The powerful curative uses of Vitamin C
I am not a health professional. Just a Concerned Mother with an interest in chemistry. Before using large doses of Vitamin C, please discuss your situation with a qualified health professional.
Would you believe an ad for a new ‘broad spectrum’ drug that claimed “antibiotic, anti fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, even anti-cancer?”(1) Has virtually no side effects?(2) Is extremely inexpensive and available in every grocery store? Unbelievable?
These qualities are precisely what we have in *therapeutic* doses of our humble old friend, vitamin C. Already, in the first half of the 20th century, pioneering physicians were using massive doses of vitamin C (ascorbic acid and its salt, the ascorbates), to treat everything from kidney stones(2) to polio.(3) Research by Linus Pauling (PhD, 2x Nobel Prize winner), et al, in the 1970s and beyond, confirmed these earlier case studies. Pauling himself, from age 67 to his death at 93, supplemented with massive doses of vitamin C on a daily basis.(2)
Vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients. Ascorbic acid (and the ascorbate ion) is essential to many body processes. Even a healthy body benefits from quantities much greater than we can reasonably obtain through diet alone. Furthermore, an ill body needs far more vitamin C than the healthy one to overcome illness.(1) In fact, calling ascorbate a ‘vitamin’ is misleading;(2) it might be more appropriately called the ‘fourth macronutrient’ when during illness the body needs as much ascorbate as protein.
Among other things, Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, repairing oxidative damage to cells, enzymes and other proteins.(2) It also reacts in some circumstances as an *oxidant* to disarm toxins and viruses. In the case of cancer, ascorbate inhibits the ability of cancerous cells to push through to surrounding tissues. Ascorbate is directly involved in the formation of collagen, the cement that holds healthy cells together, like the mortar for bricks.(2) It is even shown that ascorbate, in its prooxidant role, is selectively toxic to tumors, while leaving healthy cells unharmed.(1),(2),(6) So, can’t we get enough ascorbate from food? Why do we need to supplement with vitamin C?
While most animals, and virtually all plants are able to make their own vitamin C as needed from the very similar molecule, glucose, human beings do not. God designed us without this capability. It is possible the human body, created in that perfect environment, the Garden of Eden, did not need more C than Adam and Eve could easily consume in the local fruits. Then sin and its consequences led to their expulsion. Since then, the human race has faced illnesses of all kinds.
In my family we have used therapeutic doses of Vitamin C to cut short a cold,(5) reduce airborne allergy symptoms, treat insect bites, and dissolve worrisome skin growths. I made a salve of glycerine, Vitamin E and Vitamin C to treat a deep finger wound that was healing very slowly. With this treatment, it showed marked improvement overnight, every time. But this pales to my son’s experience.
My eldest son has struggled with cancer over the last 5 years, enduring four months of chemotherapy and two surgeries. A scan this spring revealed at least three sizable new tumors. The initial prognosis, per his oncologist, was very grim. My son immediately applied our recent understanding of nutritional therapy(4) and began supplementing with therapeutic doses of ascorbate.
The US government’s DRI for Vitamin C for males, 19-30 years, is 63 mg/day.+ Karl supplements instead with about 20,000-40,000 mg per day – roughly 500 times the conventional recommendation.
What are the side effects? If he takes too much, he gets mild diarrhea. Most days this does not occur – instead, his only side effects are feeling better and static – even shrinking – tumors. (Please continue to pray for him!)
What is a therapeutic dose? For vitamin C, this is based on body mass.* The usual recommendation is as follows (converted from kg to lb.): 160-320 mg per lb. of body mass, per day in divided doses.(1),(2),(3),(6) Vitamin C, like the B vitamins, is water soluble. In order to maintain a higher serum level of C, one must spread the dosage out over the day. So, for example, a 140 lb. adult, feeling ill with a cold or flu, might start with about 2500 mg (a rounded *1/2* tsp of ascorbic acid powder) dissolved in water or juice every 2 waking hours during an illness. One might increase the initial dose to 8000 mg(2) to see faster results, and/or increase the frequency to hourly, or the ongoing dosage up to 5000 mg. My family has found we can beat a wintertime head cold in about
one day with this regimen.
The most important thing to remember – take enough!(1),(3) The usual trouble with ascorbate therapy in conventional medical research is insufficient quantity.(6) There seems to be a threshold of effectiveness for benefit, which varies with the individual, the illness and the state of general health. So, if one is not seeing results, then increase the dose! But at what cost?
Vitamin C powder costs about $13 a pound on Amazon. A single therapeutic dose for a 140 lb. adult costs about 8 cents, or 64.4 cents to $1.29 per head cold.* The calculation for DayQuil/ NyQuil, which only masks symptoms, and would likely be needed for about 4-5 days for symptomatic relief, comes to at least $18.67 per head cold. And the comparison only gets better.
The price difference between Vitamin C and chemotherapy drugs is unimaginable. Chemotherapy costs thousands of dollars for each infusion. Even with health insurance, co-pays can become enormous. My son’s bill for four rounds of chemo several years ago, not including hospital stays, was over $30,000. In addition, chemo made him too sick to hold a job. Now, Karl’s daily ~40,000 mg of Vitamin C is about a tenth of a pound, or $1.30 per day – and he feels well enough to work. Over approximately 4 months now, his ascorbate therapy adds up to about $156** based on oral consumption of the powder or tablet version.
Forms of C
Vitamin C is available in many forms. Crystals, buffered, chewable, tablets, capsules, liposomal, esterified, and IV are all options, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Fruit flavored 500 mg chewables work well for my grandson, and the various crystals/powdered forms for adultsized doses. The therapeutically active part of Vitamin C is the ascorbate ion (ascorbic acid minus two hydrogen ions.) So, ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate, calcium ascorbate, and even ascorbyl palmitate (Ester-C®) are options. According to one of my sources, ascorbic acid is more powerful than the salts, because it has two electrons available as anti-oxidants, as opposed to one such electron for the salts.(2) All of these options also differ in ease of administration.
Ascorbic acid has a marked vinegary taste, sodium ascorbate is mildly salty, and calcium ascorbate has a bitter taste and does not dissolve easily in cold water. Liposomal C tastes like raw egg yolk – but even my 3 yo grandson will slug it down “like a cowboy drinking whiskey.” The chewables and tablets go down easily, but at high doses one may be consuming too much of the tableting ingredients. Claims for Ester-C® include greater effectiveness than other oral forms, and it is also more expensive. Liposomal C is very effective, and is quite a bit more expensive.(2),# Intravenous (IV) C would normally require the direct services of a doctor or nurse.** The oral (except liposomal) sources will produce an intestinal effect as you approach your body’s maximum absorption.
How Much is Enough?
The term “bowel tolerance” is used to describe the body’s vitamin C saturation point for oral intake. This quantity is different for each person and state of health. Bowel tolerance means the beginning of mild diarrhea. Once an individual experiences loose stools, he would cut the vitamin C dose in half, and continue dosing at the sublaxitive level until he is feeling better. There is the possibility of a rebound effect(3) so it’s best to taper off high doses over several days, according to bowel tolerance.
Literature research and personal experience has shown therapeutic use of vitamin C can be an optimal treatment for many illnesses. There are also therapeutic uses for other vitamins. Linus Pauling coined the term “Orthomolecular Medicine”(1) for the use of high doses of vitamin and other nutrients to treat illness. Perhaps, in his mercy, God gives us these natural tools to manage at least some of the physical consequences of original sin. Now you know; knowledge is power. The books listed below greatly expand on the concise information here. Some of the authors are also enthusiastic supporters of macro-evolution, which has never been scientifically observed. It’s possible to be an expert on therapeutic nutrition while being naive about evolution. It may be best to skip these references and just enjoy learning and applying nutritional remedies for your family. Do some investigation of your own, consult your health professional, and consider supplementing with the humble, simple, amazingly powerful Vitamin C!
Footnotes & References
Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Estimated Average Requirements
Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academies
* The math:
$13.00/lvC x lbC/100.5 tspC x tspC/4500 mgC x 140 lbPrs x 160 mgC/lbPrs x 1/day 64.4 c – $1.28 per day, treatment for one 24 hour day only.
$14.00/24 ozNQ X 2 ozNQ/dose X 4 dose/day X 4 days = $18.67 per head cold treatment of 4 days.
** Karl has just recently started receiving IV vitamin C several times a week, which costs more, and requires a prescription.
Approximate cost for IV C, from the University of Kansas Hospital website:
“Vitamin C infusions range in price from $125.00 to $160.“
See more at: http://www.kumed.com/medical-services/integrative-medicine/faq/iv-vitamin-c-faq#sthash.smrzgp8Z.dpuf
# Liposomal Vitamin C can be made inexpensively at home, using lecithin, sodium ascorbate, and an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner. However, I have not yet found any reliable information on the effectiveness of the process, so I can’t confidently recommend home-made liposomal C at this time. However, I do use it myself, in the hopes of the approximately 60-70” encapsulating efficiency claimed in various internet publications. Just last weekend I conducted an experiment, based on Brooks Bradley’s method, and did find a distinct difference in the sonicated version vs. the control solution, in both appearance and reactivity. I plan to repeat the experiment in a couple of weeks, with better equipment, to measure the difference between the two solutions.
(a few to get you started – all linked directly to amazon.com.)
Each has its own extensive bibliography, including peer-reviewed publications of original research in professional journals.
1. Orthomolecular Medicine for Everyone by Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD, and Andrew Saul, PhD
(2008 – This book is an excellent first resource for therapeutic nutrition in general.)
(Also on kindle.)
2. Vitamin C: The Real Story by Steve Hickey, PhD and Andrew Saul, PhD
(2008 – very informative!)
(Also on kindle.)
3. Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases & Toxins by Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD
(Also on kindle.)
4. Cancer and Vitamin C by Linus Pauling, PhD and Ewan Cameron
(Also on kindle.)
5. Vitamin C, the Common Cold, and the Flu by Linus Carl Pauling
(1970 & 1976 paperback & hardcover only)
(I haven’t read this one yet – but I just ordered a used paperback with happy anticipation.)
6. Doctor Yourself: Natural Healing that Works by Andrew W. Saul, PhD.
(Also on kindle.)
An alternate viewpoint of using as ascorbic acid vs. food-based vitamin C: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/beware-of-ascorbic-acid-synthetic/
Hi Janis! When Anne asked if she could share her findings, I knew there would be controversy on the subject. As the daughter of a Naturopathic Doctor, I see the two sides of these type of protocols all the time. What I liked about her article is that she backed it up with many resources. A person would have to do their homework, talk to their doctor and decide from there. It is good to have both sides presented so thanks for your comment! 🙂
Thank you for your interest, Janis. Yes, as you see, there is a great deal of disagreement about the advisability and effectiveness of therapeutic use of Vitamin C. As it can be an effective alternative to over-the-counter and prescription medications, profits and medical politics add to the controversy. Our personal experience has been uniformly positive. Please consider reading some of the reference material at the end of the article.