Vitamin C – How to dose to match your bodies needs.
As Naturopath it is common practice to dose vitamin C until bowel tolerance, a nicer way to describe it is the Vitamin C flush. This involves taking as much Vitamin C as your gut can tolerate in order to saturate your cells. Once you hit the point at which you can no longer absorb vitamin C from your gut, you will experience an enema like evacuation, like diarrhoea, from your bowel.
There is some evidence to show that the amount of vitamin C which can be tolerated orally, without producing loose stools, increases in correlation to how unwell you are. (2,4)
Most people reach bowel tolerance at around 10-15g, but in an acute illness like a cold that tolerance can increase up to 50g within 24 hours. A bad cold can increase tolerance to 100g, the flu up to 150g and viral pneumonia to as much as 200g within 24 hours.(4)
Large doses of vitamin C should always be given in divided doses and consultation with your health practitioner is always best.
What you need:
– A buffered Vitamin C powder that includes Calcium ascorbate or potassium ascorbate. Best to avoid the ascorbic acid as can cause irritation in such high dose.
How to do it:
-Choose a day when you are at home or close to a toilet you feel comfortable using.
-Start by taking 1000mg of vitamin C in a glass of water
-Repeat this every hour, on the hour, recording each time you take a dose
-Continue taking 1000mg hourly until you go to the toilet with loose stool – a watery stool. Once this occurs you can stop taking the vitamin C. Take note of how much you took in total before hitting bowel tolerance. i.e.: every hour for 6 hours = 6,000mg.
– Continue to drink water throughout the day, you may notice some continued loose stool.
– The following day take 75% of the total amount in 3 divided doses i.e. 75% of 6,000 = 4,500mg which would be 3 divided doses of 1,500mg.
– Each day reduce the total amount you are taking by 1000mg. i.e. The next day take total of 3,500 in 2-3 divided doses until you are down to 500-1000mg daily.
Who shouldn’t do this? Although vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin and your cant actually overdose I would advise against people with the following conditions to avoid.
– Irritable bowel or inflammatory bowel disease
– Gilbert’s disease
– Preconception, Pregnancy or breast feeding