Vitamin C is such an amazing supplement; it serves to improve iron/ferritin absorption as well as a great anti-inflammatory agent, removing reactive oxidative species within the bloodstream. Since inflammation and elevated insulin are the 2 major drivers of most chronic conditions, encouraging patients to increase their vitamin C intake can make some big differences in their health.
Vitamin C comes in a variety of forms, so encourage patients to try different versions if they report problems, like loose stools, with one kind they choose. Ascorbic acid and sodium ascorbate are my 2 personal favorite types of C to use and recommend. Avoid citric acid since it is not absorbed well and for some causes more severe GI upset and dyspepsia.
In general, I recommend 2000 – 4000 mg of Vit C 2 or 3 times a day, depending on how many meals the patient consumes. Ideally, vitamins and supplements are always taken WITH a meal/snack, never on an empty stomach. Higher doses CAN be utilized, but patients should be aware of a couple of issues.
- High doses of C can cause diarrhea. Finding bowel tolerance can be helpful, so you can recommend a dose just below the amount that creates diarrhea.
- Many brands/types of Vit C come with esters, bioflavonoids, and other agents that may NOT be ideal taken in mega doses – so check labels for added ingredients.
There are Vit C powders that can be used instead of tablets or capsules; just have the patient mix them into a small amount of water and drink. These are typically very tart and unsweetened. You may want to mention this to the patient prior.
In addition, be aware that Vit C is also a natural anti-coagulant – so check med lists for blood thinners, aspirin, NSAIDs, high-dose fish oils, and turmeric/curcumin. Adjust meds/supplements as needed to ensure patient safety.
Studies have indicated high doses of Vitamin C might benefit a wide variety of autoimmune conditions, including Hashimoto’s, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s, Lupus, and many viruses/colds/flu.
It’s ideal to avoid commercial-based virus-support products as these contain such small doses of C AND will contain a variety of other ingredients that may NOT be safe to increase to these mega doses.