What Doses of Vitamin C Do You Need to Stay Healthy?

By Arturo Galindo, Cert. Nutritional Therapist

The doses of vitamin C that your body needs for good health are different than the doses needed to prevent and to treat a disease.  But how do you find how much you need for optimal health first? 

Every person is different, but here you can find some guidelines from experts.  This includes how to find how much vitamin C you may need if you're healthy. 

Here I also reveal how much vitamin C me and my family take every day for good health. And also to prevent a vitamin C deficiency that may predispose our bodies to disease.  

But first, it’s important to know the doses of vitamin C that animals produce to stay in good health and fight disease.

Doses of Vitamin C For Good HealthCan you Get All You Need From Food?

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Important:  Ascorbic acid or vitamin C is more than a vitamin.
Why? It regulates many functions in your body to make sure they're doing their best job in keeping you healthy!

Vitamin C in Animals

Most animals and plants produce their own vitamin C, and only a few can’t. 

In animals, the doses of vitamin C produced or consumed from plant foods is large.  And it's even larger if the animal is sick.

Some animals that produce their own vitamin C are rats, goats, cats, and dogs. Rats make 70 mg per kilogram of body weight each day (1) and up to three times more when they are sick, or 215 mg per day. (2). 

This is equal to between 5 and 15 grams per day given to a 70 kg adult human. (1,000 milligrams = 1 gram)

Cats and dogs produce less vitamin C, equal to between 2 and 5 grams in people. Goats can produce much more, from 13 grams up to 100 grams if stressed or infected. (Levy, Vitamin C, Infectious Disease and Toxins)

But not all animals produce vitamin C.  How much do these animals get in their diets?

The monkeys, guinea pigs, and gorillas don't produce ascorbic acid. They consume large amounts from food. For example, gorillas eat about 4.5 grams of vitamin C per day. 

Dr. Linus Pauling estimated that most people need between 2.3 and 9.5 grams of vitamin C per day.   

This estimate used the nutritional values of plants. It also assumed an early human diet like that of the gorillas.

Vitamin C in People

Most people can't produce vitamin C in the body. We must consume vitamin C in food or as supplements.

The process of how vitamin C works in the body is very interesting.

  • How much vitamin C the body absorbs?  The larger the doses of vitamin C, the less amount the body absorbs in the blood. For example, if you take 1-gram by mouth, your body absorbs 75% into the blood.  If you take 10 grams, your body absorbs 20%, or 2 grams.
  • How long does vitamin C last in the body?  The vitamin C absorbed lasts only a few hours in the body.  The body uses half of it in the first 30 minutes, and the rest over 3-4 hours as needed.  
  • How much vitamin C the body stores as a reserve?  The body stores the vitamin C that is not needed in a small reserve, and it eliminates the rest in the urine.  

This means that vitamin C has a very short life in the body, and your body can only store a limited amount as a reserve.

Since Vitamin C is in constant need by your body, the reserves are empty very quick and need to refill.  Especially when your body is under any kind of physical or emotional stress.

Here’s an interesting study that proves the human body needs more vitamin C when is under stress or sick. 

In this study, a patient in intensive care receives 130 mg of vitamin C after surgery. Despite supplementation, the patient suffered from scurvy symptoms.  

Why? His body needed more vitamin C after the surgery. It took 4 weeks of daily one-gram doses to reduce symptoms. 

Maintenance Doses of Vitamin C

A maintenance dose is the amount of vitamin C that your body needs each day to maintain good health. Each person has different needs, because each person has a different body chemistry. 

Let's assume that you give your body 60 mg of vitamin C daily. This is the US Recommended Daily Amount (RDA). 

With this low amount of vitamin C, you will never die of scurvy. But in the longer term, you are in danger from heart disease, cancer, infections, and other chronic diseases. That’s a fact.

How do you find how much vitamin C you need for optimal health? 

You can find your maintenance doses of vitamin C based on your age, or you can use the bowel tolerance method. 

Find Your Maintenance Dose Based on Your Age

The easiest way to find the doses of vitamin C that you need for good health is to follow the recommendations of Dr. Frederick Klenner

Dr. Klenner used vitamin C in his medical practice for 40 years. He  recommends 1,000 mg per day per year of age in divided doses. After 10 years old, you level off at 10,000 mg per day. (1,000 milligram = 1 gram)

For example, if you follow these recommendations:

  • At 1 year old, you take 1 gram or 1,000 mg in divided doses
  • At 5 years old, you take 5 grams or 5,000 mg in divided doses
  • At 10 years old and older, you take 10 grams or 10,000 mg. in divided doses

Find Your Maintenance Dose Using the Bowel Tolerance Method

There is another more precise method to find your maintenance dose, which is to find your bowel tolerance when you're in good health. Or “titrating to bowel tolerance” in scientific terms.

This is how much vitamin C you can take by mouth in frequent enough doses, before you start to feel gas or rumbling. Once you reach that point, you lower your dose until you don't feel any, and that's your maintenance dose.

This publication in pub med discusses the details of the bowel tolerance method. On a later post I will discuss this method in more detail.

Can You Get All The Vitamin C You Need From Food?

Your diet can contain food with a high content of vitamin C. This has many health benefits of course. And we should all strive to eat more fruits and vegetables.

But you would need to consume a very large quantity of fruits and vegetables every day. This is if you follow the guidelines mentioned above. 

To make sure your body always has enough vitamin C, you need vitamin C supplements. 

What is My Maintenance Dose?

I take about 12 grams per day to maintain good health. I scoop about 4 grams of pure ascorbic acid powder in a glass of water in the morning and another 4 grams in the evening. 

During the day, I carry vitamin C tablets in my pocket, and I take 2 tablets twice a day while at work. (4 + 4 + 2 + 2 = 12 grams). I take more when I sense that my body needs more.

My children only need about 4 grams each day and they rarely get sick. Here’s a video of them taking their daily dose of vitamin C, and their funny faces... 

But what about when you're sick?....

The doses of vitamin C to help your body stay healthy and prevent disease are not the same when you don't feel well or you feel like you're getting sick...

You need to find how much vitamin C your body needs to fight disease and go back to normal as soon as possible. 

You learned that when you're thirsty, you drink water. You must learn to identify how much vitamin C your body needs to fight disease and stay healthy.



By Arturo Galindo
Certified Nutritional Therapist

I have used vitamin C and nutrition for over 10 years to end my chronic diseases and help my family stay healthy. Learn about our story.

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