What effects can high dose vitamin C have?
Some doctors claim vitamin C taken at a very high dose can greatly affect the course of a disease or even be curative if taken in very early stages where the virus infection is still active and there is little long term bodily damage caused yet. For those who have not been ill with M.E. for very long, this treatment should be seriously considered and may be of great benefit or even curative, and the only risk (when the dose is raised slowly) is temporary mild gastric upset.
It’s hard to find any reason why this treatment should not be strongly recommended, or even mandatory, for anyone in the acute early stages of M.E.or other viral diseases.
High dose vitamin C can cause feelings of intense physical wellbeing and improvements in many different neurological, cardiac and other symptoms. In addition to improvements in the condition generally, high dose vitamin C is also worth considering in conditions such as M.E. and others due to its ability to help fight off secondary infections and reduce cancer risk and chemical sensitivities. Again, it’s very hard to find any reason why this treatment should not be strongly recommended, or even mandatory, for anyone with long-term illness. There is much potential for benefit and the only risk (when the dose is raised slowly) is temporary mild gastric upset.
Vitamin C is involved in almost every bodily process and helps our bodies maintain homeostasis. Irwin Stone explains in his book on vitamin C that,
Throughout the evolution of the vertebrates, including the mammals, Nature has used ascorbic acid to maintain physiological homeostasis. In simple nontechnical terms, this means that when stressful situations arose which disturbed the biochemical equilibrium of the animal, ascorbic acid was produced in increased quantities to get things running normal again. The amount of ascorbic acid produced is related to the severity of the stresses and if enough was produced soon enough, then the animal was able to survive the bad biochemical effects of the stresses. If, however, the enzyme system for producing ascorbic acid was overwhelmed or poisoned by the stresses and too little ascorbic acid was produced, then the animal succumbed. Man, unable to produce his own ascorbic acid, could not take advantage of this natural protective process. Instead stresses only further depleted his low stores of this vital metabolite. Now he can easily duplicate this time-tested defensive mechanism by reaching for the bottle of ascorbic acid and swallowing additional quantities whenever he is subjected to biochemical stresses. In duplicating this normal process for combating stresses, man has one great advantage over the other mammals -- he can get an unlimited supply of ascorbic acid without being dependent upon an enzyme system which may not produce enough, quickly enough. All man needs to know is how much to take.
One of the outstanding attributes of ascorbic acid is its lack of toxicity even when given in large doses over long periods of time. This has been recognized since the 1930s, and ascorbic acid can be rated as one of the least toxic substances known of comparable physiological activity. It can be administered in huge doses, intravenously, without registering any serious side effects.
High dose vitamin C is not any type of miracle cure for very severe long-term ilness, and no promises can be made about outcomes; that treatment a, b and c together will always give you outcome d. The aim here is to give your body its best possible chance to at least partly heal itself by giving it some of the basic tools and materials it needs to heal itself.
What is the best dosage?
Daily dosage recommendations given for vitamin C in serious diseases vary widely. Failure to benefit from Vitamin C use is usually due to inadequate amounts being used for too short a period of time, say vitamin C experts. These same experts state that there is no syndrome or disease which cannot benefit significantly from the right amount of high dose vitamin C. Quantity, frequency and duration are the key.
Conservative approach: For proponents of high dose vitamin C, a very conservative dose for serious illness would be 6 to 10 grams daily taken orally and broken up into two, three or four hourly doses. (A dose of 3 to 5 g daily is the conservative daily recommendation for healthy people to help maintain health, although some experts recommend 15 g daily for basic health maintenance.)
Note that it may take a dose of 10 – 15 g until noticeable benefits from vitamin C therapy are felt in M.E. or other disabling disease such as improvements in chemical tolerance and overall wellbeing. Lack of benefit at doses much lower than this should not be taken as an indication that high dose vitamin C would be ineffective.
Moderate approach: Many proponents of high dose vitamin C recommend that vitamin C be taken orally to bowel tolerance in serious illness. This dose varies from person to personal and generally speaking those who are more severely ill often can tolerate a higher dose. Dosage in severe disease may vary from perhaps 15 to 50 g (or even 100 g) daily, taken in divided doses every hour or every two or three hours with extra taken just before bedtime. Vitamin C has an active life of only 3 – 4 hours once ingested. There are no large storage depots for ascorbic acid in the body and any excess is rapidly excreted.
Vitamin C by IV is vastly more effective, but of course IVs are not always possible or practical and not all patients can afford liposomal vitamin C. Most vitamin C experts prefer to administer vitamin C by IV or liposomal vitamin C, but do add that oral vitamin C can also have significant benefits at high doses when taken regularly for a significant period of time.
Dedicated approach: Liposomal vitamin C is less expensive and easier to take than vitamin C by IV, and preliminary evidence shows that this form of vitamin C may be taken up intracellularly even more effectively than vitamin C given IV. This form of vitamin C avoids the gastic upset of standard vitamin C supplements. The usual dosage is 2 – 6 (1 g) sachets daily, taken in divided doses.
Very dedicated approach; Many proponents of high dose vitamin C recommend that vitamin C be taken intravenously (or sometimes intramuscularly) to bowel tolerance in serious illness. Often taking additional vitamin C orally to bowel tolerance, is also recommended. Taking 2 – 6 sachets of liposomal vitamin C 10 minutes before the IV may also greatly increase intracellular uptake of vitamin C from the IV.
Patients and doctors may wish to first try 4 – 6 sachets of liposomal vitamin C daily, before trying vitamin C IVs or a combined liposomal vitamin C and vitamin C IV regimen.
Vitamin C IV dosage is usually 25 – 50 g or up to 150 g daily, or perhaps higher in acute stages of the disease. IVs may be given 1-3 times weekly (and may also contain B complex vitamins to form a ‘Myers’ Cocktail’). Taking high dose vitamin C via IV will produce far more pronounced effects than taking it orally, and the amount able to be given without causing gastric problems will be much higher. This approach is necessary most of all where there patient is still in the acute early stage of the infection but it can also provide an extra benefit for long-term patients as well.
Whichever dose is taken, note that it is very important in sensitive individuals that this dose is worked up to gradually.
What does ‘to bowel tolerance’ mean, and why is this recommended?
The amount of ascorbic acid which can be taken orally without causing temporary stomach rumbling, excessive gas, or diarrhoea when a person is ill sometimes is over ten times the amount they would tolerate if well. The increased tolerance is somewhat proportional to the toxicity of the disease being treated (although of course there are exceptions where healthy people can tolerate high amounts and very ill people who are unable to take even small amounts).
The theory is that gastric problems only occur when a person is given more vitamin C than they need. It is only that excess amount of ascorbate not absorbed into the body which causes diarrhoea; what does not reach the rectum, does not cause diarrhoea. Thus diarrhoea is not just a troublesome side-effect to be managed, but a useful short-term symptom which helps you measure how much vitamin C your body needs at any one time.
Dr Robert F. Cathcart states that,
Over the past ten-year period I have treated over 9,000 patients with large doses of vitamin C. The effects of this substance when used in adequate amounts markedly alters the course of many diseases. Stressful conditions of any kind greatly increase utilization of vitamin C. Ascorbate excreted in the urine drops markedly with stresses of any magnitude unless vitamin C is provided in large amounts. However, a more convenient and clinically useful measure of ascorbate need and presumably utilization is the BOWEL TOLERANCE. The amount of ascorbic acid which can be taken orally without causing diarrhea when a person is ill sometimes is over ten times the amount he would tolerate if well. This increased bowel tolerance phenomenon serves not only to indicate the amount which should be taken but indicates the unsuspected and astonishing magnitude of the potential use that the body has for ascorbate under stressful conditions.
How does one titrate vitamin C to bowel tolerance?
To titrate oral vitamin C to bowel tolerance start by taking just 1 g of vitamin C daily every day for a week. If there are no problems, increase this to 2 g every day for the next week, and so on, until you either reach bowel tolerance (or the dose you have decided to stop at), or you get close to the 15 g mark. If you have reached 15 g daily, have no problems and want to keep going until you find your bowel tolerance dose, you may then like to start adding an extra gram of vitamin C every day instead of every week.
Remember to always space out the doses during each day as much as you can. If you experience any problems, cut back your dose slightly and stop raising the dose until they resolve.
When increasing your dose over time, at some point mild stomach rumbling, excessive gas, bowel pressure or diarrhoea will occur. Experts say the amount of vitamin C your body needs is somewhere between 80 and 90% of the amount that causes gastric upset. When the right amount of vitamin C has been found, there will be no gas etc.(if there is, too high a dose is being taken and the dose should be cut back by 10% or 20%).
The aim is to take the dose just below what would cause diarrhoea. Vitamin C experts state that to achieve the best results, it is absolutely necessary that high dose vitamin C IVs be given or oral vitamin C very close to bowel tolerance.
Again, it is important that vitamin C at high doses is taken in as many divided doses as possible. If you were taking 15 g of C daily for example, you would have to break this up into at the very least 5 equal doses, taking a 3 g dose every 3 hours or so. Larger doses taken all at once may cause gas that would be avoided if instead smaller doses were taken more often. See ‘The high-dose vitamin C checklist for M.E. patients’ below for more information.
Note that while generally speaking, the more ill you are the more vitamin C your body needs and can use, Linus Pauling explains that it is also true that biochemical individuality also affects how much vitamin C you need. Some people need far more vitamin C than average, while others can take much less and still get the same effect. Thus a dose of 2 g daily may be enough for one healthy person to avoid most colds and flu, while another (also healthy) person may need 10 g daily to get the same effect. This is why titrating to bowel tolerance is recommended, rather than just set amounts for each disease being given. You need as much vitamin C as it takes for your body to get the job done, no more and no less.
The importance of raising the dose gradually
Irwin Stone explains in his book on vitamin C that:
Even though ascorbic acid is rated as one of the least toxic materials, man has been exposed to such low levels of it for so long that suddenly taking comparatively large amounts, orally, may provoke side reactions in a small percentage of certain hypersensitive individuals. Ascorbic acid in the mammals is normally produced in the liver and then poured directly into the bloodstream. This completely avoids the digestive tract, which is normally the route for man.
Evidence for these side reactions may be the appearance of gastric distress, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, or skin rashes, all of which disappear on reducing or eliminating the ascorbic acid. Tests should be conducted on these hypersensitive individuals to determine whether their symptoms can be avoided or controlled by substituting the non-acidic sodium ascorbate, by taking the doses with meals, or by gradually building up to the required dosage instead of initially prescribing and starting with the full dosage. In many cases, an initial intolerance to ascorbic acid disappears.
Many vitamin C experts recommend patient start immediately with high dose IVs, but in M.E. this will often cause relapse – a relapse that could be avoided if instead the patient was allowed to gradually increase their vitamin C intake one extra gram weekly or daily or less, and only given vitamin C by IV when they had built up an appropriate tolerance for such a high dose. (Remember that oral vitamin C is less well absorbed than vitamin C by IV. Before taking 10 g of vitamin C by IV, see if you can get up to 20 g C daily orally first.)
Note that vitamin C dosage should be built up gradually, and the same is also true for lowering the dose of vitamin C, to avoid any minor problems.
Even at high doses vitamin C is very safe, please read the extra information links provided for more information on problems which may occur, however, albeit rarely. Claims that high dose C causes kidney stones or problems absorbing B12 are a myth.
Serious illness creates an increased need for vitamin C. Even when supplements of vitamin C are taken well above the RDA, in some cases scurvy (an acute vitamin C deficiency disease) can still occur. Fatigue, easy bruising, and bleeding gums are early signs of vitamin C deficiency that occur long before actual scurvy develops. Vitamin C supplementation is also essential for those that smoke, drink alcohol or take steroids, antidepressants or the pill.
Elderly patients may have more problems tolerating high oral doses, but may be able to tolerate IV vitamin C well. Infants, children and teenagers will often tolerate far more vitamin C orally or by IV, proportional to their body weight, than adults. Vitamin C is said to be one of the safest substances you can ingest.
How does one work out the maintenance dose of vitamin C?
Vitamin C is one of those supplements where continued use may be needed to maintain the effect. If there is a benefit from high dose oral vitamin C to bowel tolerance, after several months cut back the dose slowly day by day and observe the effect. The aim is to take the lowest dose possible that still gives you the desired effect. There is no point in taking far more than is needed. This maintenance dose may be much less than the initial ‘bowel tolerance’ dose. Those that wish to stay on a ‘bowel tolerance’ dose will find that the body’s tolerance to vitamin C increases over time.
Taking more vitamin C on those days the body is coping with more stress (cold weather, surgery, overexertion etc.) may be helpful, and it may also be helpful to immediately raise the dose as high as can be tolerated at the first signs of a cold or flu.
High dose vitamin C can interfere with local anaesthetic injections, so vitamin C should be avoided the morning of the dentist visit and resumed immediately after the appointment.
Note that while many effects of high dose vitamin C will be seen immediately, some benefits (such as the antihistamine effect) may take 2 to 3 weeks, or somewhat longer, to become fully apparent.
Which form of vitamin C should one take orally?
Generally speaking, the form of vitamin C recommended to take orally is plain ascorbic acid.
(Ester Cs and ascorbyl palmitate are not more effective than plain ascorbic acid, according to recent books on high dose vitamin C. Nor are ‘natural’ sources of C.)
The Vitamin C Foundation explains that not all forms of vitamin C are created equal. The form of vitamin C taken by the late Nobelist Linus Pauling was ascorbic acid. Pauling took his ascorbic acid in water and he added some bicarbonate (baking) soda to make a buffered, more alkaline and effervescent pleasant tasting drink. (It is recommended that you wait for the drink to stop fizzing before you drink it.)
Robert Cathcart MD explains that mineral ascorbates may not be as effective,
I noticed that it was not entirely clear that the dramatic effects are always with ascorbic acid orally and sodium ascorbate intravenously. I have not been able to achieve the ascorbate effect with mineral ascorbates orally. Mineral ascorbates are fine forms of vitamin C but when you are really sick, the mitochondria are failing in their refueling of the free radical scavengers with electrons. The ascorbic acid carries 2 extra electrons per molecule where the mineral ascorbates seem to carry only one (plus per molecule the mineral ascorbates are heavier due to the mineral weighing more than the hydrogen the mineral replaces). So the mineral ascorbates are not potent enough to accomplish the ascorbate effect. There may be other reasons that we do not appreciate additionally.
Ascorbic acid (hydrogen ascorbate) is the form of vitamin C made in the livers (or kidneys) of most animals. This form is highly reactive and biologically active. While the vast majority of vitamin C experts recommend that only pure ascorbic acid be taken orally and warn that buffered forms are not as effective, a small number of experts do not make this same distinction and do recommend the buffered varieties. According to vitamin C expert Robert Cathcart MD, however, twice as much of any other form of the vitamin than ascorbic acid is required to achieve therapeutic results when taken by mouth.
Taking pure ascorbic acid can upset the stomach of some patients, however. Ascorbic acid tablets or capsules may be a better choice where the taste of ascorbic acid in water is intolerable but there are no problems once it reaches the stomach. These forms also protect tooth enamel.
For those that cannot tolerate plain ascorbic acid, adding bicarb soda is probably the easiest way to buffer the solution. The Vitamin C Foundation explains that the total mass of sodium bicarbonate in the blood of an adult human is typically around 10 g. Any excess sodium bicarbonate is excreted by the kidneys. Dissolving ascorbic acid and sodium bicarbonate in water yields a solution of sodium ascorbate and carbonic acid, which releases carbon dioxide into the water. (So you have sodium ascorbate in seltzer water.) Sodium ascorbate has been administered intravenously in doses up to 50 g, without adverse affects. When bicarb soda is taken with ascorbic acid in the correct ratio, this mixture does not upset the pH of the blood. This is why it is important not to take more bicarb soda than is needed to neutralise the ascorbic acid. For every 1 teaspoon of ascorbic acid, roughly ½ a teaspoon of bicarb soda should be added. That is a 2:1 ratio, by mass. Sodium ascorbate is well tolerated because the sodium ion is plentiful in the bloodstream, more so than magnesium or calcium ions, for example.
Vitamin C expert Dr Thomas Levy explained in his article The Many Faces of Vitamin C, that:
Sodium ascorbate is probably the best and certainly the least expensive of the mineral ascorbates for regular supplementation at relatively high doses (six grams or more daily). Many doctors and patients fear the regular dosing of sodium, however, due to the long-standing medical admonition to minimize sodium intake, especially for hypertension and cardiac failure patients. Indeed, sodium chloride (table salt) has long been known to facilitate fluid retention (increased plasma volume), a state that directly aggravates hypertension and heart failure. However, it appears that only sodium really results in significant fluid retention when administered with the chloride anion. Sodium when given with the anions citrate, ascorbate, or bicarbonate does not appear to adversely affect hypertension or to increase blood volume.
Because of these findings, it has been directly suggested that the concept of "sodium-dependent" hypertension should be changed to "sodium chloride-dependent" hypertension (Kurtz and Morris, 1983; Kurtz et al., 1987). Anecdotally, I have never found multi-gram doses of sodium ascorbate to adversely affect blood pressure or blood volume status. However, since there always appear to be 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.
Buffered powders of vitamin C may well not be as effective, but if it is all that can be tolerated then it is still very much worth taking. When taking mineral ascorbates (buffered vitamin C), remember to take into account the amount of this mineral in working out overall intake. Taking very large amounts of calcium in particular will be problematic and should be strictly avoided. Potassium, manganese, zinc, molybdenum, and chromium ascorbates can also easily be taken at too high a dose when multi-gram doses of vitamin C are taken and so are only appropriate when taken at low doses. The best form is sodium ascorbate, followed by magnesium ascorbate.
Look for vitamin C powders that make claims about purity (100% pure and pharmaceutical grade), about being fine powders that are more easily dissolved, and that are free of common allergens and toxic chemicals etc. If possible, it may be preferable to buy a GMO free C too. Some patients prefer supplements certified as corn free as well (made from tapioca). A list of good quality GMO-free and/or corn-free vitamin C products is available here: Excellent supplements list. (This list will be updated periodically.)
Buy only high quality aluminium free or pharmaceutical grade bicarb soda, if at all possible. (For example Bob's Red Mill Aluminum free baking soda.)
When taking ascorbic acid powder in water without bicarb soda, drink it with a straw to prevent the acid liquid from making contact with (and damaging) your teeth and rinse the mouth well with water after each dose.
It is generally recommended that vitamin C powders are mixed with water and swallowed as soon as possible to prevent oxidation, although Linus Pauling does say that vitamin C in water can be kept in the fridge for several days without significant oxidation.
The form of vitamin C used for IVs is always sodium ascorbate. IVs of vitamin C should never contain preservatives, and patients may benefit from the use of smaller bore needles than may typically be used for adults. Sometimes IV liquids are cased in glass rather than plastic for those with severe chemical sensitivities. See this article for doctors on how to make intravenous C solutions. IM injections of vitamin C, as with IVs, should also be in the form of sodium ascorbate as plain ascorbic acid is too acid to be used for this purpose. Dr Cathcart writes:
I watch patients for hypoglycemia (I encourage patients to eat while taking the IV), and dehydration (I encourage water and [to] slow the IV down.) I also see headaches afterward but not so much since I have been emphasizing the continuing high doses of oral ascorbic acid as soon as the IV is over. Actually I give oral ascorbic acid while the IV is going to get a double effect. Bowel tolerance goes up while the IV is running but one has to be careful to stop giving oral C about an hour before the IV stops or else you may get diarrhea as soon as the IV stops. The oral ascorbic acid is then started again 1/2 to 1 hour after the IVC stops.
Vitamin C powder, made into a paste with a small amount of water and applied to the affected area with a cotton swab can be used to treat receding gums and also various types of fungal conditions, rashes and skin lesions. If the skin is broken, plain ascorbic acid will string, so a better choice would be buffered vitamin C power or ascorbic acid powder with some bicarb soda added. You might treat just one side at first, so you can see more clearly exactly how well the paste is working. Oral thrush can be treated with a vitamin c spray, while twice daily inserts of 250 mg buffered vitamin C tablets can be used to treat vaginal thrush.
Additional notes on high dose vitamin C
When taking high doses of vitamin C in the longer term, it is highly recommended that some calcium and magnesium, at least 5000 IU of vitamin A and a multi-mineral tablet also be taken. Some doctors recommend that high dose vitamin C always be taken with 500 mg – 2 g of vitamin B5, depending on the vitamin C dose.
Some doctors also recommend that 1 g of bioflavonoids be taken whenever you take more than 1 g of vitamin C, although many experts (such as Linus Pauling) say that this is unnecessary and that all that is needed is basic ascorbic acid and lots of it. It should also be noted that eating reasonable amounts of fruit and vegetables every day also provides bioflavonoids in amounts that may easily equal what is contained in some bioflavonoid products. So you can easily skip buying extra bioflavonoids and choose to try to get them from your diet instead. You may also already be taking supplements such as Hawthorne, Ginkgo or Silymarin, which also contain bioflavonoids.
Foods which contain bioflavonoids etc. include: capsicums/peppers, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, lemons, kiwi fruit, melons, oranges, grapefruits, limes and tomatoes.
Bioflavonoid types (sometimes referred to as ‘vitamin P’) include: Dihydroquercetin, Hesperidin and Rutin, Pycnogenol, Hawthorne, Quercetin, citrus bioflavonoids, soy bioflavonoids, Quercetin, Grape seed extract, Ginkgo, Bilberry, Silymarin and Green tea extract.
When taking over 10 g daily, powders will most likely be preferable to tablets. Buying pure powders saves money and also means avoiding ingesting large amount of fillers used in various pills. When buying pure ascorbic acid powder, note that one teaspoon = 4.5 g of vitamin C. Always store your vitamin C in a cool, dark and dry area. Do not refrigerate vitamin C.
Like all vitamins and supplements, you need to check that before you try them that they do not react unfavourably with any prescription (or other) medications you are taking or that these medications won’t affect the effectiveness of your vitamin C treatment. If you are taking NSAIDS, aluminium-containing antacids, nitrate medications for the heart, tetracycline or Warfarin in particular, please do more reading before starting to take extra vitamin C.
Vitamin C is one of the most essential treatments for any disease.
To start, you could buy perhaps 3 or 4 bottles of 1000 mg (1 gram) vitamin C tablets or capsules choosing from plain ascorbic acid or buffered forms such as sodium ascorbate, magnesium ascorbate or calcium ascorbate – or perhaps some of each – or 3 or 4 bottles or so of a mixed buffered vitamin C product.
Sodium ascorbate, calcium ascorbate, magnesium ascorbate or mixed buffered vitamin C powders are fine too, and cheaper, if you are very sensitive to fillers used in tablets and capsules and can handle the extra effort of mixing vitamin C drinks, but otherwise tablets or capsules are easiest to begin with. If you can find some, magnesium ascorbate tablets are probably the best choice, as often patients are low in magnesium as compared to calcium.
Don’t worry about bioflavonoids if you can't afford them, they are not necessary. What is really important is the high dose vitamin C.
Note that taking vitamin C with food makes it gentler on your stomach.
As you slowly raise your dose, note that the ideal amount of vitamin C to take is just below the level that causes mild gas and bloating. If you reach the level that you experience these symptoms, cut back your dose by 1 g daily until the symptoms stop and that is your ideal daily dose.
If you start to experience some mild additional symptoms (flu-like symptoms, headaches or night-sweats etc.) at any point due to raising your vitamin C dose as described below, go back to how much you were taking the week before you started to experience problems. Stay at that dose for two or three weeks and then try slowly raising your dose again. (After that you might prefer to stay at each level for two or three weeks, instead of one, if you feel you are particularly sensitive to supplements.)
Week 1: Starting Sunday the ______ of ______________ Take one gram of vitamin C with your lunch each day this week; one 1000 mg tablet (or 1 g of powdered vitamin C, in water).
Week 2: Starting Sunday the ______ of ______________ Take one gram of vitamin C with your lunch and dinner each day this week. (Two 1 g tablets daily).
Week 3: Starting Sunday the ______ of ______________ Take one gram of vitamin C with your breakfast, lunch and dinner each day this week. (Three 1000 mg tablets daily in total, taken at least 3 hours apart and with food).
Week 4: Starting Sunday the ______ of ______________ Take one gram of vitamin C with your breakfast, lunch and dinner each day this week. (Three 1 g tablets daily in total, taken at least 3 hours apart and with food).
Week 5: Starting Sunday the ______ of ______________ Take two grams of vitamin C with your breakfast, and one gram with lunch and dinner each day this week. (Four 1 g tablets daily in total, each 1 or 2 g dose taken at least 3 hours apart and with food).
Week 6: Starting Sunday the ______ of ______________ Take two grams of vitamin C with your breakfast and lunch, and one gram with dinner each day this week. (Five 1 g tablets daily in total, each 1 or 2 g dose taken at least 3 hours apart and with food).
Week 7: Starting Sunday the ______ of ______________ Take two grams of vitamin C with your breakfast, lunch and dinner each day this week. (Six 1 g tablets daily in total, each 2 g dose taken at least 3 hours apart and with food).
Week 8: Starting Sunday the ______ of ______________ Take two grams of vitamin C with your breakfast, lunch and dinner each day this week as well as one extra time a day, with a snack. (Eight 1 g tablets daily in total, each 2 g dose taken at least 3 hours apart and with food).
You are now getting some of the benefits of taking high-dose vitamin C such as increased resistance to secondary infections and cancer! You may wish to leave it there, but if you are desperate and determined to get every last benefit from vitamin C that you can, and you haven’t felt the enormous sense of physical wellbeing that high dose vitamin C causes (and you want to!), and you’re are up to a bit of hassle in taking doses of powdered vitamin C more often, then please read on.
Week 9: Starting Sunday the ______ of ______________ Take two grams of vitamin C with your breakfast, lunch and dinner each day this week as well as two extra times a day, with a snack. (Ten 1 g tablets daily in total, each 2 g dose taken at least 2 ½ hours apart and with food).
Week 10: Starting Sunday the ______ of ______________ Now that you are taking 10 g of vitamin C daily, it is a good time to switch to powdered vitamin C. Powdered vitamin C is often much cheaper than tablets or capsules and contain NO fillers or additives. Make sure you choose a buffered form with no fillers (as listed above). A mixed form may be best, as you want to always check you aren’t getting too much magnesium and calcium.
For this first week, replace two of your five 2 g doses of vitamin C tablets with 2 g of vitamin C power in water. (You may wish to draw yourself up a small chart so you can remember what to take each day and mark off all the doses you have taken so you don’t take them twice.) To find out how much power makes 1 g, read the bottle. To measure your amounts correctly, you may wish to buy a measuring spoon set. You are still taking 10 g of vitamin C daily.
Week 11: Starting Sunday the ______ of ______________ This week, replace all five of your 2 g doses of vitamin C tablets with 2 g of vitamin C power in water. (If you are very ill on waking, you may choose to keep your first vitamin C dose of the day in tablet form, if that is easier for you.) You are still taking 10 g of vitamin C daily.
Week 12: Starting Sunday the ______ of ______________ This week, add an extra 2 g vitamin C dose each day, with food if possible. Try to have each of your six doses at least 2 hours apart. You are now taking 12 g of vitamin C daily.
Week 13: Starting Sunday the ______ of ______________ This week, raise all six of your vitamin C doses to 2.5 g. Try to have each of your six doses at least 2 hours apart, and with food if possible. You are now taking 15 g of vitamin C daily.
Week 14: Starting Sunday the ______ of ______________ This week, raise all six of your vitamin C doses to 3 g. Try to have each of your six doses at least 2 hours apart, and with food if possible. You are now taking 18 g of vitamin C daily.
Week 15: Starting Sunday the ______ of ______________ This week, raise all six of your vitamin C doses to 3.5 g. Try to have each of your six doses at least 2 hours apart, and with food if possible. You are now taking 21 g of vitamin C daily.
If you would like to keep raising your dose, as you have still not reached saturation level, you have two choices now. You can start taking your 3.5 g dose more often, say every 2 hours or every 1 ½ hours or even every hour, or you can keep to only having six doses a day and increase the size of those doses.
The first option is by far the better option. You are far less likely to have gastric disturbances if you take lower amounts of vitamin C more often, as opposed to higher amounts less often. Your body will also absorb more of the vitamin C if you take smaller doses less often.
You’ll likely have to experiment a bit until you find the schedule and dose that is right for you. You might have to do some experiments with how much vitamin C you can have at one time without having gastric problems and make sure you don’t go above that.
You may find that you are one of those patients that is able to have vitamin C away from meals with no problems at all and so find you are able to have doses more often each day without having to time them to go with meals.
You may wish to use an electronic timer, to remind you to take your vitamin C as often as you need to. (Timer programs are available for use while you are on the computer too.)
Again, the ideal amount of vitamin C to take is just below the level that causes mild gas and bloating. That is often anywhere from 15 to 50 g in M.E. If you reach the level that you experience these symptoms, cut back your dose by 10% or so or until the symptoms stop, and that is your ideal daily dose.
Vitamin C buffered with minerals such as salt, calcium and especially magnesium has been recommended here as these forms are the gentlest on the stomach, and may perhaps be well tolerated where pure ascorbic acid is not. However, if your stomach can tolerate it, pure ascorbic acid power or tablets or capsules is said by experts to be a much more effective form of vitamin C especially when patients are very ill and have mitochondrial problems (as explained in the main vitamin C paper). So once you have worked out how much vitamin C you are able to take daily, and how often, you might like to buy a small bottle of ascorbic acid power to see if you will be able to switch to this preferred or ideal form of vitamin C. Ascorbic acid tablets or capsules may be a better choice where the taste of ascorbic acid in water is intolerable, and these forms also protects tooth enamel.
To buffer ascorbic acid with bicarb, it should be mixed with a quarter or half as much bicarb soda. So for every ½ teaspoon of ascorbic acid, you would mix in ¼ teaspoon of bicarb soda. It makes a quite pleasant drink, that is not at all acidic and wont ruin tooth enamel etc. Some patients tolerate it well even on an empty stomach. You might want to start by mixing some pure ascorbic acid powder into your buffered vitamin C power (making sure to have it with meals at first), starting with ¼ and then ½ and then ¾ and if you are still having no problems, try a complete switch. If all you can tolerate are the standard buffered forms then so be it, but it’s a good idea to at least try pure ascorbic acid to see how you go as this form may be TWICE as effective as vitamin C buffered with calcium or magnesium etc. Remember to buy only high quality aluminium free or pharmaceutical grade bicarb soda, if at all possible. (For example Bob's Red Mill Aluminum free baking soda.)
Note that you MUST take the amount of calcium and magnesium in any buffered vitamin C you are taking into account when working out how much extra of both of these to take, especially if you have treated a vitamin D deficiency. If you have vitamin D levels above 20 ng/ml you should NOT be taking more than 600 mg of calcium from supplements daily. This is VERY important, especially now as you are starting to take quite large doses.
You will probably have to include some sodium ascorbate power or pure ascorbic acid powder in your mix to make sure you aren’t getting too much magnesium and (more importantly) calcium as you start taking higher doses of vitamin C. For buffering large doses of ascorbic acid, only sodium (or bicarb soda) is physiologically benign.
Another option once you’ve reached a high or even bowel tolerance dose with oral vitamin C, and are still after further improvements, would be to try liposomal vitamin C or vitamin C IVs, or both.
Taking high dose C long-term is very safe. When taking high doses of vitamin C in the longer term however, it is highly recommended that some calcium and magnesium, at least 5000 IU of vitamin A and a multi-mineral tablet also be taken. All of this may seem a lot of effort, and it is to some extent, but the reason many of us stick with taking high-dose C long-term is the significant benefits. It can really be worth it. For more information see the main Primal Panacea page.
“Modern medicine’s narrow approach, to treat every disease as if it were a drug deficiency, has resulted in a steep price for humanity. It is obvious millions have died prematurely since vitamin C was first discovered over 80 years ago. Brave and resolute men and women, Albert Szent-Györgyi, Irwin Stone, Linus Pauling, Ewan Cameron, Emil Ginter, Matthias Rath, Andrew Saul, Tom Levy, Steve Hickey, Raxit Jariwalla, John T. Ely, Hilary Roberts, and others promoted the idea of vitamin C therapy but were readily dismissed, even belittled.” Bill Sardi, author of You Don't Have to Be Afraid of Cancer Anymore
'I could also spend millions to prove that the small amounts of these nutrients will not prevent car accidents. Who is funding all these silly studies? No orthomolecular physician ever claimed that giving 200 IU of vitamin E and 500 mg of C cured anything.
Perhaps you should write a paper with tongue in cheek in which you announce, “Antibiotics Do Not Cure Infection”. Then, report somewhere hidden in the paper that you only gave them 200 or even 20,000 IU of a drug that requires doses of one million or more. Such reporting is a superb example of the cynical, expensive and sleazy research so loved by Big Pharma. This is because it delays the real introduction of good medicine, in the same way that tobacco companies denied smoking causes cancer and we supposedly needed more and more and more research to prove anything.
All this allows the companies to add millions of dollars to their coffers. Their defense is delay, delay and delay. The only objective of Big Pharma is to make money, lots and lots of it. How dare we try to prevent them from doing so?' Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D.
On 'natural' vitamin C, quotes from 'The natural vitamin C and so-called Vitamin C complex' paper:
"The ascorbate ion, the fraction commonly found in ascorbic acid, or one of the salts, e.g., sodium ascorbate or calcium ascorbate, is vitamin C. This is the substance that when missing in the diet causes death by scurvy. There is no scientific debate about this fact. The scientific literature is so voluminous that few would be capable of digesting it. Part of the problem is that today’s dietitians and orthodox nutritionists are taught to ignore much of the early research and medical doctors are not well versed in vitamin C either. Apparently this knowledge vacuum has opened the door to the emotionally appealing idea of a “natural” vitamin C-complex."
"It is known that animals generally do not require vitamin C in their diets. Almost all mammals, and virtually all animals, synthesize ascorbic acid in the liver or kidney. While most animals synthesize ascorbic acid, there is no scientific evidence that any animal synthesizes the ill-defined C-complex within its body."
"Any review of the scientific literature that spans 80 years and includes more than 100,000 published studies and reports, concludes that what is commonly called vitamin C, the ascorbate ion, or simply ascorbic acid, is the real vitamin C."
"Fortunately for humanity, synthetic vitamin C is inexpensive, offering the hope of better health to everyone. Vitamin C researcher Ralph Lotz points out that the 100 mg of the “natural vitamin C complex” sold by one company is 1,315 times more costly than synthetic vitamin C."
"Vitamin C as ascorbic acid is unique among the vitamins. Ascorbic acid is produced by most animals in large amounts. Rather than a complicated coenzyme, ascorbic acid is a rather simple sugar-like molecule and the animals synthesize it using a 4-step process. Few species have survived after losing the ability to synthesize ascorbate. This has created a valid argument as to whether vitamin C is really a “vitamin” (the term vitamin implies a trace factor), or whether humans require this substance in much higher amounts. There are high concentrations of ascorbate in the adrenal glands, and animals produce more when they are under stress. Irwin Stone suggested that a more descriptive term for ascorbic acid is the “missing stress hormone.”"
Note that the aim of this site is to provide a starting point for health and healing research for ill people; especially very overwhelmed and disabled ill people. This site provides recommendations, summaries and reviews of books but is not meant to be a replacement for actually reading some of these wonderful health books if the reader is at all well enough to do so. (Plus getting individualised advice from a doctor that is also an orthomolecular medicine expert if possible). There is no substitute for reading as many of these books as you can. The HHH site can only really hint at their full brilliance. The amount of insight, scientific references, logic, intelligence, compassion and experience in the recommended books will most likely amaze you. HHH aims to encourage people to do their own reading and learning, and to always make up their own minds. All content copyright Jodi Bassett 2006 - 2014.