Advice on using Vitamin C as a bowel "flush" when constipated, and how to calculate your daily need.
A Vitamin C bowel flush is a safe and effective way help restore bowel movement when constipated whilst identifying your personal daily Vitamin C requirement for optimizing your health at the same time.
The process will require you to take increments of buffered Vitamin C over the course of a few hours, and record the total amount. Once your body’s Vitamin C receptors reach their saturation point, you’ll experience a characteristic flushing of the bowels, with release of watery, loose stools.
Using the flush, you’ll be able to determine your ideal daily Vitamin C dosage.
What's so good about Vitamin C?
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid is water-soluble, meaning that it's easily absorbed into tissue for immediate use but not stored in the body. Because of that, it is a nutrient that needs to be "topped up" on a daily basis through proper nutrition and supplementation.
Antioxidant properties: Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from damage caused by harmful free radicals. It can help reduce oxidative stress and prevent or slow down certain chronic diseases.
Immune system support: Vitamin C is well-known for its role in supporting the immune system. It helps stimulate the production of white blood cells, which are essential for fighting off infections and viruses. Regular intake of vitamin C can help reduce the duration and severity of common colds and other respiratory infections.
Collagen production: Collagen is a protein that provides structure and elasticity to the skin, joints, and connective tissues. Vitamin C is necessary for the synthesis of collagen, which is vital for wound healing, healthy skin, and maintaining the health of blood vessels, bones, and cartilage.
Iron absorption: Vitamin C enhances the absorption of non-heme iron (found in plant-based foods) in the intestines. Consuming vitamin C-rich foods or supplements along with iron-rich foods can help improve iron absorption and prevent iron deficiency anaemia.
Anticancer properties: Some studies suggest that high levels of vitamin C in the body may have anticancer effects. It can help prevent the formation of carcinogens, support the immune system's ability to fight cancer cells, and reduce inflammation.
"Vitamin C is a very effective immune booster and probably the safest first line of defence for infection" - Lendon Smith
How to do the Flush
First, obtain a powdered Vitamin C powder that is buffered, fully reduced, and 100% L-Ascorbate (humans only utilize L-Ascorbate). The buffering agents should be natural and consist of essential minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium and zinc. Pure Vitamin C powder will be too harsh on the gut.
A powdered formula is best as it's easier to measure out and keep track of.
Pick a day when you have nothing else on your calendar and able to spend the day at home - for obvious reasons...
Here we go:
Start on an empty stomach, morning is best.
Dissolve 2,000 mg of powdered Vitamin C in 1/2 glass of water/diluted juice (2,000 mg = 2.0 grams).
Grab a pen and paper and start noting how much Vitamin C you consume during the whole process.
Every 15 minutes take another 2,000 mg/2 grams (dissolved in 1/2 glass of water/diluted juice), and record it on your chart.
If nothing's happened after the 1st hour ( 4 doses for a total of 8grams), double the dose - now 4grams in 1/2 glass water/diluted juice and take that every 15 minutes.
If no loose stools or bowel movement, take 6 grams of powder in 1/2 glass water every 15 mins.
Continue at this dosage every 15 mins until you experience evacuation of loose stool. Since everyone has different Vitamin C requirements, the time to reach saturation will vary from person to person. Most people achieve flushing in 2-3 hours time, but some may take longer. If you think it’s taking longer than expected, you can double the dose in order to reach saturation quicker.
Stop when watery stool or enema-like evacuation.
Record the TOTAL amount of Vitamin C you’ve consumed over the whole process.
Average total is between 9 - 24g. Can go up to 50g!
Calculating your daily Vitamin C dose
Add up the total amount of Vitamin C you ingested during the flush, and calculate 75% of that total (multiply by 0.75). This gives you your ideal daily dose, just under your threshold for flushing. Round to a convenient number for easy dosing. Spread your Vitamin C dosing throughout the day, for example in 2-3 equal doses. Powder, tablet, or capsule will now be ok to use.
You might start needing less over a period of time. Keep watching your stools and adjust/lower your Vitamin C intake when stools become watery again.
Who tend to have low levels of Vitamin C?
People with chronic stress, injury, or infection have been shown to have dramatically increased demand for Vitamin C.
Women with increased levels of estrogen from the oral contraceptive pill or Hormone Replacement Therapy may have lower levels of Vitamin C.
Cigarette smoking is known to deplete Vitamin C levels, with the added risk of accumulating free radicals from smoking.
Alzheimer’s patients have been found to have lower levels of Vitamin C than normal individuals.
Cancer patients have consistently been shown to have compromised Vitamin C status, with lower levels than healthy controls. In fact, more advanced malignancy may directly correlate with lower levels of Vitamin C.
People with acute viral illness (such as influenza or coronavirus) may have increased Vit C requirements.
Vitamin C and safety
Vitamin C remains remarkably safe, with few side effects even when administered at high doses. The main side effects when taken by mouth include mild stomach cramping and loose stools. ( The idea of the flush!) Intravenous Vitamin C has been used to treat cancer patients for many decades. These patients have been found to easily tolerate up to 200 grams of intravenous Vitamin C at a time, with little to no side effects!
Some people should use Vitamin C with caution, such as those with chronic kidney disease, G6PD deficiency, or hemochromatosis.
*Disclaimer: This content is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure your particular symptoms or illness. Please consult your doctor if you are unsure.
Dr Stewart Gillespie - www.functionalmedicineservices.com