How Much Vitamin C for Good Health?
How Much Vitamin C Do you Need for good health?
From reading the Benefits of Vitamin C and Vitamin C Deficiency, it is
clear that Vitamin C is an important nutrient essential for good health.
how much do you need?
…Here is where the controversy begins
and doesn’t appear to end.
How Much Vitamin C Does the Body Retain?
issue in the dust up over Vitamin C is how much the human body can retain? It is a valid question.
Vitamin C is
water soluble. This means theoretically it ought to be excreted in urine when tissue
saturation is achieved.
benefit of its water solubility is that you won't overdose on
C, like you might on minerals or fat soluble vitamins that can build up
The disadvantage of too much Vitamin C, critics of mega-doses
argue, is that too much results in high priced urine. Mega-doses of Vitamin C are a waste - literally.
How Much Vitamin C To Reach Tissue Saturation? Which Tissue?
How much Vitamin C to reach
"tissue saturation" is a complex issue because various organs contain
and retain differing levels of the vitamin.
The adrenals, eyeball, prostate and brain have very high
concentrations of Vitamin C – blood plasma, the tissue generally tested for Vitamin C levels, has lesser concentrations. Since various tissue may
metabolize Vitamin C differently, it makes sense that one test for blood levels
of Vitamin C may not be applicable to other tissue.
How Much Vitamin C - It varies for age, whether you smoke or are lactating?
government suggests the proper intake is the RDA, less than a 100 mg per day for adults
across the board, except for smokers
or lactating women who need slightly more; other experts claim the amount of Vitamin C to achieve maximum tissue saturation is a few hundred milligrams per day in healthy young adults but under 500 mg per day,
with more needed during disease periods; other nutrition therapy based experts
total of 1,000 mg daily of Vitamin C taken in two divided doses but
combined with other antioxidants for full effect. Proponents of Vitamin C mega-dosing claim several grams
per day are needed in healthy
states with more during disease periods.
These are huge variations. No wonder the average Joe gets
How Much Vitamin C - The experts vary
For some clarity,
one can categorize the differing Vitamin
C suggested intakes for a healthy person into four types.
- Those who claim the
RDAs are adequate, namely 90 mg for adult men and 75 mg for non-pregnant
non-lactating women The government
scientists at the US Office of Dietary Supplements at the National
Institutes of Health as well as many doctors suggest these levels.
- Those who, claim the
RDAs are only adequate to prevent Vitamin C deficiency scurvy and urge daily
mega dosing of several thousand grams per day. Linus Pauling in his famous, or as the case may be infamous, book Vitamin C and the
Common Cold and Flu is a proponent of this along with practitioners such
as Dr. R. Cathcart III and Dr. Fred R. Klenner
along with those associated with The
Vitamin C Foundation. You can read about these in Dr. Abram Hoffer’s Orthomolecular Medicine for Everyone –
Megavitamin Therapeutics for Families and Physicians, Steve Hickey Phd’s Vitamin C: The Real Story – The latest research on Vitamin C –
Proper dosage and safety recommendations and Vitamin C for infections, cancer
and heart disease as well as Robert McCracken’s Injectable Vitamin C and The Treatments of Viral and Other Diseases
– A compilation of Pioneering Literature, 2nd Edition:
They make for interesting reading!
- Those who urge daily
intakes of a few hundred milligrams of vitamin C, namely 400 mg per day
for healthy adults, which is more than the RDA but certainly less than mega-doses that Pauling and
others have urged. Ironically, these modest suggestions are the opinion of the
current Linus Pauling Institute at the University of Oregon.
- A number of nutrition
therapy based doctors and scientists, like Dr. Paul Clayton in his book Health Defence and Lester Packer
in The Antioxidant Miracle,
suggest between 500
and 1,000 of Vitamin C daily taken in two doses. These experts insists that Vitamin C
works synergistically with other antioxidants and for full effect should be combined with other nutrients including Vitamin E, Co-enzyme Q10, beta carotene,
and alpha-lipoic acid among others.
How Much Vitamin C to get the health benefits of Vitamin C and What Source is Best – Diet or Supplements?
Factors to keep in mind when trying to figure out how
much Vitamin C you and your family need to be healthy, as well as what source (diet or supplements)
The issue is
important because, while dietary Vitamin C has some distinct advantages over
supplemental sources, only the RDA for Vitamin C is easily got through the
typical Western diet alone.
adhering scrupulously to a healthy well balanced diet, with an emphasis
on Vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables, one could attain without much effort between
500 and 1000 mg Vitamin C per day. Intakes beyond this would most
likely require Vitamin C supplements to achieve.
How Much Vitamin C - To Supplement or Not to Supplement, That is the Question.
some of the below points when figuring whether to supplement Vitamin C or not.
of the studies that supposedly disprove the benefits of Vitamin C supplementation
use relatively low doses of Vitamin C taken infrequently or for short duration or
consumed without other antioxidants or
nutrients that may enhance Vitamin C’s benefits. This means the scientific jury
is still out on large dose Vitamin C therapy, including mega-doses of several
grams or more.
is agreement among many experts that your need for Vitamin C fluctuates
depending on your age, weight, health and activity level. For example, a high performance athlete or
sick person will use considerably more Vitamin C than a sedentary, disease
free, young adult.
- If you are ill, stressed or suffering a chronic condition
like heart disease or diabetes, your needs for Vitamin C may go way up so keep
this in mind when figuring out you and your family’s Vitamin C needs and
whether you’ll use supplements, in addition to dietary sources of Vitamin C.
that some of the organs that have the highest Vitamin C concentrations
are the adrenal glands (where stress hormones are produced), the eyes,
brain and the prostate. If you are dealing with health issues affecting
organs like excessive stress or infertility, you may want to consider
additional Vitamin C via supplements to manage your condition.
C levels of specific foods may not be as
listed on the tables because Vitamin C
is fragile and destroyed easily if foods are old, heated or exposed to air. The result is, if
you are not careful, you and your family may be getting less Vitamin C through
diet than you think.
C is not well absorbed in the presence of glucose, so avoid high glycemic diets
containing excess refined sugars if trying to maximize your Vitamin C benefit.
If you or your family eat a lot of refined sugar, whether in food or drinks,
keep this in mind when assessing how much Vitamin C you’ll need.
C rich fruits and vegetables provide many identified and unidentified nutrients
including vitamins and flavonoids that enhance the benefits of Vitamin C. No
supplement could adequately reproduce these effects of whole food, making
dietary sources of Vitamin C arguably superior in quality, if not quantity, to
Arguments about How Much Vitamin C is best
have thought that vitamins could cause such controversy but that is the
case of Vitamin C. … and who said nutrition couldn’t get gnarly?
The most famous
representative of the benefits of Vitamin C mega dose was Linus Pauling who had
won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry (as well as Peace) before he started
extolling the benefits of Vitamin C in large doses to improve health and
increase longevity. His book Vitamin C
and the Common Cold became a hit but was lambasted by a more conservative
medical establishment who promoted the US Governments RDA’s for Vitamin C.
personal on both sides. Insults lobbed like balls at a tennis match.
Vitamin C mega dose therapy called Pauling a quack; fans of Vitamin C therapy referred to the
RDA’s as the “ridiculously deficient amounts”.
How Much Vitamin C does the US Government Recommend?
The US Government’s Recommended Dietary Allowance
The US government’s recommended Dietary Allowance( RDA’s) per day are as follows:
- 0-6 month - 40 mg
- 7-12 months - 50 mg
- 1-3 years - 15 mg
- 4-8 years - 25 mg
- 9-13 years - 45 mg
- 14-18 years - 75 mg for men; 65 mg for women; 70 mg for pregnancy; 115 mg for lactation
- 19+ years - 90 mg for men; 75 mg for women; 85 mg for pregnancy; 120 mg for lactation
For those who smoke, an additional 35 mg per day is recommended.
NB. These figures increased somewhat in 2000.
Opposing View to the RDA’s – The Benefits of Vitamin C Megadoses
mentioned, some experts recommend mega-doses to achieve the benefits of Vitamin
C Foundation, a proponent of large dose Vitamin C supplements for maintaining
health and preventing disease, suggests the following Vitamin C intake:
mg per day for every man, woman and child over 3 years.
mg per day during pregnancy.
to 300,000 mg per day during disease periods.
look at dietary sources of Vitamin C, it becomes readily apparent that
achieving the above intakes of Vitamin C would be difficult, if not impossible
via food alone. Vitamin C supplements are necessary to achieve this intake.
Middle Ground for How Much Vitamin C Supplements are helpful
There is a
body of experts who, when it comes to how much Vitamin C is right, take a middle ground between the US
government’s and the high dose expert’s position.
the Linus Pauling Institute’s recommendations as an example of this school.
Pauling Institute recommends the following:
mg daily for young healthy adults for
disease prevention, with those who are older or suffering from certain disease
possibly requiring “substantially large amounts of Vitamin C”.
impossible, to get this maintenance amount via food alone if following a healthy
balanced diet, many would have to take Vitamin C supplements to achieve the
With all this conflicting advice about how much Vitamin C is right – what one mother does to Ensure the Benefits of Vitamin C..
With all this contrary evidence on the table, what does a consumer who’s not a Vitamin C researcher or medical doctor do?
After researching the issue, I have concluded the case for Vitamin C supplements is a sound one. It goes without saying that I try to include as many vitamin C rich fresh fruits and vegetables in my and my daughter’s diet daily. But Vitamin C supplements will play a convenient role in our harried life where optimum nutrition is sometimes more good intentions and less hard reality.
….So I take 1,000 mg of Vitamin C supplement per day split in two or more doses. This is, in addition to the minimal amount in my multi-vitamin. I also ensure I consume rich Vitamin E rich seeds and nuts as well as much carotenoid rich green, red and orange veg as I can for the antioxidant boost they give. I want my Vitamin C to boost the antioxidants I get from supplements and via diet.
Why that level of Vitamin C?
I likely use a lot of Vitamin C and need its benefits more than others- I’m fifty (middle aged in fact, if not in mind), tall, a single Mom who’s often stressed and overrun by a delightful but exhausting eight year old, and the day to day of modern life including flailing around a tennis court, a horse ring and running route on a regular basis.
While I try to eat a healthy balanced diet that includes a multitude of fresh fruit and veg, some days are better than others. Vitamin C supplements, with a large increase in dosage (six to 10 grams per day) when fighting active viral and bacterial infections, are part of my routine. I also drink enough water to avoid that theoretical concern about kidney stones.
My eight year old gets a 500 gram vitamin C supplement in a chewable orange flavored tablet that she loves – I think it a yum substitute for candy with a health kick. I make sure she brushes her teeth and drinks plenty of water with it because ascorbic acid can harm teeth enamel. She also takes a multi that ensures she gets a minimal of other antioxidants, should her diet not be up to snuff, despite my best efforts.
How Much Vitamin C When
mentioned, when sick or under stress, our Vitamin C requirements can skyrocket
and the above daily doses for a healthy adult, regardless of which you opt, go
out the window.
Many of the
double blind placebo controlled studies are with doses of Vitamin C so minimal
that it is not surprising the results are minimal.
Some of the
most startling evidence of the benefits of Vitamin C to combat illness are anecdotal observations from the clinical
practice of Frederick R. Klenner.
a board certified internist, claimed to have successfully treated thousands of
patients with mega doses of Vitamin C for a smorgasbord of conditions including viral and infectious diseases. The diseases
range from the common cold, to pneumonia to polio with herpes, hepatitis and a
host of others in between including mushroom poisoning and snake bites. He would use intravenous or intramuscular
injection of sodium ascorbate to gain greater tissue saturation than via oral doses
As a general
rule, Dr. Klenner’s therapeutic dose guidelines were 350 mg of Vitamin C per
kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight. He published extensive clinical
observations in the 1950’s and 1940s. Some of his previously published papers along with those of other clinicians
using Vitamin C are published in Robert McCraken’s Injectable Vitamin C and The Treatments of Viral and Other Diseases – A
compilation of Pioneering Literature.
Dr. Klenner’s Therapeutic Doses of Vitamin C - .
Body Weight Vitamin C Per Day # of Doses Individual Dose
100 kg (220 lbs), 35,000 mg, 17-18 times per day, 2,000 mg per dose
75 kg (165 kg), 26,000, 17-18 times per day, 1,500 mg per dose
50 kg (110kg), 18,000 mg, 18 times per day, 1,000mg per dose
25 kg (55lbs), 9,000 mg, 18 times per day, 500 mg per dose
12.7 kg (28 lbs), 4,500 mg, 9 times per day, 500 mg per dose
7 kg (15.5 lbs), 2,300 mg, 9 times per day, 250 mg per dose
3.5 kg (15.5lbs), 1,200 mg, 9 times per day, 130-135 mg per dose
How Much Vitamin C – The Downside of too Much
Vitamin C. Are there any?
about the downside to too little Vitamin
C. What are the health risks, if any, from too much?
Generally, Vitamin C is an extremely safe vitamin. The main side effect, as mentioned, is diarrhea
which is dose related. When you decrease
intake of C, the symptoms go away.
Because of its water soluble nature where excess is excreted
in urine, it is hard to get too much Vitamin C. Nevertheless, some have raised concerns
about Vitamin C supplements.
- Excess Iron Absorption –
Vitamin C improves the absorption of non-heme iron (iron from plant foods like
spinach as opposed to iron from animal products) . While sufficient iron stores
are essential for proper immune function, too much can act as an oxidant and
create havoc in the body. There is a theoretical concern that the body could
absorb too much iron, in the event of
excess Vitamin C intake. Individuals with
hemochromatosis, a genetic condition that disposes a person to excess iron,
should consult their health care provider before supplementing Vitamin C. By contrast, some experts believe that Vitamin C’s antioxidant function cancels
the risk of excess iron stores in the body.
- Kidney Stones - There is a theoretical concern about
excess Vitamin C promoting kidney stones, however the evidence doesn’t support
this. A review of the research by the New York Academy of Sciences shows kidney
stones and Vitamin C supplementation are not a problem. As a precaution, ensure
you drink sufficient water when taking Vitamin C supplements.
- Vitamin C as a pro-oxidant –
Some experts speculate that in very large doses Vitamin C may act as pro-oxidant – generating free radicals
instead of quenching them. Because of this, it could interfere with certain
chemotherapy drugs. Best to discuss Vitamin C supplementation with your doctor
when dealing with a specific health conditions like cancer.
For more on How Much Vitamin C is needed and related topics, press on the below tabs.
Healthy Balanced Diet
Press here for more on the Benefits of Vitamin C.
Press here for all about Vitamin C Deficiency.
Press here for all about Sources of Vitamin C including diet and supplements.
Click here to read more about recent Vitamin C research regarding TB and how Vitamin C combats the world's second most prevalent infectious disease, TB.
Click here to read more
about a Healthy Balanced Diet and Healthy Diet Tips.
Click here to read more about Anti-inflammatory Diets and Inflammatory Foods.
Click here to read more about Antioxidant Levels of Food (ORAC Values).
Click here to read more
about the Benefits of Vitamin D.
Click here to read more
about the Benefits of Magnesium.
Click here to read more
about the Benefits of Zinc.
Click here to read more about the Benefits of Supplements including the Benefits of Vitamin C Supplements.
Click here to go to Healthy Diet
Healthy You home.