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The Complete Guide: Vitamin C

Let's talk about Vitamin C -- what it's good for, why you might need some, and how you can get more of it in your diet.

Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant that is important for many of our body’s functions. It plays a major role in many ways, including:

  • Making collagen for healthy bones and joints

  • Energy production

  • Neurotransmitter and brain health

  • Reducing damage and premature aging from free radicals

  • Boosting the immune system

  • Producing glutathione (the master antioxidant)

  • Supporting adrenal health

While up to a third of people could be deficient in vitamin C, the condition related to chronic deficiency is scurvy, which was eradicated long ago. Today, deficiency symptoms include: slow/poor wound healing, fatigue, higher possibility for cataracts, or reduced brain function. High doses of vitamin C not only supports regular body functions, but it has also been show to provide a therapeutic or healing effect.

High dose vitamin C has been studied for its benefits, including:

  • Lowered risk of heart disease, stroke, and hypertension

  • Reduced size of kidney stones

  • Decreased risk of death from cancer

  • Enhanced immune system function

Interestingly, our bodies can't naturally create or store vitamin C, which means we need to get it from food, supplements, or even intravenously (IV).


The easiest option for getting vitamin C is from food – especially brightly-colored vegetables and greens like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and red bell peppers. Fruits that contain the highest amounts of vitamin C include lemons, oranges, strawberries, and guava.

Aim for 2-3 of the following mega-C foods each day (which give you over 100% of your recommended daily value in a single serving): guava, red pepper, green pepper, currants, kiwi, orange, papaya, strawberries, broccoli, kale, parsley, pineapple, brussels sprouts, and grapefruit.​

Ways to Get More Vitamin C From Food

  1. Mix a teaspoon of camu camu into your smoothie. Camu camu is a powder made from berries grown in the rainforest. Camu camu has been found to contain up to 60 times more vitamin C than an orange!

  2. Squeeze of 1/2 lemon in hot/warm water. Drink when you wake up in the morning (a great detox trick!)

  3. Add a handful of strawberries to your salad for some color.

  4. Eat high vitamin C foods raw, if you can. Cooking/heat degrades vitamin C -- raw spinach contains three times more C than cooked!

  5. Add some aloe vera gel in your smoothie. Studies have shown that aloe gel increases the absorption of vitamin C from food or supplements - aloe is tasteless and has lots of other benefits.

Supplementing with Vitamin C

Vitamin C can go by many different names when you see it on a supplement bottle. It may be marked as Vitamin C, Ascorbic Acid, or combined with a mineral (examples include: Magnesium Ascorbate or Potassium Ascorbate).

Research shows that there are no known differences in the effects or absorption between varying forms of vitamin C. Traditional vitamin C or ascorbic acid supplements are digested and absorbed in the stomach and the gut. Liposomal vitamin C is another option that bypasses digestion and becomes more available to the body by using lipids (fat) to absorb into cells. It may also reduce risk of stomach upset that sometimes accompanies pill/capsule/powder form.

Large amounts of vitamin C supplementation, up to 10 grams per day, do not usually carry any negative effects. However, higher doses of vitamin C may cause gastrointestinal issues, so 2 grams per day is generally safe enough to avoid runny stool or other less-than-desirable reactions. As always, make sure to consult with your doctor before beginning any supplement regimen.

Intravenous (IV) Vitamin C

IV Vitamin C has been studied as a treatment for cancer since the ‘70s. More recently, high-dose IV vitamin C has been given to patients as a treatment for chronic infections, fatigue, and cancers (like breast cancer).

High Dose Vitamin C Therapy Has Been Shown to Improve Various Health Conditions

  • Epstein-Barr Virus Patients given at least 5 treatments of high-dose IV Vitamin C therapy saw positive effects on disease duration and reduction of EBV levels in their blood.

  • Adrenal Dysfunction ​The adrenal glands need the highest concentrations of vitamin C to produce hormones like cortisol. When these glands aren’t able to produce enough hormones, this causes even more stress on the body, increasing need for vitamin C even more. Increasing vitamin C may help reduce this stress.

  • Cancer High-dose vitamin C is causes cancer cell death by creating a chemical reaction that outputs hydrogen peroxide, which is thought to kill cancer cells. Studies show high-dose vitamin C, combined with radiation therapy, is more effective and killing cancer cells than radiation therapy alone.

Who should consider high-dose IV vitamin C?

High dose IV vitamin C may be useful if you are under greater-than-normal stress, experiencing fatigue, undergoing cancer treatment, or if you want to boost your immune system to fight acute or chronic viral and bacterial infections.

Who should not take high-dose Vitamin C?

People with hemochromatosis should not take vitamin C. Individuals with kidney disorders or tendency to develop kidney stones, as well as people with the genetic disorder (G6PD deficiency) that destroys red blood cells, should avoid IV vitamin C. There may be other conditions in which Vitamin C is not safe, so always consult your doctor to discuss whether Vitamin C is right for you.


DISCLAIMER: The information and contents contained on The Summit Coaches website is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your doctor or other health care professional. You should not use the information available on or through The Summit Coaches website (including, but not limited to, information that may be provided on The Summit Coaches website by healthcare or service professionals employed by or contracting with The Summit Coaches or The Summit Reps) for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. Information and statements regarding dietary and other health care supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. You should read carefully all product packaging prior to use and consult with your health care professionals before beginning any supplementation regimen.

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