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Do Vitamin C Megadoses Accelerate Healing?

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Vitamin C Megadoses wound careA vitamin C megadose is a large dose of vitamin C taken all at once, whether by ingestion or injection. To be considered a megadose, a person must consume an amount well beyond the United States daily recommended dosage, which is equal to about 90 milligrams. In fact, to be considered a megadose, the person is taking more than the daily tolerable upper intake level of 2,000 milligrams. In other words, the person is taking more than they need. But, does it help them heal? In this article we’ll explore all of that. But, to answer the first question, there is no scientific proof that consuming a megadose will help the person heal any faster or better than anyone else. In fact, megadoses may impede absorption. So, to put it mildly, megadoses might not do anything at all. Scientists don’t think megadoses help with the common cold, cancer, or any other medical condition. So, what’s all of the buzz about? Let’s discuss. 

Linus Pauling: Vitamin C Megadosing Advocate 

The greatest historical advocate of vitamin C megadosing is Linus Pauling. He famously advocated for high doses of vitamin C in his 1986 book “How to Live Longer and Feel Better.”  

But his “out there” claims may not be all that “out there” – Pauling was absolutely accomplished in the scientific realm. He won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1954. In regard to megadosing, Pauling argued that taking excess vitamin C could help humans because we lack a certain enzyme that is required to make vitamin C, called L-gulonolactone oxidase. Other mammals, plants, and insects have it naturally – therefore, they don’t need to take vitamin C supplements to fight off infection,  etc. On the other hand, humans, in an effort to make up for the deficiency of this enzyme, have adapted in several maladaptive ways, which ultimately shorten our lifespan. To make up for that, Pauling surmises that humans should take an excess of vitamin C – an amount that had our enzyme been working, we’d naturally have. Over the years, other alternative medical professionals like Matthias Rath and Patrick Holford have advocated for megadosing. By the 1960’s Pauling was dedicated to advocating for megadosing as a means to improve human health and resistance to disease – and by the 1980’s he was writing books on the subject.

What is Vitamin C? The History of Vitamin C and Megadosing

Vitamin C Megadoses wound care ocThe World Health Organization says that adults should take about 45/mg of vitamin C per day, while kids should take about 25-30/mg per day. Since it was first discovered, vitamin C has been touted as a treatment for the common cold, cancer, and polio – as well as other various illnesses and diseases. While the evidence behind this is mixed, medical professionals have been suggesting vitamin C consumption and injection to patients since at least the 1930’s. 

Adverse Side Effects of Megadosing 

On the downside, there is one often repeated side effect to oral vitamin C megadosing: diarrhea. That’s right! When a person consumes too much, too soon, vitamin C can act as a mild laxative. When injected, there are other side effects, which we’ll outline below. 

Adverse Side Effects

What Can Vitamin C Megadosing Help With? 

Vitamin C Megadoses wound care orange countyThe truth is, scientists believe that vitamin C megadosing isn’t helpful at all. That said, there are certain diseases and ailments that people have historically sought vitamin C megadosing to cure. In the next section we’ll delve into those diseases and ailments. But first, we need to be clear on something: vitamin C megadosing is not scientifically proven. Furthermore, megadosing may interfere with absorption. When vitamin C is taken orally, in the suggested doses, approximately 70–90% of it is absorbed by the body. When more than 30 to 180 mg is taken daily by an adult, only about 50% is absorbed. 

Diseases and Ailments

Cancer – While cancer patients who take vitamin C in suggested doses may benefit, the vitamin is not a cure-all. Furthermore, megadosing may not help at all. Pauling was an original advocate of megadosing for cancer patients – but there is no proof it works. 

Burns – While some studies about megadosing and burns are promising, there is no evidence it works. 

Cardiac Issues – When it comes to issues of the heart, megadosing has no proven benefit. 

Bronchoconstriction caused by Exercise – Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction or EIB is a narrowing of the airways, caused by rapid, vigorous exercise. While small amounts of vitamin C have been proven to help, evidence about megadosing  is nonexistent. 

Endothelial Function – Again, small amounts of vitamin C are known to affect endothelial function positively, yet, when megadosed, there are no known positive effects. 

Common Cold – Just as stated above again and again, small amounts of vitamin C can help with improving symptoms of the common cold, but megadosing cannot. 

Visit Wound Care OC for all of your Wound Care needs 

Contact Wound Care OC for wound treatment in Orange County, CA

Dr. Faried Banimahd is a board-certified physician specializing in emergency medicine, wound care, and pain management. Our team will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan that meets your needs and unique conditions. Our clinic includes highly trained and experienced physicians, registered nurses, and certified medical staff who work together to provide you with the highest standards of wound care treatments.

To make an appointment

1533 E 4th St,

Santa Ana, CA 92701

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