vitamin c deficiency


After decades of ridicule and denial, the theories of early vitamin C researchers are finally gaining acceptance in the mainstream medical community. Dr. Fredrick Klenner, whose extensive vitamin C research in the 1930s was largely scorned, observed that “some physicians would stand by and see their patient die rather than use ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), because in their finite minds it exists only as a vitamin.”

Dr. Klenner, as well as other researchers like Linus Pauling, used vitamin C to treat a mind-boggling array of health conditions, including supposedly incurable ones. Though their work is still considered controversial, modern research has confirmed the therapeutic efficacy of ascorbic acid in a wide variety of medical contexts, including hormone regeneration, cancer, heartburn, stomach ulcers, anti-aging skincare, stress relief, sepsis, heart disease, and more.

But some researchers believe that vitamin C deserves even more credit. Viewing it as a therapeutic agent, they argue, still implies that it is “only a vitamin,” rather than an integral and essential part of biological homeostasis in humans.

To understand their point of view, it’s necessary to take a brief tour of human evolution.

The connection between vitamin C production and biological balance

If it sounds a bit strange or overblown to consider vitamin C a fundamental aspect of the body’s self-regulating biology, consider this fact: humans are one of only a few species that do not endogenously produce ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Nearly all mammals (and nearly all vertebrates, for that matter) have a built-in biological mechanism for producing ascorbic acid, which acts as a hormone regulator, modulates the immune system, and protects the body against acute stressors.

Furthermore, humans lost the ability to synthesize vitamin C internally due to what is referred to as a genetic metabolic defect—some researchers even go so far as to state that humans have an “inborn vitamin C deficiency,” for which they must compensate in order to remain healthy.[1]

More conservative researchers claim that the genetic mutation responsible for the loss of vitamin C synthesis is a neutral trait (in genetics, a trait is considered neutral when its loss is neither advantageous or disadvantageous). They contend that the importance of exogenous vitamin C is already highlighted by the fact that its RDA is higher than any other vitamin (60 mg/day), and that a normal diet provides the average person more than enough vitamin C.

There’s a couple facts that suggest that diet is not sufficient to provide us with ample vitamin C, though (especially if we want to enjoy its more acute therapeutic benefits).

For example, while researching the correlation between vitamin C concentrations within certain organs and elite athleticism, one doctor realized that the “optimal” vitamin C concentrations would be very difficult to achieve with an RDA of 60 milligrams (the current recommended daily allowance of vitamin C).[2]

Further, vitamin C is used up much more quickly in individuals who smoke tobacco or drink alcohol, in the presence of toxins, and in states of physiological and emotional stress. Thus, even if 60 mg/day is a sufficient baseline dose of vitamin C, it’s likely that our bodies are using it to fight toxins and stress rather than optimizing overall biology.

Given the chronic vitamin C depletion that these ideas suggest, the nearly miraculous reversals of disease states that high-dose vitamin C can facilitate begin to make more sense. What improvements in health and wellness could we all enjoy if vitamin C deficiency was addressed with simple supplementation?

How to start benefiting from vitamin C today

All the researchers and physicians who successfully used ascorbic acid as a therapeutic agent did so by mimicking the endogenous vitamin C production of other mammals—that is, they dramatically raised blood serum levels of vitamin C very quickly (one study found that goats produce nearly 13,000 mg of vitamin C every day, and that this production level increases by almost 10 times in a matter of hours when the animal is placed under acute stress).[3]

To do this requires very specific routes of administration—taking a few of those orange-flavored chewable vitamin C tablets isn’t going to cut it.

Until quite recently, intravenous administration of vitamin C was the most tenable approach. While it’s certainly still viable, the method has its obvious drawbacks: it’s expensive, requires appointment scheduling and doctor supervision, and often is a time-consuming process. Besides, there’s not many people who are willing to deal with intravenous needles just to get their dose of vitamin C.

Thankfully, it’s now possible to raise your blood serum levels of vitamin C at home, safely and affordably, with a simple liquid vitamin C supplement. Two formulation methods—known as micellar and liposomal encapsulation—have revolutionized vitamin C supplementation by raising the bioavailability of ascorbic acid to levels approaching that of intravenous administration.

If you’d like to find the best vitamin C supplement to include in your own regimen, look no further than PuraTHRIVE. They offer the only vitamin C available that’s delivered with both micelle and liposomal encapsulation—this patented, two-part formulation method protects ascorbic acid from breakdown, ensures optimal nutrient utilization, and even enhances the already impressive antioxidant activity of vitamin C.

Give it a try today, and experience how much better the body functions when provided with an optimal quantity of this essential nutrient.



[1] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080320120726.htm

[2] Colgan M, OPTIMUM SPORTS NUTRITION, Advanced Research Press, New York, 1993:11-12.

[3] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080320120726.htm

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Of all the nutrient deficiencies discussed, vitamin C is certainly not the most common. It’s almost invariably associated with scurvy, a condition characterized by mood imbalance, connective tissue defects, rashes, impaired wound healing, and even internal bleeding.

Scurvy occurs in circumstances of dire malnutrition—such conditions are still endured in developing countries, and sailors historically struggled with it (because vitamin-C-rich fruits and vegetables couldn’t be preserved onboard during long voyages). But surely it’s no longer a concern in the developed world?

Is vitamin C deficiency more common than we think?

Scurvy is admittedly a state of extreme deficiency, and one which is very uncommon, especially in the United States. Less than 20,000 cases of scurvy are reported annually in the United States, and it’s estimated that only around 6% of the population has ever suffered from the condition (probably from a combination of nutrient-poor diet and preexisting medical issues that interrupt the process of nutrient absorption).

As recently as 2016, though, major media outlets like the BBC reported that scurvy may be making a comeback in the developed world—hospital admissions related to scurvy increased 27% between 2009 and 2014.[1] This may not seem like much, but it’s an important reminder that vitamin C deficiency is still worthy of our concern.

If you don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, routinely fast or engage in restrictive dieting, have a medical condition like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis that inhibits nutrient absorption, use drugs or alcohol frequently, or smoke, you should be especially careful. These factors place you at high risk for vitamin C deficiency, so consider supplementing with a high-bioavailability vitamin C product (and altering your lifestyle habits whenever possible).

Here’s a quick checklist of vitamin C deficiency symptoms to watch out for:

  1. Frequent illness and other signs of poor immune function.

  2. Fatigue

  3. Depression and other mood imbalances.

  4. Joint pain and inflammation

  5. Rashes, dryness, and other skin issues

  6. Dry and brittle hair and nails

  7. Periodontal issues such as swollen or bleeding gums

  8. Easy bruising and slow wound healing

  9. Frequent nosebleeds

Even if you’re not currently experiencing any of these symptoms, though, don’t write off vitamin C just yet. Research into the mechanisms of this amazing nutrient are beginning to redefine the terms of deficiency. Due to the complex and multi-faceted role that vitamin C plays in the body, individuals can suffer the effects of insufficient vitamin C long before any symptoms begin to present (and certainly before they progress to full-blown scurvy).

And because of its seemingly miraculous healing capacities, having anything less than optimal levels of vitamin C (and thus missing out on its incredible benefits) is its own brand of deficiency.

We’ve certainly encountered this issue with other nutrients, such as vitamin D. Our government-approved RDAs (recommended daily allowances) are often woefully low, because they target only the level necessary to prevent severe deficiency.

Fortunately, a growing number of health experts are starting to speak out about the power of optimizing our nutrient levels, rather than simply meeting our body’s barebones requirements. Dr. Mark Moyad, M.D. speaks particularly highly of vitamin C, claiming that “vitamin C may be the ideal nutrition marker for overall health. The more we study vitamin C, the better our understanding of how diverse it is in protecting our health, from cardiovascular, cancer, stroke, eye health [and] immunity to living longer.”[2]

There’s lots to love about vitamin C

Dr. Moyad is the latest in a long line of vitamin C enthusiasts. In a past article, we covered the research of Dr. Fredrick Klenner, who in the 1940s used high-dose vitamin C to cure a staggering number of serious diseases, such as leukemia, cancer, Herpes simplex infection, schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, and even physical ailments like ruptured intervertebral discs.

Dr. Klenner’s work remains controversial to this day, but modern research is nevertheless revealing that vitamin C can be profoundly healing for a wide variety of health conditions, from sepsis to cancer to heart disease. This is because of its profound antioxidant capacity—fighting the free radicals generated by oxidative stress is centrally important for maintaining overall health and preventing disease.[3]

And here’s the best part: you can enjoy the many benefits of vitamin C easily and inexpensively. Always start with food, and don’t overthink it. While there’s some foods that are especially rich in vitamin C—like guavas, black currants, red and green peppers, kiwis, oranges, strawberries, papayas, broccoli, kale, parsley, and Brussel sprouts—you’ll do just fine as long as you eat a varied, colorful diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.

Once your body has a good foundation of food-sourced vitamin C, you can unlock the more acutely therapeutic benefits of this nutrient through supplementation.

==> Also seek out liposomal vitamin C, which is dramatically more absorbable (and thus more effective) than any other type of formulation. Studies have even shown that oral supplementation with liposomal vitamin C approaches the absorption capacity of intravenous administration.[4]



[1] http://www.bbc.com/news/health-35380716

[2] https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-benefits-of-vitamin-c

[3] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S8755966886800217

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4915787/

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It’s no secret that sugar can be hazardous to your health. While glucose plays an essential role in energy metabolism and shouldn’t be shunned entirely, the results of sugar overconsumption are clear.

Including a reasonable amount of natural sugar sources (such as fruits, juices, honey, sugary vegetables like carrots and beets) is perfectly healthful for those who don’t already have glucose metabolism issues. But this balanced consumption of sugar is a far cry from the Standard American Diet, which is replete with refined sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and other unhealthy forms of sugar.

We all know that sugar contributes heavily to weight gain (no pun intended), and you may even be aware that sugar suppresses the immune system and leads to chronic inflammation. It’s linked not only with the development of diabetes, but also heart disease[1] and other leading causes of death.

But did you know that sugar undermines your health by depleting your body of essential vitamins and nutrients?

This is because the metabolism of sugar is an energetically complex process, so it causes your body to “recruit” more nutrients than usual to get the job done. Glucose even “competes” with some nutrients, meaning that it takes up space within cells or transport molecules, and blocks them from absorbing beneficial nutrients.

Overconsumption of sugar disrupts nutrient metabolism across the board, but some nutrients are at particular risk for depletion.

Sugar causes these nutrient deficiencies

It should come as no surprise that many of the primary nutrients that sugar depletes are also the nutrients in which people are most often deficient.

Magnesium deficiency is one of the most widespread of all nutrient deficiencies; at least half of all Americans have sub-optimal levels,[2] and some experts posit that the number is closer to 80%. Magnesium is critical for nearly every major bodily function—it regulates glucose and overall energy metabolism, allows for proper nerve and muscle function, and even aids in the synthesis of proteins, bone tissue, and DNA.

But when the blood sugar is too high (because of sugar consumption), the kidneys excrete more magnesium, and stores become depleted. This creates a vicious cycle, since without optimal levels of magnesium, blood sugar levels spiral out of control to an even greater degree.

Vitamin D, another nutrient in which many of us are deficient, has been directly correlated with sugar consumption.[3] Sugar actually increases the expression of enzymes that break down vitamin D and decreases the expression of enzymes that help synthesize it.

Not spending enough time outside is usually blamed for vitamin D deficiency, and while this is certainly another factor, it seems that high-sugar diets are a culprit that simply can’t be overlooked. A mountain of research demonstrates that vitamin D deficiency is linked to a vast array of chronic diseases, so we would do well to keep our levels optimized (aim for between 45-60 ng/ml).  

Calcium works in conjunction with vitamin D, and thus is also adversely affected by sugar consumption. Vitamin D allows calcium to do the work of fortifying bones, coagulating blood, and aiding nerve and muscle function. Without it, your body can’t absorb calcium properly, and sometimes it can even end up calcifying your arteries instead of your bone tissue (one of the major risk factors for developing heart disease).

Furthermore, glucose consumption has been shown to increase calcium excretion via the kidneys (meaning that your body gets rid of calcium instead of properly using it).[4]

Vitamin C is not a nutrient deficiency we hear much about, mostly because its utility is greatly misunderstood. The mainstream opinion is that only a small amount of vitamin C is necessary, in order to prevent scurvy. But a growing body of research and clinical experience suggests that higher levels of vitamin C can supercharge the immune system and work wonders for a large variety of ailments.

It should come as very bad news, then, that excess blood glucose blocks the body from being able to utilize vitamin C, because sugar and vitamin C use the same finite transport molecules. This means that even if you’re supplementing with vitamin C, you won’t achieve optimal levels unless you minimize your sugar consumption (and avoid eating any sugar right before taking vitamin C).

Supplementation is a good choice, but cut sugar first

If you consume even a moderate amount of sugar on a daily basis (or have other reasons to believe you may be deficient in these nutrients), consider starting a daily supplementation regimen.

Remember, though: supplements will only be a temporary solution unless you change your dietary habits. You’ll experience real balance when you cut refined sugars, sodas and other sugary drinks, and sweet processed food from your diet.

Supplementation, together with a balanced diet that contains only a reasonable amount of healthful sugar sources, will ensure that your body maintains optimal levels of its key nutrients.



[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24493081

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22364157

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3981704/

[4] Ibid.

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