Vitamin C: Notes, Types & Dosages

The benefits of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and a water-soluble nutrient that is needed for numerous biological functions including:

  • Tissue growth and repair

  • Strengthening of capillary walls

  • Improves Lactation

  • Preventing adrenal fatigue

  • Formation of collagen

  • Healing of wounds

  • Recovery from infections

  • High doses of Vitamin C chelate out all non-essential minerals and metals.

Signs of Deficiency

  • Bright red gums (first signs of scurvy)

  • Rough, bumpy skin

  • Coiled / Cork-skrew body Hair  (due to follicular hyperkeratosis)

  • Reddening around hair follicles (Perifollicular hemorrhages)

  • Spoon-Shaped Fingernails With Red Spots or Lines

  • Easy bruising

  • Slowly wound healing

  • Joint pain

 

Synthetic ascorbic acid vs naturally derived vitamin C from plants

There are different schools of thought regarding the supplementation of Vitamin C. These revolve around the issue of whether synthetically produced ascorbic acid (be it GMO, manufactured in China, or non-GMO, manufactured by DSM in Scotland) is equal in value to health as vitamin C derived from plant sources. Here is an article written by Sarah Pope Is Your Vitamin C the Real Deal or a GMO Wannabe?in which she vehemently claims that natural vitamin C supplementation is far superior and not equal to supplementation with synthetic sodium ascorbate or ascorbic acid. It is worth being aware that this discussion is ongoing and unresolved – even scientifically.

 

Notes:

  1. Most health food shops sell calcium ascorbate, this is not Vitamin C. 

  2. Most synthetically produced ascorbic acid is produced from GM corn syrup produced in China. 

  3. Most Vitamin C supplements in the world are manufactured from this Chinese ascorbic acid.

  4. Only one company in the world produces non-GMO ascorbic acid and sodium ascorbate. This company is based in Scotland.

Sources of Vitamin C Supplementation

1 - Vitamin C from China 

The GM corn syrup synthetically produced ascorbic acid is the cheapest. However, for a number of reasons this is not advisable, the least of which is the GMO aspect. GMO (Monsanto) use in agriculture has had a devastating effect on the environment, the depletion of the soil and the lives and health of the farmers and their families, and finally on that of innocent consumers.

 

For some insight into this problem, watch a 25 minute film from the Philippines on the devastation there by GMO in agricultural practices, called 10 Years of Failure, Farmers Deceived by GM Corn  – there are hundreds of such videos on this horror, but this is one: 

"The film entitled '10 Years of Failure, Farmers Deceived by GM corn' shows the dire situation of corn farmers in the Philippines who have adopted GM  corn. Amidst protests from farmers, scientists, consumers and basic sectors, GM corn was commercialized in the Philippines in 2003. At present, there are about 8 varieties of single, stacked-trait and pyramided GM corn approved by the government for direct planting. It is now planted in about 685,317 hectares of agricultural land allotted for corn."

This GM corn is being used for the manufacture of ascorbic acid, animal fodder (the meat and milk products, which we naively consume) and much more. 

GM Corn Phillipines 10 years of lies.jpg

2 - Vitamin C from Scotland

DSM also uses corn sugars to produce their ascorbic acid, but operate under very tightly controlled agricultural practices that are not GMO.

Their ascorbic acid and sodium ascorbate is known as 'QualiC'. These products are slightly more expensive than the Chinese products. The company DSM Nutritional Products is based in Scotland. QualiC is used in Nutriscript Ascorbic Acid and Sodium Ascorbate. Brands like Gaia in South Africa, and Nutribiotic in the USA use QualiC.

3 - Naturally Sourced Vitamin C

Vitamin C supplements derived from plant sources exclusively are more expensive. For example, Radiant Life is a company that produces high quality, made from organically farmed produce gently made into vitamin C supplements. However, there are other companies with good quality natural vitamin C supplements.  Take notice whether the produce is organically grown and ensure that the temperatures used for drying are low and that the process is gentle. They say:

Since natural vitamin C sources are so much more thoroughly assimilated and effective than ascorbic acid, you can take fewer milligrams of C to get the equivalent of much more ascorbic acid.’ 

  • Q. Is the vitamin C in your Pure Radiance C more concentrated than ascorbic acid in synthetic vitamin C?

  • A. Comparing amounts of ascorbic acid to the whole-food vitamin C in Pure Radiance C is a bit difficult because they are not really the same thing. Whole-food vitamin C is much more than ascorbic acid, as it is always connected to a multitude of other compounds wherever it is found in food sources. The health benefits we associate with vitamin C come not only from ascorbic acid, but also from the synergistic interaction of numerous phytonutrients, including bioflavonoids, polyphenols, catechins, anthocyanins, rutin, enzymes, and tyrosinase. Since Pure Radiance C is more bioavailable than isolated ascorbic acid and is more readily absorbed and recognized by your body due to the many cofactors present, it can be said to be more potent. 

 

Accordingly, if you decide to go with natural vitamin C supplementation, you may pay more, but can reduce the dosages recommended below. Each product will come with its own recommendations. Another factor with naturally sourced products is that they provide an assortment of nutrients that work synergistically in the body.

Recommended article - Dr Suzanne Humphries (MD, Nephrologist) 'Vitamin C'

Dr Humphries is one of the world’s most knowledgeable advocates of Vitamin C, through her research and experience in treating her patients.

 

“Today, more and more publications in peer-reviewed literature are available.  They show the necessity and benefit of ascorbate to the immune cells called macrophages and neutrophils.  Without vitamin C, the immune system is paralyzed and unable to regenerate the ability to dissolve disease-causing elements in the body.  Vitamin C is also paramount in combating toxin-mediated diseases such as whooping cough and tetanus."

We have summarized Dr Humphries’ vitamin C protocol for treating pertussis (whooping cough)

Dr Humphries' article regarding the treatment of Pertussis (Whooping Cough) is available for download here:

 Sodium Ascorbate Treatment of Whooping Cough

Recommended video - Listen to Dr Humphries’ lecture on vitamin C and her video with tips for taking it:

Vitamin C Basics – a talk of about 1 hour. She gives several lectures on Vitamin C. 

Vitamin C tips and types - a practical talk in which she shows how to take vitamin C and discusses the various different kinds.

The World’s Healthiest Foods

 

For more detailed information on the functions and benefits of

Vitamin C from The World’s Healthiest Foods, which charts foods and their vitamin C content and discusses the benefits to our bodies.

… and of course, it is vital to get as much vitamin C from your food

as possible.

 

WHFs also has  tips on cooking and storing food so that they retain

as much as possible of their vitamin C content.

Top-11-Foods-Rich-In-Vitamin-C.jpg

Forms of Vitamin C for Supplementation

Liposomal Vitamin C

Liposomal Vitamin C – due to the liposomes, the vitamin C is absorbed directly by the cells in the digestive tract. Regular Vitamin C is more or less only 18% absorbed compared (up to) 90% of Liposomal is bioavailable Vitamin C. When ill, or fighting off something, it would be advantageous to include liposomal vitamin C.

Sodium Ascorbate Powder (SAP)

SAP is a good form of vitamin C because it is non acidic to the stomach, easy to use and cheap. It is highly recommended by many medical professionals and natural health practitioners, including Dr Suzanne Humphries.

 

  • Sodium Ascorbate is already buffered and can be taken as is and used as is in a variety of ways. (Through doses dissolved in water, in food, smoothies, juices, salad dressings, breakfast and so on).

  • The jar usually comes with a 0.5ml measuring spoon, which equals about 500mg of the powder.

Ascorbic Acid Powder (AAP)

AAP can also be used, but as it is acidic, it needs to be buffered. 

 

  • Unbuffered AA has been implicated in tooth decay if it remains too long in contact with the teeth and through repeated doses. (Dental Erosion from an Excess of Vitamin C)

  • Bowel tolerance is reached more quickly. As it is very acidic, it upsets the pH balance. Your blood tries to maintain itself at 7.0 to 7.2 pH levels. [More on pH levels here]

How to buffer ascorbic acid

 

Source the best quality ascorbic acid

  • Sodium bicarbonate or baking soda is a buffering agent. 

  • Vitamin C is in crystal form is ALIVE & helps restore the body’s pH Balance. 

  • Ensure that you source ‘l-ascorbic acid crystals’ (primarily source as non-GMO QualiC, discussed above).

  • Never use the 'drug store pill variety', for example, if you take a 1000mg pill, you only get about 200mg of Vitamin C, most is lost in the "processing" of breaking down the coatings and it also is not alive. Besides which, there are usually other multiple additives. Find it PURE not mixed with other things.

  • A body with a perfect pH of 7.0 can absorb all the Vitamin C.

 

Buffering recipe for making a sodium ascorbic powder

Use these ratios for mixing a dose amount, depending on how much ascorbic acid you need

Quantities for about 148 grams of sodium ascorbate. Mix these together thoroughly and store in a sealed jar in a cool dark place.

Ratios for mixing 100 grams

  • Ascorbic acid - 100 gm l-ascorbic acid crystals 

  • Baking soda - 48 gm (sodium bicarbonate)

 

Use a medicine measure

  • Use a 0.5 ml medicine measuring spoon - 1 of these will be the equivalent of about 500mg of sodium ascorbate - see bioavailability chart below. 

  • Or get a 0.25ml medicine measure - 1 of these will be equivalent of about 250mg sodim ascorbate - see bioavailability chart below.

 

Calculate the daily dosage for maintenance doses, or the much higher dosage for when you are ill, accordingly, divide the daily dosage by 4 (or 5) to get the measuring spoon dosage  you need per dose. Then don't forget to take the 4 or 5 doses.

Dissolve this dose in water (about 15ml) and drink. It is not at all unpleasant and children usually take it easily.  Or add to juice, cereal, salad dressing. Don’t be afraid of overdosing. Rather a little more than too little.

AA dose, bioavailability & absorption.jp

Vitamin C Dosages & How To Calculate Them

(Based on Dr Humphries' guidelines)

Health maintenance doses of vitamin C

Vitamin C should be supplemented daily for health, known as maintenance doses, because our bodies don’t store Vitamin C.

We simply excrete the excess that at that moment the body doesn’t need.

An article by William Misner, PhD describes why Humans lack the ability to make vitamin C

How often to take vitamin C supplements?

It is advised to take Vitamin C in 4-hourly intervals, that means the daily dose divided into 4 or even 5 doses. This will ensure maximum absorption and less excretion. Maintenance doses will protect from illness and provide many other benefits to the body. 

Vitamin C during acute illness

A much higher dose is needed when we are sick. Upon first signs of symptoms, the sooner you start with increased doses the better. This will greatly improve the resolution of the infection as it is vital for the immune system in fighting the infection. For instance, if you are using a naturally-derived vitamin C supplement, you may want to use the addition of the non-GMO Sodium Ascorbate (cheapest option) or a Liposomal vitamin C (more expensive) to help increase the dosages.

According to Dr Humphries, you cannot ‘overdose’ on vitamin C or get dependent on it. When the body has reached saturation, it simply excretes the extra in urine and bowel. The absorption rate is improved by splitting the daily dosage into 4 or 5 doses per day. See the effect of dosage, bioavailability and absorption in the chart above. These are estimates and will differ from person to person. Taking it all at once makes no sense. 

Increased dosage for acute illness:

 

  • 200mg and 375mg per kg of body weight per day (split into 4 or 5 doses per day)

  • For whooping cough: At the peak of coughing, the dose needed in toddlers and older children can go as high as 1000 mg/kg/day. 

These are her indications for whooping cough, but she says in her article 'or any infection'.

Read our 'Summary of Dr Humphries’ instructions for treating whooping cough" here.

Maintenance Dosages

 

Dr Humphries recommends these ratios for a normal maintenance dose:

  • 25mg per kilogram body weight per day

  • The total should be divided into several doses per day.  (4 or 5)

  • The body uses the Vitamin C it needs and excretes the rest through the urine.

  • Smokers should add 35mg per cigarette per day.

Examples:

  • An adult who weighs 60 kgs – 25mg x 60 = 1,500 mg per day, or 1.5 grams

  • Divide 1,500 mg by 4 (doses per day) = 375 mgs per dose. 

  • In terms of the 0.5ml medicine measure, about a flat spoon - a little more is not a problem – see bioavailability above.

  • A child who weighs 20 kgs – 25mg x 20 = 500 mg per day

  • Divide 500mg by 4 (doses per day) = 125 mg per dose

  • This will be a quarter of the 0.5ml medicine measure, or half the 0.25ml medicine measure. Because of bioavailability a little more is not a problem/

Sourcing Good Quality Vitamin C Supplements

South Africa

UK & Europe

USA

 

South Africa

 

 

UK & Europe

SODIUM ASCORBATE and ASCORBIC ACID:

QualiC products are produced in Scotland, are non-GMO and marketed under the name ‘Nutriscript’ These can be purchased from Amazon

 

LIPOSOMAL VITAMIN C :

Source – Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C from LivOn Labs

lipolife Liposomal Vitamin C

NATURAL VITAMIN C from food sources

Organically grown and free from additives and preservatives:

There are number to choose from – select organic, look out for method of extraction (delicately done and not too hot – max. blood temperature) and drying. Vitamin C is destroyed by heat.  There are many suppliers of organic naturally sourced vitamin C supplements (extracted from Acerola berries, Camu Camu, and others):

 

One example (German Amazon)

VivaNutria Bio-Acerolapulver (Bio Acerola Beerenpulver), 500g, aus kontrolliert biologischem Anbau, laborgeprüft, Rohkostqualität!

VivaNutria organic acerola powder, organic acerola berry powder, 500g, from controlled organic cultivation, laboratory tested, raw food quality! (Obtainable through your local Amazon)

 

Product description

The bright red acerola from Central America, Brazil and Jamaica possesses 15% vitamin C. Compared to an orange, the vitamin C content is about 40 times higher. Acerola is therefore considered to be one of the fruits richest in vitamin C in the world. In Brazil, in particular, the fruit has been known for several generations and is used daily in food and beverages. Acerola can be easily integrated into daily food, for instance in smoothies and mueslis. Acerola is an extremely versatile source of vital substances, especially in times of stress or to prevent colds.

 

Consumption recommendation 

5 – 10 g (1 desert spoon) spread over the day with a little liquid

 

Composition – Organic Acerola Powder

 

Our quality promise 

This product is free of genetically modified substances, wheat, artificial flavours, salt, preservatives, soy, cornflour, fish derivatives, sodium, yeast and egg. This product is suitable for vegetarians. Our acerola powder has been checked for harmful substances, is unirradiated and has been gently dried.

USA

 

SODIUM ASCORBATE

Nutribiotic Sodium Ascorbate powder is inexpensive and recommended by Dr Suzanne Humphries. You can get it in 8 oz or 16 oz sizes from iHerb.

 

Sufficient-C brand ascorbic acid. Recently added to the recommendations of Dr Suzanne Humphries: 

“The benefit of this brand is that it tastes amazing. It is a bit more expensive than Nutribiotic SA and it is Ascorbic Acid not Sodium Ascorbate.” It is especially helpful for babies and children who refuse other forms of SA. There is a high level of tolerance because it tastes good. You can mix 50:50 Sufficient-C and SA or add Sufficient-C powder to the LSA to hide the taste. It is sweetened with stevia and nothing harmful. It also contains caffeine free green tea extract, L-lysine and bromelain.”

 

LIPOSOMAL VITAMIN C

Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C from LivOn Labs

NATURAL VITAMIN C from food sources:

Radiant Life Natural Vitamin C supplement

“One serving of Pure Radiance C provides 120 mg of naturally occurring ascorbic acid (200% of the RDA), with the vitamin C cofactors making up most of the remaining 530 mg of the 650 mg serving size“ (From their FAQ)

Please see their document for comparisons and pricing info."