Vitamin C - learn to use this vital tool well – the key is getting the dose right

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Vitamin C is a fantastically useful tool and in recent years has revolutionised my practice. It is the starting point to treat Fermentation in the gut and all infections acute and chronic and therefore any condition involving Inflammation. It multitasks to improve Detoxification, is an essential Anti-oxidant, and is vital for healing and repair. It kills all microbes (bacteria, viruses and fungi) and is toxic to cancer cells. In healthy people it slows the ageing process, in the acute and chronically sick, vitamin C to bowel tolerance is part of Groundhog ACUTE and Groundhog CHRONIC. In achieving all this vitamin C is completely non-toxic to human cells. There is much more detail in my book “The Infection Game-life is an arms race”.

Vitamin C was the final tool that allowed me to tell my patients that vaccination is redundant since we have a far more effective, and far safer tool in vitamin C. With vitamin C we get the best of both worlds. Children can safely experience viral infections without risking the complications of such, but receive the vital, alive virus immune programming needed to protect against disease later in life, particularly cancer[1]. The only vaccination I recommend is tetanus, but this should be postponed until the child is at risk of stabbing a muck caked pitchfork through her foot. And yes, I have done that too!

[1] Cancer prevention: we now know that getting an acute febrile illness as a child reduces overall cancer risk and the more often this occurs the better. At the very least children should get rubella and chickenpox (vaccination is no substitute!) which are the most protective against cancer, but so too are infections with measles, mumps, pertussis and scarlet fever. Indeed, it is increasingly my view that vaccination is unnecessary and positively harmful. Please see “Science: Increase in cancer cases as a consequence of eliminating febrile infectious diseases” which references 54 medical papers. Also see "Acute infections as a means of cancer prevention: opposing effects to chronic infections?" which concludes that:

“Infections may play a paradoxical role in cancer development with chronic infections often being tumorigenic and acute infections being antagonistic to cancer.”


The key to vitamin C is the dose. We simply do not take enough of the stuff. The reason is to be found in Nature – all other animals (except guinea pigs and fruit bats and dry-nosed primates) can synthesise their own vitamin C. Furthermore, the amount generated is matched to requirements – vitamin C synthesis is hugely ramped up to deal with infection. Goats for example may generate 15 grams a day on demand. We humans have lost this essential biochemical function but instead we have our brains. So use them!

For those readers interested in the genetics of Vitamin C synthesis, please see “The Genetics of Vitamin C Loss in Vertebrates” Curr Genomics. 2011 Aug; 12(5): 371–378., Guy Drouin, Jean-Rémi Godin, and Benoît Pagé

Thankfully we have a mechanism to determine the dose we require. This will need to be varied from day to day because the body absorbs what it needs and leaves the excess in the gut. This allows us to adjust the dose according to our guts. Turn this logic on its head – the dose required to achieve bowel tolerance is a reflection of our total infectious load, the extent to which we have a fermenting gut as well as our toxic load and possibly other issues. In other words, our Vitamin C bowel tolerance is a measure of our health.

Lower bowel tolerance => lower infectious load 
Higher bowel tolerance => higher infectious load

How to take Vitamin C to bowel tolerance

Do the PK diet – vitamin C is much better absorbed in the absence of sugar and starch. There is no point killing microbes with vitamin C if you are feeding them at the same time.

  • Take ascorbic acid [Vitamin C] at least twice daily (could be more often).
  • It dissolves much better in warm water.
  • Add fizzy water to produce a rather delicious drink!

The ascorbic acid helps to sterilise the upper gut and prevents fermentation of food. Any microbes inadvertently consumed with foods are killed. Acid further helps digest proteins and also helps the absorption of essential minerals such as iron and zinc.

Use ascorbic acid which is the cheapest and most effective form of vitamin C. If this is not tolerated, then use a neutral preparation such as sodium or magnesium ascorbate. Once you are PK and vitamin C adapted you should tolerate ascorbic acid well. The cheapest form of ascorbic acid is fermented from corn but the corn allergics may not tolerate this at all. Failing that one can get ascorbic acid from sago palm or tapioca-based - for example see Ecological Formulas, Vitamin C-1000, 90 Capsules Tapioca derived

  • Start with 2 grams twice daily and increase at the rate of 1 gram every day.
  • You will start to get foul smelling wind. This occurs initially as microbes in the upper gut are killed, swept downstream and are fermented by microbes in the lower gut. Later it occurs as you start to kill some of the friendlies in the lower gut. This is likely to need more than 10 grams of vitamin C.
  • Keep increasing the dose until you get diarrhoea.
  • Hold the dose at this level for 24 hours. At this point you should have a clean, digesting (non-fermenting) upper gut with low levels of microbes in the lower gut.
  • Adjust the daily dose in the longer term. The idea is to find a dose of vitamin C that kills the grams of unfriendly microbes in the upper gut but does not kill the kilograms of friendly microbes in the lower gut. This will depend on several variables that you will have to work out for yourself vis:
    • A dose that allows you to pass a normal formed daily turd
    • No smelly farting
    • A dose that stops you getting coughs, colds and flu when all around are succumbing
    • A dose that reduces, gets rid of or reverses any disease symptoms that you may be suffering from. These may be symptoms of the upper fermenting gut or the symptoms of chronic infection. As you can see from the Dr Cathcart link below you have to get to 80-90% of bowel tolerance to reverse the symptoms of any disease process.

Some women with irritable bladders, vulvodynia and pelvic pain may be intolerant of vitamin C due to oxalates. See Section 4.6 of "Rheumatology and Orthopaedics– may be hard work to sort but pain is highly motivating"

Vitamin C and acute infections

At the first hint of any infection such as a tickle in the throat, runny nose, sneeze, cough, feeling unwell, headache, cystitis………….well you know what from bitter experience………

  • Immediately take 10 grams of vitamin C. (Half this dose for children, according to body weight) If this does not produce diarrhoea within one hour
  • Take another 10 grams. If this does not produce diarrhoea within one hour,
  • Take another 10 grams………….and so on.
  • Some need 200grams to get a result.

Whilst this may seem like a huge dose, compare this with sugar - 4 bars of milk chocolate would provide a similar dose of sugar – and vitamin C is legions safer than sugar!

Some people are appalled at the idea of vitamin C causing diarrhoea, but I have to say I would rather have a jolly good bowel emptying crap than suffer the miserable symptoms of 'flu or a cold for the next two weeks. Indeed, I have not suffered such for 35 years thanks to vitamin C. My father used to say – “you can’t beat a good shit, shave and shampoo”.

Adjust the frequency and timing of subsequent doses to maintain wellness. Remember the dose is critical. You cannot overdose, you can only under-dose. Just do it!

I am not alone in this advice - see below.

Dr Robert Cathcart

For those who are interested please see Obituary of Dr Cathcart

Dr Cathcart was a similar advocate of high dose vitamin C. Some helpful clinical details can be seen at the Vitamin C Foundation paper: Vitamin C, Titrating to Tolerance

Key points of the Vitamin C Foundation paper are:

  • Everyone’s bowel tolerance dose is unique to them. It will vary through time with age, diet and infectious load. You have to work it out yourself and it will not remain constant!
  • You must get to 80-90% of your bowel tolerance dose for vitamin C to relieve symptoms. This is another useful clinical tool as you can feel so much better so very quickly if you use vitamin C properly.

Cathcart detailed many diseases that are improved with vitamin C. Interestingly this includes many cases of arthritis. I suspect this illustrates one mechanism of arthritis which is that it is often driven by allergy to gut microbes. Correct this and the arthritis goes. For example, we know Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammation driven by klebsiella in the gut and rheumatoid arthritis is driven by proteus mirabilis- see Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by a Proteus urinary tract infection

Dr Paul Marik

Dr Marik offered the following observations:

"In the doses used, vitamin C is absolutely safe. No complications, side effects or precautions. Patients with cancer have safely been given doses up to 150 grams - one hundred times the dose we give. In the patients with renal impairment we have measured the oxalate levels; these have all been in the safe range. Every single patient who received the protocol had an improvement in renal function." 

Ref: The genie is now out of the bottle”, Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, May 24, 2017

Lots more good science and practical detail can be seen at AscorbateWeb

And if nothing else, please do remember that vitamin C is Spanish for vitamin Yes!

Please note - anyone receiving intravenous vitamin C must be first checked for glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase [G6PD] deficiency. High dose vitamin C in these people may cause a haemolytic anaemia. I can find no evidence of this being an issue for oral vitamin C. In fact even intravenous C in such cases has been seen to be safe at lower doses [6grams daily] -

These data suggest that in the dosage currently under investigation (6 g/day), vitamin C should not be considered contraindicated in patients with known or suspected G6PD deficiency.
Extrapolated from in vitro data, a dose of up to 6 g/day is not contraindicated in patients with G6PD deficiency

Take vitamin C away from iodine

They work in different ways and combining them reduces the effectiveness of both. See Iodine

Monitoring blood sugar and Vitamin C

Bear in mind that the DIY home tests for blood sugar rely on a test that employs glucose oxidase. Vitamin C cross-reacts – so if you are taking vitamin C to bowel tolerance your blood will be saturated with vitamin C and this may give false highs. My experience is that this may be 2-3mmols/l higher than the actual blood glucose. That is to say an apparent reading of 7-8mols/l equates to a real reading of 4-5mmol of glucose.


Vitamin C and iron:
Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron and usually this is not a problem; in fact, usually this is a good thing. However, if you suffer from haemochromatosis (an inherited condition whereby iron levels in the body slowly build up over many years) then there is the possibility of ‘iron overload’ – that is, too much iron building up. This is not a good reason to avoid vitamin C. Ferritin levels should be picked up by routine blood tests and action should be taken at the levels shown below:

  • Men should be referred for a genetic test if their full blood count (FBC) is normal and serum ferritin (known as SF) is over 300 μg/l or transferrin saturation (known as random TSAT) is over 50%.
  • Women should be referred for a genetic test if their FBC is normal and SF is over 200 μg/l or their random TSAT is over 40%

If haemochromatosis is diagnosed, then it should be noted that vitamin C works both ways – it greatly increases the excretion of iron and, more importantly, protects against its damaging pro-oxidant effect. So, in cases of haemochromatosis the following course of action is recommended:

  • Do not take vitamin C at the same time as high-iron foods (that is, red meat). Allow 90 minutes between the two.
  • Then use vitamin C as per normal to increase excretion of iron and to mitigate its toxicity.

Related Articles

External Links

Here are three depositories of vast numbers of studies regarding Vitamin C and its beneficial effects regarding viral infections and other diseases:

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