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Mega doses of vitamin C and my 35 years of experience

  1. I know that there are varied opinions and test results, recommended dosage etc. regarding vitamin C. And I don't want to debate that. This is just my experience during 35 years of taking mega doses of vitamin C, and two of my findings.

    1. Up until about 35 years ago, like most people, I would catch a cold 2 or 3 times a year. I found that a friend was taking 500mg of vitamin c daily as a prevention against colds. So I decided to give it a shot. For reasons I can't remember I started out taking 2 grams. But then after reading Linus Pauling's books and through experimentation over the next few years I found that taking 10 grams daily was the ideal dosage for me. So, the result is that I now catch a cold only once every 5 years or so. In fact, last year was the first one in about 10 years!! And when i do catch one the symptoms are significantly lighter than those of normal colds. 10 grams of vitamin c is the equivalent of that found a 400 lemons as I remember. I take the dosage in powder form, 3 times a day.

    2. I get a physical once a year and my cholesterol is always a little high at around 220 to 230. So 3 years ago the doctor suggested an exam to check my arteries where they exam the artery in your neck with ultrasound(don't know what the exam is called in English).The result of that exam was that I have the arteries of a young person (I'm now 71). So I guess that significantly lowers my chances of having a stroke or heart attack. Given my eating habits, I was very pleasantly surprised to say the least. But at the time I just thought I had good DNA or something. It wasn't until recently that I read about many studies that have been done showing the benefits vitamin c has on protecting the arteries against the buildup of plaque and even of cleaning the arteries to some extent. When I was around 35 my cholesterol
    was over 300 and my triglyceride level was 5 times that of someone whose level is high. I took the necessary steps to return to a normal level, but if there was any buildup at that time, it's no longer there!!

    I know that there are claims that mega doses of vitamin c can prevent or cure everything from cancer to pimples. All I know is the above, and also that I have none of the problems so often seen in people my age, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or anything else for that matter. Without the wrinkles you'd swear I was under 30!!

    If you are interested knowing more, you may find Linus Pauling's books of interest.
    Vitamin C and the Common Cold (1970), Vitamin C, the Common Cold and the Flu (1976), Vitamin C and Cancer (1979), and How to Feel Better and Live Longer (1986). However it was not these books that convinced me of the benefits of mega doses of vitamin C. It was my personal experience.

    Please keep in mind that most of the studies that claim that vitamin C does not prevent colds etc. are done using dosages of only 250mg to 1 gram.

    Hope you found this of interest.
  2. Don't you get diarrhea from so much vitamin C? It usually causes loose stool at least....
  3. No, not at all. But I guess if you started out taking a large dose, you might. So a slow buildup until you find your limit would be best.
  4. Well, I have a similar thing against sore throats. I used to get it 1-2 during the winter, but in the last 3 winters I took Kelp (seaweeed) pills and no sore throats. It is full of iodine, I think that is what helps. I only start taking it at the end of November. I try to cycle my supplements...

    Going back to the vitamin C, it did cause diarrhea for me when I took a higher dosage.

    "The major side effect of vitamin C overload is an unmistakable 5-times-an-hour diarrhea. This indicates absolute saturation, and the daily dose is then dropped ..."

  5. Interesting to hear from a long term user. Back in 2014 my elderly aunt (80) had a severe problem with *diverticulitis and given her age and strength surgery was not viable.

    On a hunch and some deduction I made a batch of liposomal vitamin C, largely PH neutralised with baking soda using an ultrasonic cleaner. e.g. http://it-takes-time.com/2015/03/02/make-liposomal-vitamin-c/ There are various Youtube videos, some make excessively hopeful cancer claims of course. It tasted bad, a couple of tablespoons a day, but she was willing to try anything at that stage. A month later and she was in good form again.The fat coating reduces the initial problem with diarrhea, I've taken it myself. Slow build also helps.

    *Diverticulitis occurs when the bulging sacs that appear in the lining of your large intestine, or colon, get acutely infected or inflamed. The most common and severe symptom is sudden pain on the lower left side of the abdomen. Drinking plenty of water and eating fiber-rich foods can help you avoid diverticulitis
  6. I don't quite agree with that. The diarrhea is caused by the acidity of the vitamin c form/ ascorbic acid. It may indicate a saturation of what the intestines can tolerate for a ph level, but it does not necessarily indicate tissue saturation of vitamin C.

    If you are getting diarhhea or heartburn form the vitamin c, it would be good to switch to vitamin c in the form of calcium ascorbate. The calcium in it (think TUMS) buffers the acidity of the ascorbic acid.

    Me thinks.
  7. Quite so. Unfortunately people forget the "drinking plenty of water part." They think "hey if I feel dehydrated or thirsty I will just drink more." No, no, no. That is not the issue. The issue is that if you take more fiber (especially these fiber powder mixes) and only drink a little water then you have just created what is commonly called Adobe in the southwest- only in your intestines. A very, very counterproductive situation. Conversely, you know if you have ever mixed concrete that if you put too much water in it, it will not set up. Well, if it is in your intestines, not setting up is the goal unless you want a brick there or hard deposits that are not going anywhere soon.
  8. Speaking of vitamin C, don't excessive quantities of it over a long period of time cause kidney stones?
  9. Yeah, I did have one. But while vitamin may, or may not, have been the cause,I'd rather have 1000 stones than 1 clogged artery!!
  10. Indeedy, familiar with the concept. When I moved to south America I had my first ...emm.. minor blockage..ever for a couple of days. Corn which was not significantly in my diet before took time to adapt to. It is very bad for diverticuitis also as the outer shell is indigestible and can get trapped.

    Also being young and naughty my girl tho was a student doctor and I snuck upstairs in Graceland, surprisingly nobody notice. She was the Elvis fan really and explained the whole thing to me in considerable detail. We may have seen the actual death toilet. Maybe.

    I recall reading some research showing that people cannot differentiate between thirst and hunger so eat instead of drinking.

    I'm pretty sure the ultrasonic 'liposomal' goop works well. I remember reading someone say that ok, relatively few liposomes are made unless lucky but the emulsion does improve absorption into the liver and blood.

  11. It's complicated.

    The info on magnesium here is of interest- I think.

    And of course this is not a study that looks at megadoses but it is of interest anyway to do your own thinking about what might help with the risk- if there is one- and you are taking higher doses.

  12. Said the man who never passed a stone. Kindey pain is one of the most horrific easily bypassing child birth. Clogged arteries are painless...
  13. I prefer natural sources of vitamic C to tablets because the tables give me digestion issues. But during the winter I do try to drink a lot of lemon juice, for example, because otherwise I get constant sore throat.
  14. Yes, the pain of passing a stone can be an hour of Hell. But a clogged artery will send me there for eternity!!
  15. I think that magnesium is best absorbed into the skin. The skin acts as a reservoir for it. Epsom Salts baths and magnesium oil used as a deodorant are both healthy and relaxing.
  16. Pauling's clinical studies were done in England using massive does of Vitamin C. I heard him speak when he came to Los Alamos to present the data from these studies. Pauling himself took 2 grams with each meal. At the very onset of rhino virus symptoms he would take 12 to 20 grams in twenty four hours. I have used this remedy for years and it works for Rhino virus! It is not nearly so effective for flu virus as for Rhino virus. Pauling always stressed that you had to do it at the first sign of symptoms for best results. Pauling was very active well into his nineties and eventually died of prostate cancer. He won two Nobel prizes and narrowly missed wining two others. He had DNA right except he had the phosphate groups on the inside rather than the outside. Had he access to Rosalind Franklin's x-ray diffraction results at Cambridge, as Crick did, he undoubtedly would have got it right. (He also narrowly missed getting another Nobel when he tried reacting Xenon with Fluorine -- a catalyst was needed which hadn't yet been discovered. His idea was correctly based on ionization energies. Bartlett later, when the idea that a Nobel gas could form a compound was not so startling, won the Welsh price for the reaction Pauling had attempted years earlier, but by then Bartlett had the catalyst needed to lower the activation barrier. )

    I heard Pauling say that the American diet was woefully low in folic acid. Years later it was discovered that lack of sufficient folic acid is the cause of scoliosis. Today pregnant women are routinely prescribed folic acid supplements!

    Pauling always said that the reason the U.S. clinical trials did not show any effect of vitamin C on the common cold was because the dosages used in the U.S. study were far too low.

    Among the many interesting details of Pauling's life was his protest against "having to learn useless things" which led to his quitting high school his senior year. Many years later, after he had won two Nobel prizes, one for Peace and the other for his work on the nature of the Chemical Bond , his high school awarded him an honorary degree.
  17. Yup, moreso to prevent spinal bifida rather than scoliosis in pregnant women although both are in the same spinal neighborhood.
  18. That's a common side effect of mega doses greater than ~ 10 grams in twenty four hours. It seems harmless and is preferable to having your nose drip for three days and the mild sore throat that comes from all that post nasal drip due to Rhino virus. Ascorbic acid is one of few vitamins that can be tolerated at surprisingly high dosages. You need to increase your oral intake approximately ten-fold to double your blood level. Ascorbic acid in high doses is also a good emergency palliative for urinary tract infections until you can get on the proper antibiotic. Vit. C , in large doses, lowers urine pH.
  19. Vitamin C in the presence of moisture and air readily oxidizes to dehydroascorbic acid. Your body can make use of both and has a cell mechanism for reducing dehydroascorbate back to ascorbate. But there is also an irreversible path from the dehydro- form to diketogulonic acid. For our purposes we want to take ascorbic acid and not the oxidized dehydro- form. The former is pure white the latter is amber. When you look at ascorbic acid tablets they usually have an amber tinge. Typically all of the components used to manufacture the tablets should be colorless (tablets should be pure white) , This is seldom the case however and one never knows, without analysis, whether the color is do to partial oxidation of the vitamin C or impure technical grade auxiliary tablet components. If you can find a pure white Vitamin C tablet (you probably won't be able to) take that in preference to one with an amber cast. When fresh orange juice is shaken in the air the Ascorbic acid is oxidized to the dehydro- form to varying extents. Eventually you will notice this in the taste of the orange juice. Orange juice stored in air for a while tends to have mostly dehydroascorbic acid and little ascorbic acid.

    By the way there is no difference between synthetic ascorbic acid and "natural" ascorbic acid other than the former is usually of higher purity.

    If you are taking reagent grade, crystalline ascorbic acid powder, watch your teeth. You don't want to be making calcium ascorbate using the enamel on your teeth as one of the reactants!
  20. Indeed, but if that and stomach acidity from ascorbic acid are a concern for some, you can take vitamin c in the form of calcium ascorbate to begin with- which is commercially available. So you are starting out with lower acid.
  21. WTF??

    So I should have diarrhea for 4-6 months (if not for a whole year) during the winter just to guard off 1 cold?? That is a terrible pain/reward ratio....

    Not to mention I wasn't even megadosing, I forgot how much I took but I bet it wasn't more than 1 g and I pooped like 4 times just in the morning. You also have to add the toilette paper cost! :)

    To be honest I think it was the fish oil+vitamin C combo (just try it), but still. I had to give up one and I chose vitamin C...

    I mentioned this earlier but I take Kelp during the winter and it helped me against sore throat. No side effects...
  22. Now going back to Pauling, science unfortunatelly doesn't back him up:


    "Another important study was reported in 1975 by scientists at the National Institutes of Health who compared vitamin C pills with a placebo before and during colds. Although the experiment was supposed to be double-blind, half the subjects were able to guess which pill they were getting. When the results were tabulated with all subjects lumped together, the vitamin group reported fewer colds per person over a nine-month period. But among the half who hadn't guessed which pill they had been taking, no difference in the incidence or severity was found [10]. This illustrates how people who think they are doing something effective (such as taking a vitamin) can report a favorable result even when none exists."

    Also, just because he lived long that doesn't back him up either. It is quite possible he would have lived just as long without taking a bunch of Vitamin C. Check out Mormons, they have the highest longevity as a group in the USA and they are not mega dosing of anything. Except religious missbeliefs...

    Leading a moderate lifestyle should take anyone into mid-80s, not counting for a major disease or accident. And do you really want to push 100???
  23. No, a gram or two with meals won't have any bad side effects (most people). You just take a mega dose at the first sign of of a Rhino virus infection, say 16-20 grams spread out over 24 hours, and then you might experience a little mild diarrhea for 12 hours or so. But it is mild, and considering that within 24 hours, or less, your cold will be gone it's a good trade-off.
  24. His anti-cancer claims were also BS. And what is a little conflict of interest between friends?:

    "The Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine was founded in 1973 and operated under that name until 1995 [20]. The institute was dedicated to "orthomolecular medicine." For many years, its largest corporate donor was Hoffmann-La Roche, the pharmaceutical giant that produces most of the world's vitamin C. "

    Here is the real sad part:

    "In 1999, Robinson commented:

    The results of these experiments caused an argument between Linus and me, which ended our 16-year period of work together. He was not willing to accept the experimentally proved fact that vitamin C in ordinary doses accelerated the growth rate of squamous cell carcinoma in these mice."
  25. Here is my own cold/sore throat cure: Gargling with salty water, then later on washing it down with a little liquor with honey in it. The salty water is nasty, but the liquor part (I prefer meade like Bunratty) compensates for it...
  26. Of course you are right, there is no value in anecdote (well very little at least). But again, check the dosage in the NIH study and other U.S. studies. You'll will find it is far lower than in the Pauling study done in England. Pauling's data is quite convincing. He certainly wasn't a quack. It never made sense to him that the minimum level of vitamins to prevent disease, what you read on the back of vitamin bottles, would necessarily be the same as the optimum level. And it shouldn't make sense to anyone. He was acutely aware that some vitamins had had narrower optimum ranges than others and that going above those levels for certain vitamins could be dangerous.

    Thousands of cases of spinal bifida and scoliosis would have been prevented had the medical profession listened to him, because he knew that the required level for folic acid had been set way too low for a ridiculous reason. (higher doses interfere with diagnosis of a rare brain disorder.) But those low levels were at the expense of less than optimum health for an entire country! He did not know that the recommended level could result in spinal bifida, but he did know that the required level was set far too low, and that folic acid in the typical U.S. diet was way too low for good health. And he said so.

    The quackwatch article was interesting. A few questionable statements apparently based on third hand information and some apparent inaccuracies. As an example, the article states that reportedly pauling took 12 grams per day of Vitamin C. It's well known that his standard practice was to take 2 grams with each meal (6 grams daily). At this point I don't think there is any question that large doses, 16-20 grams of vitamin C in 24 hours taken at the onset of symptoms cures Rhino virus infections. But the best test is to try it yourself and see.
  27. Specially those that he destroyed, like the above quoted Robinson fellow's data, who got sued by Pauling for being scientific. If you read the article Pauling promptly lost the suit and had to pay half a million to Robinson for label.

    Pauling reminds me of Newton. Just because you are great in something, that doesn't mean that you can't believe in alchemy or invest in tulip bulbs...

    Later in life Pauling also supported quacks. It is all in the article.

    Modern science does NOT back up Pauling's claims on either Vit. C's cold fighting abilites or anti-cancer properties. End of story...

  28. Well, the other ridiculous reason why the medical establishment resisted folic acid supplementation was because folic acid masks testing for B12 so that if a person was supplementing with folic acid but had a b12 deficiency then it could go undetected. Oy!

    After a few decades of using that as an excuse, I think some rocket surgeons came up with the idea that you could just add b12 in with the folic acid supplement. Now, things seem to have come full circle where the establishment is fighting for more folic acid to be added to processed foods.

    Pauling was a bold thinker and making big conjectures can sometimes appear reckless but it is also one of the major ways that science moves forward as things are proven or disproven. Just daring to "look there" is often the beginning of great things. I don't think the Vitamin C studies are all that impressive but there is no doubt that Pauling and Abraham Hoffer/Hoffman whaterver (with his naicin schizophrenia studies) launched the whole field orthomolecular medicine and that has been a good thing.
  29. That's a dandy idea I'm going to try it, the next time I have sore throat. I might try just the second part tonight.
  30. Pauling wasn't perfect, he was just brilliant and extremely articulate. It seems to be hard to find all three attributes in he same person. Perfection seems to be the toughest to find. I never heard Pauling say that ascorbic acid in mega doses would cure the flu, but perhaps he did say that later. It does take care of Rhino virus however. But you've got to take a lot spread out over at least 24 hours. A couple of Vitamin C tablets won't do it. On this point there is very convincing scientific evidence. None of the U.S. studies used the required dosage. Why didn't the U.S. investigators simply repeat the British study? Wouldn't that have been the thing to do if you wanted to know if the prior results were repeatable. Maybe that was not the goal of the U.S. studies.

    It is ridiculous, however, to do a study using dosage 1 and obtain negative results, and then claim another study done a dosage 2, where dosage 2 >> dosage 1, must be wrong. This is what happened; of course it's ridiculous. Pauling stepped on the toes of the U.S. medical profession, and quite naturally, they didn't appreciate it. We should remind ourselves that twenty years after some very bright Australians discovered that almost all ulcers are caused by H. pylori, some U.S. physicians were still till telling their patients that ulcers were caused by stress, and too much hydrochloric acid output.
  31. It is also true that treatment procedures that are aimed at people in reasonably good health often only show marginal benefit but may have dramatic results on people who have a chronic problem caused by underlying conditions.

    For example, there are lots of substances that promote wound healing- vitamin c, d, e, zinc, bioflavinoids, aged garlic extract, prescription drugs etc..etc. But if young people - for example- in good health have a wound and you apply all those approaches then probably it will show only negligible benefit. Wounds require at least some time and their systems are pretty much in tip top condition to begin with. But for people with chronic problems with wound healing some of those approaches can make a remarkable difference, even if the data for the general population is not that impressive.

    It is the same with nutraceuticals- so called. Vitamin C probably may make little or no difference for many people with colds or the usual rhinovirus problem because -at least some time is required to boot that virus out even under the best of conditions. But you can't turn that around and therefore conclude that it does not make a significant difference for some- who have a more chronic condition where there are underlying conditions that may be helped by the vitamin c.
  32. It also makes sense to me that if you improve the nutrition of a cancer patient you might at the same time accelerate the growth of the cancer.
  33. He was a practical person. logic rather then emotions ruled his life, but he was by no means a person devoid of emotions. Certainly one of the most interesting of our species during the twentieth century. And yes those views are interesting and you can see in them that there was a certain logic based on science behind them.
  34. Ahhh, I can only nod because is beyond what can be discussed in posts.

    But the answer is probably yes to that. Sorta, but is extremely complicated. Anti-oxidents for example seem to be highly effective in lowering certain types of cancers but the dilemma is that if you do get cancer and have been taking lots of anti-oxidents and get cancer it tends be more aggressive, and lethal. Not necessarily because you have been "feeding" the cancer cells along with the normal cells as it is that the body the cancer cells have learned a workaround before you killed them off. Mother nature is a little pisspot like that (or to look at it differently you have to admire intelligence and elegance of cancer cells even if they kill you). Antibiotics and all sorts of other drugs are also like that. If you hit your infection hard with a potent and appropriate antibiotic it can be a wonder drug but if you have been taking little doses of antibiotic over the years for acne, or every little ill you have, ir in the meat you buy, then you could be screwed. They have figured out the code and see you coming...ie. anti-biotic resistance.

    Hormones can be a double-edged sword like that too. Low testosterone is definitely correlated with the development of aggressive prostate cancer but on the other hand it will drive a cancer faster if you do get it. Tricky stuff. Mother nature getting a vote every step of the way despite your efforts to outmaneuver it.

    It is not always like that though. Sometimes your immune system is just subpar because of poor nutrition and if you improve that then it helps you to stay alive and that is all for the good.

    Speaking of Pauling, he said once "every man gets prostate cancer if he lives long enough." A lot to think about there. In fact, almost every man over forty or even younger already has cancerous cells in his prostate - although not necessarily progressing- yet- and possibly not in your lifetime if you die early enough from some other cause.
  35. You're a Kindred soul. I can tell you have an excellent education is undergraduate science and something beyond that as well, probably biochemistry/molecular biology.
  36. Thank you indeed.

    I have no formal education in either science or chemistry. I did however survive bone cancer as a teenager. So let us just say, the nature of what one starts reading can dramatically change over night which is not all bad. And of course in the pre-internet days it involves some heavy hunting and gathering to accumulate information.

    I will say no more about that but just flashed my kimono open for a minute, and we know that can be scary for others.

  37. How an education is acquired, though not inconsequential, is less important than the knowledge acquired.
  38. You're thinking of Uromysitisis poisoning.
  39. If you are into strength training or bodybuilding, too much vitamin c will interfere with the muscle repair and building process. This is due to vit c's role as an inflammation suppressor...inflammation is part of muscle repair.
  40. nope. there are no independent studies that show that magnesium is better absorbed though the skin than orally. i doubt if it is absorbed at all tbh.
  41. No, I meant something completely different.
  42. I wrote the above regarding the two experiences I have had while taking mega doses of vitamin C. However, I have just had an additional one!

    I had often heard that some people experience increased energy from taking mega doses of vitamin C. But I had never felt such until a few weeks ago when I unexpectedly ran out of vitamin C. So, as it would take a few days for my order to arrive, I decided to go a week or so without taking it and see what happened. Well, after a few days without vitamin C I did notice a decrease in energy to a certain extent. However, that was mild compared to how I felt when I resumed my 10 gram dosage. I think it was the 2nd day that I felt a significant increase in energy. I walked faster and easier etc. like nothing I had ever experienced before.
    So I'm now convinced that you do experience increased energy even though you do not notice it while constantly taking the vitamin.
  43. " the current literature provides little support for the widespread use of vitamin C supplementation to reduce CVD risk or mortality."



    "It purported to show that “thickening” of the carotid artery walls was markedly increased [by a factor of 1.5 in non-smokers and up to five fold in smokers] via supplemental doses of as little as 500mg of vitamin C daily. These results were seen in an astonishingly short period–the study duration was just 18 months."


    Funny part:

    " Last year, the same USC research team (Dwyer, et al) wrote a paper with opposite findings, casting doubt on the new study’s conclusions."
  44. >Many of the clinical trials testing hypotheses related to vitamin C and CVD have used supplemental vitamin C in doses of 500–1000 mg per day.
    >During a mean follow-up of eight years, it was determined that long-term daily supplementation of 500 mg of vitamin C did not reduce the primary endpoint of incidence of major cardiovascular events.

    Yes, but as always, such studies were done using very low doses. Show me studies conducted using mega doses, not just 500 - 1000mg. 10 grams or more is what I take and my arteries have been shown to be those of a young person!! I'm living proof!!
  45. The plural of anecdote isn't data.

    1. The other study quoted showed the OPPOSITE results, the hardening of arteries when taking vit C.
    2. It is possible there is no correlation/completely different reason explanation for your case, maybe it is genetic, maybe you are doing something else right.

    What you are saying is that in small dose it is harmful for the arteries and in big dose it is helpful. (I would like to hear an explanation for that.)
    The data is not conclusive or contradictory at best.


    Personally I believe the only thing that actually clears up arteries is Niacin, but studies are hard to find. Niacin is dirt cheap, not enough money in promoting it.

    "A prescription version of niacin beat out a blockbuster cholesterol-lowering drug in slowing the buildup of plaque in artery walls, researchers report."

  46. My mother died from atherosclerosis. My diet would give a dietitian nightmares. Everything I do is wrong, except for taking mega doses of vitamin C!!
  47. Here is an interesting take by a doctor:


    His point is that it matters a lot what type of vitamin C you are taking, and they are not all equal. I like his analogy of toothpaste on the arteries. He says sugar and vit C are competing with each other for the access on the cracks of the arteries.

    He promotes something called Cyruta, "rotor rooter for clogged arteries."

    "Standard Process Cyruta contains a proprietary blend in combination with the positive effects of Vitamin C. The main ingredient of this blend is Buckwheat, or Fagopyrum esculentum, typically regarded as a food due to the fact that it’s not among the cereal grasses, but the herbaceous plants.

    This formulation mainly focuses on improving the walls of the arteries while helping the body fight against the effects caused by free radicals."
  48. Anyway, I'll let you know the final results and post back when I'm 150!!
  49. Try to find something against prostate problems, because that is the one that will kill ya!