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You don’t have to be in the natural health sphere long before you hear about the benefits of a vitamin C flush.
If you’re searching for information on cleansing with vitamin C, you’re probably trying to figure out if it’s safe or effective and how to do one.
So today I want to share the research regarding vitamin C and the information, pros and cons you need to know to make an educated decision for your health.
Before we dig in, I think it’s interesting to note that we as humans cannot make our own vitamin C. That’s because we lack the necessary enzyme L-3 gluconolactone oxidase, which converts glucose to vitamin C.
Most animals on the other hand – save for guinea pigs, some monkeys and a species of bats – synthesize this vital nutrient in vivo.
As for us, we have to make sure we get enough vitamin C from our diets and supplementation or risk becoming deficient, which can lead to a whole host of health problems.
That’s a story for another day though, so let’s dig in and see if an ascorbate flush is right for you!
What is a Vitamin C flush?
Also known as an ascorbate flush or vitamin C cleanse, this type of flush is based on the belief that high levels of vitamin C helps rid the body of toxins.
The way a vitamin C flush works is pretty basic:
It just involves introducing high amounts of vitamin C at regular intervals until you produce a watery stool.
Who should do a vitamin C flush?
Vitamin C cleanses are usually recommended for people who require rapid detoxification or quick recovery from an illness that’s not responding to other methods.
It is also believed that a vitamin C flush results in increased vitamin C stores within the body. It also works to prevent the symptoms of vitamin C deficiency, give you younger looking skin (due to its relationship with collagen), boost your immunity and help ward off infections.
For these reasons, ascorbate flushes are recommended during times when nutrient stores are depleted. This often occurs in ladies using birth control pills since increased levels of estrogen depletes vitamin C stores.
But several other factors deplete vitamin C as well, including stress, smoking, infections, surgeries and some environmental factors.
So anyone who needs to detox or is at risk of vitamin C deficiency may want to consider doing an ascorbate cleanse.
People may also choose to do a vitamin C flush to simply reap the many benefits of optimal vitamin C levels – one of those being a decreased risk of heart disease as several studies have shown.
Let’s take a look at a few more vitamin C benefits.
What are the benefits of Vitamin C?
It’s now universally accepted that vitamin C can help fight signs of aging, combat cancer and promote healing at the cellular level.
Studies have shown that sufficient concentrations of vitamin C are able to kill harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi. It may also help in shortening the duration of the flu, managing allergies as well as managing exposure to certain chemicals.
Here are some additional benefits of vitamin C.
1 – Repairs body tissues
For wounds to seal and heal completely, they require collagen. In the synthesis of collagen, vitamin C is required during the hydroxylation of proline and lysine where it acts as a cofactor. A lack of vitamin C inhibits this process, leading to poor wound healing and even abnormal tissue repair.
2 – Maintains the integrity of connective tissue
Clinical trials have proven that vitamin C is helpful managing Ehlers-Danlos syndrome – a condition where you experience joint hypermobility due to gene defects in collagen biosynthesis. As previously mentioned, vitamin C promotes the synthesis of collagen, working to maintain the integrity of connective tissue.
3 – It is a powerful antioxidant
Besides being a powerful antioxidant in itself, vitamin C also helps boost the function of other antioxidants like glutathione and vitamin E. Antioxidants relieve cellular stress caused by reactive molecules of nitrogen and oxygen, which can damage cells.
Free radicals, as they’re also called, play a large part in accelerating the aging process, so it is this action of vitamin C as an antioxidant that helps prevent the signs of aging.
4 – Impact on the biosynthesis of cortisol
Known as the body’s stress hormone, cortisol is produced in large amounts during stress to increase the mobilization of glucose from fats and proteins. It also stimulates appetite and is essentially the reason why some people prefer eating a lot of calories when they are stressed – a major risk factor for obesity.
Some studies have shown that vitamin C can be helpful in reducing blood cortisol levels, including its synthesis from the adrenal glands. That’s why vitamin C is so helpful in combating stress.
How to Do a Vitamin C Flush
As I briefly mentioned before, a vitamin C flush involves taking as much vitamin C as your body can tolerate. When it reaches the point where you can no longer absorb any more from the gut, you experience liquid evacuation from your bowel – commonly referred to as watery stool.
It should go without saying, but I should note that you should choose a time where you can be home all day and easily access the bathroom.
Ok, that’s all I’ll say about that.
Here are step-by-step instructions for doing a vitamin C flush effectively:
Step 1: It’s best to do an ascorbic acid cleanse in the morning before eating anything. However, the cleanse doesn’t limit you from eating throughout the day. The AM timeframe is just for convenience purposes so that the process doesn’t drag out into the night.
Step 2: The recommended amount of vitamin C that you should consume at each episode is approximately 1000mg. Mix this amount in half a glass of water or fruit juice every one hour and drink slowly until finished.
Step 3: Keep records each time you drink this mixture – taking it every hour until you feel the urge to use a bathroom. Write down how much you take and when. You’ll need this information later.
Step 4: Once you pass a watery, enema-like stool, you can stop drinking the vitamin C solution, and the cleanse is complete at this point. However, there are a few very important steps to take after the cleanse that I’ll detail in the next section.
Note that your stool may still be watery the next time you visit the bathroom. This will resolve soon and things will return to normal quickly.
Since the flush is naturally dehydrating, it’s important to drink plenty of water and replace your minerals with either some sort of electrolyte beverage, or I personally prefer to take a ½ teaspoon of Celtic sea salt to replenish minerals lost.
What to do After a Vitamin C Flush?
Sudden discontinuation of large doses of vitamin C can lead to a condition known as rebound scurvy. To prevent this from happening, you should reduce your intake of vitamin C gradually over the next few days or weeks. In others words, you don’t want to stop cold turkey.
Now here’s where those records you kept earlier come into play.
Writing down the doses you took helps you determine the amount of vitamin C you needed to achieve bowel tolerance.
The bowel tolerance dose is equal to the total amount of vitamin C (in mg) you took until needing to expel. So if it took you 4 episodes of 1000mg consumption to reach tolerance, then your bowel tolerance dose is 4000mg.
With this knowledge, you can take a reduced amount of vitamin C – about 75% of what you consumed during the cleanse. So the next day after your cleanse, you would take 75% of 4000mg, which is 3000mg. It’s best to divide this into 2 doses and consume 1500mg each time.
Over the coming days, take 75% of what you consumed the previous day until you reach 1000mg per day, which is the maintenance dose in an ideal diet containing vitamin C.
So a sample schedule would look like this, but of course you’ll need to replace the numbers with YOUR unique bowel tolerance amount:
Day 1: (cleanse day): 4 doses of 1000mg for a total of 4000 mg
Day 2: 1500mg in the morning and 1500mg at night (a total of 3000mg, which is 75% of the bowel tolerance dose of 4000mg in this hypothetical example).
Day 3: 1125mg in the morning and 1125mg at night (a total of 2250mg, which is 75% of the previous day’s dose of 3000mg).
And so on.
Recommended Ascorbic Acid for the Best Vitamin C Flush Results
For the most effective ascorbic acid flush, experts recommend that you take only a buffered vitamin C powder in the form of l-ascorbate. Buffered vitamin C powders contain a balancing blend of minerals including potassium, zinc, magnesium and calcium.
It’s important to note that humans cannot absorb d-ascorbate, so be sure to get a powder that provides ascorbic acid in the form of l-ascorbate.
The reason you want a buffered vitamin C powder is because high doses of straight ascorbic acid can cause extreme irritation and/or inflammation of the lining in your gut.
And you definitely don’t want that.
I recommend this Potent C Guard Powder for vitamin C flushes:
Potential Vitamin C Flush Dangers
You don’t have to worry about vitamin C toxicity as it is a water-soluble nutrient, and your body will simply excrete any excess through bowel movements.
However, there are some individuals with a contraindication for vitamin C. For instance, vitamin C increases iron absorption in the small intestines, so people with too much iron (such as those suffering from a condition called hereditary hemochromatosis) may experience severe symptoms side effects.
Conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease may hamper the absorption of vitamin C from the gut, which will interfere with the process and potentially reduce the cleanse’s effectiveness.
People with Gilbert’s disease who are suffering from hereditary non-hemolytic jaundice should also be wary of doing an ascorbic flush to prevent side effects and liver damage. If you are suffering from any form of hepatitis, then you should avoid a vitamin C flush altogether.
Since bowel intolerance always ends in severe water loss, a vitamin C flush can lead to dehydration. You drink water constantly during this process to compensate for the amount you lose during the cleanse.
Vitamin C Flush Side Effects
While an ascorbic acid cleanse isn’t necessarily dangerous, it isn’t exactly comfortable either. Symptoms and side effects commonly reported include abdominal discomfort, bloating, stomach gas, a slight burning sensation and heartburn.
The diarrhea associated with an ascorbate flush can lead to severe dehydration. For this reason, vitamin C flushes are not recommended for children, pregnant women and adults above the age of 65 years.
When it comes down to it, you should always consult your doctor’s advice before proceeding, and always remember to taper down your vitamin C dose.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much ascorbic acid do I need to take?
The amount will be different for everyone as described above. You need to take enough to reach bowel tolerance, which is the amount needed to achieve expulsion.
To calculate how much vitamin C you should take in the days following the cleanse, multiply your bowel tolerance amount by .75, which will give you a dose that’s 75% of your bowel tolerance amount.
How often can I do a vitamin C flush?
Some people do a vitamin C flush once a month. I personally don’t think it’s necessary to do it that often as there are much more gentle ways to detox. I think 3 times per year (once every 4 months) is a good schedule, but it’s really up to you and your health concerns/goals.
When is the best time to do a vitamin C cleanse?
You should do the flush in the morning on an empty stomach. Be sure to drink adequate water during the flush, sip mineral-rich bone broth and/or sole water to replace lost minerals.
How long does an ascorbate cleanse take?
This will be different for each individual, but you can expect a minimum of 3 to 5 hours. However, even after the cleanse is over, I suggest you still stay home and near a bathroom the rest of the day…just in case 🙂
Can I do a vitamin C flush for constipation?
Yes! A vitamin C cleanse is a great natural remedy for constipation.
Are vitamin C pills effective for a flush?
Vitamin C flush pills may work as a last resort, but the powdered form is superior and able to be absorbed more easily. Since absorption is really the key factor in ascorbate cleanses, it’s best to stick to easily absorbed forms like powder or liquid, and remember it needs to be buffered to avoid severe gut irritation.
I hope this information helps you decide if a vitamin C flush is right for you. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below, and I’ll do my best to help!
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I’m Jordan – a professional researcher for health & wellness companies. For the last 7 years, I’ve been hired to search medical journals and studies to separate fact from fiction. Now as a mom with chronic illness, I help other families live their best life by providing research-backed information about natural health. Read my story here.