
For the average healthy adult, taking a daily dose of vitamin C ranging between 3,000 and 12,000 mg will generally meet the body’s metabolic needs. Taking less than 3,000 mg of vitamin C a day would be an optidose for only a few individuals, while chronic cancer or infection patients, like those with AIDS, can have bowel tolerances of 100,000 mg or even higher.
Once bowel tolerance has been determined, take the same dose of vitamin C in 3 or 4 divided doses throughout the day without causing the “flushing” effect of loose or runny stools. If diarrhea or loosened bowels are experienced even with the divided regimen, adjust the dose downward until the effect is no longer present. Remember, however, that vitamin C-induced diarrhea is a good thing to periodically undergo since it cleans out the bowels and detoxifies pockets of toxicity that are harbored in the gut.
A word of caution for those with kidney disease that have not progressed to a state of acute or chronic renal failure. Keep well hydrated and make sure not take calcium ascorbate. Drink at least two quarts of “purified” water daily. It is also absolutely essential if you have compromised renal function that you work with a qualified health practitioner.
- Sodium or plain ascorbic acid are the supplement forms of choice.
Many people who end up with stone formation are older and have been taking calcium supplements and/or multiple prescription medications in addition to their vitamin C doses.
If you’ve been taking calcium supplements for years, without extra vitamin K-2, you may have extensive calcium deposits throughout your soft tissue (including your arteries). Vitamin C dissolves calcium readily, and when a person starts taking vitamin C for the first time, greater amounts of calcium will be dissolved from these deposits than when vitamin C has already been taken for an extended time. Especially if you are older, stay well hydrated and start with smaller doses of vitamin C, then increase slowly over time. For those seeking objective measurements get a periodic urinary calcium measurement test from your doctor which will indicate the amount of calcium being excreted from the body. Once that has stabilized you can then increase your vitamin C dosage. Also, unless you have specific medical problems that need to be treated and monitored, you should at least have a complete blood count, full biochemistry panel, iron and ferritin levels, and thyroid function tests performed annually.
What Form of Vitamin C is Best?
Today you can find vitamin C in many different forms with many claims regarding its efficacy or bioavailability. The term bioavailability refers to the degree to which a nutrient (or drug) becomes available to the body after it has been taken. First of all, natural and synthetic L-ascorbic acid are chemically identical, and there are no known differences in their biological activity. Bottom line–Vitamin C supplements are available in many forms, but there is little scientific evidence that any one form is better absorbed or more effective than another. Once plasma ascorbic acid levels reach saturation, additional vitamin C is largely excreted in the urine. However, and this is important for those who are critically ill, “intravenous administration of vitamin C bypasses absorptive control in the intestine such that very high concentrations of ascorbic acid can be achieved in the plasma.“
In addition, there is a form of encapsulation called liposomal vitamin C. Liposomal absorption is very different from intestinal absorption. Most nutrients and drugs are molecules too large to be absorbed, so they are broken down in the digestion process to a size where they can slip between the stomach and intestinal cell walls and enter the blood stream. The liver and other organs then re-assemble the molecules. Liposomal vitamin C absorption is different because it directly enters the cell. The fat layer of the liposome protects the vitamin C from coming into direct contact with the stomach and intestines. This protection prevents the intestinal side effects of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and increases absorption from 20% to almost 80%.
So, if you are critically ill, my suggestion is that you find a doctor who does intravenous administration so you can achieve high plasma concentrations, or use liposomal vitamin C.
“What kind of vitamin C should you take?”
The lion’s share of vitamin C are mineral ascorbates. The most common mineral ascorbates include the following:
- Sodium ascorbate,
- Calcium ascorbate, and
- Magnesium ascorbate
Sodium ascorbate is probably the best and certainly the least expensive for regular supplementation at relatively high doses (six grams or more daily). Anecdotally, I have never found multi-gram doses of sodium ascorbate to adversely affect blood pressure. However, since there are exceptions to every rule in biology, anyone who notices elevated blood pressures or ankle edema after high doses of sodium ascorbate would probably be well-advised to supplement with a different form of vitamin C. (Click image for further reviews and information at Amazon.com)
Calcium ascorbate is currently a very popular form of vitamin C supplementation. However, in my opinion calcium ascorbate is best avoided. Excess calcium is directly correlated to increased risk of heart attacks, increased incidence of chronic degenerative disease, and increased degree of overall “all-cause mortality.” So, if you are a chronic calcium supplement taker, just be aware that there are negatives to calcium ascorbate.
Magnesium ascorbate is another significant mineral ascorbate. Unlike the other mineral ascorbates (except for sodium ascorbate) it is very difficult to overdose on this form of ascorbate. This is because the magnesium is very bioavailable and very effective in reversing the damage done by excess calcium, a condition shared by most older individuals. Bioavailable magnesium is very effective in mobilizing abnormally deposited calcium throughout the body. As such, it is one of the most effective (and still least utilized) treatments available for osteoporosis. While there is nothing wrong with taking large amounts of magnesium ascorbate, it is more economical to take large doses of sodium ascorbate.
Potassium, manganese, zinc, molybdenum, and chromium ascorbates are additional mineral ascorbates. All of these can be easily be overdosed if they are used to deliver multi-gram doses of ascorbate. I suggest you avoid them.
Ascorbyl palmitate is a form of vitamin C that is somewhat unique in that it has both water-soluble and fat-soluble qualities. Ascorbyl palmitate is a very expensive way to provide daily multi-gram doses of ascorbate.
Liposomes were first proposed as a unique drug delivery system almost 35 years ago. One of the primary reasons for utilizing a liposome-encapsulation delivery system is to assure near complete absorption of the vitamin or drug into the bloodstream. It is virtually impossible to induce the “C-flush” effect of diarrhea with Liposomal C, as is often seen with large doses of the mineral ascorbates–most commonly sodium ascorbate.
Liposomal absorption is very different from intestinal absorption, because it directly enters the cell. The fat layer of the liposome protects the vitamin C from coming into direct contact with the stomach and intestines. This protection prevents the intestinal side effects of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Liposomes are commonly used for nutrients that are very difficult to absorb. However, vitamin C is readily absorbed, so from that perspective it doesn’t make sense to put the ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in liposomal form. However, for vitamin C the liposomes protect the individual from intestinal discomfort, and allow the supplementation of clinically relevant doses, much like the bioavailability of intravenous vitamin C. So if you are the sensitive type you might want to opt for liposomal vitamin C.
I do not recommend calcium ascorbate for regular ingestion of vitamin C. For mega-dosing I use sodium ascorbate. It is an economical, well-tolerated form of vitamin C. While many wish to avoid the “C-flush” effect, or intestinal discomfort, it’s a very good way to keep the gut detoxified and clean. Another economical choice is Costco’s Kirkland 1000 mg Vitamin C with Rose Hips and Citrus Bioflavonoid Complex. For those wishing to have a near-complete absorption of their “C” dose, the liposome-encapsulated and “very expensive form” of vitamin C is optimal. (See Dr. Mercola’s Brand above.)
For acute infectious and toxic states, I still recommend intravenous sodium ascorbate, usually at doses of 50 grams or more over several hours for most individuals. However, I would also recommend adding the liposome-encapsulated form of vitamin C orally at the same time. If the intravenous sodium ascorbate is not available, I recommend taking sodium ascorbate to bowel tolerance, and then taking the liposome-encapsulated form of vitamin C, several grams hourly, guided by symptoms and response to determine subsequent dosing.
Vitamin C — Antidote too all known toxins — by Thomas Levy, MD