The Benefits of Vitamin CHealing Vitamin C.(Brief Article)
Issue: March, 2000
Popped in chewable pill form and chugged in glasses of orange juice, vitamin C has long been relied upon as a cold-fighting weapon. But what most people don't know is that they need over three times the current recommended daily dose of C to get the vitamin's full protective effect.
A study conducted last year by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that subjects who took 30 mg of C a day, or half the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 60 mg, reported generally feeling tired and irritable. The blood and tissue of people who took 200 mg daily were nearly saturated with the vitamin, however--an optimal condition for reaping the vitamin's benefits, from reducing artery-clogging LDL cholesterol to decreasing your risk of cancer and promoting skin healing. Indeed, a study published last fall found that guinea pigs given mega-doses of vitamin C before surgery healed more strongly than those given moderate doses. The vitamin also helps the body absorb iron, build strong bones, keep teeth and gums healthy and, of course, fight infection.
One reason vitamin C is so important? We don't produce it naturally, and must depend on our diets to get the amounts we need. C is found primarily in citrus fruits and vegetables such as broccoli and peppers. Eating at least five fruits and vegetables a day is the best way to get all you need, but people who don't should take a 200 mg supplement, says the NIH.
COPYRIGHT 2000 Sussex Publishers, Inc.
VITAMIN C (ASCORBATE)
Much research into the health benefits of vitamin C supplementation has been performed. If you have any health problems I urge you to read the books written by Bland, Challem, Cheraskin, Newbold, Pauling, Sheffrey and Stone.
(1) At proper dosage, vitamin C is well known for its anti-cancer, anti-glaucoma, anti-"colds", and pro immune system qualities. vitamin C also protects against arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. This is the short list!
(2) Dr. Kalokerinos of Mosman, N.S.W., Australia is well known for his successful treatment of skin cancer using vitamin C ointment and for pain relief and life prolongation of other cancer patients with intravenous C. In a telephone conversation in early 1991 he stated that on average, people should take 10 grams of vitamin C per day for health maintenance and prevention of cancer. The consumption of vitamin C supplements has spread globally and more physicians are now recommending it.
(3) Many studies have corroborated the benefits of vitamin C on periodontitis. Vitamin vitamin C supplementation has been shown to strengthen the periodontal membrane and connective tissue, reduce gum inflammation, inhibit bone resorption (shrinkage), aid in calcium absorption, diminish plaque formation, promote healing and helps stop gum bleeding.
(4) Vitamin C is essential for the formation of collagen, the protein matrix of bone (and teeth), the "glue" that holds the cells of your body together. Collagen fibers keep your gums attached to your teeth.
(5) By taking mega doses of vitamin C, using your tongue, you may be able to feel your gums tighten up around your teeth. The tightening of the gum around the pocket opening helps to keep out debris and bacteria. This also reduces tooth hypersensetivety.
(6) Scurvy is caused by a severe vitamin C deficiency. One prominent feature of this disease is that the gums bleed, teeth loosen and fall out. The same effects as periodontitis but at an accelerated rate.
(7) Bioflavonoids may have a similar effect as vitamin C on health. There may exist some synergism between bioflavonoids and vitamin C. Vitamin C however does not require any additives.
VITAMIN C DOSING
Unlike most animals that produce their own vitamin C, and make a lot of it, the human body does not synthesize any. We need a lot more than our contemporary diet supplies. The amount of vitamin C you take daily determines its effectiveness. No two people are alike (different weight, health, genetics) in their vitamin C requirements.
(1) You should at minimum take a mega dose of C daily. Take 500 mg to approximately 50% of your average daily bowel tolerance level, which may be around 5 gm (5,000 mg).
(2) Daily dosage over 2 gm should be divided during the day. Do not take more than 5 gm at any one time. During illness you may dose many times during an hour but the total should not exceed 20 gm during this period.
(3) vitamin C can be taken before, during or after meals, on an empty or full stomach. C capsules may be taken with any beverage.
(4) Dissolving the powder in water (or juice) is the preferred way to take vitamin C in doses over 5 gm per day. Capsules are a close second. I do not recommend that you take tablets because some may not dissolve properly and the binders used may spoil.
(5) Most people tolerate vitamin C less in the morning and the tolerance increases during the day and when asleep. If you encounter any problems experiment with timing.
(6) Make a note of every dose by simply writing a number to designate the grams. This will help determine your current daily dosage. When using powdered vitamin C (or for that matter all your supplements) write the date of first use on the bottle, so that when emptied, you may be able to calculate with accuracy your average daily consumption.
(7) For more consistent and accurate dosing of powdered C, use a measuring spoon. Check the label for weight equivalents. Depending on how fine the crystals are:
(a) One level teaspoon of ascorbic acid is equal to 3.25 to 4.00 gm of vitamin C.
(b) One level teaspoon of sodium ascorbate and the other ascorbates other than ascorbic acid is equal to 2.75 to 3.50 gm of vitamin C.
For most people the C-NBT dosage is the ideal dosage. At these levels, vitamin C is virucidal and bactericidal.
(1) As a part of your daily routine, I recommend that your dosage of vitamin C be approximately 90% of bowel tolerance, or an amount of C, Near Bowel Tolerance, from which I coin the acronym C-NBT. That is, if 10 gm give you diarrhea, then take about 9 gm.
(a) Abdominal discomfort, abdominal growl, flatulence, gas, anal itch and/or soft stool often indicate that you are near bowel tolerance.
(b) Diarrhea indicates that you have reached or passed the bowel tolerance level.
(2) Here are the steps to work out your daily C-NBT dosage. Only sodium ascorbate, calcium ascorbate, ascorbic acid and Ester-C are suitable for C-NBT dosing.
(a) Start with 500 mg and gradually increase daily dosage. As your daily dosage increases to over 2 gm, divide the dosage during the day.
(b) Trial and error is the only way to determine your C-NBT dosage. Time release vitamin C complicates C-NBT dosing by delaying feedback and should be avoided (it is OK to use for mega dosing). On my wish list is that someone come up with a practical fool proof method or a "litmus test" that will determine ones vitamin C requirement at any given time.
(c) If diarrhea does not pose any health risk to you, to gain experience, reach or slightly exceed your vitamin C bowel tolerance level.
(3) Once you establish your C-NBT level, it stays fairly constant. A change in health may alter it. Over the years the level may very slowly rise as your system adjusts to your C dosage. Many people can take 10 gm of C per day.
(4) To test the effectiveness of C-NBT dosing on yourself try the following.
(a) As you increase the C dosage to C-NBT did your gums firm up and tighten up around the teeth? Did the amount of sites that bleed decrease? Was inflammation and other symptoms of disease reduced?
(b) Slowly decrease dosage until you stop completely. Do not change anything else in your routine. Give this test some time. If symptoms returned then you are fairly sure that vitamin C is effective.
(c) To double check the effectiveness of C, restart C-NBT dosing and see if your symptoms like bleeding and tenderness of gums are decreased or eliminated.
(d) The real test for vitamin C is how much it helps your periodontitis and overall health over the long term. Has your gum health improved? Are your days of illness fewer, shorter or less severe?
VITAMIN C DOSING DURING ILLNESS
Nutritionists and those practicing orthomolecular medicine often recommend vitamin (especially C) and mineral supplements above the RDA for therapeutic purposes. C-NBT is not the answer to all health problems, but as an aid in the prevention and elimination of gum infections it is very helpful.
(1) Start C-NBT dosing on the first sign of worsening overall or gum health. Swollen or bleeding gums, bad breath, scratchy throat, coated tongue, swollen glands, runny nose, coughing, phlegm, body aches and low grade fever are some typical first signs of illness. What are your first signs?
(a) The C-NBT level may increase slowly or sharply as your overall health or gum health worsens. The C-NBT level may rise without any symptoms Though if your body cannot benefit from a higher C dosage, you may get ill without the C-NBT level moving up.
(b) Increase intake (up to C-NBT level) regardless of how much C you normally take. In an effort to stay well or get well, you may have to take over 100 gm of C per day "chasing" your rising C-NBT level. Any dosage below your C-NBT level may be useless on acute illness.
(c) Due to a greater need, more of the vitamin C is absorbed. Less vitamin C then reaches the bowel, hence the greater tolerance for it. Titrate the vitamin C dosage between the amount which begins to make you feel better and the amount which almost but not quite gives you diarrhea. Not always easy to do!
(d) To avoid over shooting your bowel tolerance level (which may cause diarrhea), dose smaller quantities but more often. Dose even several times during an hour.
(2) Often, if vitamin C can be beneficial for an acute illness, the bowel tolerance for vitamin C will rise proportionally in relation to the severity of the illness. This will reflect the demand for vitamin C and thus what the dosage should be.
(3) As your health improves the C-NBT level will drop slowly or dramatically. Reduce C dosage proportionally.
(4) Your C-NBT level may be used as one barometer of overall health. For many people the color of their tongue reflects the state of their health. A coated white tongue may indicate illness. A really clean tongue reflects good health.
(5) Intravenous vitamin C has been used to treat various ailments and infections.
a) It would be interesting to see how an intravenous C will deal with gum infections that may have spread systemically. If it turns out to be a successful treatment, it may be used as an alternative to systemic antibiotics which have risks and undesirable side effects.
(b) On my wish list is that someone develop and produce a safe, computer operated and monitored, portable intravenous C unit, which would free one from sitting at a clinic. Better yet, develop a form of vitamin C that when ingested can be tolerated by the bowel at higher levels.
(6) See a physician that is familiar with vitamin vitamin C therapy. Be aware though that most physicians and dentists are uninformed and more likely misinformed about C dosing.
VITAMIN C SIDE EFFECTS AND CAUTIONS
Vitamin C has some nuisance and minor side effects if you mega or C-NBT dose.
(1) Vitamin C dosage over what your body can use, reaches your bowel causing diarrhea. Prolonged or severe diarrhea is not good for health.
(2) Vitamin C in mega or C-NBT dosage, acts as a very mild diuretic (much milder than coffee). To combat this, drink more water (as thirst dictates).
(3) High dosage of vitamin C due partly to its diuretic quality may decrease blood pressure. Great if you have high blood pressure though you may want to avoid C as sodium ascorbate. If very low blood pressure causes you loss of energy or you are easily fatigued, add salt to your diet and/or consider taking C as sodium ascorbate.
(4) That prolonged high dosage of vitamin C may cause kidney stones is not well founded. In all my research I found no proof of this, so it either doesn't happen or it is a very rare occurrence. To be safe if you have a tendency to form urate stones see a physician that is familiar with vitamin C dosing. He can determine if the vitamin C should be acidic or alkaline to avoid this risk.
(5) If you consume high dosages of non-acidic vitamin C, it may be wise if you are prone to urinary tract infections to switch occasionally to ascorbic acid. The added acid will help prevent this infection.
(6) People who have a rare inherited ailment such as haemochromatosis, or sideroblastic anemia, both iron disorders, or thalassemia, should not take vitamin vitamin C supplements without a physician's supervision. The rationale is that vitamin C increases iron absorption, great for most of us but bad if this overloads your system with iron. There is however some evidence that vitamin C supplementation helps those with excess iron disorders in that vitamin C normalizes iron absorption thus helps to eliminate the excess iron.
(7) People that have kidney disease, sickle cell disease, or have a G-6PD deficiency (up to 10% of black African-American males) and pregnant or lactating women should take C with caution. There exists some controversy in this area regarding how much if any vitamin C supplementation is safe and beneficial.
(8) Vitamin C, sometimes even at very low dosages (one orange) can cause false readings on a few clinical tests. For some tests, you may be required to refrain from taking vitamin C for up to seven days. Inform your doctor and lab technician of your C dosage. To get accurate results, alternate testing methods may be used.
(9) If you are taking a C-NBT dosage and are planning to stop or reduce it for any reason, do it gradually over two weeks. If you do not, the "rebound effect" may cause your body to react as if you have a C deficiency. This may lead to vitamin C deficiency symptoms. This has not been adequately demonstrated and may not always happen to everyone.
More Vitamin C Benefits:It May Help Reduce Your Allergy Symptoms
Vitamin C plays an essential role in the immune system. It is found in every
cell of our body and performs various functions:
An Italian study found that people with hay fever, who had taken 2,000 milligrams of Vitamin C daily, were better able to maintain the volume of air they could exhale.
Vitamin C may also help reduce some of the inflammation associated with chronic allergies, according to other studies.
Studies have found that Vitamin C may:
- Contribute to healthy bones
- Help prevent periodontal disease
- Aid in healing wounds
- Combat inflammation and pain
- Aid iron absorption
- Break down histamine
- Offer potent antioxidant protection
- Protect lung function
- Maintain cognition in the elderly
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