Vitamin C for your health

Last week, my ds16 had tonsillitis.  I can’t remember any of the kids ever having tonsillitis before; they tend to just get generic colds that don’t last long when they do come down with something.  I’m very inclined to believe that it’s not a coincidence that he got such a bad case now since he recently came off of antibiotics from having his wisdom teeth out.  This was only the second time in his life he had antibiotics; the other eight kids have never had any antibiotics at all.  (I unfortunately didn’t realize he’d have the antibiotics prescribed for this and hadn’t researched how to deal with it in advance.)   As everyone knows, antibiotics kill off bacteria, good and bad, and it leaves a person’s immune system weakened afterwards, which is why people often get sick again once they come off the antibiotics.

Ds was feeling really horrible, and I suggested a few things to him, one of which was a specific dosage of vitamin C to take.  The next day, he wasn’t feeling much better, which surprised me somewhat, but the body takes time to heal and it’s unreasonable to expect it to be instantaneous.  The following morning (ie day 3) when he still felt sick, I asked him how much vitamin C he had taken the day before.  He told me he didn’t take any after the first day.  I strongly told him he needed to take some right that minute; I think he took 20 grams (20,000 mg) and then an hour or two later another 20 grams.

A few hours later he told me he couldn’t believe it, but he felt drastically better (he had been in a lot of pain, stiff neck, hard to swallow).  The next day when I mentioned an alternative remedy for something, this son said, “Mommy, if you say it, I believe you.  I’m not going to doubt you again.  That vitamin C was totally amazing!”

Most people don’t realize that there are differences in how vitamin C is metabolized by the body, and the specific form you take is imortant.  Sodium ascorbate is the best form to take.  Unfortunately, you will rarely find it in your local health food store.  And if your experience is anything like mine, the people who work there won’t have any idea what you’re talking about when you ask for it.  We buy our  sodium ascorbate in the kilo sized container here.

The other thing people don’t realize is how much you need to take.  Most people will take one or two doses of 1000 mg when they’re under the weather.  That’s not going to do much.  You’d be shocked by how much vitamin C the body needs when it’s fighting off a cold.  I told ds how much I wanted him to take and he thought it was way too much, but I told him if he was showing bowel tolerance that his body was using every bit of it.  (I read somewhere the Linus Pauling – winner of two Nobel prizes who did lots of research on vitamin C-  would take 16 grams daily when well and up to 110 grams when ill!)

If you want to figure out the dosage in a more formal way than bowel tolerance, here are a couple of guidelines that I’ve seen recommended.  First of all, you need to figure out the body weight of the person in question in kilograms.  To do that, divide the weight in pounds by 2.2 to get the weight by kilograms.  Multiply the weight in kg x 100 (some say 200 so this is conservative) for the minimum mg per day.  For babies, it’s a little different: 200 – 375 mg per kg of body weight.  We stir the crystals it into a little bit of juice and it’s easy to take like that, even for the little ones.

A friend called a few days ago to let me know her teenage son has just gotten the mumps (from a roommate who was vaccinated); fortunately she’s among the small minority who are educated enough so that she’s not concerned.  Don’t even get me started about the misinformation and fear mongering that’s been going on about the mumps recently.   I seriously wish that parents would do some research to understand the real issues and concerns instead of needlessly panicking.  Anyway, mumps isn’t the topic of this post but I mentioned it since it’s on my mind as one more example of something that can be effectively treated with massive doses of vitamin C.

There’s lots of interesting reading available about vitamin C and how effective it is in supporting the body to heal many different diseases, but I’ll give you just one site to get you started if you want to learn more.  I haven’t read even a fraction of what there is to learn about vitamin C.  But knowing what I do, it’s very comforting to have it in my arsenal against sickness.  :)

(This post is part of Real Food Wednesdays and Works for Me Wednesdays.)


25 thoughts on “Vitamin C for your health

  1. Once again, your posts are very timely. I was going to email you regarding Vitamin C needs! Someone called me up the other day in a panic since her GBS results were positive and garlic wasn’t working to get rid of it as it did her previous pregnancy. After calming her down and speaking to her realistically, I told her I had read of someone — you 😛 — who had taken Vitamin C to prevent PROM and I would look into how much she should take.
    Do you know if sodium ascorbate is readily available in Israel?

  2. She doesn’t have the internet, unfortunately…She only has 3 weeks or so left (PROM isn’t so much of a concern I suppose at this point…)
    How long does it take to work? Sounds like your DS saw positive effects almost immediately when he started taking correct dosage…

  3. Hi Avivah –
    This was also a timely post for me because I have a little bit of the flu. I have upped my vitamin c to 2000 mg but that might not be enough because I don’t have diarrehea. can you tell me what is the difference between ascorbic acid and sodium ascorbate or are they interchangeable
    Thanks for the great info.

    1. They aren’t interchangeable, and you’ll need to take a LOT more than you’re taking to see a benefit. If you order from Bronson (which I linked to in the post), they get orders out very fast – I ordered more this Monday night, and the order was at my house on Weds.

      If you’re going to use the ascorbic acid, you’ll need to buffer it yourself by mixing with baking soda; I’m sorry I don’t remember the exact measurements since I haven’t done it for years.

      1. Do you think the Star-K or any of the kashrus organizations would be familiar with it? I do plan on asking my own shailos but I do find it can be hard to explain what the item in question is.

        How long does the one kilo sized container last your family?

  4. I don’t know what various organizations are familiar with. Just tell them medical grade powdered sodium ascorbate (vitamin C).

    We’ve used one kilo in the last four months.

  5. hi avivah! what if your stomach does not tolerate lots of vitamin C- like no more than 1500 mg/day- do you have any other ideas for methods of delivery or things to take jointly with the vitamin C to make it better tolerated?

    1. Julie, have you taken the sodium ascorbate form? I ask because that should be easier on your system. If this is the form you take and your stomach is still having a hard time, I don’t really have any ideas except to take small amounts frequently instead of very large amounts at a time.

  6. I know you are not giving medical advice, but just thought I would post my experience with this – The dosage formula put me at 7 grams. I had a bit of a scratchy throat, and as a test run I took 2 grams, which put me at about 2.5 considering my multi-vitamin. I was planning to up it by 1 gram per day, but the 2 grams put me just at bowel tolerance. Then I re-read the post and realized I had taken ascorbic acid. So I will do some research about that baking soda buffer you mentioned, since I already have this bottle of vitamin C. Not sure if it was the vitamin C or not, but my throat is not scratchy this morning!

    1. Hi, Rochel Leah, welcome! Someone else just emailed me with this question last week, and my answer is unfortunately ‘no’. I’ve learned so much from so many different sources! I do a lot of reading across a wide area and though I have a few home remedy books – two on herbs, one on natural home remedies from Reader’s Digest (from the 70s, I think, a newer version I saw was terrible – like ‘drink soda if your stomach hurts’), and Back to Eden by Jethro Kloss- I can’t recommend any of those as being comprehensive. I also read a lot online, and I’ve learned about vitamin C from Hilary Butler (THE most knowledgeable person I’ve ever come across regarding vaccines) in her book It’s Just a Prick as well as from online reading.

  7. avivah would you use this vitamin c as a preventative for getting sick? and if so, how much? i feel like i need to boost my immune system, i’m trying all sorts of things and then i remembered your posts about vitamin c. i’m ordering what you recommended now. thanks

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