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 Conflicting reports on Vitamin C saturation? 
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Post Conflicting reports on Vitamin C saturation?
I have read 2 different pieces of literature on Vitamin C that seems to have conflicting reports with regards to optimal intake. Robert Cathcart said of course, to take Vitamin C just short of diarrhea is to be at optimal levels of Vitamin C. The sicker you are, the more you can take. One example he gave was a 98 pound librarian with severe mononucleosis who was able to take 2 heaping tablespoons of Vitamin C powder every 2 hours without producing diarrhea. The paper is here: http://www.orthomolecular.org/library/j ... 4-p197.pdf

Yet, Steve Hickey and Andrew Saul, in their book, Vitamin C: The Real Story states that, as the dose goes higher, the absolute amount of Vitamin C goes higher, while the rest of the Vitamin gets excreted. For example, if you take 60 mg, all 60 mg of vitamin C would be absorbed. If you were to take 12 grams of Vitamin C, only 2 grams would be absorbed (Hickey, Saul 45). I was wondering why the 98 pound librarian can take 2 heaping tablespoons without bowel discomfort and I could not, but at the same time, I am not perfectly healthy. Now, bear in mind, I can still take high amounts of pure ascorbic acid powder. I can take about 7 grams on an empty stomach right when I wake up. I cannot take that high anymore after that, but I can still take about 2-3 grams every 1.5 hours, and that would produce a little bit of gas. I am still not where I would like to be though.

As I have said before in this forum, I hope my homemade lypo would be just as effective because the liv on lab's vitamin C is a little expensive. Now that I am taking the liv on lab's lypo-spheric, I feel that I am improving dramatically. I hope this continues and not just hit a plateau. It seemed that when I was taking Vitamin C as ascorbic acid powder, I hit a plateau. Perhaps Cathcart's paper was done at a time when Vitamin C was not as well understood as during Hickey's time? I mean after all, Robert Cathcart's paper on determining optimum dose was written in 1981 and his paper that mentioned the 98 pound librarian was written in 1992. Hickey and Saul's Vitamin C: The Real Story was written in 2008. Thoughts?


Fri Jun 03, 2011 5:53 pm
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Post Re: Conflicting reports on Vitamin C saturation?
Cathcart is talking about maximum amounts of vitamin C, or more precisely "reducing equivalents" in a disease state. The ascorbate is largely absorbed in the gut before it gets to the rectum where it causes the imbalance that creates the diarrhea. If you are not in fact sick in a way that causes real ascorbate deficiency, the ascorbate does not get absorbed before the rectum, and causes diarrhea when it gets there. So, the amount of ascorbate you can take when ill is a direct measure of how quickly your body absorbs it as it travels through the system.

I do not have the Hickey/Saul book, but in general, all such studies that I have seen deal with "healthy" people. For instance, the NIH/Levine study that is widely considered to be the ultimate authority, used young "healthy" adults sequestered in a hospital for six months. No diseases of age or stress or infection etc. It may well be that the "maximum" amounts of ascorbate that can be absorbed and utilized under such conditions are as low as Levine says, which is consistent with what you quote of Hickey/Saul.

Animal studies show that animals produce ascorbate at levels consistent with the severity of the illness or toxin. I have seen no human studies of actual ascoirbate absorption or blood levels in "sick" people. I certainly can tell the difference between 15 and 20gm/day if I have some disease symptoms, and I find it unbelievable that I could if I were only absorbing such a small percentage of the extra 5gm. I forget the units now but have figured them out in the past, and Levine found a maximum blood level of 220 in his "healthy" subjects, but Stone reported in excess of 350 in a cancer patient who evidently cured his "terminal" cancer with something like 5gm of oral ascorbic acid every half hour.

"Gas" is not an inherent property of ascorbate, but is an effect of gut chemistry, mostly as a "fertilizer" of gut bacteria If your digestion is faulty, likely from nutritional deficiencies other than ascorbate, there will be a lot of food and bacteria sitting there. The vigor of the bacteria is limited by the ascorbate available, and once there is an excess, the bacteria go crazy and produce a lot of gas. But as the excessive and stagnant food is consumed by the bacteria, and if you get your system working correctly in other ways, gas production decreases to almost nothing. My family and I had gas when we first started with ascorbate, but it decreased rapidly. Of course, we also set to work to correct B vitamin problems at the same time, and B vitamins are major factors in the gut flora balance (and every other biological process). Now, if I have gas, it is directly traceable to something particular that I eat.

Ascorbate fixes a lot of things in a lot of people, since it is rate limiting for anyone who is not taking a lot, but it will not fix everything by itself. Gas and diarrhea are produced by digestive failures generally, and these have many causes. Ascorbate can cause these or it may cure them, as Cathcart mentions. B vitamins, Magnesium, potassium, iodine, selenium are all major players, where either too much or too little causes trouble. Given our usual horrid foods, you can figure that you ARE short of all of these unless you are supplementing at levels considerably higher than RDA. And these things are directly related to the recycling of ascorbate in tissues. To quote Cathcart, "the problem is more that the mitochondria cannot furnish the reducing equivalents fast enough to rereduce adequate amounts of free radical scavengers." Mitochondrial energy is directly dependent on an selenium>iodine>thyroid>iodine>selenium>B vitamin>magnesium path, so any deficiency along the way affects ascorbate status.

FRM


Sat Jun 04, 2011 1:14 am
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Post Re: Conflicting reports on Vitamin C saturation?
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I have read 2 different pieces of literature on Vitamin C that seems to have conflicting reports with regards to optimal intake. Robert Cathcart said of course, to take Vitamin C just short of diarrhea is to be at optimal levels of Vitamin C. The sicker you are, the more you can take. . .

Yet, Steve Hickey and Andrew Saul, in their book, Vitamin C: The Real Story states that, as the dose goes higher, the absolute amount of Vitamin C goes higher, while the rest of the Vitamin gets excreted. For example, if you take 60 mg, all 60 mg of vitamin C would be absorbed. If you were to take 12 grams of Vitamin C, only 2 grams would be absorbed (Hickey, Saul 45).


As gofanu aptly writes, Cathcart's measure is one of absorption. It is theorized that any ascorbate taken by mouth which is not absorbed and makes it to the rectum causes the diarrhea. And it is interesting that we humans under stress, can sometimes absorb orders of magnitude more vitamin C than when we are healthy. So Cathcart's measure, rather than an indicator of optimal intake is an indicator of illness. I have noticed that people at the low tolerance end of the bell curve may reach their bowel tolerance long before their optimal intake, even when ill.

But I wonder about the Hickey/Saul quote, are you sure they say "absorbed" on page 45? (I wish I could find my copy. Is your quote exact? ) I don't know of any test for absorption - other than a blood test. However, because the kidneys are constantly filtering the blood to keep the ascorbate levels in a well defined range, the amount in the blood at any given time my not represent absorption, as much as elimination.

And the more you take orally at one time, is absorbed, the more that would "spill" into the urine from the kidneys. Pauling discusses this at length in HOW TO LIVE LONGER AND FEEL BETTER.

Yet Pauling took 9,000 mg every 12 hours.

But assuming that there is a measure of "absorption" there are many variables, and both Cathcart and Pauling estimate that from 1/2 (Pauling) to 4/5 (Cathcart) of the vitamin C taken by mouth is "lost" (breaks down or is not absorbed.) Carbohydrates taken at the same time can interfere with vitamin C bioavailability, while Sherry Lewin also wrote that proteins (amino acids) chelate the vitamin which aids absorption/bioavailability.

But if the concern is absorption - then Cathcart's bowel tolerance provides a useful measure.

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Sun Jun 05, 2011 9:39 am
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Post Re: Conflicting reports on Vitamin C saturation?
It's not quote for quote, but I was citing what Hickey and Saul was saying. The exact quote is "The absolute amount absorbed increased with dose, but only slowly: up to 80-90 percent of a single 180-mg dose is absorbed, reducing to 75 percent at 1 gram, 50 percent at 1.5 grams, 26 percent at 6 grams, and 16 percent at 12 grams." I think he was citing Dr. Levine's work.

The reason why I brought this up is because I kind of experienced what Hickey and Saul said in the book, and I kind of experienced what Cathcart was saying in his bowel titration thesis. I caught a bad cold from school. I usually never get colds, but I do have oral problems which affects my sinuses and that leads me to sneeze uncontrollably, so it actually sounds and feels like I have a cold all the time. Vitamin C has treated me very kindly on my oral health.

Anyways, I got a bad cold from school. The symptoms included sore throat and weariness, blocked nose, stuffy head etc. I started by taking 10 grams of Vitamin C powder every 30-60 minutes, and I got all the way up to 100 grams by the end of the day. Towards the end of the day, I did have lots of diarrhea and it kept me up a little too long throughout the night. The next day, I felt a whole lot better, but still had the symptoms. So, I took a lot of vitamin C, and by late morning, I took about 40 grams, and fell asleep. Next thing you know, I actually crapped while I was sleeping! Don't want to be too graphic, but yes, that was what happened. So, I stopped taking vitamin C for the rest of the day, and the following day (3rd day), I actually felt worse than the 2nd day! So, I took the vitamin C, but I could not get as high as the first day. I don't quite remember if I took over 40 grams the 3rd day, but I was feeling uncomfortable with the gas plus my cold symptoms.

So in this scenario, I took well over my bowel tolerance on the first day, but not the second. This would mean that Cathcart was right. However, I still had cold symptoms, and at the same time I had gas. What Cathcart said in the "Third Face of Vitamin C" was that he "believed that the loose stools of ascorbic acid ingested orally ingested is due to resulting hypertonicity of ascorbate in the rectum. Water is attracted to the rectum by the increased osmotic pressure and results in the loosening of the stools." So, the unusual amounts of Vitamin C I took on the first day of sickness would mean that this corresponds to Cathcart's titration argument. However, back to Hickey/Saul, the gas and loose stools I experienced corresponded with what they wrote in their book on page 45. The fact that I got worse on the third day would reinforce what Hickey/Saul said because apparently, a lot of the vitamin C did not get absorbed.

One way for me to tell how effective oral ascorbic acid powder is, is when I look at my gum. I have a red gingival line, and whenever I take oral ascorbic acid powder, I can see the red line turn pinker, but not quite pink. It would then turn back redder as the hours pass, and when I take more vitamin C, I would get gas and loose stools rather than it being absorbed. This would be a big disappointment for me until I ran into lypo-spheric vitamin C. Now it seems like my gum is improving everyday, with little turning back. It gets pinker, and my gum has become a lot less swollen. So with the lypo-spheric, it seems I can absorb most of the vitamin C, though it is much more expensive than the powder.

The conclusion with my experience is that Cathcart was partially right, and it seems that Hickey/Saul is more accurate in that much of the ascorbic acid powder is not absorbed. The impression that I got from Cathcart is that the illness is gone when you reach and maintain bowel tolerance, but this was not completely true for me. My gum line was also an indicator of how well ascorbic acid powder is absorbed. The result was that the redness goes away for a brief moment, and then it turns back red and if I continued ingesting ascorbic acid powder, I would just crap it out. With the lypo-spheric, it seems to be getting better. I hope it continues with the lypo-spheric, and I would report my results if I am ever cured. I believe with all the manufactured foods that I have eaten when I was a kid caused a huge deficiency in vitamin C, and I believe that I had something in between of sub clinical scurvy and frank acute scurvy. When the mouth bled, that was an indicator of scurvy, however, I did not get those lumps on my legs like people with frank acute scurvy.

This could be just me. Perhaps my body could not digest it as well which is why Pauling reminded us to be sensitive to bio diversity. What do you guys think?


Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:22 am
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Post Re: Conflicting reports on Vitamin C saturation?
- Cathart is right - the sicker you are the more you need. However, some people seem intolerant to large doses of C in any case.
- Frequency is important as per 'dynamic flow hypothesis' of Hickey. Dose is less important. 10g x 1 is meaningless. 1gx5 is much better. This way you workaround over the problem of diminishing absorption with larger doses.
- Animals that produce ascorbate (AA) don't filter it via kidney - they filter dehydroascorbate (DHAA). This is because they make C in the liver and/or kidney and it turns out that its better for them to make new one then to recycle DHAA to AA (which is not surprising given that DHAA is cytotoxic and without efficient recycling it doesn't belong to the blood ) . Humans , on the other hand, can't make it and they learned to recycle it plus there are number of adaptations for lost C - high uric acid levels, higher apolipoprotein levels, red blood cell somatin GLUT1 preference switch (preference to AA instead glucose), probably even regulation of CAMP gene expression by Vitamin D (to help with wound healing for instance). Anyway, since we were once producing C our kidney probably behaved the same as with other animals - i.e. excreting DHAA, not AA. If the dose is too low, DHAA is reduced back to AA as it shouldn't go lower.


Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:00 am
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Post Re: Conflicting reports on Vitamin C saturation?
Quote:
The impression that I got from Cathcart is that the illness is gone when you reach and maintain bowel tolerance, but this was not completely true for me


I don't think Cathcart said that the illness is gone, only that the symptoms can be suppressed at the point of bowel tolerance. Ergo, one must assume that most "symptoms" are reactions to low vitamin C in various tissues. As the vitamin is metabolized the tissues again become depleted of ascorbate, leading to renewed symptoms.

I am not certain I understand your concern/question between Cathcarts observations of the amount of vitamin C that can be ingested during illness, and the Hickey/Saul report that the more you take, the less you absorb. What exactly is your concern?

Certainly when an illness strikes, the body can absorb much more ascorbate than when one is completely healthy. An interesting question is how this works? What blocks the absorption when a person is healthy?

But even when suffering a severe illness, there is some upper level, some limit to how much can be absorbed at one time.

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Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:27 am
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