Letter Re: The Importance of Storing Vitamin C

Humans along with a few other creatures do not produce Vitamin C. (We also do not make uricase [Urate oxidase] so are prone to Gout, a human disease). As such we must get Vitamin C from our diet. We have already discussed the need of vitamin C to prevent scurvy. Since it is water soluble and [unlike Vitamins A, D, E, and K, is] not fat soluble, we must take it continually. One important time that you need Vitamin C is in the case of trauma or infection. Animals that make their own Vitamin C increase production immensely in these conditions. If you find yourself dealing with a trauma, infection or both (gunshots, anyone?) consider tapping into you Vitamin C cache. Take as much as you can before you reach bowel tolerance (loose stools) then back off a little. As an example, for me, 2 grams a day is my maximum under normal conditions before I reach tolerance. Over the last two days after a nasty full body sunburn I am taking 8 grams [(8,000 milligrams)] a day with no side effects. It’s one of the more important things you can do for yourself to accelerate healing. – SF in Hawaii

JWR Replies: I agree wholeheartedly that Vitamin C storage is a must, and that it is crucial for healing following trauma. It has long been known that taking vitamin C minimizes trauma-induced bruising. There is little harm in megadosing vitamin C, since any excess that the body does not need is passed through the urinary tract. Cumulatively, however, if megadosing is done too frequently might be too hard on the kidneys. But I am dismayed that megadosing of water-soluble vitamins is done too frequently by “health nuts”. If nothing else, it is a needless expense.

My only strong proviso is to avoid overdosing any of the fat soluble vitamins (the aforementioned Vitamins A, D, E, and K—best mnemonically memorized with the word “KADE“.) This has already been discussed at length in SurvivalBlog.