Did you know that most animals and plants synthesize their own vitamin C?
Animals, when adjusted for human size and weight, make the equivalent of 5-15g of vitamin C a day, mostly in their livers. Production goes up dramatically when injured or ill.
However, there are a few animals that CANNOT make their own… guess who?
Guinea pigs and humans (and a few species of bats and monkeys).
Indeed, the enzyme that converts glucose to vitamin C (L-3 gulonolactone oxidase) is now missing in humans. Scientists estimate that without this mutation we would be making 10-30g of vitamin C a day (this is 10,000-30,000mg). An amount much greater than the RDA of just 45mg.
Nobel Laureate Dr Linus Pauling was perhaps the best-known advocate of the benefits of vitamin C.
ROLES OF VITAMIN C
– Helps rebuild tissue and minimises scarring associated with injury.
– Maintains the integrity of connective tissue – cartilage, capillaries, bones and teeth.
– Involves in the biosynthesis of hormones.
– Helps your body deal with stress by supporting the adrenals (essential if you have adrenal fatigue).
– Supports the immune system.
– Protects from free-radical damage (antioxidant)
– Helps the body fight infections and reduces the effects of environmental pollutants and toxins. People with toxicity (such as heavy metal toxicity) needs a very high amount of vitamin C.
BENEFITS FOR THE GUT
Kills bad bacteria in your small intestine. Dr Sarah Myhill believes that high doses of vitamin C can kill bad microbes on contact and reduces the load of unfriendly microbes in the gut. She recommends Vit C flush + a daily dose of Vit C (see below for how to determine your daily dose) to treat a ‘fermenting gut’.
Increases stomach acidity (if using pure, non-buffered ascorbic acid). I recommend taking the non-buffered form before a meal to help digest food, especially protein, and also kill unwanted microbes that might be present in your food and gut. Good stomach acidity is absolutely key to good digestion, and to protect from gut infection such as parasites and SIBO.
Improves bowel movement. The dose is very important here. In order to stimulate bowel movement, you need a dose just under what you need to achieve bowel tolerance (see below). However, if you suffer from diarrhea, you will also benefit from Vit C.
WHAT INCREASES YOUR NEED FOR VITAMIN C
- Acute Infection (a serious infection such as septicaemia can bring your need for Vit C to up to 200 grams in 24 hours!!).
- Stealth infections (chronic low-grade infections), such as Lyme or EBV.
- Poor gut health/gut infections or overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine (SIBO)
- Poor diet
- Toxin exposure
WHICH VITAMIN C IS BEST
For sensitive stomach:
For people with a sensitive stomach, or if you suffer from gastritis, I recommend using a buffered form of Vit C.
For everybody else:
For most people, I prefer using a non-buffered form as it also helps increase stomach acidity, which is a good thing, as it helps digestion and helps kill any unwanted microbes entering the body.
Sensitive people can use this one if taking with meals.
Note: Most people do great with ascorbic acid. However, I do find that some people do better with a food source of vitamin C, such as camu camu, acerola or amla.
Another option is liposomal Vit C. Liposomal is better absorbed. This form won’t help stimulate bowel movement, so could be a better option for those suffering from diarrhoea.
So now that you understand how important vitamin C is… let’s look at 3 ways to get maximum benefits from vitamin C, by determining your optimal dose of daily vitamin C.
First, you will need to determine what dose of vitamin C you need to achieve bowel tolerance.
Bowel tolerance: This is the point at which you can no longer absorb vitamin C from your gut. When you reach this point, you will experience an enema-like evacuation of liquid from your bowel. The higher your need for vitamin C, the higher your bowel tolerance will be.
3 WAYS TO DETERMINE YOUR BOWEL TOLERANCE
METHOD #1: The Flush
This is the fastest way. I do not recommend this one for people with very sensitive systems, or if you tend to experience cramping (IBS type symptoms).
However, this is excellent to quickly ‘flush’ your system. It is great to do if you feel like you’re experiencing die-off symptoms, or if you are coming down with an infection.
A vitamin C flush delivers very high doses of vitamin C in order to achieve tissue saturation – and in the process, supports the immune system and rapid healing.
A vitamin C flush can be done anytime you might be feeling run down, recovering from illness or trauma/surgery, or your immune system simply needs a boost.
If you are chronically ill, tired, or have gut issues, you are sure the benefit from a Vitamin C Flush.
HOW TO DO A VITAMIN C FLUSH
The vitamin C flush involves taking as much vitamin C as your gut can tolerate, in order to saturate your body. When you’ve reached ‘bowel tolerance’, or the point at which you can no longer absorb vitamin C from your gut, you will experience an enema-like evacuation of liquid from your bowel. For this reason, it is important to choose a day to flush when at home, near the bathroom!
Begin the flush first thing in the morning, before you eat. I prefer to do the flush while fasting, but it’s OK to eat.
Take 1 dose of vitamin C (see below how to determine the dose), mixing into half a glass of water and drink it.
Repeat this every 15 minutes, recording each time you take a dose, and continue until you need to use the bathroom. You are looking for the bowel to pass a watery stool. Once this occurs, the flush is finished and you can stop drinking the vitamin C.
The next time you go to the bathroom after the flush, your stools may still be a bit watery, but things should return to normal pretty quickly.
*Note what total amount of vitamin C you took to achieve bowel tolerance.
DETERMINE THE DOSE
The amount of vitamin C needed depends on how quickly your body uses it up/how much you need. The needs go up quickly in times of sickness, so you might not always need the same dose every time you do the flush.
Below are suggestions for how to best determine your needs based on how healthy you are:
- A healthy person begins with 1 gram dissolved in half a glass of water every 15 minutes.
- A moderately healthy person begins with 3 grams every 15 minutes.
- A person in ill health begins with 5 grams every 15 minutes. This is also the dose recommended when you have an acute infection (start of a cold/flu for instance).
* If after four doses there is no gurgling or rumbling in the gut, you should double the initial dosage and continue every 15 minutes.
**Most people will need 10 to 30 grams to achieve a flush.
METHOD # 2: 24-Hour Method
This is the method I would recommend for most people.
Here you will spread your dose over a 24 hour period, rather than doing a ‘flush’. It might take you a few days to figure out your bowel tolerance using this method, but it is gentler than the flush described above.
How to: Take 2 grams of Vitamin C powder every two hours mixed in 125 to 250 ml of water. That will give you about 12 gram in total the first day. Make sure you write it down to keep track of how much you’ve taken.
Note: If you are chronically ill (or if you are fighting an acute infection such as a cold/ flu or other infection), your dose needed to achieve bowel tolerance will likely be quite high, up to 30 grams/day (up to 200 grams for an acute infection!). So, I recommend increasing the first few doses of the day to about 5 grams (10 grams for acute infection).
Continue to up the doses each day until you achieve bowel tolerance. If you did not achieve bowel tolerance with 2 grams every 2 hours, increase to 3 grams every 2 hours. Keep increasing the dose daily until you reach bowel tolerance.
METHOD #3: Increasing Your Daily Dose
This method is similar to the 24-hour method, but even slower.
Here, you will start with 10 gram per day (in divided doses), and increase your daily dose by about 2 grams each day until you reach bowel tolerance. It may take up to a few weeks to reach bowel tolerance using this method, but it is better for sensitive people.
Note: You should still split your doses throughout the day. I recommend taking with every meal and at bedtime. Alternatively, you can mix your full dose in a litre of water and sip throughout the day.
YOUR OPTIMAL DAILY DOSE OF VITAMIN C
Your optimal dose of daily vitamin C is approximately 75% of the dose needed to achieve bowel tolerance.
This is the dose I would recommend you continue with on a daily basis, in divided doses throughout the day.
So, if you needed 20 grams to achieve bowel tolerance, take 15 grams per day, in divided doses.
Please note that your optimal dose will vary depending on your current needs, so you will need to adjust the dose as you go. Your needs should decrease as you get healthier.
It’s also a good way to know how healthy you are. The healthier you become, the lower your tolerance for vitamin C will go, so you will need to reduce your dose.
If you reach bowel tolerance at 10-15 grams or less per day, you’re considered to be in very good shape health-wise.
WHEN YOU MAY NEED TO BE CAUTIOUS WITH VITAMIN C
There are some instances where you may not tolerate Vit C well and might need to try different types of Vit C to see which is best for you.
CIRS/Mould Illness/Bio-Toxin Illness: Ascorbic acid is synthesised by fungus. Therefore, you may not tolerate ascorbic acid well if you have any mould related issues. If this is the case, you may tolerate a natural food source of vitamin C. However, see below regarding Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS)/histamine intolerance, which can be symptoms of CIRS/Mould Illness/Bio-Toxin Illness. Many people with MCAS/histamine intolerance find a Liposomal form of Vit C, without citrus flavours/hesperidin, to be best. But some choose to avoid Vit C altogether until they feel more stable.
Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS)/Histamine Intolerance: You may want to avoid citrus flavoured Vit C, like brands containing hesperidin and some of the food sources of vitamin C mentioned above (camu camu, acerola or amla). Citrus can be a huge trigger for people with MCAS/histamine intolerance.
Oxalate Toxicity: It is best to only take about 250mg up to 3 times per day if you have oxalate toxicity. This will still give you plenty of benefits without the risk of accumulating more oxalates in your body. Learn more about oxalate toxicity here.