What is it?

The most easily absorbed, safest form of Vitamin C – one of the body’s two chief antioxidants, and perhaps the most under-rated and misunderstood nutrients there are.

What does it do?

Fixes everything (almost). Seriously. Wound healing, immune boosting, virus-busting, toxin-neutralising, allergy-clearing, almost-everything-fixing ‘primal panacea’ [to borrow a phrase from Dr Thomas Levy]. More or less. And even if it doesn’t work for a particular ailment, it doesn’t hurt either. Humans have an annoying quirk in that we’re one of the few animals who can’t produce their own Vitamin C, and unfortunately in today’s world, even on a strict raw-plant-based diet it’s virtually impossible to get anywhere enough of what you need from food.

How do I take it?

The easiest way is as a powder, which you mix into water (or juice, or smoothies, or whatever – as long as it’s cool. Heat destroys vitamin C). Non-GMO (check that; most are GMO), obviously. The one I usually recommend is from, by Nutribiotic. US$14 for nearly half a kilo, versus $22+ for 120g here in NZ. Though as long as it’s good-quality, non-GMO, and the pure powder, it doesn’t matter too much where you get it from.


What dose is good?

Take it until bowel tolerance is reached on a normal, non-stressed, healthy day, and then cut back slightly and that’s your average. You need much more during times of stress and when you’re ill – again, use bowel tolerance as your gauge.

1 teaspoon is approx. 4g/4,000mg

Bowel what now?!

Bowel tolerance is reached when your body has reached its vitamin C saturation point, and starts to excrete it, by way of loose stools. Noice. Bowel tolerance is the point where the body can’t use any more at that time, and so the stools start to loosen (i.e. ‘you get the squits’). It isn’t dangerous (unless you’re already severely dehydrated, in which case, replenish liquids and use usual first aid and common sense measures as per usual), and you can’t actually overdose on it. Sometimes it’s good to have a clear-out anyway if you’re ill!! Obviously bowel tolerance is going to vary from person to person, and for different ages and stages and even different days. The more stressed or ill you are, the more you need.

My suggestion is to take it to bowel tolerance, then to cut back for a few hours or until the next day and start again, going until just under tolerance.

It also pays to go slowly and gently with children and babies, especially when they’re ill – the last thing you want is an already sick child with diarrhoea too!!

Can you overdose?

No – but you can hit bowel tolerance (see above)

So what do you take?

Personally I take about 8g (8,000mg) a day, more if I’m sick.

What about kids?

I tend to recommend a pinch for babies, a little more for children, and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon for adults.


How often do I take it?

Ahh, I’m glad you asked. With vitamin C, frequency is the key. The body burns through it quickly when stressed or ill, so taking it as a whacking great dose once a day isn’t the best plan. Firstly, it’s a good way to give yourself diarrhoea and not achieve much more than that. Secondly, you need to be replenishing your body’s stores throughout the day so that it can use it to heal and to neutralise toxins and bugs and restore health. Taken in a single dose it can use the whole lot up in half an hour, and then you’re back to square one with a vitamin C starved body again (which is where you hear people say ‘I had a glass of orange juice and it didn’t do anything’ or suchlike. Frequency people!).

So take it in smaller amounts, often. I tend to suggest 1-2,000mg hourly until bowel tolerance is reached, though you can increase that to 2-4,000 if you’re unwell.

What about that Esterified Vitamin C/Calcium Ascorbate stuff the health shop lady says is the best?

Yes, it is the best – the best for leaving lovely plaques all through your arteries!! That calcium has to go somewhere… calcium ascorbate has long been touted as the ‘best’ because it’s ‘slowly absorbed’ and whatever else. MARKETING. That’s all there is to say there. Don’t touch the stuff, it’s bad news – and slow absorption defeats the purpose of taking it anyway. Refer to the above paragraph; we need it being absorbed quickly and in frequent doses to really get through things!!

What about kidney stones?

No evidence for that one!!

Where do I learn more?

Hilary Butler’s site has lots of info. A recommended book is

Dr Thomas Levy has also done a lot of work on it – his book Primal Panacaea is a great place to start as it’s easy to understand and goes over lots of the science in good depth, with plentiful references.

Other pioneering doctors on it include Dr Archie Kalokerinos, and of course Nobel prize winner Dr Linus Pauling.