As soon as I began sharing information on my blog about IV Vitamin C and Liposomal Vitamin C – meaning ‘high doses’, I received an email telling me that this causes Kidney Stones.
I took a look at what a reputable establishment like the Mayo Clinic has to say about this. They do not say high dose vitamin C causes Kidney stones, but they do have a page of suggestions for people who maybe prone to kidney stones.
PRONE to Kidney Stones sound akin to saying someone is PRONE to gout attack. Not the same, yet both are exceedingly painful and can be life threatening. Just because someone is ‘prone’ to something does not mean every Tom, Dick or Mary is going to get it.
My Husband suffers Gout Attacks and yeast outbreaks. He does not smoke at all, and only has a beer occasionally (maybe one every couple of months). Because we do our very best to lead a healthy lifestyle, we prefer to discover the underlying cause of his attacks – and remove those factors, rather than relying on prescription drugs.
Through a series of observations we came to recognize that his gout attacks seem to come on after he has consumed substantial amounts of smoked salmon. If he only eats a small amount once in a while – no gout attack. He also suffers from a yeast infection after he has drunk a beer. So observations yield results, which we can choose to follow and learn from. Or we can ignore them and suffer the consequences.
So my Husband is PRONE to Gout and is Prone to Yeast Infections, but does that mean every person who consumes a beer once every few months or eats a dinner of smoked salmon is going to have a yeast infection or a gout attack? Of course not, and neither will every person who chooses to take health giving amounts of Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) develop kidney stones.
What causes kidney stones?
Doctors do not always know what causes a stone to form. While certain foods may promote stone formation in people who are susceptible, scientists do not believe that eating any specific food causes stones to form in people who are not susceptible.
A person with a family history of kidney stones may be more likely to develop stones. Urinary tract infections, kidney disorders such as cystic kidney diseases, and certain metabolic disorders such as hyperparathyroidism are also linked to stone formation.
In addition, more than 70 percent of people with a rare hereditary disease called renal tubular acidosis develop kidney stones.
Does Vitamin C cause Kidney Stones?
I decided to do some reading and present here some current research to either prove or disprove the case for Vitamin C and Kidney Stones.
The Vitamin C Foundation is a great source of information when you want facts and peer reviewed papers to point you in the right direction.
On the Blog, there is a conversation between BOB (questioner) and OWEN FONOROW (Orthomolecular Naturopath and Co-Founder of the Vitamin C Foundation).
Bob asked Owen, “My cardiologist was alarmed when I told him of the high dose of vitamin C I’ve been taking. He says it could cause kidney damage and strongly recommended against it. I haven’t been able to find anything on the Web about this
Just curious as to your thoughts on this. I have no plans to quit taking my Pauling Therapy (as Heart Technology).”
To which Owen replied:
Medical Textbooks are Simply Wrong
The nicest thing we can say is that your cardiologist isn’t making this up out of thin air. Medical textbooks actually list kidney damage (oxalate production) as a possible (theoretical) side effect of taking vitamin C!?!
Doctors are taught that vitamin C may cause kidney stones, and the hospitals are filled with cardiovascular patients.
This erroneous information is one reason Linus Pauling took an interest and began writing his books on vitamin C. HOW TO LIVE LONGER AND FEEL BETTER (1986) has a good treatment of the kidney stone issue.
Perhaps the best defence against such a charge is Dr. Thomas Levy’s book Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases and Toxins (2002). I doubt your doctor would read it, but, Dr. Levy is also a lawyer. His book is written to be useful in court as a counter to much misinformation that is taught in medical schools.
There is a highly theoretical argument, but there have been no studies that have ever demonstrated the effect. In fact, Dr. Cathcart who has treated over 20,000 patients with high vitamin C has yet to see a single kidney stone and believes vitamin C is protective against stones. Also a recent study of 85,000 nurses showed no correlation between vitamin C and kidney stones (but did correlate low vitamin B6).
If you want to ruin your kidneys, take common over the counter NSAIDS without vitamin C.
The conversation is taken up by other blog members and is definitely worth reading. There are some great references listed for you to follow up on.
And others say:
No. The myth of the vitamin C-caused kidney stone is rivaled in popularity only by the Loch Ness Monster. A factoid-crazy medical media often overlooks the fact that William J. McCormick, M.D., demonstrated that vitamin C actually prevents the formation of kidney stones. He did so in 1946, when he published a paper on the subject. (8) His work was confirmed by University of Alabama professor of medicine Emanuel Cheraskin, M.D.. Dr. Cheraskin showed that vitamin C inhibits the formation of oxalate stones. (9)
Other research reports that: “Even though a certain part of oxalate in the urine derives from metabolized ascorbic acid, the intake of high doses of vitamin C does not increase the risk of calcium oxalate kidney stones. . . (I)n the large- scale Harvard Prospective Health Professional Follow-Up Study, those groups in the highest quintile of vitamin C intake (greater than 1,500 mg/day) had a lower risk of kidney stones than the groups in the lowest quintiles.” (10)
Professor Balz Frei from Public Health Academy of American Harvard University said, “Vitamin C also known as ascorbic acid, is an important antioxidant in the human body, and is the necessary reactant of collagen synthesis, neurotransmitter, and carnitine and other substances.”
Scientific researches have shown that less than 2000 mg of the daily intake dose of vitamin C is safe. Those adverse reactions that may be caused by large intake doses of vitamin C, including the increased formation of oxalate and kidney stones, the increased uric acid concentrations, excessive iron absorption, and decreased vitamin B12 levels and so on, after carrying out the detailed verification, have not been found sufficient evidences. While the side effects of vitamin C are mainly the gastrointestinal discomfort after taking large doses. ”
Andrew Saul says: Ascorbate (the active ion in vitamin C) does increase the body’s production of oxalate. Yet, in practice, vitamin C does not increase oxalate stone formation. Drs. Emanuel Cheraskin, Marshall Ringsdorf, Jr. and Emily Sisley explain in The Vitamin C Connection (1983) that acidic urine or slightly acidic urine reduces the UNION of calcium and oxalate, reducing the possibility of stones. “Vitamin C in the urine tends to bind calcium and decrease its free form. This means less chance of calcium’s separating out as calcium oxalate (stones).” (page 213) Also, the diuretic effect of vitamin C reduces the static conditions necessary for stone formation in general. Fast moving rivers deposit little silt.
Furthermore, you can avoid excessive oxalates by not eating (much) rhubarb, spinach, or chocolate. If a doctor thinks that a person is especially prone to forming oxalate stones, that person should read the suggestions (on web site) below before abandoning the benefits of vitamin C.
By Steve Hickey, PhD and Hilary Roberts, PhD.
(OMNS) It is strange how some medical authors seem desperate to show that vitamin C causes harm. One recurrent scare story is that vitamin C might cause kidney stones. However, although such warnings pop up regularly, these reports do not demonstrate an increase in the number or size of stones; instead, they rely on vague indicators of improbable risk.
The authors of such uncritical papers have probably not read the literature, for this is an old story. Decades ago, the idea that vitamin C causes kidney stones formed part of the medical attack on Linus Pauling. While it was initially a reasonable hypothesis, unexpected kidney stones are not found in people taking large amounts of vitamin C. (1,2)
There is no evidence that vitamin C causes kidney stones. Indeed, in some cases, high doses may be curative. (3) A recent, large-scale, prospective study followed 85,557 women for 14 years and found no evidence that vitamin C causes kidney stones. (4) There was no difference in the occurrence of stones between people taking less than 250 milligrams per day and those taking 1.5 grams or more. This study was a follow up of an earlier study on 45,251 men. This earlier study indicated that doses of vitamin C above 1.5 grams reduce the risk of kidney stones. (5) The authors of these large studies stated that restriction of higher doses of vitamin C because of the possibility of kidney stones is unwarranted.
People with recurrent stone formation may have an unusual biochemistry, leading to increased production of oxalate from vitamin C. (6) Oxalate and urate can accumulate in kidney stones. In practice, there is an increased excretion of both oxalate and urate with gram level doses of vitamin C (ascorbate). Various authors over the years have used this increase to predict that vitamin C will cause kidney stones; however, these predictions have never been confirmed.
To sum up folks, do your own research before you jump on the band wagon and spread misinformation. I too like to know the pro’s and con’s, but when you consider MSM (main stream medicine) has been trying to discredit Vitamin C for eon’s, you must realise they have an axe to grind, and it is not because this Vitamin is toxic and dangerous. It is because this vitamin is inexpensive, non toxic and has wonderful healing properties. Compared to patented medicines being pushed by the pharmaceutical interests you can save yourself thousands of dollars annually. I read somewhere (lost the link, sorry) that compared to pharmaceutical interventions, Ascorbic Acid will cost you approximately $20.00 per year to maintain and restore your health. Sounds good to me!
(source) Here is a well-reported case of intravenous Vitamin C saving a man dying from viral pneumonia (swine flu) : visit article or archived screenshot here. It is interesting to note that the doctors were reluctant to use this treatment, and later even wanted to stop it even though the patient was recovering quickly. Stopping the Vitamin C therapy caused the patient’s condition to deteriorate again, and his family members had to convince the doctors to resume this treatment, leading to his full recovery. What is wrong with these doctors?
Vitamin C is definitely safe, as it is a water-soluble vitamin and the body gets rid of any excess that it doesn’t need.
Why are they banning intravenous (injectable) Vitamin C when the evidence, from medical sources, shows that it actually works in treating cancer tumors, and safely too? Is it because it is a vitamin and not a drug? Could Mike Adams be right, in that Vitamin C cannot be patented and is therefore a threat to Big Pharma’s profits? The dots definitely connect in this direction.
An update of the situation is here (archived screenshot, Jan 11 2011). “The FDA has gone through an internal process whereby they determined injectable vitamin C to be an unapproved drug.”
Highly recommended further reading :
- Vitamin C Better than Chemo for Cancer (Andrew W. Saul, PhD) (excerpt from film “Food Matters”)
- Cancer and Vitamin C: Evidence-Based Censorship
or archived snapshot here
- Intravenous ascorbic acid : Is it just a coincidence, or an exciting breakthrough in cancer research?
or archived snapshot here
- Vitamin C in high doses might kill cancer cells
or archived snapshot here
- Vitamin C Slows Cancer Down …and, Doctors Say, Can Reverse It as Well
or archived snapshot here
- Vitamin C Foundation