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Vitamin C Power: Finding Your Ideal Therapeutic Level

Photo by Bruna Branco

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There are some vitamins that are so common, so “boring” and so “old school” that they get left out or forgotten.

Especially if they are not considered exciting, new, cutting edge, or trendy.

One such sadly overlooked vitamin is poor old, often-taken-for-granted, vitamin C. For some reason, it’s not getting the attention that zinc for immunity is getting, but it should and here’s why:

Back in the day, there was a lot of new, exciting, breaking news about it. Way waaay back in the day.

In 1497, Vasco De Gama lost 100 of his 150 crew members to scurvy. In 1536, Newfoundland Indians told the French explorer Jacques Cartier about drinking tea from Spruce tree needles.

By 1747, Dr. James Lind performed an experiment on men who were severely ill with scurvy. The men who received lemon and oranges survived. He then recommended that all sailors receive lime juice while at sea because it was more acidic and they thought it was the acid that was the cure. This is how British sailors came to be called “limeys” (which is not a polite term by the way).

By 1928 Albert Szent-Gyorgyi first isolated vitamin C from ox adrenal glands. I promise, current Vitamin C products do not come from this source.

Since we no longer take long sea voyages and risk scurvy, why should we care?

The Benefits of Vitamin C

Cruise through the following list of things that vitamin C does for us and tell me which of these would help improve your health.

  1. Detoxification – this includes pretty much all categories.
  2. Antioxidant – this will help protect your body from free radicals (picture something savage with teeth that wants to tear your cells up! Who wants that nibbling at your body!)
  3. Collagen synthesis – If you don’t want wrinkles, you better be making collagen. The best way to do this is to get enough vitamin C in your diet and supplements.
  4. Aids the absorption of iron – this is especially critical if your “female friend” still visits 🙂
  5. Carnitine synthesis – If you can’t make carnitine, guess what, you may be making fat. Carnitine helps burn fat and gives you energy. How cool is that! I can tell that there are a whole lot of people not making enough carnitine though.
  6. Making thyroid and adrenal hormones – The most common functional problem that I see in the office is with the 2 glands that I refer to as the “sisters” (thyroid and adrenal). I call them that because when one is having problems, the other “feels their pain” and they both end up not working well, so you don’t either. (This vitamin is very involved with stress.)
  7. Antihistamine effects – for all of you overly sensitive folks out there who have lots of food and/or airborne allergies, this is a piece of your puzzle. Dosages of over 6 to 8 grams can combat this. (More on discovering your own personal dose later.)
  8. Degradation of cholesterol – Yes, vitamin C is one of many things which may help to reduce high cholesterol.
  9. Immune system support – Vitamin C will actually bind to your white blood cell which helps your body “fight the bad guys”.

Can you guess what the following have in common: guinea pigs, a rare species of bats, gorillas, chimps, monkeys and humans?

They are all unable to make vitamin C in their bodies.

What does that mean? You better be making good food and supplement choices!!

And before you ask, I will tell you that drinking orange juice is NOT THE ANSWER to getting healthy levels of vitamin C. It’s not going to be your best option for staying healthy and avoiding or fighting off viral infections.

Why Not Just Drink More Orange Juice?

Juices in general are full of sugar. It makes your pancreas release a lot of insulin to counter the sugar load you just drank.

Image of a glass of orange juice, which only has 124 mg of vitamin C.

Photo by Greg Rosenke

Besides that, let’s see how many cups of orange juice it would take to get a typical therapeutic dose of 1,000 mg (1gm) of vitamin C.

One cup (8 ounces) of orange juice provides approximately 124 mg of vitamin C. So you will need to drink 12 (TWELVE) cups of juice! A 103 calories per cup, that’s over 1200 calories just in juice!

Who drinks 12 cups of juice for any reason, much less get a therapeutic dose of vitamin C? Hopefully no one!

While we associate oranges and citrus with vitamin C, there are food sources that have higher concentrations but they aren’t things that we tend to eat all the time. Some you’ve never even heard of such as kadaku plums!

Now, you don’t need much vitamin C to prevent scurvy, just 10 mg a day, which you can easily get from just a little big of bell pepper, blueberries and even cauliflower (who knew!).

But is scurvy all we need to be concerned about? I don’t think so. Look at this list of symptoms people complain of every day when they visit my practice:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle cramps
  • Aching bones, joints and muscles
  • Dry skin
  • Fever
  • Easy bruising
  • Bleeding gums
  • Secondary infections
  • Hemorrhage (Ok, I don’t see hemorrhaging people in the office but you do tell me about it!)

Does any of this sound familiar?

Are any of you suffering with these symptoms?

How to Find Your Personal Therapeutic Level of Vitamin C

A therapeutic level can help with those symptoms, and in some cases prevent them from occurring.

Now, would you like to know exactly how many milligrams of vitamin C constitute a “therapeutic dose?”

It depends! It’s very individualized so you’ll need to do your own scientific study.

You’ll be taking high levels of vitamin C but there’s no toxicity involved because it is a water soluble vitamin which means that it can’t be stored. Anything that you don’t use, you will pass in your urine. (Note: If you have kidney stones, talk to me first. Although there have been no conclusive studies about large doses of vitamin C causing kidney stones, let’s be on the safe side. If nothing else use a buffered Vitamin C product for added protection.)

Here is how to find your personal, therapeutic level of vitamin C.

(Important: This is for adults. A child’s dose will be less – start with one tenth the dose or call me to ask about your child’s needs.)

Each waking hour, take 1,000 mg of vitamin C until you hit what is referred to as “bowel tolerance.” Let me paint you a very … descriptive picture so you don’t miss it.

When you have surpassed the level of vitamin C that your body needs, you will have an urge to move your bowels. More graphically, you will get “frothy diarrhea.” Yeah, ick!

Picture the froth like on a head of root beer. (Think of this the next time you want a high fructose-laden root beer!)

Image of frothy brown drinks as an illustration example.

Photo from

If you reach bowel tolerance after you took eight 1,000 mg doses (8 grams total) of vitamin C, then the dose that your body needs daily is 7,000 mg (7 grams).

Ideally, stay on this daily dose until you reach bowel tolerance, then you’ll increase your intake again. Continue doing this until you have diarrhea, then back off. There will be many of you who could get up to a dose of 20 grams a day. That is a lot of vitamin C but apparently your body needs it!

Vitamin C – boring, everyday vitamin C –  is one of the staples that we need in higher amounts than we think because of our fast-paced lives with not-always-good food choices.

If you’re suffering from any of the problems I mentioned above, try increasing your vitamin C to find your therapeutic level. I am interested in hearing about your experience, the good, the bad and the ugly (yes, I’m even willing to hear about your frothy poop!).

Your story can help me help others as well as helping you protect yourself against disease, illness and less-than-optimal health.

The Natural Path Health Center

Dr. Mikell Parsons is a Certified Gluten Practitioner™ as well as a Doctor of Chiropractic, Certified Clinical Nutritionist and brain-training specialist. She is the owner of the Natural Path Health Center in Fresno, California where she helps people with pain, nutrition, inflammation and other health issues by using natural therapies that work with the body.

Medical Disclaimer:

The information provided in this post is for informational purposes only and has been compiled from years of practice, study and experience by Mikell Suzanne Parsons, DC. This information is NOT intended to be used as a substitute for the advice from your physician or any other health care provider, or any information contained in or on any product label or packaging. Do not use information in this post for diagnosing or treating any health problem or disease. Always speak to your health care provider before taking any nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement. If you have or suspect that you have a health problem, contact your health care provider immediately. Do not ignore seeking health care advice or delay seeking care because of something that you have read in this post. Information provided in this article DOES NOT create a doctor-patient relationship between you and Mikell Suzanne Parsons, DC. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Full Disclosure:  If you happen to purchase anything I recommend in this or any of my communications, it is possible that I will receive some kind of affiliate compensation. I only recommend people and programs I believe in and feel that you will get tremendous value from. However, if you ever have an issue with something I recommended please let me know.

Image of variety of citrus: Photo by Bruna Branco on Unsplash
Image of orange juice: Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash
Image of brown drinks: Photo from

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