Vitamin C – The Revisit

I have had to come back to discuss vitamin c following the August 2017 article as a result of consultation queries which warrants a universal response and obviously, restriction in word limitation given for my last vitamin c topic.

In this article, I will try to further emphasize and keep in mind the relevant clinical outcome instead of the biological explanations behind vitamin c’s effectiveness on health. Whilst there isn’t a surge in vitamin c deficiency in the United Kingdom, it is worth appreciating its influence or response when one is unwell.  

The 4 most common questions I have come across in our clinic since August 2017:

  1. What is the maximum dose of vitamin c I can take in a day?

  2. When is it important to consume vitamin c?

  3. Do I have to get intravenous injections all the time to acquire more vitamin c?

  4. Does vitamin c treat common colds?

These answers to the above questions exist, but I feel that we need a legislated update for the good of mankind. My responses are:

  1. The UK recommendation is 80 mg per day, which is about an orange and a half. However, some cases of chronically ill patients have taken doses up to 50 grams safely, under the supervision of trained clinicians.

  2. It is a daily recommendation, therefore, its recommended you take that minimum a day. When unwell, I would like to suggest that more should be added to one’s diet.

  3. No, you don’t necessarily have to have injections all the time. You can acquire more through eating foods with vitamin c, particularly fruits and vegetables. Unless there is a clinical diagnosis of malnourishment/deficiency, inadequate or unsafe oral intake, food can’t pass through the intestines or there is malabsorption syndrome.

  4. As it stands, the answer is unclear, however, what we currently know is that vitamin c does not decrease the average incidence of colds in the general population, yet it halves the number of colds in physically active people.

I feel vitamin c is just as an important nutrient as the others and contributes to one’s wellbeing. In an ill patient, it has an important role to play and clearly, the traditional “low doses” are useful, but to what degree? Some controlled trials have found statistical dose-response for the duration of the common cold symptoms, with up to 6 – 8g/day of vitamin c. Other studies have even found that vitamin c prevented and benefitted patients with pneumonia and may alleviate respiratory symptoms caused by exercise. This doesn’t mean it treats it, but obviously warrants further investigations and possibly changes in recommendations of vitamin c intake.