Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is one of the essential vitamins out of 13 that our body needs to grow and develop normally. Unlike many animals, the human body does not produce vitamin C. Hence it has to come from food. Vitamin C is required for the smooth functioning of nearly every system in our body but not limited to adrenals, immune system, cardiovascular system, and more.
High dose vitamin C is a potent and powerful anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-cancer agent. Even a normal human who does not have cancer can use this high dose vitamin to arrest internal oxidative stress and fulfill the body’s real-time demand for antioxidants. Hence experts are suggesting to give ascorbate along with medicine and hence research on Drugs research for COVID-19 (Coronavirus) patients is going on rapidly to beat the virus.
High dose vitamin C is majorly recommended to be administered orally and also intravenously in very severe cases. Sodium ascorbate is the salt form of ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid in high amounts intended for oral administration is generally recommended to take in Sodium ascorbate form. This is because pure vitamin C, when taken in high amounts, on an empty stomach with no food can damage the stomach.
Initial work on the usage of large amounts of vitamin C was done by Fred R. Klenner, an M.D. from Reidsville, North Carolina. Klenner determined that viral diseases could be cured by intravenous sodium ascorbate in amounts up to 200 grams per 24 hours. Another pioneer, Irwin Stone recommended the capability of vitamin C in the treatment of many diseases, the inability of humans to synthesize ascorbate, and the resultant condition hypoascorbemia. Linus Pauling reviewed the literature on vitamin C which exemplified the medical uses of the vitamin to the public and the medical fraternity. Ewan Cameron in association with Pauling demonstrated the usefulness of ascorbate in the treatment of cancer.
Proven health benefits and uses of high dose Vitamin C:
High dose Vitamin C finds its uses in treating a wide variety of human diseases ranging from cancer therapy; antiviral; antibacterial therapy; treating acute cases of infectious hepatitis, yeast infections to scurvy in late stages. Let’s discuss these benefits one by one as indicated in research articles
- Anascorbemia (Acute induced scurvy) – is a condition wherein people have far less ascorbate than the normal amount in their bodies and at danger for many problems and issues associated with the failure of metabolic processes dependent upon ascorbate. Such a condition is called Chronic Subclinical Scurvy in medical terms.
If the ailment is not attended immediately and left to worsen then a condition called Acute Induced Scurvy is rapidly induced within the body. This situation is of severe consumption of ascorbate results in disorders of body systems that dependent upon ascorbate for their proper function.
It includes disorders of the immune system such as secondary infections, rheumatoid arthritis, and other collagen diseases, allergic reactions to drugs, foods, chronic infections such as herpes, or acute infections such as Guillain-Barre’ and Reye’s syndromes, rheumatic fever, or scarlet fever; disorders of the blood coagulation mechanisms such as hemorrhage, heart attacks, strokes, hemorrhoids, and another vascular thrombosis; failure to cope properly with stresses due to repression of the adrenal functions such as phlebitis, other inflammatory disorders, asthma, and other allergies; problems of disordered collagen formation such as impaired ability to heal, excessive scarring, bedsores, varicose veins, hernias, stretch marks, wrinkles, perhaps even wear of cartilage or degeneration of spinal discs; impaired function of the nervous system such as malaise, decreased pain tolerance, the tendency to muscle spasms, even psychiatric disorders, and senility; and cancer from the suppressed immune system and carcinogens not detoxified; etc.
Well, known physicians such as Klenner and Kalokerinos observed a noticeable decrease in the expected occurrence of complications in the thousands of patients treated with oral tolerance doses or intravenous doses of ascorbate (high dose vitamin C).
- Acute mononucleosis or infectious mononucleosis is an infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus and is transmitted by saliva. High dose vitamin C benefits in keeping the disease symptoms almost completely suppressed even if the basic infection had not completely resolved. Within a few days, the lymph nodes and spleen rapidly return to normal and the illness will be relieved. Physicians usually emphasize consuming tolerance doses of ascorbate until the patient senses he is completely well otherwise the symptoms will recur.
- The treatment of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS): High doses of Ascorbate improve the AID syndrome to a considerable degree, however, this requires the necessity to intake massive doses. The challenge involved in this therapy is to avoid and treat opportunistic infections.
Lack of understanding on the use of ascorbate, multiple infections of high altitude, or inability to tolerate the doses prescribed, all result in a poor prognosis.
The success of ascorbate therapy majorly depends on the consistent administration of vitamin C sufficient to neutralize the free radicals produced by the various diseases.
- Hepatitis: Acute cases of infectious hepatitis can be cured by high dose vitamin C. Bowel tolerant doses of ascorbate administered orally to a patient will reverse hepatitis rapidly. This is indicated by laboratory tests including SGOT, SGPT, and bilirubin that signal a rapid reversal of the disease. Stools gradually return to normal color in 2 days. Generally, on average, it takes 6 days for jaundice to clear, but many patients feel almost well after 4 to 5 days. The disease usually causes diarrhea hence intravenous ascorbate may require to be used in very severe cases. However, large doses of ascorbic acid, taken orally despite diarrhea, will cause a paradoxical cessation of diarrhea.
Another discovery by scientist Morishige is the effectiveness of ascorbate in preventing hepatitis from blood transfusions.
- Bacterial infections: High dose Vitamin C should be used in conjunction with the appropriate antibiotic. Ascorbic acid has a synergistic effect with antibiotics and appears to broaden the spectrum of antibiotics considerably. Most significantly patients with bacterial infections body respond quickly to high-dose vitamin C as well as basic antibiotics determined by initial clinical impressions. Afterward, if cultures demonstrated the selection of antibiotics as incorrect, usually the patient will be well by that time.
Generally, penicillin-K orally or penicillin-G intramuscularly is used in conjunction with bowel tolerance doses of ascorbic acid for ordinary bacterial infections. Cephalosporins are used in conjunction with ascorbic acid for staphylococcus infections.
- Vitamin C and Allergy Treatment: Several high doses of bowel tolerance ascorbate will help patients not to develop their first allergic reaction to penicillin or other higher antibiotics.
Bowel tolerant high doses of vitamin C are usually administered for patients suffering from allergic hay fever when at its peak, otherwise modest doses suffice the symptoms. Patients find the effect of ascorbate more satisfactory than immunizations or antihistamines and decongestants. More exposure to antigen proportional dosages of ascorbate is required.
Asthma, another allergy associated with the respiratory system is quite often relieved by bowel tolerance doses of ascorbate. Children having regular asthmatic attacks following exercise are usually relieved of these attacks by large doses of ascorbate.
- Candida albicans: Simultaneous use of bowel tolerance doses of ascorbic acid with antibiotics reduce the frequency of yeast infections in patients.
- Fungus infections: High dose ascorbate has little effect on the primary fungal infections. However, antifungal agents better penetrate tissues saturated in ascorbate. It helps to alleviate systemic toxicity and complications.
- Trauma, Surgery, and Burns: Common symptoms of trauma, surgery, and burns viz swelling and pain are remarkably reduced by bowel tolerance doses of ascorbic acid. A minimum dose of 6 times a day for trauma and surgery is required while burns require hourly doses.
Serious burns, major trauma, and surgery require treatment with intravenous ascorbate. A phenomenal increase in the success rate of surgeries is typically observed when high doses of ascorbate amounting to 100 grams or more per 24 hours are utilized.
- Cancer therapy: High-dose Vitamin C is proven to have powerful healing and anti-cancer effects. The use of high dose vitamin C is a natural, non-toxic alternative cancer treatment across the world and is named as Vitamin C IV Therapy. This mode of therapy involves sitting in a chair in a practitioner’s office for two hours with an IV drip containing 50 grams or more of vitamin C. This is the best effective method to get a massive dose of vitamin C without reaching bowel tolerance. To make this method most effective, one needs to do it daily or several times per week for many weeks.
- COVID-19 treatment: COVID-19 (Coronavisus disease 2019) is a pandemic disease. As it comes to treatment still research is going on by the experts to treat COVID-19 patients. High dose vitamin C is helping to fight coronavirus by boosting our immune system, that is why doctors in China suggesting this along with other antiviral drugs.
Route of administration:
The oral route is the most common and safest mode of high dose vitamin C administration. However, this route is associated with side effects like digestive distress due to bowel intolerance of high dose vitamin C. The most common digestive symptoms of excessive vitamin C intake are diarrhea, nausea, and acid reflux.
Research indicates that the amount of oral ascorbic acid tolerated by a patient without producing diarrhea increases somewhat proportionately to the stress or toxicity of his disease.
BOWEL TOLERANCE is a more convenient and clinically useful measure to determine the need for ascorbate and quantity utilized or required by the body. A general thumb rule states that the amount of ascorbic acid which can be taken orally without causing diarrhea when a person is ill is over ten times the amount he would tolerate if well.
This phenomenon of increased bowel tolerance not only signifies the amount of ascorbate which should be taken but indicates the astounding magnitude of the potential use that the body craves for ascorbate under different stressful conditions.
Bowel tolerance method: A great discovery in high dose vitamin C oral therapy was the finding that more the sicker a patient was, the more ascorbic acid he would tolerate by mouth before diarrhea was produced. A large magnitude of subjects (approximately 80% of adult patients) would well tolerate 10 to 15 grams of ascorbic acid fine crystals in a half cup water divided into 4 doses per 24 hours without having diarrhea. The astonishing finding was that all patients, tolerant of ascorbic acid, can take greater amounts of the substance orally without having diarrhea when ill or under stress.
The subjects show increased tolerance to ascorbate proportional to the toxicity of the disease being treated. Factors that increase tolerance are stress (e.g., anxiety, exercise, heat, cold, etc.).
An unexpected observation was the achievement of tolerance of over 200 grams per 24 hours which further indicates that increasing the frequency of doses increases tolerance perhaps to half again as much.
Below table depicts representative doses taken by tolerant patients titrating their ascorbic acid intake between the relief of most symptoms and the production of diarrhea were found to be as follows:
TABLE I – Usual Bowel Tolerance Doses
A process wherein the patient determines the optimum dose of ascorbate can be termed as TITRATING TO BOWEL TOLERANCE. The patient efforts himself to TITRATE between that amount which begins to make him feel better or healthier and that amount which almost but not quite causes diarrhea. You can refer to the study document here.
Intravenous and Intramuscular ascorbate:
It is proven clinically that large amounts of ascorbate used intravenously kills viruses (virucidal). The advantage of intravenous sodium ascorbate over oral is the permanent frequent elimination of symptoms caused by acute viral diseases. Secondly, the less time is taken by this route to alleviate the ailment sometimes makes intravenous ascorbate desirable. The reason for ascorbate being more efficient intravenously compared to the oral route is because chemical processes in the gut destroy a percentage of that orally administered.
A point to remember is that sodium ascorbate used intravenously and intramuscularly must contain no preservatives. However, a small amount of EDTA is frequently used in the preparation to chelate trace amounts of copper and iron which may destroy the ascorbate. Usually, intravenous and intramuscular solutions are prepared to obtain sodium ascorbate in concentrations of 250 or 500 mgm per cc. The 250 mgm solutions are used in young children intramuscularly in doses usually 350 mgm/kg body weight up to every 2 hours. Generally, at times when the volume of the vitamin becomes too large for intramuscular injections, then the intravenous route should be used.
A new evolving therapy is the combined use of both the routes. Oral doses of ascorbic acid coupled with concomitant use of intravenous ascorbate lead to increased bowel tolerance. Care and experience is the utmost necessity with concomitant use because tolerance drops precipitously when the intravenous infusion is discontinued.
Contra-indications and side effects of high dose vitamin-C:
- A common side effect is digestive distress due to bowel intolerance of high dose vitamin C. Hence, patients who are known to have irritable bowel or history of gastro-intestinal troubles are advised against oral use of high dose vitamin C.
- Patients known to have renal problems like kidney stones should avoid high dose vitamin C. Consuming too much vitamin C may increase the amount of oxalate in the kidneys, thus increasing the risk of developing kidney stones.
- Still, vitamin C increases iron absorption, intake of too much of it a concern for patients with conditions that lead to iron accumulation in the body such as hemochromatosis. This condition causes serious damage to the heart, liver, pancreas, thyroid, and central nervous system.