How to Manage Your Vitamin C Status | Chris Masterjohn Lite #86

Bleeding gums, bruising when you shouldn’t, getting sick more often than you think you should, even feeling fatigued. All these things can mean you need more vitamin C. So, this is how to manage your vitamin C status and make sure you’re getting enough. Hi. I’m Dr. Chris Masterjohn of And this is Chris Masterjohn Lite, where the name of the game is “Details? Shmeetails. Just tell me what works!” And in this episode, we’re going to talk about how to manage your vitamin C status. So, the classical vitamin C deficiency syndrome is scurvy. And in this disease, the most widespread visible signs that you get are things like bleeding gums or otherwise bleeding underneath the surface of the skin, especially in the oral cavity, so seeing a lot of red underneath the lining of your of your mouth. The skin may appear to bruise, but the difference between that and an actual bruise is that in vitamin C deficiency, scurvy, it could bruise when there’s no physical trauma that you would expect to have to cause that bruise. So if the bruises just come out of nowhere, that could be an indication of scurvy. You also get defects in the hair. They’re kind of hard to spot if you normally have kinky or curly hair, but basically your hairs can lose their natural shape and start getting super kinky, like they are shaped like a corkscrew. Fatigue and shortness of breath can also be signs of scurvy. Now, outside of classical scurvy, what might vitamin C do? Well, as many of you already know, it’s long been thought that not getting enough vitamin C could contribute to getting the common cold and that taking vitamin C might protect against the common cold. There’s a lot of research out there with very mixed results, but I would regard getting sick more often than you think you should as a possible sign that you need more vitamin C. And low bone mineral density, osteopenia, osteoporosis are other signs that you might not be getting enough vitamin C. In fact, vitamin C is an antioxidant, which means that it just generally protects your tissues against wear and tear that occurs naturally with age and gets worse when you’re exposed to things like cigarette smoke, and alcohol, and environmental toxins. And so all of the degenerative diseases like cancer, and heart disease, and insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes, all these things have a component of oxidative stress that wear and tear on our tissues, and so all of them might conceivably be improved by making sure you have adequate amounts of vitamin C. We could also theorize that based on how vitamin C impacts our hormones, not having enough vitamin C might contribute to lethargy, lack of focus, and even compromise the sense of affection and bonding that we get in response to physical intimacy because vitamin C is needed to produce oxytocin, the so-called love hormone. On the other side of the coin, there really is no vitamin C toxicity syndrome. High doses of vitamin C ranging from 4 grams per day to maybe even 10 grams per day, depending on your own bowel tolerance, may cause diarrhea, but if you just take out the vitamin C, the diarrhea goes away, so it’s not really dangerous to consume vitamin C at those doses. There are certain vulnerable populations who should be very careful with vitamin C. That includes people with hemochromatosis, where vitamin C could—which is iron overload—vitamin C can exaggerate the iron overload and worsen that condition. People with—about 8% of the world has glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency that’s an enzyme deficiency that can cause a particular type of anemia, and vitamin C supplementation can aggravate that type of anemia. And then in people who are at high risk of oxalate-based kidney stones, vitamin C supplementation may be able to worsen the risk of kidney stones. But on the whole in the general population, supplementation with vitamin C, even over and above what you need, seems to be very safe. So why might you not be getting enough vitamin C? Well, if you look at the diet, the overwhelming sources of vitamin C are fresh fruits and vegetables, so a diet that’s high in these foods, especially a lot of raw and gently cooked versions of these foods, is likely to provide enough vitamin C. For people who do not have access to plant foods, for example, if you look at our Native American ancestors from the Arctic region, where plant foods were very limited, they got their vitamin C from adrenal glands and smaller amounts from liver. So consuming organ meats on a carnivore diet would be an excellent way to protect against vitamin C deficiency. Some people claim that you need to consume enough carbohydrate to properly absorb and utilize vitamin C, and other people claim that consuming carbohydrate impairs your ability to absorb and utilize vitamin C. I don’t think the evidence is clear on this either way, and I don’t currently regard carbohydrate intake as a major determinant of getting enough vitamin C. High levels of physical activity, illness, and exposure to toxins, including ethanol, the type of alcohol that you drink to get drunk, and cigarette smoke all increase the need for vitamin C, and so you probably want to supplement your diet if you are highly physically active, get sick often, or drink and smoke a lot. And conversely, if you want to eat a relatively low-vitamin C diet and not be subject to deficiency, then the cleaner your lifestyle is in these respects, the less likely you are to run into problems from consuming lower amounts of vitamin C. To test your vitamin C status, the best test is fasting plasma vitamin C, or fasting plasma ascorbate or ascorbic acid, it might be called. These are all the same test. It’s important that it be fasting, and it’s important that you avoid vitamin C supplementation the evening before the test because when you take vitamin C, your vitamin C levels spike before they decline down to a stable level. So if you want to recognize a deficiency, and if you want to watch your progress fixing a deficiency, you want to see the fasting unsupplemented level in the morning after an evening with no supplementation, and you want to watch that go from low and rise to high as you’re fixing the deficiency. If you get an organic acids test, such as Great Plains, you might see urinary vitamin C on that test. If that’s low, maybe it’s an indicator of low vitamin C status, but I would always follow up the urinary measurement with a plasma measurement, and you don’t need to get the urinary measurement. If you’re not getting the organic acids test, just get the plasma vitamin C to measure your vitamin C status. If the problem is poor diet or excessive exposure to toxins, it’s best to fix either of those before moving on to supplementation, but supplementation is certainly an adequate way to deal with difficulties getting enough in the diet or just higher needs. Because remember, physical activity increases the need for vitamin C, and it may be the case that if you exercise a lot and you find yourself getting sick more often, maybe you’re overtraining and you should reduce the amount of exercise, but you also may need a little bit extra supplementation just to match your lifestyle. Overall, 200 milligrams of vitamin C per day is enough for most people. If you find yourself getting sick frequently and it responds well to higher amounts, you could go up to 2 grams per day. But when you’re dealing with high doses, remember that this can cause copper deficiency, so if you supplement with vitamin C and you develop copper deficiency, you need to either cut back on the C, get more copper in your diet, or see if you can separate your copper and your vitamin C. In other words, if you have liver or other really high-copper foods in your diet, and you have vitamin C supplements, try to get the liver in one meal and get the vitamin C at a different meal so that you can avoid the negative interactions between copper and vitamin C. This episode is brought to you by Ancestral Supplements. Our Native American ancestors believed that eating the organs from a healthy animal would support the health of the corresponding organ of the individual. Ancestral Supplements is a nose-to-tail product line of grass-fed liver, organs, bone marrow, and more. All in the convenience of a capsule. For more information or to buy any of their products, go to This episode is brought to you by Testing Nutritional Status: The Ultimate
Cheat Sheet. Everything you could ever need to know to optimize your nutrition all in one place. Easier to find and use than ever before. Get your copy at Use the code LITE5. That’s all capitals LITE and the number 5. Use the code LITE5 to get five dollars off. The audio of this episode was enhanced and post-processed by Bob Davodian of Taurean Mixing. You can find more of his work at All right, I hope you found this useful. Signing off, this is Chris Masterjohn of And this has been Chris Masterjohn Lite. And I will see you in the next episode.

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19 thoughts on “How to Manage Your Vitamin C Status | Chris Masterjohn Lite #86

  1. Hi, what do you think about vitamine C flush ? It is taking high dose buffered vitamine C (2 tsp) every 15min until diahrrea,

  2. Hi Chris, thanks a lot for this another excellent series. Which form of vitamin C do you recommend for supplementation? There is a notion that Ascorbic Acid is not a good form.

  3. Just wondered what you thought of the video I posted – saying supplementation shouldn't be used for most and antioxidants don't work as we think!

  4. Great Chris! Would the peel of a lime have the most vitamin C? It's bitter as hell, so I figure it's the best source.. 😜. I make lime-aid and put lime peels in the blender when I make it… Its really refreshing..

  5. Ascorbic acid is not vitamin C… Just a component… The whole vitamin complex has copper in its core… I think people need more of the whole complex… Looks like you have read up on Thomas Levy, and Linus Pauling… Great info.. I think that Morely Robbins has great info on vitamin C, and it's copper significance for health… and adrenal fatigue…. Keep up the great videos… You're my mentor!!

  6. People don't understand that high doses of synthetic vitamin C works as pro oxidant like ozone or hydroxide peroxide for example.. + Look at ALL promoters of high doses (10g or more per day) They all have white hair, age fast, wrinkly skin. They can't tan. They just turn red from sun exposere due to low melanin. It is all related to copper metabolism. High doses of synthetic vit C are strong copper antagonist. In my opinion it is good take big doses of ascorbic acid only short term to kill some bugs, viruses and for long term take just under 500mg.. Otherwise you will have issues with copper deficiency symptoms like I said.. Vit C from food is ok, because it contains copper in enzymatic form. Just eat some fruits and vegetables to have like 100-150mg of real vitC and you will be ok. Also how much vitC depends on your antioxidant/prooxidant status in the body. If you are healthy with healthy lifestyle. Low stress, no drugs, alcohol, junk food etc.. You need much less vitC than some stressed person who smokes, eats garbage food etc..

  7. I have a question about protein over feeding. In a theoretical context where a person is eating 150 grams of fat, <40 grams of carbs, and 150 grams of protein, they maintain their weight. Then they start to overfeed on protein where they are still eating 150 grams of fat, <40 grams of carbohydrate, but now eating 250 grams of protein (just a hypothetical scenario). Would this protein overconsumption have a minimal impact on fat gain, or would it significantly increase fat gain. Would the result be different between a sedentary individual and an active individual doing heavy resistance training? I have heard that protein is not readily stored as fat, but I have also heard that protein overconsumption can decrease fat oxidation, which leads to fat gain. I am wondering what your opinion is on this? Thanks for everything Chris!

  8. Thank you Chris! I live in the San Francisco Bay area and we are currently living under excessive smoky condition (unhealthy and very unhealthy level yesterday and today) due the Camp fire in Paradise, CA. I started drink the Cold Crusher juice from Urban Remedy and noticed that it helped me a lot feeling better when I felt symptoms from the smoke (sinus pressure, stinging throat and chest pressure). Now I know why this juice helped me and I will continue to take it until the smoke is gone. Thank you!

  9. Glad that you warned about copper deficiency, it’s also vit P and K as well since they are all part of a natural vit C molecule and taking just ascorbic acid can depleye them.

  10. I had tried taking Vitamin C before. Did not really feel any use from it. This changed since i went on a ketogenic diet. Now it feels great to take 1-2 Grams of C per day. And i really miss it, if i don´t. I do not understand it. Is it the carnitine, that is being used up while being in ketosis? Could it be, that my histamines went up, like it seems to be the case in people with a keto rash? If the Vitamin C lowers histamine levels i should feel better taking it. I also developed some kind of rash, that i never had before. Not the typical keto rash, that you find on the internet, but very similar. Is it, that my immune system is compromised somehow, through the lack of carbohydrates (under 30 Grams per day)? Could it be, that it fights the light oxidative Stress, that Ketones cause? I don´t get it. Guess there is no way to find out.

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