Dr. David Brownstein,  editor of Dr. David Brownstein’s Natural Way to Health newsletter, is a board-certified family physician and one of the nation’s foremost practitioners of holistic medicine. Dr. Brownstein has lectured internationally to physicians and others about his success with natural hormones and nutritional therapies in his practice. His books include Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do!; Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It; Salt Your Way To Health; The Miracle of Natural Hormones; Overcoming Arthritis, Overcoming Thyroid Disorders; The Guide to a Gluten-Free Diet; and The Guide to Healthy Eating. He is the medical director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, Mich., where he lives with his wife, Allison, and their teenage daughters, Hailey and Jessica.

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How Can I Avoid Stomach Woes From Taking Vitamin C?

Tuesday, 23 Feb 2010 10:27 AM


Question: I have always found in the past that taking vitamin C pills gives me diarrhea. Is there any way to avoid this problem and still get extra vitamin C, short of having it injected?

Dr. Brownstein's Answer:

Humans must take vitamin C because we lack an enzyme necessary to produce it naturally (L-gulonolactone oxidase). Vitamin C is an essential nutrient; that is, we cannot live without it and must get it in food or in supplements.

The main side effect of oral doses of vitamin C is diarrhea. Everyone has a different level of tolerance to vitamin C; some can take large doses, while others can handle only small doses. Vitamin C can be taken orally or intravenously (IV). Taken by IV it is a very safe and an effective natural therapy that does not cause diarrhea. I have been using IV vitamin C for nearly 20 years. Taken orally, however, it will cause diarrhea in high doses.

Everybody has a “diarrhea threshold” for vitamin C. Generally, when you are ill, you can tolerate an increased dosage of vitamin C. I routinely ask my patients to take from 3,000 to 5,000 mg/day. Smaller doses are recommended if you suffer from diarrhea.

For those who get diarrhea with any dose of vitamin C, I recommend trying a slow-release form. More often than not, it will not cause diarrhea in sensitive individuals. Optimox makes a slow-release form of vitamin C. It’s available through my Web site www.centerforholisticmedicine.com.








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