What’s The Best Vitamin?
I’ve had people ask me “If you could only take one vitamin, what would it be?” You’d think that would be a very difficult question to answer. But it’s not, it’s one of the simplest. The answer is Ascorbic Acid, plain old Vitamin C.
It’s been around so long that the medical profession ignores it, but the pharmaceutical companies know enough of its value that most have their own brand of it on the market. What’s more, it’s just about the only vitamin that works as well whether it is “natural” or “synthetic”. And the only question I can’t answer is why. The same potency of the cheapest brand of plain pharmaceutical ascorbic acid will do 99% of what natural Vitamin C extracted from rose hips will do. And that’s plenty.
Adelle Davis (http://www.lionsgrip.com/adelleintro.html), a nutritionist par excellence, and nutrition guru of the 50’s and 60’s, wrote reams of material on the miracles of Vitamin C. At the same time Dr. Linus Pauling, the only man in the world to have won two unshared Nobel Prizes (1954, for Chemistry and in 1962, for Peace), was fast becoming known as the champion of Vitamin C. Pauling made research into the curative powers of Vitamin C his own personal focus at the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine in Palo Alto, California. He amazed the world in the 70’s when he wrote a book on how Vitamin C lessens symptoms of the common cold.
Doctors still love to pooh-pooh the book, but few today have read it or the myriad studies of Pauling’s, and even warn their patients about taking too much, as if it were arsenic. The absolute worst side effect of taking more Vitamin C than you are used to getting in your diet is just diarrhea, a result of its ability to detoxify your body. And if you continue to take the same large amount of Vitamin C for a week or so, the body quickly adjusts and the looseness goes away.
When first experimenting following Pauling’s lead, I had limited several of my own colds to just 24-hours as a result of using his methods (before my personal research had to cease since I stopped catching colds altogether). His writings suggested a “loading dose” of 2-4 grams (2000-4000 milligrams) of Vitamin C or ascorbic acid, followed by 1 gram every hour for 24 hours or until the symptoms ceased.
My normal Vitamin C intake was 4-6 grams a day, so I would rarely notice the common side effect (diarrhea) of that little ascorbic acid until it was nearly time to cut back to 1 gram every 3-4 hrs the 2nd day. Someone who never took Vitamin C might experience that discomfort within 6-8 hours, but the body adjusts to Vitamin C quite readily. (For this reason, it cannot be used effectively as a long-term laxative. Diarrhea from Vitamin C is a sign of tissue saturation, so doses can then be decreased to where diarrhea is not caused.)
Many people have used Vitamin C this way with the same excellent results. Vitamin C is especially helpful for children and at this point in history can be used effectively in higher doses due to the development of a new patented form of buffered Vitamin C called Ester-C. This form of it allows taking much higher potencies before causing diarrhea, and is a welcome option for people with sensitive systems who experience abdominal discomfort from the acidity of regular Vitamin C. Ester-C is available in capsules or in a powder.
During the winter, my first liquid in the morning is usually a cup of hot tea green tea with Stevia for sweetener and Vitamin C powder or crystals (not Ester-C). It adds a nice lemony flavor to the tea and provides a pleasant way to get a daily dose of multiple grams of Vitamin C early in the day. I had long used regular powdered or crystalline C in distilled or filtered water to dose myself and my family for several days, either prophylactically or in times of illness, especially for viral colds and flus, since Vitamin C is a powerful agent against any pathogen; being one of the few antagonists to both bacteria and viruses. One of the expressions that Adelle Davis used to use was that ‘Vitamin C was like birth control for viruses’. While antibiotics are useless against viruses, Vitamin C effectively prevents them from replicating. This is why it makes a person with a cold almost immediately more comfortable and usually allays cold symptoms within several days, if enough is taken.
From Constipation to Cancer
In the elderly, moderate to severe constipation is a frequent problem, resulting in everything from routine discomfort to sudden hospitalizations and surgeries. Use of daily Vitamin C (to bowel tolerance) keeps the colon and its operation healthy . At the time of his death, Dr. Pauling had written extensively on the merits of Vitamin C against so many disease conditions including cancer, and had grown so convinced of the amazing protective benefits of Vitamin C, he continued to raise his own personal maintenance dose to 18 grams daily. He was 93 years old and still performing his research, going to his job daily. He died quietly in his sleep, without illness.
The Linus Pauling Institute has since released further research confirming not only the protective effects of large amounts of Vitamin C against the adverse side effects of chemotherapy, but it proved that Vitamin C actually prolonged the life of people with cancer. Interestingly enough, since most people with cancer would not submit to “vitamin therapy” until given up by conventional medicine, some candidates’ lives were saved and many lives were extended after cancer (and its associated chemo and radiation treatments) had all but killed them; that is a further testimonial in itself.
Numerous other medical researchers, some of whom were practicing M.D.s, have had the intestinal fortitude to use megadoses of Vitamin C in situations where all else failed. Adelle Davis recorded a child brought out of an encephalitic coma by a single injection of 75 grams of Vitamin C. In such cases, doses that large had to be provided by injection as it would be virtually impossible for anyone to take so much orally, even if noncomatose. One such innovative and courageous doctor was Dr. Frederick R. Klenner.
Dr, Klenner researched megadoses of several vitamins, but was best known for his ground-breaking use of Vitamin C to protect and literally cure children during the polio epidemic in the 1940’s and 50’s. He reported using large doses of Vitamin C for all forms of serious adult and childhood illnesses with great success. For further information on Dr. Klenner and Vitamin C, visit a wonderful website on alternative medical information by Dr. Andrew Saul (http://www.doctoryourself.com/immune.html ).
Dr. Saul’s exceptional web site covers many natural ways of dealing with illness. I read the article referenced above on Dr. Saul’s web site about how he more than doubled many of the doses of Vitamin C recommended by Adelle Davis and it resulted in even faster recovery. The idea of taking such a huge amount of Vitamin C intrigued me, and at my next opportunity, I made a point of frequently visiting my neighbors when their small children were home from school with colds, in hopes of catching one. While my experimentation may sound foolhardy to some, I find I learn the most when I experiment on a completely willing subject – myself.
I was aware, since I’m less in contact with toddlers now, that I was exposing myself to an almost certain cold. I also stopped taking all my vitamins until two days later when I began to experience symptoms. The symptoms came on in the morning when I got up, and once I confirmed that I was, in fact, sneezing and had sinus blockage and a sore throat, I began this new approach (for me, at least) to the use of Vitamin C for a cold. I took six grams of Vitamin C for a loading dose, and then began to take two grams every 6-10 minutes.
Within half an hour, my nasal drip was almost dried up, but my sinuses were obviously full. I continued to take the Vitamin C at six to ten minutes intervals and within just 4 hours, all my cold symptoms were completely gone. I calculated I had taken more than 76 grams of Vitamin C by mouth and recovered from the cold symptoms even before any form of intestinal distress could set in. My husband had gone to work and come home and never knew that I had been ‘sick’. I was fine by nightfall and had dinner on the table when he arrived.
Then for insurance, I continued to take Vitamin C at one gram every 2-3 hours for the next three days. This is very important just like when taking antibiotics to prevent any form of relapse. Vitamin C tests have shown that to stop taking it immediately after symptoms cease usually brings the symptoms back the next day or so and it can last – albeit in a milder state – for up to an additional 3 weeks. People I worked with who had gotten ill last winter, both before and after this incident, exhibited cold symptoms for an average of three weeks or longer. One who was willing to try this new venture after being sick for about a week, was well two days later.
So is this all for Vitamin C? Does it help with things like Poison Ivy? Yes, it does. That was last month’s experiment. No, I didn’t intentionally wade through poison ivy, but I did have to weed some, and possibly unconsciously, I was hoping to play with it. And I got my wish. Three days later, tiny red bumps appeared on both arms, just above where my gardening gloves stopped.
I have only gotten Poison Ivy about three times in 20 years, so this was a unique opportunity. I had concluded in the past that Kaopectate was a suitable treatment because of the pectin in it, which dries out the skin. My husband swears that cement spread on the skin dries it out more and is better, and that is his treatment of choice whenever he contracts it. Nonetheless, I have hesitated to recommend it.
My first step was to find something that worked better than Kaopectate to stop the itching and I found that on my first experiment: Tincture of Iodine spread on the rash until it stains it dark brown. Iodine is known to have a drying effect on the skin, and when I used it, the itch was completely gone in seconds. The only problem was that most people are deficient in iodine and it rarely stays on the skin more than 4-6 hours. It worked well for me only because I take Iodine in a mineral supplement and my skin remained stained and itch-free for 13-14 hours. If this were used by someone whose iodine-stain quickly faded, its itch-effectivity would likely also be less effective and it would have to re-applied as soon as it faded.
But Poison Ivy is systemic, and can be spread by simply brushing a rashy area on some other part of the body, so it must also be treated systemically. And here we need Vitamin C again because its forte is systemic detoxification. I began by taking a loading dose of six grams of Vitamin C, then took another six grams over the next six hours, one gram per hour. I took another three grams before bedtime and the next morning the rash was completely gone.
I lowered my Vitamin C to three grams taken over the next 12 hours to see if it would return, and by late afternoon the rash and the itch were back. I again used the Iodine on the rash and the itching stopped immediately. I increased my Vitamin C to four grams before bedtime and played this little game for four or five days, wondering how long it would last and if I could keep the symptoms at bay while I continued to learn how it reacted. Here are some hints in case you get Poison Ivy — and want to get rid of it:
- Poison Ivy may not manifest for 5-7 days after exposure, and then lasts for 2-3 weeks, usually even with most forms of treatment. The most effective treatment is, immediately after contact exposure to Poison Ivy, wash with COLD (NOT hot) water and Lava soap. Avoid any moisturizers, as oils spread it. Do not take hot baths or showers as long as the rash persists in a moist expression on the skin. This can be 4-5 days. Hot water opens the pores and poison ivy oils can actually be spread in the washing process.
- Using Vitamin C as a powerful detoxifier, doses in the 12-15 gram range over the entire 24 hrs (not just 12 waking hours) are needed to neutralize the systemic effect of Poison Ivy. This should be continued daily for 7-10 days or until the rash obviously has both dried and faded. If diarrhea manifests, switch to Ester-C and maintain the highest doses that are comfortable.
- Iodine works well topically for the itching, but must be applied all over the rash areas at least twice a day, usually every time the skin staining fades, and before bedtime to prevent itching at night. If not available and the itching is severe, straight isopropyl alcohol will usually have an anti-itch effect and Kaopectate is also a reasonable help since it does dry the area and increases comfort.
- Broken out areas that can contact other bare skin during sleep should be covered with gauze to prevent contact infection.
- Watch skin areas for new eruptions of just one or two small red dots that appear spontaneously and cover them with iodine at the first sign. Scratching them spreads the rash. Pustules that weep should be covered with iodine and bandaged to prevent transfer.
Does Vitamin C Improve General Immunity?
Vitamin C keeps your body humming along the way it should. Without it, a poor diet, normal aging, and exposure to environmental poisons will take their toll.
Although I concur with experts that immune system boosters indeed work and in instances can bring people with damaged systems back even from the point of death, my advice is to never go there. If you can help it, never let your health get to the point where you need to depend on any “miracles” to restore you. Take Vitamin C once or twice daily for life – determining the amount by what works best. When you suddenly realize it’s been years since you have even had the sniffles and your friends all wonder why, you can share your little secret of prevention and laugh in the face of the media’s overblown ‘deadly-flu-is-coming’ announcements.
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