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Vitamin C Flush

Updated: Apr 23

What is a Vitamin C Flush?


A vitamin C flush, also known as a vitamin C megadose or ascorbate cleanse, is a method where an individual consumes very high doses of vitamin C over a short period of time to achieve specific health goals. The idea behind it is that high doses of vitamin C can have a therapeutic effect on the body, such as boosting the immune system, supporting detoxification, or promoting overall health.


During a vitamin C flush, an individual typically consumes anywhere from several grams to tens of grams of vitamin C in powdered form dissolved in water, usually taken every 15 minutes until they reach a point where they experience diarrhea. This point is known as "bowel tolerance," where the body cannot absorb any more vitamin C and excess amounts are excreted through the stool. This saturation point is known as the therapeutic dose.


Advocates of vitamin C flushes claim various benefits, including detoxification, immune system support, and improved energy levels. However, it's essential to approach high-dose vitamin C regimens with caution and consult with a healthcare professional as it may interact with certain medications or conditions, so it's crucial to discuss this approach with a healthcare provider before attempting it.


Why is Vitamin C important?


Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for the human body, meaning it cannot be synthesized internally and must be obtained from dietary sources. A significant portion of the population is not consuming sufficient amounts of Vitamin C from their diet. Unfortunately, the levels of vitamin C in our food are decreasing due to premature harvesting of produce, artificial ripening techniques, and extensive food processing methods.


  • Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, unstable molecules that can contribute to aging and various diseases.

  • Vitamin C helps stimulate the production and function of white blood cells, which are essential for fighting off infections and illnesses.

  • It is necessary for the synthesis of collagen, a protein that is essential for the structure and health of the skin, bones, teeth, and blood vessels. It helps the body form new tissue, repair damaged skin, and promote faster recovery from injuries.

  • Vitamin C enhances the absorption of non-heme iron, the type of iron found in plant-based foods and iron supplements. Consuming vitamin C-rich foods or supplements along with iron-rich foods can help improve iron absorption and prevent iron deficiency anemia.

  • Vitamin C is involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, which play important roles in mood regulation and brain function.

  • Adequate intake of vitamin C has been associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and eye diseases like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.


Reason for doing a Vitamin C Flush:


The calibration allows an individual to know how much vitamin C is needed on a daily basis. Everyone’s therapeutic dose is different.

 

 

Who should not do a Vitamin C Flush?


Those with hemochromatosis, Gilbert’s Disease, Irritable Bowel Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Hepatitis, or kidney diseases should not do a vitamin C flush. Children, pregnant or breast-feeding women, dehydrated individuals, or those over 65 years old also should not do a vitamin C flush.

Talk to your doctor before determining whether a vitamin C flush is safe for you and learn the potential risks.


What are the potential side effects?


Gastrointestinal Disturbances: Diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, and vomiting are common side effects of a vitamin C flush due to its osmotic effect on the intestines.


Interference with Medications: Vitamin C can interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners and chemotherapy drugs, potentially affecting their effectiveness or increasing the risk of side effects.


Caution:


If you take vitamin C for longer than a few months at a high dose (2-10 grams or more), it is important to do this gradually to prevent a rebound deficiency. This can be done by reducing by 1 gram per week.


Elevated amounts of vitamin C could accelerate its metabolism within the body. Suddenly discontinuing the high dosage might result in a faster breakdown of vitamin C, potentially causing systemic levels of the vitamin to drop even lower than they were before the high dose was administered.


Directions:


1.      Acquire powdered vitamin C. It must be ascorbic acid (aka ascorbate) buffered with the alkalizing minerals: potassium, magnesium, calcium, and zinc. This form is designed to allow high dosing for calibration while minimizing side effects and allowing for proper absorption. Avoid vitamin C tablets or capsules, as they may contain other ingredients that could interfere with the flush.

2.      Calculate how many grams of vitamin C (ascorbic acid or ascorbate) is in 1 scoop (provided) or in ½ to 1 teaspoon. Keep track of the time and how many grams of vitamin C is used. Best to start with 1 – 2 grams (1,000- 2,000 mg) of vitamin C.

3.      Since we are calibrating the therapeutic dose, the timing varies for each individual, so it’s best to do it on a free day. Start this process in the morning on an empty stomach.

4.      Dissolve 1-2 grams of Vitamin C in 2 or more ounces of water. Allow any effervescence to stop before consuming. Drink the mixture.

5.      Repeat Step 4 every 15 minutes until a watery stool is reached. There should be about a quart of liquid expressed from the rectum. DO NOT stop at the first loose stool, it’s important to reach a watery stool as it reduces the risk of toxin reabsorption. The duration needed to reach saturation with vitamin C varies individually. While many people experience flushing within 2-3 hours, others may require more time. If you find that it's taking longer than anticipated, you may consider doubling the dose to expedite reaching saturation.

6.      Drink plenty of water throughout and after the flush to prevent dehydration.

7.      Once you reach "bowel tolerance" and experience diarrhea, stop increasing the dose of vitamin C.

8.      Record the amount consumed and the time.

9.      To calculate your therapeutic dose of vitamin C, multiply the total grams of vitamin C used by 0.75 (75%) and that will be your daily dose.

10.  You may continue this daily dose for 1-2 months, then slowly decrease by 1 gram (1,000mg) per week (to prevent rebound deficiency) then discontinue. The length of this protocol depends on overall health, such as stress, sleep, nutrition, and/or other health concerns.

11.  This protocol may be repeated every 4-5 months.

 

This is not medical advice. Please speak to your professional healthcare provider before deciding if this is safe for you. You may reach out to Dimensional Wellness Center for the proper Vitamin C product or with additional questions.

 

References:

Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients. 2017 Nov 3;9(11):1211. doi: 10.3390/nu9111211. PMID: 29099763; PMCID: PMC5707683.


Jacob RA, Sotoudeh G. Vitamin C function and status in chronic disease. Nutr Clin Care. 2002 Mar-Apr;5(2):66-74. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-5408.2002.00005.x. PMID: 12134712.


Khoo HE, Ng HS, Yap WS, Goh HJH, Yim HS. Nutrients for Prevention of Macular Degeneration and Eye-Related Diseases. Antioxidants (Basel). 2019 Apr 2;8(4):85. doi: 10.3390/antiox8040085. PMID: 30986936; PMCID: PMC6523787.


Lim JC, Caballero Arredondo M, Braakhuis AJ, Donaldson PJ. Vitamin C and the Lens: New Insights into Delaying the Onset of Cataract. Nutrients. 2020 Oct 14;12(10):3142. doi: 10.3390/nu12103142. PMID: 33066702; PMCID: PMC7602486.


Miranda CL, Reed RL, Kuiper HC, Alber S, Stevens JF. Ascorbic acid promotes detoxification and elimination of 4-hydroxy-2(E)-nonenal in human monocytic THP-1 cells. Chem Res Toxicol. 2009 May;22(5):863-74. doi: 10.1021/tx900042u. PMID: 19326901; PMCID: PMC2730585.


Sim M, Hong S, Jung S, Kim JS, Goo YT, Chun WY, Shin DM. Vitamin C supplementation promotes mental vitality in healthy young adults: results from a cross-sectional analysis and a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Eur J Nutr. 2022 Feb;61(1):447-459. doi: 10.1007/s00394-021-02656-3. Epub 2021 Sep 2. PMID: 34476568; PMCID: PMC8783887.


Villagran M, Ferreira J, Martorell M, Mardones L. The Role of Vitamin C in Cancer Prevention and Therapy: A Literature Review. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Nov 26;10(12):1894. doi: 10.3390/antiox10121894. PMID: 34942996; PMCID: PMC8750500.

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