(NaturalHealth365) Natural health experts have long credited high-dose vitamin C with the ability to alleviate or even prevent many illnesses, including the flu and the common cold. But the dosages used in many clinical studies have been far too small, according to knowledgeable vitamin C experts – leading the mainstream medical community to claim, unfairly, that vitamin C is ‘ineffective.’
However, a just-published Finnish study highlights what holistic medicine has known all along: using higher vitamin C dosages results in greater effects.
What did the research show about vitamin C?
Animal studies have shown that vitamin C prevents and alleviates infections caused by many different viruses, including the 200-plus pathogens that can cause common cold symptoms such as sneezing, congestion, sore throat and cough. And clinical studies in humans have shown that even relatively low doses – of 1 gram a day – can reduce the severity and duration of colds in adults and children by 8 to 18 percent.
Other studies have shown that this water soluble vitamin helped prevent colds in people under physical stress, such as elite athletes. But no studies had compared the results of different doses – when all other factors were equal.
In a review published March 17 in Nutrients, Dr. Harri Hemila from the University of Helsinki examined the findings of two different trials in order to investigate the effects of varying doses of C on the common cold.
In the first trial, two different subgroups of participants were given 3 grams – or 3,000 mg – a day. A third subgroup received 6 grams a day, and a fourth subgroup received a placebo.
The team found that the 6-gram daily dose shortened the duration of colds by 17 percent, as compared to the placebo. Not only was this a significant result, but doubling the dose to 6 grams resulted in roughly twice the effectiveness of taking 3 grams a day.
The second trial reinforced the results of the first – and featured the same “doubling” effect. Participants with colds were divided into two groups, and given either 4 or 8 grams of vitamin C a day. The group that received the 8-gram dosage experienced a 19 percent reduction in the length of their colds – twice that of the 4-gram dose.
In other words, the relationship between dosage and response was linear, suggesting that this nutrient IS dose-dependent, with doubling the dosage causing it to work twice as well. So it’s entirely logical that even higher doses would lead to even more pronounced shortening of colds.
Results help to vindicate vitamin C and its therapeutic effects
Dr. Hemila concluded that the negative findings of previous cold studies (related to this vitamin) might be explained by the low doses used in the studies – which is exactly what alternative practitioners and natural health experts have been insisting all along.
Noting that many forms of C had a “consistent” effect on colds – and that it is both “relatively safe” and “low-cost,” Dr. Hemila advised cold sufferers to conduct their own individual studies by testing the effect on their colds with 8 grams of C per day.
However, he advised that dosing take place as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms for the treatment to be effective.
Many natural health experts recommend even higher doses than the ones studied – up to 15 grams a day for the treatment of colds. Of course, get the go-ahead from a knowledgeable holistic doctor before trying high-dose therapies to treat colds and flu.
Why is vitamin C so important in fighting disease?
Vitamin C is not only a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, but it stimulates the immune system as well. In fact, immune cells have active vitamin C transporter molecules embedded in their membranes to help pump the vitamin into cells
Increased oxidative stress and depleted levels of vitamin C are a hallmark of disease. As this water soluble vitamin speeds to the cells, levels of the vitamin in the blood actually drop – meaning that just when you need more vitamin C, your body stores are being depleted.
This is why experts recommend that you increase your levels with supplementation when sickness strikes – and take action at the first sign of illness.
Liposomal vitamin C “supercharges” the immune system
Dr. Thomas E. Levy, a board-certified cardiologist and proponent of high-dose vitamin C therapy, recommends a specific form – liposome-encapsulated vitamin C – as highly effective.
With oral administration of vitamin C, only 20 percent makes it into the bloodstream, with the other 80 percent ending up in the colon and being eliminated. As a result, oral vitamin C (powder) may cause gastrointestinal side effects such as cramping or diarrhea.
Liposomes are tiny fat-soluble materials that help to carry nutrients to cells. The use of liposomal vitamin C allows the vitamin to pass through the digestive barrier and straight into the bloodstream and cells – eliminating the gastrointestinal side effects.
According to Dr. Levy, 5 grams of liposome-encapsulated vitamin C can work as well as 50 grams of vitamin C given intravenously – and is far more inexpensive and convenient. Therefore, this form of vitamin C can be an excellent substitute for IV vitamin C – especially if cost is a factor for you.
Experts recommend phosphatidyl choline as the best carrier for vitamin C. Ideally, there should be between 250 and 500 mg of choline per dose in a liposomal vitamin C formulation – with the choline derived from non-GMO sunflower lecithin rather than soy-based lecithin.
Bottom line: this latest vitamin C research attests to the importance of using sufficient dosages of this amazing nutrient – especially when cold or flu symptoms strike.
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