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Vit C - The Queen of Vitamins

When I was 23 years of age I had to see the doctors because of breathing problems due to our neighbours cat. All I had done was to help them move and I carried the cushions the cat had been sleeping on.

They gave me inhalers and I had 3 years of hyposensibilisation treatment (you get a bit of the allergen injected in certain intervals to get your body used to it) which didn't work. I was promised that if I wouldn't take the medication - which contained steroids - I would develop asthma soon and be chronically ill.

Well, throughout the period during which I got the treatments I DID feel chronically ill, I did'nt feel in control of my life anymore and I did'nt feel an improvement.

You may ask why I didn't just take some anti-histamine pills.

Well, at that time I had stopped using contraception because my body didn't take it well.

"I'm hungry"

"Leave me alone"

My GP was very reluctant to give me a prescription for anti-histamine because there were no studies about these tablets and effects on the foetus.

He recommended not to get pregnant for three month after I hadn't taken any of that stuff, because it needs that long to get washed out of the system.

That was some 25 years ago, these days things may have improved. However, I was desperate to find a relief that allowed me to study for University and to have a life without being worried once a month.

Now I'm almost 47, and all I'm taking for my allergies is Vit C,... and I still didn't devolop an asthma ... and I own two cats!

This might not be working for everybody or for people who are critically ill. But it shows that there are cases where the usual treatment might not be the only or the best one.

Sometimes a mix of standard medication and alternative treatment is the solution.

However, in my case:

Vit C it is!

Vit C plays a major role in many metabolic systems of the body, which to an extend feed back into one another. In other words: Vit C sticks it's nose into almost every game that is played in the body, and that is why it helps to lessen the impact of a virus or bacteria attack, as well as it works as a catalyser for certain medication, so that for example cancer patients need less pain killers.

Imagine the body being a big factory with conveyer belts criss-crossing; a bit like an airports suitcase transportation system. You pop something in at one end, and the belt starts running, triggers other unused belts within the factory to run, and if everything goes all right it is a smooth ride of belts.

Now imagine something that is involved in triggering almost every belt there is. Something like a police-suitcase that shoves the other ones into the right direction, and sorts out traffic jams and throws bad suitcases into the trash. This would be something like Vit C.

Health diary needed!

It's just: In case of the body, what pops out of the other end is not a suitcase - but... poo - which will play a vital role in the whole game, I'm afraid. It may sound a bit as if I had an obsession there - given my article on 'How to go to the bathroom'. But think about it:

If you had a baby you would observe any bowel movement. This would give you a very first indication that something is not right. You would observe the colour, the consistency, the frequency and the time passed after the last meal. All that would give you an instinctive indication if everything is ok with your child. Only once we grow up we just find it disgusting. However, what happens inside remains the same procedure, and one can read information from it. There is basically no better means of home diagnosis than this free delivery from the inside. We put something into our mouth, it travels, gets changed here and there, and at every station where something happens it gathers information that gets transported to the outside - a bit like a spy. Basically it's a bit of a health diary. You only have to learn how to read it.

Hiccups with the dosage

So let's go on with the story.

This factory is a sluggish system. It needs a while until police has arrived at every location needed, and eventually once triggered the conveyer belts start running one after another. But when they are running they are hard to stop, first they need to realise that there are no more suitcases coming before they are slowing down.

And as it is a one way system the police will be popped out at the other end as well. So you will have to feed them to the system constantly. Humans can't produce Vit C themselves so everything that is needed to get the job done has to be shoved into the system. If you have loads of blockages or bad suitcases you need more and if everything is running smoothly you need less.

That is the first hiccup: There is no measuring system on how much Vit C is in the blood and how much is needed so that you would know your dose at any given time. Like diabetic who can measure the blood sugar - there is no such thing for Vit C.

The second hiccup is the sluggishness. Imagine a time of hight demand (usually in shape of a virus) and you would increase the intake. Then things seem to be sorted and you want to cut back to your standard dose. If you stop feeding the system instantly it runs out of police quickly while all the belts are running and running. That is no problem if there is no traffic at all. But if there would all of a sudden a bad suitcase (usually in shape of a nasty bacteria), then all of the police would have been transported away, and all the systems could be travelled easily and thus infected (usually in the shape of a cold coming back worse than before). For the new police to arrive at the right location would need time and it would be an even harder job (usually resulting in the patient moaning: Vit C is not helping either).

So if you wanted to reduce the dose after a phase of high demand, then you would have to sneak it out. Eating less and less every day, so that you still had a few of police clearing up bits and pieces until the situation has settled entirely.

The third hiccup is the runns which you get when you overdose. And there we are back to the loo issue. Vit C has an very straight forward impact on digestion. Too much makes you a bit bloated at first (so it gives you a warning, at least) and if you then go on taking more - better stay close to the cubicle.

However, this is your big chance to find the right dose!

Over time you will get experienced and once you start listening to your body you will know.

Arguments of Vit C Objectors - and My Objections

AoO: Vit C gets passed through the body very fast. Actually it doesn't show up in the stool - it just effects its consistency immensely. It shows up in the urin. Opposers of Vit C usage claim that it is not necessary to take it, as it comes in a decent amount with a healthy diet anyway, and that all you do is to produce very expensive urin.

MO: Well, if you take high doses of Vit C like I do, there will be a lot of it just weed away. But I don't mind, I have a very reasonable source. The fact that Vit C is water soluble and that it passes through the system without getting stored, reduces dangerous effects of overdosing. And given my general health with all the allergy stuff going on that keeps me from eating the healthy diet mentioned above, I have to supplement it anyway.

However, I DO over-supplement. I want to make sure that at any time my conveyer belts are running smoothely and are policed. The more that a few of my conveyer belts are broken, which causes the allergies. To avoid the allergic reaction I have to have police blocking those belts. If a suitcase would travel it and fall off the faulty belt, the debris caused would make me itch. So that is one reason why I need a bit more than other people. The higher levels of Vit C makes the other parts run more efficiently and avoiding the faulty bits.

I promise you - that can be explained scientifically as well, but you don't want to read that! I find the conveyer belts much more entertaining.

A measuring spoon for 2.5 ml is approximately 1g of Vit C

So, how to dose?

Now the bowel movement comes into the game. Even as a child I was more often constipated than not. I never went to the bathroom without my fairy tale books. If I only would have known then! I sometimes left the bathroom hardly being able to walk from needles and pins in my legs, with the book finished - but not the business.

And wonder, oh wonder; when I started to use Vit C that problem normalised. The better I felt with the allergies the more normal I became in that department.

And then I noticed something new. Whenever a cold was approaching it started with constipation a few days before the nose was running.

Although during the first years things were a bit all over the place, and I had to learn a lot about myself. Just to give you an idea:

Recommended dose of Vit C per day is something around 100mg (it varies a bit for male, female, smokers and so on). It is important that you realise we are talking about milligramme!

Somebody healthy who would all of a sudden take something like 1 gramme might feel a bit of a bloat and if taking up to 5 gramme could lock the bathroom door from the inside for the rest of the day.

In my first year of my Vit C addiction during the grass pollen time - oompf, I hate that one the most - I had up to 26 gramme a day. Whenever I was exposed I took a 1 gramme tablet which gave me a relieve for half an hour or so. But most importantly - I was hovering rather than walking from all the gas, but I was still constipated. Apparently my body was using most of that stuff. That got better year after year and now I have my daily vitamin drink in the morning with 1g of Vit C powder which I get from an online pharmacy, and that's it! Very rarely I use tablets which I can carry with me these days. The past few years I always had to throw away the leftovers of the box because they were past the best by date.

And another hiccup

Being used to my morning routine and feeling well, I sometimes neglect to listen to my body. That's what happened to me this winter. When the first cold came rolling in, I didn't increase the dose and then sneaked it out as I would have done during the first alert years. So part of my series of colds and the severity of them quite likely was home made - I'm very sorry that you had to listen to my moaning all winter long!

The best course of action once my sensors screamed 'attack coming' would have been to have a vitamin C drink three times a day, and for acute attacks to carry the tablets (Tesco, 500mg) with me for instant relieve. And once things got better to first reduce the amount of tablets and then to only two drinks per day for a few days, to then reduce to standard morning drink.

Silly me didn't do any of this. Well, open plan office with a lot of sneezing and coughing people doesn't really help to stay healthy either, and I might have caught the one or the other bug anyway. However, I'm sure I could have saved me at least parts of the trouble.

So let's look forward to spring with it's flowering trees.

Cheers to the Vitamin C drink!

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Author: Rika