Could Vitamin C be Dangerous?

Vitamin C is a complex of minerals, bioflavonoids and asorbic acid. Ascorbic acid is the main active ingredient. It’s a simple organic compound synthesised from glucose which enters the cells by a similar pathway. It’s needed for a number of functions in the body; building enzymes and collagen and working as a vital redox molecule. Think of C standing for Collagen.

Humans can’t make ascorbic acid, it has to come from food. If we don’t have any at all we get “scurvy” and literally disintegrate, it looks like we’re rotting apart – teeth fall out, joints collapse, blood hemorrhages through the skin. We die an ignominious and horrible death. Most people consume far less than their needs and have a wide range of distressing health problems they can’t understand. Its called “sub-clinical scurvy”. That is, they have scurvy without the gross clinical signs; for example spider veins, loose teeth, weak joints. Would it be a factor in retinal detachment or low immunity?

Amounts to Consume

The Recommended Daily Allowance is 45 milligrams (mg). People eating a healthy diet consume 200-300 mg vitamin C daily, an amount easily obtainable from fruit and vegetables. The balance between vitamin C levels against adrenal hormone secretion and oxidative stressors has been well studied and most functions of the body are able to be measured in the blood. At this intake the plasma levels of vitamin C become fairly stable as metabolic functions proceed.

Supplements are usually 500 mg tablets of ascorbic acid, the main active ingredient. This is a common amount to use in scientific trials; which generally show slight benefit from the vitamin C without useful medical effects.

Yet for adult humans to have similar tissue levels as animals which synthesise their own vitamin C we would need to consume and absorb 10,000 mg daily.

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RDA or Therapeutic Prescribing?

Two different perspectives emerge. One sees the daily intake as the normal amount, the other is aware of the body’s ability to use levels similar to animals to optimize a wide range of functions.

What happens if someone begins high doses of ascorbic acid?

The effect of initial high doses is often diarrhea because the gut cannot absorb it. Then, the cells increase in vitality because vitamin C supports so much of cell function. There will be detoxification, chemicals and heavy metals may move into circulation. Mineral imbalances and deficiencies may occur including a slight copper deficiency. You could feel unwell.

If higher doses are attempted a health plan should be decided. Yet for a well mineralised person whose body is fairly clear of toxins a daily intake of 10,000 mg becomes a normal baseline, increased when under stress or unwell.

Its best to use the most natural vitamin C possible, which is preferably from foods or superfoods. If ascorbic acid is used it should be mixed with bioflavonoids and minerals. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin so supplements don’t last beyond about 6 hours in the body, doses have to be divided and spread out through the day; minimum twice a day, optimum dosing is 4 times daily.

Start with about 1000 mg daily and increase to 2000 or 3000 mg a day. This amount is sustainable and beneficial without causing excessive detox or imbalances.

The Verdict

Vitamin C is as powerful as a pharmaceutical yet very safe even at extremely high doses.

After it was first made in a laboratory in the early 1930’s it was trialed extensively over the next 20 years. But the 1950’s was a time of growth for chemistry and pharmacology – the active principles of herbs were isolated and patented, new drugs were synthesised. Ascorbic acid is not the kind of beneficial compound that suits the pharmaceutical model.

Which is unfortunate. For example, it has been shown that 90% of people admitted to hospital are deficient in Vitamin C and that everyone leaves hospital with lower levels than when they entered. A doctor is unlikely to recommend Ascorbic Acid or even recognise scurvy.

So take control, keep a stock of Ascorbic Acid powder and maintain a good daily dose.

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