View Full Version : Vitamin C Flush

Gittit Shwartz
05-30-2008, 10:34 AM
Has anyone on here done a vitamin C flush, or have an opinion on methods/effectiveness of the protocol (http://www.endfatigue.com/tools-support/vitamin-c-flush.html)? (wfs)
I got sick with mononucleosis in March. My friend who had it bad several years ago, said doing a vitamin C flush helped him get better. I read claims of it being practically a cure-all - supposedly it can help clear out viral infections, treat cancer, repair collagen... There's also a story about Charles Poliquin getting bitten by a brown recluse spider and treating himself with IV megadoses of vitamin C in a hyperbaric chamber.
The protocol is basically taking a few grams of Vit. C dissolved in water every 15 minutes until bowel tolerance is exceeded. By keeping track of your doses you find out your current level of need for Vitamin C. They recommend repeating the "calibration" once a week.
Since it seems there are absolutely no adverse effects (besides bowel discomfort and diarrhea), I'm planning to try it soon.

Garrett Smith
05-30-2008, 11:07 AM
I see nothing wrong with black-boxing it.

Mike ODonnell
05-30-2008, 12:33 PM
I've heard the claims of high dose Vit C for health benefits......like Dr G said, try it and see what happens....as it's water soluble the worse thing that can happen is you pee out (one way or another) $10 worth in a week. I'm not sure people need to always do something like that....but heavy dose cycling once in a while may provide benefits esp during periods of excessive training. Vit C does help control cortisol....so I always like it pre/pwo and before bed.

John Alston
05-30-2008, 01:34 PM
Heavy doses of the C before bed tends to keep me awake. As does Mg at nearly any level.

Garrett Smith
05-30-2008, 01:55 PM
I can't sleep with Mg before bed either. I take it in the AM.

Steven Low
05-30-2008, 02:41 PM
Overall, the mega-dosing vitamin studies saw absolutely no benefits with Vit C or Vit E. I think it's mainly because the good sources where they can absorbed are fruits and vegeables while you get poor absorption with the mega doses because they're just the specific vitamin.

See if it works or not though. It really depends on the person in the end.

Gittit Shwartz
06-24-2008, 09:12 PM
Update: I stalled a bit looking around for vitamin C powder, then Ido said it was OK to use tablets. Two things bothered me about the tabs: one, I didn't know what was going to happen to all the filler (calcium sulfate... I think that's CHALK), and two, the effect would be somewhat delayed. On Sunday I started taking 2g (4 X 500mg tablets) every 10 minutes. At 25g there was nothing and I had to leave for a few hours, thinking I'd have to abort the attempt, but 40 minutes later I started getting some serious diarrhea. Still not the "flush" effect so I resumed taking the tabs when I got home. Ended up at 40 grams that day, no flush.
It's hard to draw conclusions since there are too many unknown factors... I'm teaching Capoeira camp for my 6 year olds this week so I have to be up 4-5 hours before I would normally, naturally I don't feel "normal". I did notice I haven't had any trouble falling asleep since I did the flush. I even took ZMA before bed.
Conclusion: I will try this again, this time by the book.

Garrett Smith
06-25-2008, 11:42 AM
Diarrhea after megadosing Vitamin C (synthetic isolated ascorbic acid, not the naturally-occurring vitamin C complex found in foods) is normal and to be expected once you have taken past your bowel tolerance (which changes based on one's current state of health).

I assumed that you knew about bowel tolerance of ascorbic acid, hence why you referred to it as a "flush". I typically refer to it as "taking Vitamin C To Bowel Tolerance" (TBT).

I have not heard of any reactions with ascorbic acid similar to what happens with high-dose niacin (the infamous "niacin flush", complete with pink/red skin, warmth, and itching).

Gittit Shwartz
06-25-2008, 07:18 PM
Dr. G, I knew diarrhea was going to happen. The protocol says:
"continue... until you reach a watery stool or an enema-like
evacuation of liquid from the rectum. This is as if a quart or so of liquid is expressed from the rectum. CAUTION: Do not stop at loose stool." I didn't reach that point so I kept going.

Mike ODonnell
06-25-2008, 07:45 PM
The best thing about any health claim with any supplements....if you feel nothing then it must be working! One wonders if just a juice fast with fruits and vegetables high in Vit C (better bioavailability vs pills) for a day would get better results...but then again....you never know it's working until you get sick or die. Hard to complain then....

Tirzah Harper
06-26-2008, 05:55 AM
So I'm curious...how would you keep from dehydration doing that protocol? Is the enema effect a one-time deal and do you keep drinking plenty of water?

Garrett Smith
06-26-2008, 06:54 AM
Once you get to the loose bowel point from the megadosing, that means your body has reached the saturation point and can't absorb much, if any, more.

I have always read and been taught to stop at bowel tolerance. The cycle may be repeated the next day, taking a gram or two less than what reached bowel tolerance the previous day.

I can see no benefit to continuing to take the ascorbic acid past the loose bowel point...

Gittit Shwartz
06-26-2008, 07:01 AM
I feel a bit stupid now for doing a sloppy experiment... I did feel really good after the first 25 grams and I'd like to test it again with vit. C powder. It was too hard to tell with the tablets when to stop.

Mike ODonnell
06-26-2008, 07:59 AM
I feel a bit stupid now for doing a sloppy experiment... I did feel really good after the first 25 grams and I'd like to test it again with vit. C powder. It was too hard to tell with the tablets when to stop.

No experiment is ever worthless....if you can take a lesson from it.

I only wish there was Vit C beer....as I would love to try mega dosing on that for "research"

Garrett Smith
06-26-2008, 10:25 AM
All first experiments are sloppy. Once they get refined a bit, they change from "experiment" to "protocol".

It's only a mistake if you refuse to learn from it. Sounds like you're doing just that. Don't be too hard on yourself.

Gittit Shwartz
07-01-2008, 04:53 AM
I did the flush this morning - this time by the book:

- Took 1 level tsp of pure ascorbic acid (3g vit.C) with 1/3 tsp. baking soda to buffer the acidity, in a glass of water, every 15 minutes. That's the recommended dose for a "moderately healthy" person - i.e. not "healthy" and not "sick" - which is where I judged myself to be since I'm recovering from mono.

- I started getting diarrhea after 4 doses (12g), but the "flush" effect only hit me at 10 doses or 30g vit. C. Let me tell you, it is unmistakable. I definitely didn't reach this point in my last experiment with vit. C tablets.

Conclusions? Well, I decided to do the flush today because I'm still feeling a bit off from last week when I taught the kids' Capoeira camp. I had to be up 4-5 hours before my normal waking time, slept less, compensated with caffeine (which I haven't touched in over 6 weeks), and did a couple extra Capoeira classes plus hill sprints with my very fit friend (that's what Ido's girls do when we want to bond :D ). "Feeling off" for me is being slightly depressed, low or no motivation to train, pretty much lack of motivation for anything. I woke up pretty blah today but after a few doses started feeling energetic, wide-eyed and alert, similar to the feeling of fasting.

I'll report later as to how long this effect lasts.

Also, for anyone interested in giving this a try, definitely use a buffered form of vit. C or add a buffering agent, or you will burn your rectum.

Steven Low
07-01-2008, 08:18 AM
Also, for anyone interested in giving this a try, definitely use a buffered form of vit. C or add a buffering agent, or you will burn your rectum.

Impressive... not exactly sure I like the visual though.

Garrett Smith
07-01-2008, 10:20 AM
Please describe the "flush" effect more, if possible.

Gittit Shwartz
07-01-2008, 12:30 PM
You're joking, right, Dr. G...?
Sorry Steven... I'm sure everyone has been through worse things in the quest for health :)

Gittit Shwartz
07-02-2008, 05:58 AM
The "fasting" feeling lasted only a couple hours after I stopped taking vit. C.
I don't know what kind of benefits I should be looking for, as all the reports I've seen seem to be just subjective feelings of "well-being" (which I'm not really feeling, myself). I did notice that my "wired-but-tired" feeling at bed time disappeared since I did the first flush and I have no trouble going to sleep, without changing any other factors. I don't know if they are really related.
I think there are three scenarios in which I'd do this protocol again:
1. If I have trouble sleeping again - just to test the hypothesis.
2. Acute illness. I'm long past the acute phaso of mono by now.
3. If I feel I need to get something out of my system (like a big cheat meal or a lot of caffeine... Though I'm not planning to do either). It definitely helped me flush away the after effects of too much coffee in the morning, the first time I did the flush.

John Alston
07-02-2008, 06:29 AM
When I want a big flush in the morning, I find 4 pints of Guiness seems to do it for me.

Garrett Smith
07-02-2008, 08:23 AM
I didn't know if there was some other meaning to the word "flush" other than the one I had already mentioned before...if there isn't, then don't worry about the description...

Gittit Shwartz
07-02-2008, 09:17 AM
The "flush" effect I was speaking of is simply a lot of watery diarrhea.

Gittit Shwartz
07-10-2008, 11:26 PM
I was having trouble falling asleep again for a few days in a row so on Tuesday I repeated the flush. This time it took only 18 grams (as opposed to 30 about a week ago). It worked, but it's an extremely unpleasant solution. The diarrhea lasted the whole day, it was pretty draining. I need to find a better solution for wired but tired.

Gittit Shwartz
07-10-2008, 11:38 PM
Vit. C supplementation is supposed to reduce cortisol, right? I don't know by what mechanism. This would be a good thing in most cases, but for someone recovering from adrenal fatigue, could too much Vit. C actually be detrimental?
I ask because I've been feeling more tired and drained than usual for the past three weeks, since the first flush. I could put it down to a lot of different factors but I'm suspicious. So far I've done 3 flushes and on other days taken anywhere between 0-9 grams in divided doses.

Steven Low
07-11-2008, 12:02 AM
Cortisol is produced from any type of stressor.. that (more strongly) activates the sympathetic nervous system. 3 flushes within the past couple weeks could definitely cause something like that. I mean, you're kind of impeding normal bowel function with the flush well at least in terms of nutrient and water absorption which could lead to dehydration and lack of nutrients for your body = decreased energy/fatigue

Although you are (still?) recovering from adrenal fatigue as well as mono in March (or at least haven't gotten full energy levels back yet?). What other stressors in your life might you have?

If I had to guess it's probably a combination. Eliminate the obvious stuff (flushing for example) and see if there's an improvement. Classic black box.

Gittit Shwartz
07-11-2008, 04:33 AM
Thanks for the reply, Steven.
I've seen pretty much linear improvement over the last 3 months and I'm feeling good all in all - cortisol is riding the bottom of the normal range according to recent tests. The last 3 weeks for the first time I felt like I regressed a little. I'm sure there are other major factors (some stress coming in, training more), however I feel like I'm not handling them as well as I would have thought, and looking to see where I can improve what I'm doing.

I've had enough of this experiment anyway. I just got curious because everyone is always looking for ways to lower cortisol... yet there may be some situations where logically, lowering cortisol is not necessarily a good thing (as when you are not able to produce enough). Not sure if this idea makes sense?

Steven Low
07-11-2008, 09:33 AM
Nah, if you workout at least semi-frequently your body is used to activating SNS to produce your catecholamines (adrenaline, noradreneline, etc.) and glucocorticoids (cortisol, etc.).

Well, you know all about the adrenaline probably from your adrenal fatigue but yeah SNS activates both and you get an interesting balance because they help each other in some respects such as energy expenditure but are also opposed in some functions.

Mike ODonnell
07-11-2008, 01:32 PM
When I want a big flush in the morning, I find 4 pints of Guiness seems to do it for me.

How did I miss this? Nice!

Gittit Shwartz
09-10-2008, 11:35 AM
Some recent observations:
At the time of my "experiment" I was eating 100 grams of carbs (fruit, veggies) on an average day, occasionally more on weekends. I kept on taking 1 to 3 grams of vit C powder in water several times a day, about 6-10 grams in one day, with no sign of bowel disturbance.
About a month ago I decided to drop my carb intake to 20-30 grams/day. My bowel tolerance level dropped so if I took 3 grams at once my insides would start rumbling. (Since the powder is quickly absorbed and since it happened several times I can be fairly sure the two events are related.)
Last week, upped my fish oils from 10g to ~25g/day. Bowel tolerance seems to have dropped even further - 1.5g was enough to give me a touch of diarrhea.
Since I didn't change my other macros (only the source) I'm speculating that reducing the carb content of my diet actually reduced my "need" for vitamin C. It makes sense to me since vit C and glucose compete for absorption. It's curious about the fish oil...Eskimos with their high omega-3, meat and blubber diet don't get scurvy though they don't eat a vegetable all winter.

Liz Neufeldt
01-21-2009, 06:54 AM
I am wondering if you had at all considered taking a more food-based form of vitamin C? There are supplements like this, and they are more easily absorbed into the body since they are more natural and more digestible. This would be the closest to getting the vitamin C (http://www.seacoastvitamins.com/product_info.php?products_id=484) from a naturally occurring food source, while still being able to get it in supplement form. Just a thought.