Titrating to bowel tolerance

This forum will focus on the interesting topic of titrating oral vitamin C intake to so-called bowel tolerance, the point just prior to the onset of diarrhea

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Titrating to bowel tolerance

Post Number:#1  Post by hyperascorbemic » Wed Dec 21, 2005 2:40 pm

Hello all. First of all I would like to thank Mr. Fonorow for the informative site, and Drs. Hickey and Roberts, if they still visit the forum. Your work is much appreciated.

My question concerns the bowel tolerance dosage of vitamin C, and how it can be established. I would like to establish my basic bowel tolerance when in good health. I read some pointers on Robert Cathcart's site (http://www.orthomed.com/titrate.htm) but he does not give explicit instructions. Now, at first this may seem like an obvious question-- simply up the dosage of vitamin C until it causes diarrhea. However, if this is done over the course of a day, any residual ascorbate already present in the system would add to the total and give an inaccurate bowel tolerance, would it not? I also thought of taking a multi-gram dose and increasing it daily until diarrhea is produced. However, over the course of several days my need for ascorbate may vary and again I might arrive at an innacurate total.

Any pointers?


Re: Titrating to bowel tolerance

Post Number:#2  Post by davids » Thu Dec 22, 2005 12:52 am

Hi Hyper,

There are 2 points I think are worth your consideration:

1) Your "bowel tolerance" will vary [somewhat] from day to day. In my own case, diet is the single biggest factor involved, e.g. the larger the percentage of raw food in my diet, the lower my "bowel tolerance" [point] is.

2) If you ingest no ascorbate overnight, while you sleep, you can assume that you are at your lowest "base" point of the day [and just "build" from there], i.e. typically, you should be at approximately the same ascorbate levels each day after 8+ hours of no ingestion.

The idea Hyper, with the "bowel tolerance" method of dosage determination, is to "let" your body "tell" you at any particular time how much it wants/needs. We do not have the luxury of the animals, who produce it for themselves, "24/7" according to their need(s) of the moment, so we must constantly be determining that for ourselves. And that is the great benefit and beauty of the "bowel tolerance" method, i.e. we don't have to take a blood and/or urine sample to try and figure out if we need more, i.e. when some passes through to our colon, we know it was not absorbed into the body "proper" and therefore can assume we need no more for the moment. It is not as complicated as it may at first seem. A little experimentation/practice will get you comfortable with your dosage needs in a few weeks (or months, at most).

Dr. Cathcart recommends using ascorbic acid powder to start with, as it is easier/faster to establish your "bowel tolerance" [point] than with tablets (because the powder is more readily absorbed). But once you have a general "feel" for what your bowel tolerance [amount] is under different circumstances, he then feels the tablets are perhaps a better permanent method of ingesting (they are more convenient and pose no tooth enamel risk).

And by the way, if you fear the "inconvenience" of having to put up with "diarrhea" to find out how much ascorbate you need each day, my experience has been that relatively quickly I got to the point where intestinal gas beccame the primary, and now virtually sole, indicator of "bowel tolerance," and I have found over the years that I've gotten much better at "guessing" my needs at any particular time, so as to avoid too much excess flatus. So that probably will not be much of a concern [after awhile].

If you have any other questions and/or concerns Hyper, I don't think you can "beat" this forum in terms of the amount of experience and knowledge that is represented here.

Best wishes,

Last edited by davids on Sat Jan 07, 2006 3:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.


the best technique

Post Number:#3  Post by jo » Sat Dec 31, 2005 3:00 am

I'd like to know the best technique for titration to bowel tolerance.

NUMBER OF DOSES -> the more the better?
vit C concentration in the water -> the higher the better?
What is the best concentration /in the water/ for vit C (titrating to bowel tolerance)?

My problem are these thoughts:
- If I drink a too low concentrated water, I have to drink very frequently, that means a lot of water that means a lot of urine and in the end loosing vit C too fast through the kidneys.

- If I drink a too high concentrated water I don't loose it with the urine, but I get diarrhea with a higher probability.


Re: the best technique

Post Number:#4  Post by davids » Sat Dec 31, 2005 1:53 pm

Hi Jo,

Just a few thoughts as "grist for your mill."

Ideally, what we are trying to do is mimic what the animals do naturally, "24/7" from birth to death, i.e. keep our blood and tissues/organs at the proper, i.e. heathful, ascorbate levels. That being said: Yes, the more you can divide your dosage up [throughout the day] the better it is absorbed [and the closer you have mimicked the natural system of/in the animals]. You also waste less ascorbate and have an easier [and therefore more convenient] time determining your "bowel tolerance" limit/dosage [at any particular time/moment].

As for the concentration in water, that would seem to me (I no longer take mine in powder/crystal form) to be purely personal, i.e. it makes no difference. Whatever you prefer, as long as you are apporaching your bowel tolerance each day/hour.

I do not believe that increasing your fluid intake will increase your ascorbate losses. The body decides how much it "wants"/needs to keep, and excretes the rest via the bowels and/or kidneys.

The "diarrhea" is caused when whatever ascorbate was not absorbed in the stomach and/or intestine is passed on to the colon, there drawing [extra] water, and potentially causing a "loose stool." Frankly, given the health, i.e. ill-health, of most people, some "diarrhea" [at first] is probably a good thing, e.g. similar to an enema and/or colonic, except I think even better, because it travels the entire length of the GE tract. Linus Pauling even speculated that the ascorbate probably does some good for/to the colon, kindeys, bladder, urethra, etc., as it is excreted from the body. My experience has been that, as I became more and more "cleaned out" I experienced loose bowel movements less and less often. Now I basically judge my "bowel tolerance" amount/limit almost totally on the flatus, i.e. colonic gas, production. That judgment/determination has become easier to make and more "precise" [with experience] over the years.



Ronald Wong

Bowel cycles/reflexes

Post Number:#5  Post by Ronald Wong » Fri Jan 06, 2006 5:59 pm

There seems a natural tendency to go to the toilet not long after rising in the morning. This can often be triggered by simply taking a glass of water or juice.....bowel urgency occuring within a half hour.
Bowel movements can similarly be triggered at other times of day by ingesting food. I have observed this in myself and members of the family.
Can these natural events be a source of confusion when trying to titrate bowel tolerance?


Re: Bowel cycles/reflexes

Post Number:#6  Post by davids » Sat Jan 07, 2006 3:24 pm

Ronald Wong wrote:There seems a natural tendency to go to the toilet not long after rising in the morning. This can often be triggered by simply taking a glass of water or juice.....bowel urgency occuring within a half hour.
Bowel movements can similarly be triggered at other times of day by ingesting food. I have observed this in myself and members of the family.
Can these natural events be a source of confusion when trying to titrate bowel tolerance?

Hi Ronald,

Good question.

In my own experience, this, i.e. [potential] "source of confusion," has not been [much of] a factor, for several reasons. 1) I typically find that a "bowel tolerance" "reaction" is somewhat different from a "normal" bowel movement. 2) If the "BM" is in the morning, I would not have taken any ascorbate overnight, so the ascorbate is not much of a factor in that "BM." 3) Depending on what your "normal" "BM" pattern is, it is fairly easy to determine what you are experiencing, e.g. If you have a "BM" in the morning, after that it pretty much is an ascorbate "affair." Also, if you try and get to "bowel tolerance" daily (as I do), you will soon see, as you get "cleaned out" (along with an overall improvement in your general health) that the production of flatus becomes the primary marker of "bowel tolerance" vs. a "BM."

I hope this helps Ronald.


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Post Number:#7  Post by CPlus » Thu Jan 19, 2006 8:44 am

I have found an awkward problem when trying to titrate, which is that between meals I can up the dose again and again and nothing happens, until I get to mealtime. I start eating and then my bowels start rumbling and I have to rush to the toilet! So, am I unusual? I seem unable to determine a bowel-tolerance level between meals.

Also, a question for David: if you don't take powder, in what form do you take 30-60g a day? That would seem an awful lot of tablets! I am taking tablets, although I have tried ascorbic acid powder as well.




Post Number:#8  Post by davids » Thu Jan 19, 2006 9:49 am

Hi Jonathan,

Although it might not be your preference, realize that the animals quite typically have several [or many, for herbivores] bowel movements each day, typically (and normally) associated with eating. This is, to my way of thinking, a very healthy occurence. My experience over the years is that the whole "bowel tolerance" "reaction" has become easier and easier to monitor and predict as [I assume] my GI Tract has become more and more "cleaned out." My advice [for the very best of health] Jonathan, would be to stick with whatever you are doing, without causing yourself too much inconvenience.

I have, for the past 10 years, taken all of my ascorbic acid in tablet form. I swallow 6 at a time, usually 5 to 10 times a day. I'll typically start the day, with 18 to 24 grams, and then the rest as the day progresses. However, 10 years ago, it was usually no more than 12 grams to begin the day. My "bowel tolerance" has definitely increased, and the "nuisance" side-effects, have definitely decreased [over the years]. I gradually learned how to take/swallow them quite easily, and have swallowed 12 at once before. I definitely spend no more than 2 to 3 minutes out of every 24 hours dosing myself, so I do not understand people feeling it is a big "hassle."

I hope this helps, Jonathan.

Best regards,



Post Number:#9  Post by jman » Thu Jan 19, 2006 11:09 pm

Do you think vitamin c does anything to the friendly bacteria in the body when going to bowel tolerance?


Post Number:#10  Post by Ken_RN » Fri Jan 20, 2006 2:17 am

jman wrote:Do you think vitamin c does anything to the friendly bacteria in the body when going to bowel tolerance?

I don't. If it did then those taking bowel tolerance doses of vitamin c would eventually start to develop gastrointestinal disorders like ulcers, Crohn's disease, candida, etc.

Vitamin C is non-toxic, not only to humans but to most living creatures. Its bacteriacidal and bacteriostatic qualities come from it's ability to activate phagocytes (white blood cells) and give them the tools that they need to kill the invading pathogens. Normal gut flora aren't targeted for destruction by your immune system so Vitamin C should not place them in any danger.

The study below seems to support that Vitamin C favors normal "good" flora (ie.. friendly bacteria) over pathogenic flora.

Effect of Lactobacillus johnsonii La1 and antioxidants on intestinal flora and bacterial translocation in rats with experimental cirrhosis.
J Hepatol. 2002 Oct;37(4):523-6.


BACKGROUND/AIMS: Probiotics and antioxidants could be alternatives to antibiotics in the prevention of bacterial infections in cirrhosis. The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of Lactobacillus johnsonii La1 and antioxidants on intestinal flora, endotoxemia, and bacterial translocation in cirrhotic rats. METHODS: Twenty-nine Sprague-Dawley rats with cirrhosis induced by CCl(4) and ascites received Lactobacillus johnsonii La1 10(9)cfu/day in vehicle (antioxidants: vitamin C+glutamate) (n=10), vehicle alone (n=11), or water (n=8) by gavage. Another eight non-cirrhotic rats formed the control group. After 10 days of treatment, a laparotomy was performed to determine microbiological study of ileal and cecal feces, bacterial translocation, endotoxemia, and intestinal malondialdehyde (MDA) levels as index of intestinal oxidative damage. RESULTS: Intestinal enterobacteria and enterococci, bacterial translocation (0/11 and 0/10 vs. 5/8, P<0.01), and ileal MDA levels (P<0.01) were lower in cirrhotic rats treated with antioxidants alone or in combination with Lactobacillus johnsonii La1 compared to cirrhotic rats receiving water. Only rats treated with antioxidants and Lactobacillus johnsonii La1 showed a decrease in endotoxemia with respect to cirrhotic rats receiving water (P<0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Antioxidants alone or in combination with Lactobacillus johnsonii La1 can be useful in preventing bacterial translocation in cirrhosis.

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