Practical Notes on Vitamin C Therapy

Vitamin C Therapy


Notes On Orthomolecular (Megavitamin) Use of Vitamin C

Vitamin C (ascorbate, ascorbic acid) has varying activity in the body at varying levels of intake. At low levels of consumption, vitamin C is like a trace nutrient: you need very little of it to stay alive, but without any at all you die. Even a few milligrams a day will suffice to preserve life. At moderate levels of consumption, say 500 to 1,500 mg per day for an adult, the vitamin works to build health in a positive sense. Statistically, fewer colds will be reported; incidence, severity and duration of influenza will be less. (Stone, The Healing Factor, 1972 and Pauling, Vitamin C, the Common Cold and the Flu, 1976). But it is at high levels, say 8,000 to 40,000 mg per day for an adult, that we begin to obtain therapeutic properties for the vitamin.

At the proper (high) level, vitamin C has antihistamine, antitoxin, antibiotic, antipyretic (fever-lowering) and antiviral properties. The pharmacological effects of a vitamin at high concentration do not disqualify our continuing to call it, and think of it, as a vitamin. Money still buys things even if you have a lot of it; its nature has not changed but its power has. If it takes 50 gallons of gas to drive from New York City to Albuquerque, you simply are not going to make it on 10 gallons, no matter how you try. Likewise, if your body wants 35,000 mg of vitamin C to fight an infection, 7,000 mg won't do. The key is to take enough C, take it often enough, and take it long enough.

QUANTITY, FREQUENCY and DURATION are the keys to effective orthomolecular use of vitamin C. So many people hold a philosophical viewpoint such as "I shouldn't have to take so much of a vitamin." That's certainly true; you do not have to. This is America, where everyone has the right to be sick if they want to. But if you want swift recovery, and if you want to use vitamin C, you might just as well use it effectively. What we are interested in is results. High doses of vitamin C get those results as well or better than any broad-spectrum drug on the market. Rather than take what we think the body should require, we take the amount of C that the body says it wants.

The safety of vitamin C is extraordinary. There is not one case of vitamin C toxicity anywhere in the world's medical literature. There is not one case of vitamin C-caused kidney stone ever proven, and I have been on the lookout for one for over 40 years. Indeed, vitamin C has been used to prevent and cure the formation of kidney stones since William J. McCormick, M.D. used it in 1946 (Medical Record 159:7, p 410-413). 10,000 mg of ascorbic acid per day does not significantly increase urinary excretion of calcium (Linus Pauling Institute Newsletter "Effect of High Intake of Ascorbic Acid on Excretion of Calcium" by Dr. C. Tsao, 2:3, 1983). Daily doses of over 120,000 mg have been used with safety by medical doctors, and guinea pigs have been given the human daily dose equivalent of 500,000 mg without harm. The major side effect of vitamin C overload is an unmistakable several-times-an-hour loose stool. This, or excessive flatulence, indicates absolute saturation, and the daily dose is then dropped to the highest amount that will not bring about loose stool. That is a THERAPEUTIC level. Robert Cathcart, M.D. of California routinely employs high-ascorbic acid therapy with his patients with success (Journal of Orthomolecular Psychiatry, 2nd Quarter, 1981). Frederick R. Klenner, M.D. of North Carolina has seen cures of diphtheria, staph and strep infections, herpes, mumps, spinal meningitis, mononucleosis, shock, viral hepatitis, arthritis and polio using high doses of vitamin C (Journal of Preventive Medicine, Spring, 1974). Dr. Klenner says: "Ascorbic acid is the safest and the most valuable substance available to the physician" and "If you want results, use adequate ascorbic acid."

If you want to learn more about the therapeutic uses of vitamin C, the following books are recommended: 

 How To Live Longer and Feel Better, by Linus Pauling, Ph.D.,  
 The Healing Factor: Vitamin C Against Disease, by Irwin Stone  
 The Vitamin C Connection, by Emanuel Cheraskin, M.D. et al  
 Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C, by Lendon H. Smith, M.D.
Vitamin C: The Real Story, by Steve Hickey, Ph.D. and Andrew w. Saul (reviewed at This book is also available in Spanish, Polish, Japanese, and Chinese.


Dr. Klenner's Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C is posted in its entirety at
The complete text of Irwin Stone's book The Healing Factor is posted for free reading at

More in-depth information, especially for physicians and other health professionals, is readily available within the papers of
William J. McCormick, M.D. ,
Linus Pauling, Ph.D,
Abram Hoffer, M.D., and
Robert F. Cathcart III, M.D.  

The free online archive of the The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine is also recommended. 

Revised and copyright 2019; copyright C 2004 and prior years Andrew W. Saul. 

Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at )



Andrew W. Saul


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