Health Briefs vitamin-c

Published on May 31st, 2022 | by Natural Awakenings Publishing Corp.


How Much “C” Is Right for Me?

Nearly everyone knows that Vitamin C is “important” for good health, and many people take at least some of it daily.  Unlike other species, man cannot manufacture vitamin C in his own body, so it is important to maintain optimal levels using food and supplements throughout the life span. But patients often ask: “What dose of Vitamin C should I take?”  One classic answer to this question was provided many years ago by Nobel-Prize-winning scientist Linus Pauling, a pioneer in “orthomolecular medicine” (the use of supplements for therapeutic purposes rather than simply to meet the minimum daily requirement).   His protocol for addressing optimal body levels, called “C to bowel tolerance” has stood the test of time.  High dose vitamin C is invaluable in the treatment of viruses, autoimmune disease, adrenal dysfunction, amongst many others. So, what, in fact, is “bowel tolerance”?

What does it mean?

Vitamin C up to bowel tolerance means taking as much vitamin C as your body can tolerate without developing frank diarrhea, in other words, without developing Intolerance.  On the way to establishing that dose that is unique to you, you will likely experience bowel gas or grumbling, but, though unpleasant, they are not intolerance.  Bowel intolerance, plain and simple, means getting very loose diarrhea.

How to determine bowel tolerance:

(Note: other protocols, exist, but this one has proven to be most gentle yet still effective.)

You will need to use plain buffered vitamin C to do this, crystals or capsules.  Ester C and liposomal C are created specifically to prevent bowel intolerance, so they will not work for this purpose.

On day 1 of your protocol, take 1 gram of buffered C, three times daily and observe the effects on your bowel. If you have not yet achieved the goal of very loose diarrhea, proceed the next day to double that dose to 2 grams, three times a day.  Again observe, and if no diarrhea, continue up to 3 grams there times daily. Continue this process AS HIGH AS YOU NEED TO GO until one day, you do get loose, water diarrhea.  When this happens, you have reached bowel intolerance.

At this point, back down to the prior dose the next day, and continue down until diarrhea has subsided. This dose, whatever number of grams taken three times daily, whereby you no longer have diarrhea, is considered to be bowel tolerance.

Upon determining bowel tolerance, what next?

Once you know what your “tolerance close” is, it is best to switch over to a less bowel active (and better absorbed) form of Vitamin C, such as ester C or better yet, liposomal C, continuing at the same dose you have established with buffered C.  Continue this close for one or two months, and then go back to the protocol with buffered C to test and see if you are still just under bowel intolerance. If you are now bowel intolerant at the current dose, move it back down a few grams to re-achieve bowel tolerance.  Each time you determine bowel tolerance with buffered C, return to the liposomal C for long-term use.  Over time, bowel tolerance should become less and less, as your body becomes more replete with the vitamin with aggressive replenishment.  So, it is worth re-testing yourself with buffered C from time to time.

How much can I take?  How much is too much?

Do not be shocked if your dose is more that you expected. Linus Pauling’s initial dose was 30 grams per day!  This diminished over time.  We are trying to achieve something that would probably better be done with intravenous vitamin C (which is the next level of treatment should this be inadequate) so do not hesitate to use this protocol aggressively and consistently as directed.

With its many health benefits, it is an excellent practice to maintain Vitamin C at bowel tolerance level throughout your life.

Robin Ellen Leder, M.D., was mentored by Robert Atkins, M.D., author of The Atkins Diet, and has been practicing integrative/alternative medicine for more than 30 years at A Better Alternative Medical Center, in Hackensack.

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