Upgrade Your Health with High-Dose Vitamin C Therapy

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Holistic Remedies Immune System Medical Insights & News Preventative Medicine Self-healing Supplements

I rarely devote and entire blog to a single therapy. And when it comes to treating symptoms, I have never believed in magic bullets. But, if anything comes close, it’s good old vitamin C. 

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin that your body needs but does not produce on its own. It is instrumental in many of your body’s processes and can also help your body prevent and heal from infections.

Here is a brief history of vitamin C and it’s uses during the past century:

  • Ascorbic acid was discovered in 1930 by Albert Szent-Györgyi who showed that it enabled the body to efficiently use carbohydrates, fats, and protein. 
  • In 1935 Claus Washington Jungeblut, M.D. discovered that vitamin C was both prevention and a cure for polio, as well as hepatitis and herpes viruses. Between1935-1937 he showed that vitamin C could also neutralize other toxins, including tetanus, diphtheria, and staph.
  • In 1944, the Vitamin C Depletion Study was conducted to determine the minimal amount of vitamin C necessary to prevent scurvy. Food shortages caused by the war made foods rich in vitamin C hard to come by. During the study, the researchers depleted the subjects’ vitamin C levels, which created life-threatening emergencies.
  • In 1949 Fred R. Klenner, M.D. reported that he had successfully treated 60 polio patients by injecting large doses of vitamin C. All patients received 1,000-2,000 mg intravenous vitamin C every 2 to 4 hours depending on age for 24 hours, after which their fevers consistently went down. For the next 48 hours, the vitamin C injections were given every 6 hours. All patients were clinically well after 72 hours.
  • Klenner also reported that he successfully used high-dose vitamin C to treat diphtheria, herpes zoster, herpes simplex, chicken pox, influenza, measles, mumps, viral pneumonia, multiple sclerosis, tetanus, heavy metal toxicity, carbon monoxide poisoning, black widow spider and moccasin snake bites, pesticide burns, and much more.
  • In the 1950s, William J. McCormick proposed vitamin C as a candidate for the treatment of cancer.
  • In 1970 the chemist Linus Pauling reported that vitamin C was both preventive and therapeutic for the common cold and published a book entitled Vitamin C and The Common Cold, which became a best-seller. At that time, Pauling was considered the foremost authority on vitamin C. He even stated that vitamin C supplementation could decrease the risk of getting certain cancers by 75%.
  • In 1975 Hugh Riordan, M.D., a leading authority on nutrition and medicine, founded The Center for the Improvement of Human Functioning International Inc. (now the Riordan Clinic). He was most notably regarded for creating the Riordan Protocol for using mega doses of intravenous vitamin C (50 grams and higher) and reporting the positive effects vitamin C has on many chronic illnesses, including cancer and Epstein Barr virus. He authored more than 79 peer reviewed medical journal articles and papers and wrote 4 books. I had the pleasure of working with Dr Riordan when we both served on the board of the American Holistic Medical Association.
  • In 1984, Robert Cathcart, M.D. noted that a patient’s bowel tolerance to oral ascorbic acid increased considerably in proportion to the “toxicity” of their illness.
  • On January 26, 2020, Andrew Saul, Ph.D., named one of Psychology Today’s 7 natural health pioneers and Editor of Basic Health Publications’ popular Vitamin Cure book series, sends press release through his Orthomolecular Medicine News website stating that the coronavirus pandemic can be dramatically slowed or stopped with immediate widespread use of high doses of vitamin C.

12 Ways Vitamin C Supports Your Health

Vitamin C is essential to many of your body’s processes.

  1. Builds collagen. It is necessary for collagen synthesis which is important for healing bones, tendons, and ligaments after injury, as well as healing scar tissue and wounds.
  2. Keeps your teeth healthy. Vitamin C is also important for maintaining healthy teeth and gums.
  3. Reduces free radical damage. An antioxidant, vitamin C helps protect your cells against free radical damage, which means vitamin C is protective when it comes to the many chronic health problems caused by free radical damage, such as cardiovascular disease, inflammatory conditions, and even cancer.
  4. Lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. Vitamin C helps reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and lowers high blood pressure.
  5. Supports endothelial cells. Vitamin C helps preventing endothelial dysfunction, the earliest sign of atherosclerosis.
  6. Helps your body absorb nutrients. Vitamin C promotes calcium and iron absorption and helps your body store iron.
  7. Supports healthy immune function. Vitamin C has been noted to play a major role in preventing and treating the common cold as well as other viral and bacterial infections by enhancing processes that kill unwanted microbes, supporting apoptosis, and enhancing differentiation and proliferation of B- and T-cells (possibly due to gene regulating effects).
  8. Keeps your gut microbiome healthy: High-dose vitamin C supplementation for 2 weeks showed microbiota-modulating effects in healthy individuals. The shifts of bacterial populations seen showed more beneficial bacteria with anti-inflammatory properties that are strongly associated with gut health.
  9. Improves metabolic syndrome. Higher vitamin C intake can halt a potentially deadly cycle of antioxidant disruption and health-related problems common in metabolic syndrome Dr. Saul also suggests that high-dose vitamin C may help curb appetite and food cravings.
  10. Relieves pain caused by gout. Gout is a painful arthritic condition caused by too much uric acid in the blood. When there is too much uric acid, it can crystallize and deposit in the joints. Higher intake of vitamin C is significantly associated with lower serum uric acid concentrations.
  11. May help you quit smoking. One study that Dr. Saul discusses showed that vitamin C spray helped smokers quit smoking without turning to food to replace their cravings and thus not gaining weight!
  12. Reduces vaccination side-effects. Vitamin C is a potent anti-toxin. In his paper Vitamin C Prevents Vaccination Side Effects; Increases Effectiveness board-certified cardiologist, attorney and author, Thomas E Levy, M.D., J.D.’s discusses the historical data and studies showing that vitamin C reduces (even eliminates) harmful side effects cause by toxins in vaccines, including mercury and thimerosal. In addition, he discusses the use of vitamin C to increase vaccine effectiveness. He also gives details regarding dosing of vitamin C for different ages and concludes that vitamin C should be part of every vaccination protocol.

My Vitamin “See” Experience 

A number of years ago I was going blind in my left eye from infectious crystalline keratopathy. I was being treated by the head of the corneal unit at the Massachusetts Eye Infirmary in Boston. But the antibiotics were not working, and my vision was getting worse with each passing day.

Fortunately, I had heard Dr. Cathcart speak at one of our medical meetings. And I remembered his recommendation to take enough vitamin C to saturate the tissues (which is when stools get loose). So, I did. I started taking handfuls of 1000mg ascorbic acid capsules.

This completely reversed the condition. The next morning, I woke up and my vision was clear. Nothing like good old vitamin SEE!

How Much Vitamin C Do You Need?

It can be difficult to find information regarding supplements and dosing these days. Nearly a century of reports and laboratory and clinical studies showing the successful use of high-dose vitamin C therapy is not just being ignored. Much of the medical literature regarding vitamin C and other natural therapies is being censored, contradicted, buried by search engines, and even expunge—especially information regarding the established use of vitamin C in preventing and treating respiratory infections.

Why is the clinical information showing the benefits of vitamin C and other nutrients in treating viral respiratory infections being ignored by the medical journals, the media, and the government during a pandemic? For one thing, the medical journals are funded by Big Pharma. And Big Pharma can’t make any money off vitamin C since it’s illegal to patent something that is found in nature.

So, here’s what I want you to know: When it comes to supplementing with vitamin C, you can’t go wrong. There is no harm in it. Vitamin C is not toxic and cannot build up in your body. It is excreted in your urine. And if you take too much you will have some diarrhea, so then you just take less. However, your body can adapt to higher levels of supplementation over a short period of time. So, once you reduce your intake of vitamin C to bowel tolerance, you can try increasing the amount slowly.

If you are healthy and looking to simply support your body with vitamin C, you can start by taking 100-200 mg/day. This can be enough to support your tissues and prevent infection. Taking more can enhance the benefits.

If you are treating an infection, you need to take a significantly higher amount—I’m talking 1gram or more. Again, you want to take it to bowel tolerance. But, remember that when you are sick, your bowel tolerance typically increases in proportion to the toxicity your body is experiencing.

When you are taking larger doses orally, it’s best to spread your doses throughout the day and have a buffer for your stomach. Water is fine if you are unable to eat something every time you take a dose.

There are so many more health benefits of vitamin C supplementation that I have not mentioned here. If you want to research using vitamin C for a specific concern, a good place to start is Dr. Saul’s website and the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, for which he is the editor.

Are you taking vitamin C?

Last Updated: October 5, 2021

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.


Add comment
  1. VIX R
    3 years ago

    I too am seeking a recommended vit c brand – that ships to the UK – Please Dr. Northrup – can you suggest an organic product / and a trusted supplier? Thanks in advance x

  2. Cobie Enns
    3 years ago

    Thank you Doc… not just for this information but all your wisdom and truth-telling. There are so many, my being one, who are listening! Blessings on you!!!❤️

  3. Ellen Burnhauser
    3 years ago

    If you have had a covid test is there anything you should do to remove the grahine oxide and other chemical that are in those test and now in your body!

  4. Kathy
    3 years ago

    I’ve had some trouble lately with kidney stones and I read vitamin C can contribute to kidney stone formation. Is that true?

    1. Helen
      2 years ago

      totally not true I take 4000mg a day & have done so for over 40 years I never get sick I have never had kidney stones

  5. Bonny
    3 years ago

    No question. Just wanted to let ya know you were grrrrreat on Mike Jaco’s interview.

  6. Jan
    3 years ago

    Quick question. I heard two pod cast about making the 3grapefruit and 3 lemons to make your own HCQ. Do you boil the peels for 3 hours in water or do you boil the fruit in water for 3 hours? One pod cast used the fruit and one used the peels. I’m confused. Thanks in advance.

    1. Nita Campbell
      3 years ago

      Boil the peels. “Citrus peel also contains good quantities of flavonol and quercetin.” (Researchgate.net)

  7. Doreen Wasick
    3 years ago

    Knocked it out if the park again! What an informative write up on vitamin C. Ironically my husband has increased his intake for protection against any bio weapons out there and we have noticed a marked improvement in his EBV. So much to research from this article. Thank you for all you do for humanity.

  8. Lisa
    3 years ago

    Great article! I love Truth! Thank you.

  9. Chris
    3 years ago

    That’s some very good information often omitted elsewhere. Thank you, Dr. Northrup!

    Re “Much of the medical literature regarding vitamin C and other natural therapies is being censored, contradicted, buried by search engines, and even expunged—especially information regarding the established use of vitamin C in preventing and treating respiratory infections.”

    Exactly right! A commentary sent in to the BMJ last year by a published author of the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service on the empirical value of vitamin C against Covid-19 got censored by the BMJ. However, you can read his cancelled commentary in this article of his at his website — “The 2 Married Pink Elephants In The Historical Room –The Holocaustal Covid-19 Coronavirus Madness: A Sociological Perspective & Historical Assessment Of The Covid “Phenomenon”” by Rolf Hefti.

    You can’t discredit the facts with censorship. That only exposes and discredits the censors.

  10. Mickey Cockrell
    3 years ago

    I would like to know the answer to Beverley’s question too please. Also what brand or type do you recommend?

  11. Janet
    3 years ago

    I have stage 3 kidney disease and was told vitamin c would not be good for my kidneys. Is that true?

    1. Beca
      2 years ago

      Your biochemistry and genetics, and even your form of the kidney condition you are dealing with, are both highly individual. Adelle Davis used to say: “They say that apricots are good for you… But which apricots, grown where and how?”.

      I would access a functional medicine doctor second or third opinion to determine what types and doses of C are right for your whole system. Your needs may change over time. Your current doctor likely does not know that there are many forms which may be safe and effective for you. Choices include: synthetic ascorbic acid, pure acerola cherry C, organic food sourced C blends, C serum, liposomal C (might be a possibility here with this special form, which may be able to be absorbed through the skin or mouth membranes, maybe bypassing the liver and kidneys), quercetin/bioflavonoids mixed with all kinds of C to make all work better, etc. Do a DuckDuckGo search for “all the different types of Vit C and what they do best”; this search engine is not censored like Goober.

      Synthetic C is made from GMO corn, maybe most of it. Corn is often very moldy from storage, too, and its mycotoxins may survive the mfg process. It is better than nothing. You can always search for “nonGMO organic ascorbic acid.” Since I personally have had much mold exposure, I am researching the best C for me, knowing that both Aspergillus mold and moldy food sources can create kidney disease and kidney stones/crystals over time. Real Time Labs testing plus the Organic Acid Test/OAT
      can determine if possibly mold toxins are involved in your kidney disease. This could affect Vit C status and evaluation of need. Again, research. Your doctor is just one source of accurate info.

  12. Carolyn
    3 years ago

    Are there natural ways to get vitamin c? Meaning, not synthetic supplements? I think you mentioned a drink you made out of grapefruit and lemon peels? Or whole food supplements? Thank you.

  13. janel
    3 years ago

    i also would like to know if the Ester C which on my bottle says calcium ascorbate is just as good or not the same?
    God Bless

  14. Dee
    3 years ago

    Yes,but not the synthetic. I take the whole complex which we all need

  15. Teresa
    3 years ago

    Is it safe to start taking bio identical hormones at age 70? Thank you.

    1. Beca
      2 years ago

      A functional medicine nurse practitioner or holistic endo, a really good one, might be able to advise. As Dr. Yasko says, go low and slow. NOW products make a pretty safe nonprescription topical progesterone creme very affordably, The compound pharmacy stuff is very expensive. There are others, but NOW is a family biz with an excellent reputation for decades.

  16. Beverley Nicolaides
    3 years ago

    Hello Christiane, Is 1000mg of Ester C as good as 1000mg ascorbic acid?

    Thanks Beverley N

  17. Lynn
    3 years ago

    Any recommendations for a good vitamin c?

    1. Beca
      2 years ago

      There are thousands of brands and choices out there. Buyer beware. Many companies get their basic ingredients from China, do not check the purity of the stuff once it gets here, and for the most part the FDA does not either, except the stuff they would like to ban per Big Pharma payoffs or the like. The Chinese markets in the US carried many toxic tainted (heavy metals, etc.) patent herbal remedies until this bad practice was mostly stopped.

      These days the best answers are those that arise from a healthy intuitive body and mind plus research, research, research from non-conventional and conventional sites alike.

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