Dr. Zoltan Rona on Vitamin C
This is from a short article Dr. Zoltan Rona wrote for a column called "Ask
an Expert" sponsored by NaturaPlus.
Vitamin C is important for the following reasons:
1) formation of collagen and the health of bones, teeth, gums, nails,
muscles, ligaments and all other connective tissue
2) strengthens blood vessels and prevents bleeding and plaque formation in
the arteries; vitamin C prevents atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
3) promotes healing of all body cells
4) increases resistance to infection
5) aids iron absorption and utilization
6) anti-oxidant which helps prevent cancer and heart disease
7) natural antihistamine in high doses
8) natural antidepressant because it helps convert the amino acid tyrosine in
the brain to adrenalin
9) lowers high cholesterol levels
Ideally, you should get vitamin C from food sources. If you do not tolerate
citrus, try eating more peppers, garlic, onions, cantaloupe, kale, parsley,
turnip greens, broccoli, rose hips, black currants, strawberries, apples,
persimmons, guavas, acerola cherries, potatoes, cabbage and tomatoes. All fresh
fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C and variable amounts of bioflavonoids.
For a variety of reasons including stress, illness, surgery, athletic
competition, poor access to fresh foods, etc., food alone does not meet the
requirements for vitamin C in many people. Such individuals must supplement
vitamin C to prevent the many signs and symptoms of vitamin C deficiency. These
include diseases of the bones, teeth, gums, connective tissue, arteries and
heart as well as allergies, infections and cancer.
Vitamin C is generally well tolerated by most healthy individuals but there
is a wide range of tolerance when megadoses are supplemented. Large doses (500
mg. or more) can cause diarrhea but this appears to be the only significant side
effect. This property of vitamin C is often used by many people as a quick fix
for chronic constipation. In highly sensitive individuals, any amount of vitamin
C in supplemental form can cause diarrhea. On the other hand, there are
individuals who feel fatigued, constipated and achy unless they supplement with
a daily dose of 15,000 mg. Everyone is biochemically unique in their response to
It has often been falsely reported that vitamin C supplementation causes
kidney stones in dosages above 6000 mg. daily. There is no clear proof of this
claim since numerous studies conclude the exact opposite - that vitamin C in
dosages above 6000 mgs. daily prevents kidney stones. The idea that vitamin C
causes kidney stones is one of the enduring myths of conventional medicine.
Sudden discontinuation of megadoses of vitamin C is believed to cause rebound
scurvy. Although neither I nor any of my colleagues who prescribe high doses of
vitamin C have ever seen this phenomenon, it is theoretically possible. To be
safe, if you have been on high doses of vitamin C (6000 mg. or more daily for
several months) and you want to discontinue supplementation, do so gradually,
tapering dosages over several days or weeks.
Many people who have iron deficiency know that vitamin C enhances iron
absorption from the gut into the bloodstream. Megadoses of vitamin C are
contraindicated in cases of iron overload due to this ability of vitamin C to
boost iron stores. If a blood test called "ferritin" (the storage form
of iron) is very high, avoid vitamin C supplementation. If it is low, vitamin C
will help bring iron levels back up to normal.
In cases of kidney failure (renal insufficiency), it is best to avoid vitamin
C supplementation because vitamin C enhances the absorption of aluminum, a toxin
to the nervous system.
A small percentage of people have bad reactions to just about any dosage of
vitamin C including headaches, gas, nausea and lightheadedness. Often these
symptoms can be overcome by using buffered forms of vitamin C like sodium
ascorbate, calcium ascorbate, ester C and others.
In general, Vitamin C is a weak acid. Candida, bacteria, fungi and parasites
are often killed off by high dose vitamin C and this releases toxins into the
system. Gas, headache, nausea and lightheadedness sometimes results but this is
just a sign of a temporary cleansing or detoxification reaction. The problem can
be eliminated by doing a vitamin C flush. This is done by increasing the dose of
vitamin C to the point of clear, watery diarrhea which usually results in a nice
purge of the majority of these toxins. The vitamin C flush is best done with
buffered vitamin C powder, taking a teaspoon in juice every half hour until
watery diarrhea is reached. After this bowel tolerance level is reached, the
dose can be adjusted to where the bowels feel comfortable. The gas and other
detoxification reactions should disappear.
If you do not wish to do a vitamin C flush, consider adding sodium
bicarbonate to your ester C, sodium ascorbate or calcium ascorbate supplement.
This is available in powdered form and can be taken immediately after taking the
vitamin C. Start with low doses and increase gradually as tolerated.
Additionally, use a good lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidus supplement to
help control the bowel flora, reduce gastrointestinal toxins and improve
Worsening hay fever and bleeding gums are signs of vitamin C deficiency. They
are also a sign of a greater need for bioflavonoids. Good examples of
bioflavonoids include pycnogenol, quercetin, hesperidin, catechin and rutin.
These can be taken in high doses without side effects and might also help you
tolerate vitamin C supplements better.
If you are having trouble tolerating even the buffered forms of vitamin C,
consider getting yourself checked out for chronic gastrointestinal dysbiosis. It
is possible that you are suffering from a bacterial flora imbalance, candida
overgrowth, bacterial infection or parasites. A natural health care practitioner
can order a comprehensive stool and digestive analysis with a comprehensive
parasitology evaluation to rule out this potential problem.
Dr. Zoltan Rona