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Vitamin C

Summary:  Use vitamin C as required.  Get a powdered form since it is cheaper and usually more effective.  Taking a total of 3 grams per day is a good measure for maintenance.  Use in divided doses, using less if it causes diarrhea or other flushing symptoms (see text below), and build up to required dose as the body acclimates.  Dosage schedule as some vitamin C advocates define it, in grams per day

Very low dose:  < 1 gram.
Low dose: 1 to 3 grams. 
Medium dose: 3 to 15 grams.  
High dose: 15 to 30 grams.  
Very high dose: 30 to 50 grams.
Ultra high dose: 50 grams or more.

Vitamin E, preferably Mixed Tocopherols, should be taken when significant amounts of vitamin C are being used long term.  Supplements which contain iron should not be used when taking large amounts of vitamin C, especially ascorbic acid, since it can increase iron absorption too much. While plain ascorbic acid (vitamin C) medium or higher dose therapy may be the most beneficial method to fight illness short term in some cases, it is generally best to switch to a mineral ascorbates product after a week or two to help prevent mineral depletion. A good diet rich in fruit and vegetables should also be followed to provide additional nutrients.

To use large amounts of vitamin C, get a powdered product, many of which are available in health food stores.  If not used to taking vitamin C, start with a small amount mixed in water or juice, enough to get a single gram or less of vitamin C.  If it causes stomach upset or diarrhea, use half as much for the next dose.  The body will quickly adjust to taking more and more without upset or diarrhea, but if these still occur, continue taking small amounts until tolerance builds.  

Vitamin C, known as ascorbic acid in its uncombined state, is probably one of the most beneficial single vitamins to take for fighting many chronic and degenerative maladies as well as acute illnesses. The main problem with supplementation is that people usually take an insignificant amount.

Humans are one of the few animals (guinea pigs being another) who cannot synthesize ascorbic acid and must ensure it is in the diet, although there is some evidence that other nutrients such as DHA (see Fats and Oils) can be converted to ascorbic acid when there is enough glutathione available.  Humans have to consume 3-12 grams of vitamin C per day to get the average amount that is produced by ascorbic-acid-synthesizing animals.  Low dose vitamin C supplementation is therefore considered this amount - 3g per day or less.  More is taken as required.  Many of the "super antioxidants" like grape seed extract, curcumin, pycnogenol, glutathione, and others, as well as vitamin E, scavenge and preserve vitamin C in the body such that less may be necessary to provide the same benefit if using one of these. However, one must first be consuming adequate vitamin C for these supplements to have the most benefit.

When using high dose vitamin C it is preferably taken in powder form, mixed into a liquid like water or juice.  Using a lot of capsules or tablets at one time is not recommended since they can cause stomach upset.  There are many powdered forms available in health food stores. 

There is debate as to the best chemical forms of vitamin C to take.  Some proponents (including Hulda Clark and Dr. Cathcart) say to use plain ascorbic acid and some say to use a buffered form, which generally means it is less acid since it is bound to a mineral like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and/or sodium. Some think that sodium ascorbate is the best form to fight illness since the sodium does appear to help in some cases, but others contend that the reducing power of plain ascorbic acid fights pathogens better. Using a calcium or sodium ascorbate product for high dose or above may provide too much of the particular mineral. However, mineral ascorbate products that contain a small amount of calcium and magnesium can be helpful taken in amounts to get around 100% RDA of calcium and 100-200% RDA magnesium. Ingredient lists from the eRegimens Favorite Supplements section shows the quantities they contain in the Additional Information (pink) section below.

As shown in the table below, Nutribiotic makes some excellent mineral ascorbate vitamin C formulas, including ones with bioflavonoids, electrolytes, and other minerals.  Two of these are Nutribiotic Hypo-Aller C and Nutribiotic Ascorbate Bio-C.   They must both be added to water since they effervesce.  The Hypo-Aller C contains 350mg each of calcium and magnesium with small amounts of a couple other minerals like potassium and zinc.  It is excellent to use as a calcium magnesium supplement, taking a teaspoon before bed mixed in water.  The Bio-C contains bioflavonoids with a smaller amount of calcium and magnesium in a 2:1 ratio with a few other minerals, including potassium, manganese, zinc, chromium, and selenium.  It is excellent for allergies and probably fights disease a bit better.  It is one of the best vitamin C product to combat snoring, too.  The Hypo-Aller C tastes a bit better, dissolves more easily, and is closer to neutral pH, if these are considerations.  The main problem with these two products is they are difficult to find.  Many health food stores carry the Nutribiotic line (mostly grapefruit extract products) and can order the C products, though, or they can be found a few places online. 

A good "pocket" regimen for acute illness is oregano oil and packets of Emergen-C, another type of effervescent mineral ascorbates product that comes in small packets, usually 36 per box and come in many different flavors, with and without sugar, and have some for specific purposes, such as one with glucosamine and chondroitin to fight arthritis, plus one that includes a gram of MSM per serving.  They can easily be carted around in a purse or pocket for use whenever needed.  Mix a single packet of Emergen-C, or more depending on the need, in water, add 3 to10 drops of prediluted oregano oil, mix well, and swig (avoid letting oregano oil touch the lips since it will burn).  A good prediluted oregano oil is made by North American Herb and Spice Co. and widely available in health food stores.

Other products that deserve mention include Nutribiotic's Meta-C. It is a pH neutral form of vitamin bound to phytoplankton, which may be helpful in reducing toxic metal deposits in the body. It comes in capsules, tablets, or powder, but the powder is not recommended due to the taste. NSI makes a product called Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids, Quercetin, Green Tea, Lysine, and Proline, an encapsulated product with ascorbic acid form of vitamin C. Although probably beneficial for most heart and circulation problems, it does not contain adequate magnesium for this purpose (as do good mineral ascorbates products) but is instead recommended for cancer.

A good vitamin C formula for general heart and circulation health, as well as an instant remedy for some heart problems like angina, is Source Naturals L-Proline L-Lysine. It is a Linus Pauling Mathias Rath based formula which provides a large amount of vitamin C in the form of calcium and magnesium ascorbates plus proline and lysine. eRegimens once recommended Jarrow Formulas TLC 3.0, an effervescent proline lysine minerals ascorbates powder product, but for reasons unknown, this excellent formula has been discontinued. Since the Source Naturals product provides mineral ascorbates, especially magnesium, and not just ascorbic acid as is found in the "NSI Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids, Proline, Lysine", it is better for most cases. However, the Source Naturals Proline Lysine does not really provide enough magnesium by itself unless large amounts are taken (3 tablets three times per day), but since the Pressur-Lo contains a good bit, the combination is sufficient.

Suitability of some Mineral Ascorbates products for medium to high dose vitamin C therapy.

Nutribiotic Ascorbates Bio-C - An effervescent vitamin C and mineral supplement which is mixed in water to bubble before consuming.  A rounded teaspoon provides:
Vitamin C 3000 mg 5000%
Bioflavonoid Complex 500 mg 
Calcium 300 mg 30
Magnesium 150 mg 37
Potassium 99 mg 3
Zinc 2 mg 13
Manganese 1 mg 
Selenium 25 mcg 
Chromium 25 mcg
Nutribiotic powdered vitamin C and mineral products are highly recommended but becoming harder to find.

THEREFORE, using about three teaspoons per day would yield 9g (9000mg) vitamin C, 900mg calcium (90% RDA) and 450mg magnesium (112% RDA), making it suitable for medium dose vitamin C therapy.

Nutribiotic Hypo-Aller C - An effervescent vitamin C and mineral supplement which is mixed in water to bubble before consuming.  A rounded teaspoon provides:
Vitamin C 2600 mg 4332%
Calcium 350 mg 36%
Magnesium 350mg 88%
Potassium 100 mg 3%
Zinc 6 mg 40%
Nutribiotic powdered vitamin C and mineral products are highly recommended but becoming harder to find.

THEREFORE, using 3 teaspoons per day would provide 7.8g (7800mg) vitamin C, 1050mg calcium, and 1050mg magnesium, making it suitable for medium dose vitamin C therapy.

Twinlab Super Ascorbate C - Excellent mineral ascorbates formula is an effervescent powder and must be mixed in water or juice before use. Contains a lot of bioflavonoids. One of the few mineral ascorbates products that can be used in high dose vitamin C therapy and limiting to around 100% RDA of calcium and 135% RDA of magnesium for every 20g (20,000mg or 10 tsp) of vitamin C. However, this large amount of bioflavonoids, while helpful in smaller amounts, might cause acid indigestion in very large amounts. One teaspoon supplies:
Vitamin C from potassium ascorbate, calcium ascorbate, magnesium ascorbate, zinc ascorbate, manganese ascorbate) 2,000 mg 3333%
Calcium (from calcium ascorbate) 106 mg 10%
Magnesium (from magnesium ascorbate) 54 mg 13%
Zinc (from zinc ascorbate) 5 mg 33%
Manganese (from manganese ascorbate) .25 mg 12%
Potassium (from potassium ascorbate) 120 mg 3%
Rose (Rosa Camina) Hips Extract 585 mg *
Acerola Extract 400 mg *
Bioflavonoids (from lemons) 500 mg *
Rutin 25 mg *
Hesperidin Complex 25 mg


Pauling Lecture is a short report on one of Pauling's last speeches, in August of 1993.

Dr. Zoltan Rona with some vitamin C basics.

Dr. Cathcart on Vitamin C and Allergy Treatment

The Pauling/Rath website is poorly done and mostly a front to sell supplements, but has the most information on Pauling and the continuation of his ascorbate therapy by Dr. Rath (see Linus Pauling/Matthias Rath Unified Theory of Heart DiseaseAlthough a bit expensive, the primarily lysine and ascorbic acid Rath formula is probably one of the best around to immediately relieve some circulation problems, including angina, atherosclerosis, and other heart disease, especially when taken with a good multivitamin and cal-mag supplement as directed.

Dr. Cathcart on High Dose C is a paper he presented on using high dose vitamin C therapy in the treatment of numerous illnesses including colds, mononucleosis, hepatitis, cancer, bacterial and viral infections, arthritis and joint pain, scarlet fever, herpes, SID, allergies, burns, and many other conditions.  It is a lot easier to find information here than in his website below.

Dr. Cathcart's OrthoMolecular Medicine is his poorly done website (did he get his grandkid to do this for him?), but does give extensive information on the treatment of many illnesses with vitamin C and is frequently updated with current information such as fighting bioterrorism pathogens, plus has hundreds of links to more information.

Links and additional info on Vitamin C Controversy

I am hesitant to provide information on rebuttals to a single study which showed a possible harmful effect on arteries of taking low doses (500mg) of vitamin C daily, or one which showed potential DNA damage to cells, especially when there are hundreds of studies which show the exact opposite and these are never mentioned in the media.  I regard any information on nutritional supplements from conventional medical organizations or media suspect and would more rely on those who have experience, knowledge, and integrity in such matters. But, since there are people who have not yet developed a healthy skepticism of studies indirectly or directly funded by organizations and companies with a profit motive in denigrating alternative therapies, here are a few:

AHA Attack on Vitamin C contains short rebuttals from the Linus Pauling Institute, Vitamin C Foundation, and Dr. Cathcart to the American Heart Association's report that vitamin C may have negative effects on artery thickness.  

The Vitamin C Controversy by the Life Extension Foundation 

Does Vitamin C cause DNA damage? 

Vitamin C, Arteries, and other Connective Tissues  A post on conventional medical studies and vitamin C.














Alacer Emergen C








Life Extension



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