Category Archives: Vitamin C

4 Reasons Vitamin C is Great for Skin Care 

vitamin c supplement

It’s no secret that our bodies need Vitamin C. It supports healthy immunity, prevents scurvy, and helps us feel good from day to day. But did you know that Vitamin C is also great for your skin? Here are four of the many reasons you should add Vitamin C to your skin care routine.

Important Role of Vitamin C

Important Roles of Vitamin C

Many people assume Vitamin C is only required in tiny amounts; just enough to prevent scurvy. After all, this Vitamin C-deficiency disease spawned the chemical name ascorbate for Vitamin C. Ascorbate literally means “against scurvy.” Were this its only function, tiny amounts of Vitamin C would be sufficient for most people on the planet. But, there’s vastly more it can do.

Vitamin C is required in many essential metabolic processes – two of which we have highlighted below: Collagen Synthesis and Calcium Incorporation.

Collagen Synthesis

Vitamin C is essential for the synthesis and maintenance of collagen, the most abundant protein in the human body. Collagen comprises about 25% to 35% of the total protein content in the body. Its strong, connective, elongated fibrils are found in skin, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, bone, blood vessels, the intestines, and the discs between spinal vertebrae. It is also found in the cornea and in muscle tissue.

  • Vitamin C helps protect the skin by promoting the production and migration of fibroblasts that support normal wound healing.
  • VitaminC protects against skin wrinkles seen in premature aging.
  • Increased VitaminC uptake by vascular smooth muscle cells increases the synthesis and maturation of Type I (aka Type 1) collagen.  Type I collagen accounts for about 90% of the body’s total collagen content.
  • High concentrations of VitaminC stimulate synthesis of Type IV collagen, which has important filtration characteristics in the kidney, the blood-brain barrier, and the arterial lining .

Promotes Calcium Incorporation into Bone Tissue

The formation and maintenance of quality, high-density bone material requires Vitamin C. Vitamin C promotes assimilation of calcium into the bone, protects against leaching of calcium out of the bones, and fights the oxidative stress that works against assimilation.

  • Vitamin C stimulates the formation of the cells that incorporate calcium into bone tissue (osteoblasts).
  • VitaminC inhibits the development of cells that dissolve calcium out of bone tissues (osteoclasts).
  • As a powerful antioxidant, VitaminC fights oxidative stress in bone tissues.
  • Collagen cross-linking, required to form the dense matrix for optimal bone strength, requires Vitamin C.

Vitamin C is essential to numerous functions inside the body. We’ve just outlined two more reasons to get your daily dose!

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

17 Ways Vitamin C Supports a Healthy Immune System

The power of vitamin C is often attributed to its role as an antioxidant. However, no other antioxidant can perform the many additional physiological and biological roles that vitamin C fills. To think of vitamin C as nothing more than an antioxidant would be a great understatement.

Among its many positive effects on the body, vitamin C is a strong supporter of healthy immune function. Here’s how:

  1. Vitamin C supports the production of interferons. Interferons are produced when the presence of pathogens is detected. They facilitate the ability of cells to launch protective cellular defenses.*

  2. Vitamin C enhances the function of phagocytes. Phagocytes are a type of white blood cell that envelop pathogens and other dangerous particles. Once the invaders are captured in this manner, they are enzymatically digested.*

  3. Vitamin C supports the cell-mediated immune response. There are 2 major ways that the body can respond to a pathogen: antibody-mediated immunity and cell-mediated immunity. Cell-mediated response refers to the activation of macrophages, natural killer cells, and antigen-specific T-lymphocytes that attack anything perceived as a foreign agent.*

  4. Vitamin C neutralizes oxidative stress.*

  5. Vitamin C improves and enhances the immune response achieved with vaccination.*

  6. Vitamin C enhances cytokine production by white blood cells. Cytokines are communication proteins released by certain white blood cells that transmit information to other cells, promoting the immune response.*

  7. Vitamin C inhibits various forms of T-lymphocyte death. T-lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell. They are an integral part of the cell-mediated immune defense system. Vitamin C helps to keep these important cells alive and viable.*

  8. Vitamin C enhances nitric oxide production by phagocytes. Phagocytes, as discussed in #2, are white blood cells that engulf invading microorganisms. Nitric oxide is produced in large amounts in these cells, and it is one of the agents that will kill captured pathogens.*

  9. Vitamin C enhances T-lymphocyte production. As mentioned in #7, these cells are essential to cell-mediated immune responses, and Vitamin C helps them to multiply in number.*

  10. Vitamin C enhances B-lymphocyte production. These white blood cells make antibodies as part of the antibody-mediated immune response. Antibodies are formed in reaction to the initial introduction of an invading pathogen or antigen.*

  11. Vitamin C inhibits neuraminidase production. Some pathogenic viruses and bacteria create neuraminidase, an enzyme that keeps them from being trapped in mucus, one of the body’s natural lines of defense. Inhibiting neuraminidase helps the body optimize this defensive mechanism.*

  12. Vitamin C supports antibody production and activity. Good antibody function is important to a healthy immune system.*

  13. Vitamin C supports natural killer cell activity. Natural killer cells are lymphocytes that can directly attack cells, like tumor cells, and kill them.*

  14. Vitamin C supports localized generation and interaction with hydrogen peroxide. Vitamin C and hydrogen peroxide can kill microorganisms and can dissolve the protective capsules of some bacteria, such as pneumococci. *

  15. Vitamin C enhances cyclic GMP levels in lymphocytes. Cyclic GMP plays a central role in the regulation of many physiologic responses, including the modulation of immune responses. Cyclic GMP is important for normal cell proliferation and differentiation. It also controls the action of many hormones, and it appears to mediate the relaxation of smooth muscle.*

  16. Vitamin C detoxifies histamine. This effect is important in the support of local immune factors.*

  17. Vitamin C enhances the mucolytic effect. This property helps liquefy thick secretions, increasing immune access to infection.*

  18. Vitamin C makes bacterial membranes more permeable to some antibiotics. *

  19. Vitamin C enhances prostaglandin formation. Prostaglandins are hormone-like compounds that control many physiologic processes, including regulating T-lymphocyte function.*

  20. Vitamin C concentrates in white blood cells. Some of the primary cells in the immune system concentrate Vitamin C as much as 80 times higher than the level in plasma. This assures extra delivery of Vitamin C to the sites of infection by the migration of these Vitamin C-rich white blood cells.*

[1] Siegel B, “Enhanced interferon response to murine leukemia virus by ascorbic acid” Infection and Immunity 1974 10(2):409-410.
[2] Siegel B, “Enhancement of interferon production by poly(rI)-poly(rC) in mouse cell cultures by ascorbic acid” Nature 1975 254(5500):531-532.
[3] Geber W, Lefkowitz S, Hung C, “Effect of ascorbic acid, sodium salicylate, and caffeine on the serum interferon level in response to viral infection” Pharmacology 1975 13(3):228-233.
[4] Dahl H ,Degre M, “The effect of ascorbic acid on production of human interferon and the antiviral activity in vitro. Acta Pathologica et Microbiologica Scandinavica. Section B” Microbiology 1976 84(5):280-284.
[5] Stone I, “The possible role of mega-ascorbate in the endogenous synthesis of interferon” Medical Hypotheses 1980 6(3):309-314.
[6] Karpinska T, Kawecki Z, Kandefer-Szerszen M, “The influence of ultraviolet irradiation, L-ascorbic acid and calcium chloride on the induction of interferon in human embryo fibroblasts” Archivum Immunologiae et Therapiae Experimentalis 1982 30(1-2)33-37.
[7] Nungester W, Ames A, “The relationship between ascorbic acid and phagocytic activity” Journal of Infectious Diseases 1948 83:50-54.
[8] Goetzl E, et al, “Enhancement of random migration and chemotactic response of human leukocytes by ascorbic acid” The Journal of Clinical Investigation 1974 53(3):813-818.
[9] Sandler J, Gallin J, Vaughan M, “Effects of serotonin, carbamylcholine, and ascorbic acid on leukocyte cyclic GMP and chemotaxis” The Journal of Cell Biology 1975 67(2 Pt 1):480-484.
[10] Boxer L, et al, “Correction of leukocyte function in Chediak-Higashi syndrome by ascorbate” The New England Journal of Medicine 1976 295(19):1041-1045.
[11] Ganguly R, Durieux M, Waldman R, “Macrophage function in vitamin C-deficient guinea pigs” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1976 29(7):762-765.
[12] Anderson R, Dittrich O, “Effects of ascorbate on leucocytes. Part IV. Increased neutrophil function and clinical improvement after oral ascorbate in 2 patients with chronic granulomatous disease” South African Medical Journal 1979 56(12):476-480.
[13] Anderson R, Theron A, “Effects of ascorbate on leucocytes. Part III. In vitro and in vivo stimulation of abnormal neutrophil motility by ascorbate” South African Medical Journal 1979 56(11):429-433.
[14] Anderson R, et al, “The effects of increasing weekly doses of ascorbate on certain cellular and humoral immune functions in normal volunteers” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1980 33(1):71-76.
[15] Anderson R, et al, “The effect of ascorbate on cellular humoral immunity in asthmatic children” South African Medical Journal 1980 58(24):974-977.
[16] Dallegri F, Lanzi G, Patrone F, “Effects of ascorbic acid on neutrophil locomotion” International Archives of Allergy and Applied Immunology 1980 61(1):40-45.
[17] Corberand J, et al, “Malignant external otitis and polymorphonuclear leukocyte migration impairment. Improvement with ascorbic acid” Archives of Otolaryngology 1982 108(2):122-124.
[18] Patrone F, et al, “Effects of ascorbic acid on neutrophil function. Studies on normal and chronic granulomatous disease neutrophils” Acta Vitaminologica et Enzymologica 1982 4(1-2):163-168.
Cunningham-Rundles S, “Effects of nutritional status on immunological function” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1982 35(5 Suppl):1202-1210.
[19] Oberritter H, et al, “Effect of functional stimulation on ascorbate content in phagocytes under physiological and pathological conditions” International Archives of Allergy and Applied Immunology 1986 81(1):46-50.
[20] Levy R, Schlaeffer F, “Successful treatment of a patient with recurrent furunculosis by vitamin C: improvement of clinical course and of impaired neutrophil functions” International Journal of Dermatology 1993 32(11):832-834.
[21] Levy R, et al, “Vitamin C for the treatment of recurrent furunculosis in patients with impaired neutrophil functions” The Journal of Infectious Diseases 1996 173(6):1502-1505.
[22] Ciocoiu M, et al, “The involvement of vitamins C and E in changing the immune response” [Article in Romanian] Revista Medico-Chirurgicala a Societatii de Medici si Naturalisti din Iasi 1998 102(1-2):93-96.
De la Fuente M, et al, “Immune function in aged women is improved by ingestion of vitamins C and E” Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology 1998 76(4):373-380.
[23] Glick D, Hosoda S, “Histochemistry. LXXViii. Ascorbic acid in normal mast cells and macrophages and neoplastic mast cells” Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine 1965 119:52-56.
[24] Thomas W, Holt P, “Vitamin C and immunity: an assessment of the evidence” Clinical and Experimental Immunology 1978 32(2):370-379.
[25] Evans R, Currie L, Campbell A, “The distribution of ascorbic acid between various cellular components of blood, in normal individuals, and its relation to the plasma concentration” The British Journal of Nutrition 1982 47(3):473-482.
[26] Goldschmidt M, “Reduced bactericidal activity in neutrophils from scorbutic animals and the effect of ascorbic acid on these target bacteria in vivo and in vitro” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1991 54(6 Suppl):1214S-1220S.
[27] Washko P, Wang Y, Levine M, “Ascorbic acid recycling in human neutrophils” The Journal of Biological Chemistry 1993 268(21):15531-15535.
[28] Siegel B, Morton J, “Vitamin C and the immune response” Experientia 1977 33(3):393-395.
Jeng K, et al, “Supplementation with vitamins C and E enhances cytokine production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells in healthy adults” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1996 64(6):960-965.
Campbell J, et al, “Ascorbic acid is a potent inhibitor of various forms of T cell apoptosis” Cellular Immunology 1999 194(1):1-5.
[29] Mizutani A, et al, “Ascorbate-dependent enhancement of nitric oxide formation in activated macrophages. Nitric Oxide: Biology and Chemistry 1998 2(4):235-241.
[30] Mizutani A. Tsukagoshi N, “Molecular role of ascorbate in enhancement of NO production in activated macrophage-like cell line, J774.1” Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology 1999 45(4):423-435.
[31] Fraser R, et al, “The effect of variations in vitamin C intake on the cellular immune response of guinea pigs” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1980 33(4):839-847.
Kennes B, et al, “Effect of vitamin C supplements on cell-mediated immunity in old people” Gerontology 1983 29(5):305-310.
[32] Wu C, Dorairajan T, Lin T, “Effect of ascorbic acid supplementation on the immune response of chickens vaccinated and challenged with infectious bursal disease virus” Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 2000 74(1-2):145-152.
[33] Schwager J, Schulze J, “Influence of ascorbic acid on the response to mitogens and interleukin production of porcine lymphocytes” International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research 1997 67(1):10-16.
[34] Rotman D, “Sialoresponsin and an antiviral action of ascorbic acid” Medical Hypotheses 1978 4(1):40-43.
[35] Ecker E, Pillemer L, “Vitamin C requirement of the guinea pig” Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine 1940 44:262.
[36] Bourne G, “Vitamin C and immunity” The British Journal of Nutrition 1949 2:342.
Prinz W, et al, “The effect of ascorbic acid supplementation on some parameters of the human immunological defence system” International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research 1977 47(3):248-257.
[37] Vallance S, “Relationships between ascorbic acid and serum proteins of the immune system” British Medical Journal 1977 2(6084):437-438.
[38] Sakamoto M, et al, “The effect of vitamin C deficiency on complement systems and complement components” Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology 1981 27(4):367-378.
Feigen G, et al, “Enhancement of antibody production and protection against systemic anaphylaxis by large doses of vitamin C” Research Communications in Chemical Pathology and Pharmacology 1982 38(2):313-333.
[39] Li Y, Lovell T, “Elevated levels of dietary ascorbic acid increase immune responses in channel catfish” The Journal of Nutrition 1985 115(1):123-131.
[40] Wahli T, Meier W, Pfister K, “Ascorbic acid induced immune-mediated decrease in mortality in Ichthyophthirius multifiliis infected rainbow-trout (Salmo gairdneri)” Acta Tropica 1986 43(3):287-289.
[41] Johnston C, Kolb W, Haskell B, “The effect of vitamin C nutriture on complement component C1q concentrations in guinea pig plasma” The Journal of Nutrition 1987 117(4):764-768.
[42] Haskell B, Johnston C, “Complement component C1q activity and ascorbic acid nutriture in guinea pigs” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1991 54(6 Suppl):1228S-1230S.
[43] Wu C, Dorairajan T, Lin T, “Effect of ascorbic acid supplementation on the immune response of chickens vaccinated and challenged with infectious bursal disease virus” Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 2000 74(1-2):145-152.
[44] Heuser G, Vojdani A, “Enhancement of natural killer cell activity and T and B cell function by buffered vitamin C in patients exposed to toxic chemicals: the role of protein kinase-C” Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 1997 19(3):291-312.
[45] Horrobin D, et al, “The nutritional regulation of T lymphocyte function” Medical Hypotheses 1979 5(9):969-985.
[46] Scott J, “On the biochemical similarities of ascorbic acid and interferon” Journal of Theoretical Biology 1982 98(2):235-238.
[47] Siegel B, Morton J, “Vitamin C and immunity: influence of ascorbate on prostaglandin E2 synthesis and implications for natural killer cell activity” International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research 1984 54(4):339-342.
[48] Atkinson J, et al, “Effects of ascorbic acid and sodium ascorbate on cyclic nucleotide metabolism in human lymphocytes” Journal of Cyclic Nucleotide Research 1979 5(2):107-123.
[49] Panush R, et al, “Modulation of certain immunologic responses by vitamin C. III. Potentiation of in Vitro and in vivo lymphocyte responses” International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research. Supplement 1982 23:35-47.
[50] Strangeways W, “Observations on the trypanocidal action in vitro of solutions of glutathione and ascorbic acid” Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology 1937 31:405-416.
[51] Miller T, “Killing and lysis of gram-negative bacteria through the synergistic effect of hydrogen peroxide, ascorbic acid, and lysozyme” Journal of Bacteriology 1969 98(3):949-955.
[52] Tappel A, “Lipid peroxidation damage to cell components” Federation Proceedings 1973 32(8):1870-1874.
[53] Kraut E, Metz E, Sagone A, “In vitro effects of ascorbate on white cell metabolism and the chemiluminescence response” Journal of the Reticuloendothelial Society 1980 27(4):359-366.
[54] Robertson W, Ropes M, Bauer W, “The degradation of mucins and polysaccharides by ascorbic acid and hydrogen peroxide” The Biochemical Journal 1941 35:903.
[55] Nandi B, et al, “Effect of ascorbic acid on detoxification of histamine under stress conditions” Biochemical Pharmacology 1974 23(3):643-647.
[56] Johnston C, Martin L, Cai X, “Antihistamine effect of supplemental ascorbic acid and neutrophil chemotaxis” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 1992 11(2):172-176.
[57] Kastenbauer S, et al, “Oxidative stress in bacterial meningitis in humans” Neurology 2002 58(2):186-191.
[58] Versteeg J, “Investigations on the effect of ascorbic acid on antibody production in rabbits after injection of bacterial and viral antigens by different routes. Proceedings of the Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen. Series C” Biological and Medical Sciences 1970 73(5):494-501.
[59] Banic S, “Immunostimulation by vitamin C” International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research. Supplement 1982 23:49-52.
[60] Wu C, Dorairajan T, Lin T, “Effect of ascorbic acid supplementation on the immune response of chickens vaccinated and challenged with infectious bursal disease virus” Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 2000 74(1-2):145-152.
[61] Ericsson Y, “The effect of ascorbic acid oxidation on mucoids and bacteria in body secretions” Acta Pathologica et Microbiologica Scandinavica 1954 35:573-583.
[62] Rawal B, “Bactericidal action of ascorbic acid on Pseudomonas aeruginosa: alteration of cell surface as a possible mechanism” Chemotherapy 1978 24(3):166-171.

©2014 LivOn Labs. Content adapted from Primal Panacea by Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD.

Can Vitamin C Upset Your Stomach?

upset stomach

Vitamin C is well known for providing many benefits, including shortening the duration of a cold, boosting the immune system and supporting the natural production of collagen.  But yes, taking high doses of traditional vitamin C – pills, powders, and capsules – can upset your stomach and then some…

Here’s why:

Most traditional vitamin C supplements contain straight ascorbic acid.  Ascorbic acid is recognized as the primary force behind the power of vitamin C, but it is an acid.  A moderate amount of acid in the gastric system helps to digest food and kill bacteria, but too much acid leads to heartburn, bloating, belching, and flatulence.

High quality vitamin C supplements use gentler, less-acidic types of vitamin C to help prevent this gastric upset.  These supplements typically include sodium ascorbate, ascorbic acid with bioflavonoids, ascorbyl palmitate, calcium ascorbate, or mineral forms of ascorbate.

The type of vitamin C you take, however, is only one part of the issue.  Because no matter what type of vitamin C you ingest, it’s primarily absorbed through an active transport system (unless it’s encapsulated in liposomes, but we’ll get to that later).

Active transport of vitamin C relies on sodium-dependent vitamin C co-transporters (SVCTs) to carry each vitamin C molecule through special doorways into the bloodstream, cell or tissue.  SVCTs can only carry one molecule of vitamin C through one door at a time.

This system works efficiently for a healthy person taking small doses of vitamin C, but when you take high doses of vitamin C, the absorption is severely restricted by the number of SVCTs and the number of open doors. If there aren’t enough SVCTs to carry all of the vitamin C into the blood, or all of the doors are closed, the vitamin C that was not absorbed is forced to exit the body.

This forced exit occurs because the most common forms of vitamin C are water soluble – meaning the vitamin C dissolves in water, and cannot be stored by the body for later use.  So when a large dose of water soluble vitamin C is taken and there are not enough SVCTs or open doors, all of the unabsorbed vitamin C is sent to the colon. Water is then drawn into the colon in order to dilute and excrete the vitamin C.  Then… straight to the bathroom.

Unless you are looking for a good cleanse, there are two ways to prevent these unpleasant experiences when taking high doses of vitamin C:

  • Take single doses of <500 mg of sodium ascorbate, several times a day.  Sodium ascorbate is recommended most by vitamin C experts, and it is commonly used in high dose intravenous (IV) infusions.
  • Take vitamin C encapsulated in liposomes.  Liposomes are tiny spheres that form a protective membrane around the vitamin C.  This prevents the vitamin C from being destroyed in the digestive system, while promoting delivery directly into the bloodstream and cells.  And because liposomes do not use the body’s active transport system, you can take high doses of liposomal vitamin C without worrying about where to find the nearest bathroom.


  • Li, Y. and Schellhorn, E. 2007. New developments and novel therapeutic perspectives for vitamin C. Journal of Nutrition. 137: 2171-2184
  • Hickey S., Roberts H, Miller N, (2008), “Pharmacokinetics of oral vitamin C” Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine July 31.

© 2014 LivOn Labs

Researchers Claim RDA For Vitamin C is Flawed

The controversy over vitamin C and orthomolecular medicine began with the publication of Linus Pauling’s book, “Vitamin C and the Common Cold”. A quarter of a century later the controversy around vitamin C continues.

Steve Hickey, PhD and Hillary Roberts, Phd, pharmacology professors and graduates of the University of Manchester in Britain, are challenging the established Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C, which is 75 and 90 milligrams for males and females respectively. In their book “Ascorbate, The Science of Vitamin C”, Hickey and Roberts point out some biological flaws to justify their attack on the RDA for vitamin C. The rapid elimination of vitamin C was demonstrated graphically; however, the Institute of Medicine (IM) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) did not account for the half-life of vitamin C. This flawed approach is one of the main contentions that Drs. Hickey and Roberts maintain.

Half Life of Vitamin C

The half life of any substance is the time it takes for half of the substance to be removed from the body. Vitamin C’s half life is quite short, about 30 minutes in blood plasma, a fact that the IM and NIH failed to recognize. NIH researchers established the RDA for vitamin C by conducting a test 12 hours or 24 half life’s after consumption. Due to the short half life of vitamin C, many studies make the conclusion that high-dose supplemental vitamin C is ineffective. Drs. Hickey and Roberts state that due to its rapid deterioration, a very high dose of vitamin C would not achieve the same concentration in the blood serum over time as several administered doses.

Drs. Hickey and Roberts decided to perform an experiment to measure the blood plasma levels of liposomal vitamin C, which was published in the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine. It was titled Pharmacokinetics of oral vitamin C. Their results indicate that, following oral intakes, high blood plasma levels can be achieved with liposomal vitamin C formulations. The results suggest that such levels (400microM/L or above) could be sustained indefinitely with repeated dosing at short intervals (say 5-grams every 4-hours).

RDA for Vitamin C

In the past, Drs. Hickey and Roberts have shaken the foundation and confidence of the IM and NIH for failing to investigate the use of high-dose vitamin C properly. They have repeatedly challenged the RDA for vitamin C on studies using only 15 healthy subjects and single dosages. They also contend that the RDA is intended to set a level of nutrient consumption that would prevent disease, specifically Scurvy, among the vast majority of the population. However their research shows that 35% of the population is in need of more than the RDA including:

  • Smokers ( 50 million)
  • Estrogen and Birth Control Pill Users (13 and 18 million)
  • Diabetics (16 million)
  • Pregnant females (4 million)
  • and even people taking aspirin

Contradictory Data

Drs. Hickey and Roberts confronted the IM and NIH with their own data however they claim the saturation point is reached at a certain concentration of ascorbic acid in blood plasma. They later published a paper in early 2004  showing they had achieved three times greater concentration of vitamin C in the blood circulation than previously thought possible using high-dose vitamin C [Annals Internal Medicine, April 6, 140: 533-37,2004]. A similar published German study also confirms vitamin C supplements can elevate vitamin C concentrations beyond what NIH scientists said was possible. [Archives Biochemistry Biophysics, March 423: 109-15, 2004]. NIH researchers continue to maintain that no more than 200 milligrams of oral vitamin C is required for human health and that a diet which includes the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables would provide adequate vitamin C. But only 9 percent of the US population consumes 5 servings of plant foods daily. The National Cancer Institute has abandoned their 5-a-day recommendation in favor of a 9-a-day servings of fruits and vegetables once they realized five servings did not provide the proper dietary intake of vitamin C and other essential vitamins in the prevention of cancer or heart disease.

Hickey has called for the IM and NIH to retract the current RDA or provide scientific justification for their recommendation.

What do you think? Is the RDA for vitamin C adequate?

For more on the RDA for vitamin C, check out our article about the RDA for Guinea Pigs.

Are You Healthier Than A Guinea Pig?

The US Recommended Dietary Allowance for vitamin C is higher for Guinea Pigs than it is for humans!

You may be thinking, that can’t be true but read on.

The US Department of Agriculture states

“The Guinea pig’s vitamin C requirement is 10-15 mg per day under normal conditions and 15-25 mg per day if pregnant, lactating, or growing.”(1)

Doesn’t sound shocking until you realize that an adult guinea pig weighs about 2.2 pounds. Guinea pigs therefore need between 10-25 milligrams of vitamin c per pound. The average human weighs 180 pounds however the US RDA for vitamin C is 90 mg for men, 75 mg for women, and if you smoke, they allow an additional 35 mg/day. All of these figures are inadequate if we measure up pound for pound with the guinea pig.

guinea pigs vitamin c

So how much vitamin C should we consume?

If we use the same logic the US Government uses on guinea pigs, our vitamin C intake should be between 820 mg and 2,000 mg.

According to a recent article written by Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D., it is “no wonder that so many people are sick and no wonder their medical bills are so high.”

Dr. Saul concludes his article by saying, “If we are going to have health insurance coverage for everyone, wouldn’t it be nice for the government to first offer us the same deal it gives to Guinea pigs?”

What do you think?


(1) US Department of Agriculture Animal Care Resource Guide, Animal Care, 12.4.2



Can You Die from Too Much Vitamin C?

orange slicesThe evidence says, “vitamin  C is safer than drinking water.” Researchers have documented lethal overdoses of water,1 yet no lethal dose has been found for vitamin  C. 2

There’s not a single drug — prescription or over-the-counter — that can claim that level of safety. As well, there are few other nutritive supplements that can even approach the safety of any amount of vitamin C. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient and important for your diet since humans are one of the few mammals that does not produce or store vitamin C.

Shocking Revelations

According to an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association3, 106,000 patients died in hospitals in 1994 from drug reactions. This figure has remained unchanged for 30 years. That means from 1965 – 1994, over 3 million people died in hospitals because of prescription drugs!

In contrast, high-dose vitamin  C has been widely used since the late 1940’s without a confirmed report of any dosage level that will result in serious adverse effects. In fact, in 11 studies with high-dose vitamin C no side effects were reported.

Too Much Vitamin C

Regardless of any claims to the contrary, no one who has done a critical appraisal of the scientific literature can say anything other than, “Vitamin  C is one of the safest substances on earth.”


  1. Hayashi T, et al, “Fatal water intoxication in a schizophrenic patient–an autopsy case” J Clin Forensic Med. 2005 Jun;12(3):157-9. Epub 2005 Mar 16.
  2. Levy T, Curing the Incurable. Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins 2004,  MedFox Publishing, Henderson, NV.
  3. Lazarou J, Pomeranz BH, Corey PN, “Incidence of adverse drug reactions in hospitalized patients: a meta-analysis of prospective studies” JAMA 1998  279:10-15

 About the Author

too much vitamin c Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD is a board-certified cardiologist and the author of Curing the Incurable: Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins and STOP America’s #1 Killer! plus three other ground-breaking medical books. He is one of the leading vitamin C experts in the world and frequently lectures about the proper role of vitamin C and antioxidants in the treatment of a host of medical conditions and diseases to medical professionals all over the globe.

Ascorbic Acid Vitamin C: What’s the Real Story?

by Andrew W. Saul, Editor

(OMNS Dec 6, 2013) Heard anything bad lately about ascorbic acid vitamin C? If you haven’t, you may have been away visiting Neptune for too long. For nearly four decades, I have seen that, like all other fashions, vitamin-bashing goes “in” and “out” of style. Lately it has (again) been open season on vitamin C, especially if taken as cheap ascorbic acid. Linus Pauling, the world’s most qualified advocate of vitamin C, urged people to take pure ascorbic acid powder or crystals.

Without having met Dr. Pauling, they are also what Great-grandma used when she home-canned peaches. Vitamin C powder remains cheap and readily available on the internet. One-quarter teaspoon is just over 1,000 mg. If you encounter a powder that is substantially less potent than that, it may contain fillers. Choose accordingly.

I have told my students for a long time, “If they didn’t listen to Linus Pauling, don’t be too surprised that they don’t line up to hear what you have to say.” But Pauling’s two unshared Nobel prizes (he is the only person in history with that distinction) are no protection from critics who slam ascorbic acid C without first considering some basic biochemistry.

Atomically Correct

Vitamin C is ascorbic acid, C6H8O6, and that’s pretty much all there is to it. If you really want to impress your friends, ascorbic acid can also be called (5R)-5-[(1S)-1,2-Dihydroxyethyl]-3,4-dihydroxy-2(5H)-furanone. As I liked to tell my university students, now there is something for you to answer when your parents ask what you learned in school today.

Even if this molecule comes from GMOs, which I disapprove of, it is still molecularly OK. You cannot genetically modify carbon, hydrogen, or oxygen atoms.

There are two ways the atoms can arrange themselves to make C6H8O6. One is ascorbic acid. The other is erythorbic acid, also known as isoascorbic acid or D-araboascorbic acid. It is a commercial antioxidant, but cannot be utilized by the body as an essential nutrient.


That word “acid” gets us going, but in fact ascorbic acid is a weak acid. If you can eat three oranges, if you can drink a carbonated cola, or if you can add vinegar on your fish fry or on your salad, there is little to worry about. In fact, your normal stomach acid is over 50 times stronger than vitamin C. The stomach is designed to handle strong acid, and nutrients are not destroyed by this strong stomach acid. If they were, all mammals would be dead. Have you ever noticed when you throw up you can feel the burn in your throat? That’s stomach acid. A little gross, but we need it to live. People who have a lot of problems with hiatal hernias or reflux can actually regurgitate enough acid over a period of months where they damage and scar the throat.

Vitamin C could not do that on a bet. It’s impossible. You couldn’t start your car if you put vinegar in your automobile’s battery. It requires sulfuric acid, which is a very strong acid. The hydrochloric acid in the stomach is only slightly weaker than car-battery acid. Vitamin C is almost as weak as lemonade. That’s a huge difference.


If you eat yogurt or take probiotic capsules, they end up in your stomach. There they are subjected to this strong stomach acid, and survive it easily. Acidophilus bacteria, such as are found in yogurt, are literally so named because they are “acid-loving.” Many studies show that eating yogurt and taking other probiotic supplements is a good idea and that it works. If a strong acid does not kill them, then neither will a weak acid.

Furthermore, your body secretes a highly alkaline substance right where your small intestine starts, just past the stomach. This neutralizes stomach acid and automatically keeps the rest of your gut from being acidic. If the body can neutralize a strong acid, ascorbic acid is virtually irrelevant.


Ascorbic acid can be buffered, and if you have a sensitive stomach, should be. There are a variety of non-acidic forms. I do not sell vitamins or any other health products, and do not make brand recommendations.

Don’t be bluffed or blustered about ascorbic acid. It is cheap and it works. Aside from intravenous sodium ascorbate, the vast majority of research showing that vitamin C is effective in prevention and treatment of disease has used plain ascorbic acid. Yes, the cheap stuff.

Remember what Ward Cleaver, TV father on “Leave it to Beaver,” said to his young son: “A lot of people go through life trying to prove that the things that are good for them are wrong.”

(Andrew W. Saul, OMNS Editor, has taught health science, addiction recovery, clinical nutrition and chemistry. He is the coauthor, with Dr. Steve Hickey, of “Vitamin C: The Real Story.”)

To learn more:

Vitamin C as an antiviral

Flu, viruses, and vitamin C megadoses

Are tropical fish getting kidney stones from vitamin C? They make so much more than the RDA

What really causes kidney stones (and why vitamin C does not)

Vitamin C: Which form is best?

The complete text of Irwin Stone’s vitamin C book “The Healing Factor” is posted for free reading at

How to reach saturation (bowel tolerance) with oral doses of vitamin C, by Robert F. Cathcat

About Frederick Robert Klenner, M.D.

Dr. Klenner’s dosage table

Why the government thinks Guinea pigs are more important than people

Levy, TE. Curing the Incurable. Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins. Henderson, NV: MedFox Publishing, 2004. Reviewed at

Pauling L. How to Live Longer and Feel Better. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Press, 2006. Reviewed at . Linus Pauling’s complete vitamin and nutrition bibliography is posted at


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Editorial Review Board:

Ian Brighthope, M.D. (Australia)
Ralph K. Campbell, M.D. (USA)
Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. (USA)
Damien Downing, M.D. (United Kingdom)
Dean Elledge, D.D.S., M.S. (USA)
Michael Ellis, M.D. (Australia)
Martin P. Gallagher, M.D., D.C. (USA)
Michael Gonzalez, D.Sc., Ph.D. (Puerto Rico)
William B. Grant, Ph.D. (USA)
Steve Hickey, Ph.D. (United Kingdom)
Michael Janson, M.D. (USA)
Robert E. Jenkins, D.C. (USA)
Bo H. Jonsson, M.D., Ph.D. (Sweden)
Peter H. Lauda, M.D. (Austria)
Thomas Levy, M.D., J.D. (USA)
Stuart Lindsey, Pharm.D. (USA)
Jorge R. Miranda-Massari, Pharm.D. (Puerto Rico)
Karin Munsterhjelm-Ahumada, M.D. (Finland)
Erik Paterson, M.D. (Canada)
W. Todd Penberthy, Ph.D. (USA)
Gert E. Schuitemaker, Ph.D. (Netherlands)
Robert G. Smith, Ph.D. (USA)
Jagan Nathan Vamanan, M.D. (India)
Atsuo Yanagisawa, M.D., Ph.D. (Japan)

Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D. (USA), Editor and contact person. Email: This is a comments-only address; OMNS is unable to respond to individual reader emails. However, readers are encouraged to write in with their viewpoints. Reader comments become the property of OMNS and may or may not be used for publication.

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Vitamin C Production in Goats vs Humans

goat produces its own vitamin cNo wonder this goat is so happy. A typical 155 pound goat is capable of producing over 13,000 milligrams of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) daily. As a comparison, the recommended dietary allowance for humans of vitamin C proposed and used by nutritionists, is 90 milligrams.

If goats are capable of producing their own ascorbic acid, why don’t humans? To see an infographic of the evolution of vitamin C synthesis, scroll to the bottom.

The requirement of ascorbic acid is a common property among living organisms. It has long been considered that all animals with the exceptions of guinea pigs, monkeys, and humans can produce their own vitamin C. Scientist have extensively studied the human genome and identified the defective gene for the synthesis of the active enzyme protein, L-gulonolactone oxidase or GLO (Stone 1979). This mutation is said to have occurred some 60 million years ago. The absence of GLO in the human liver blocks the conversion of glucose into ascorbic acid leading to an illness known as Scurvy (Inborn error of carbohydrate metabolism).

Evolution and the synthesis of Ascorbic Acid

Scientists believe that the ability to synthesize ascorbic acid began in the kidney of amphibians and was transferred to the liver of mammals like the goat. This biological trait disappeared from the guinea pig, flying mammals, the monkey, and man (Chatterjee et all 1975). Other notable animals that do not synthesize vitamin C are insects, invertebrates, and fishes. Some question whether ascorbic acid is an essential requirement for these species. The need for ascorbic acid may be very small for these species therefore they may supplement via their diet to maintain the proper levels of ascorbic acid. Although they can produce some vitamin C, domestic dogs and cats make much less than wild animals. This may explain why pets eventually suffer from the same diseases as humans.

Goat vitamin C production and stress related factors

The ability to synthesize vitamin C was somehow linked through evolutionary development. The step from the aquatic to the terrestial mode of life was a profound change involving a tremendous range of adaptations under strong selection pressure (Chatterjee et all 1975). This would explain why under stress goats were able to produce a higher level of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) than when unstressed (Stone 1979). As a biological defense mechanism, during times of stress ascorbic acid would be created in massive amounts. The beneficial effect of ascorbic acid in stress is now a well-established fact. When facing significant health stresses, C-making animals can dramatically increase ascorbic acid production by as much as 13 times normal levels. This could explain why wild animals tend to remain vibrantly healthy until they succumb to old age. (Levy 2011)

In spite of all this evidence, the recommended dietary allowance remains extremely low. This highlights the need for humans to supplement vitamin C. Is it possible that nature knows something the U.S. Government doesn’t?

Consider the facts:

  • Most animals synthesize their own vitamin C
  • Although defective, humans carry the gene that would provide the ability to synthesize vitamin C
  • C-synthesizing animals produce vastly more vitamin C than the 90 mg government RDA
  • C-producing animals radically increase production when faced with severe health challenges
  • Non-C-producing animals are much more susceptible to disease than animals in the wild

vitamin c animal production

Works Cited

Chatterjee, I. B., A. K. Majumder, B. K. Nandi, and N. Subramanian. “Synthesis And Some Major Functions Of Vitamin C In Animals.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 258.1 Second Confer (1975): 24-47. Print.

Stone, Irwin. “Homo Sapiens Ascorbicus, A Biochemically Corrected Robust Human Mutant.” Medical Hypotheses 5.6 (1979): 711-721. Print.

Levy, Thomas E. “Primal Panacea.” Medfox Publishing. (2011). 53-54. Print



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