Stress, Vitamin C, and Colds

December 18, 2002 10:46 AM

Here are some answers to the many questions I've received lately about stages of stress, colds, and their relationship to Vitamin C. Being the cold and flu season in combination with holiday stress Vitamin C exhaustion is very commonplace.


There are three stages of stress and two general types of stress with five stress "instigators" as follows:

The Three Stages: Alarm, Resistance and Recovery

The Two Types:
Distress (negative, or any stress that increases the demands on the body and inevitably hurts the body)
Eustress (positive, or any stress which makes you feel good, like exercise, but which nonetheless places more demands on body functions.)

The Five Instigators:
All disease and sickness, nutrient deficiencies or excesses, accelerated growth and development (pregnancy ? childhood growth spurts etc.), physical trauma, emotional trauma, and toxic accumulation).

Each type, stage, and instigator increases the body's need for vitamin C and therefore taking more vitamin C can provide an added protection benefit. Vitamin C can minimize the damage from stress, including boosting the immune system to defend against colds.


In actuality, each person is unique and therefore requires different vitamin C intake than the next for perfect results. (Knowing this exact, personal nutrient amount is the topic of For Your Body Only.)

The clinically demonstrated range of need for this most important water soluble biological anti-oxidant, anti-antherogenic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-hypertensive, anti-viral, anti-histaminic, immunomodulatory, opthalmoprotective and airway-protector is 100 mgs. to 10,000 mgs. ? the actual level one needs is highly dependent on the person's age, drug intake, exercise levels, toxic accumulation, nutrient deficiencies and excesses, and of course, stress levels. By the way, an impending cold, or any infectious agent, is a large stress to the body.
As a clinical nutritionist for over 18 years, I would not recommend children or adults to ever drop below 110 mgs. per day as a supplement to a vitamin C rich diet ,because the food content of vitamin C is so variable nowadays.


The vitamin C content of vegetables and fruits is generally much lower than what it used to be years ago thanks to mass production farming, mineral depleted soils, genetically engineered seed stock, high toxin levels, improper processing storage, cooking, etc., etc. Nutrient losses in the food chain are highly documented in Senate documents #264 and #268 and from our testing lab research. So beware!

Contrary to popular belief, oranges are NOT the best source of vitamin C. There are 3 categories of foods categorized as Excellent, Good, and Fair based upon their vitamin C content.
(100 mgs. or more
per 100 gms food)
(50 ? 99 mgs.
per 100 gms food)
(30 ? 49 mgs.
per 100 gms food)
Broccoli Cabbage Asparagus
Brussel Sprouts Cauliflower Lima Beans
Collards Chives Swiss Chard
Black Currants Kohlrabi Gooseberries
Guava Orange Pulp Red Currants
Horse Radish Lemon Pulp Grapefruit
Kale Mustard Greens Limes
Turnip Greens Beet Greens Loganberries
Parsley Papaya Melons
Sweet Peppers Spinach Okra
  Strawberries Tangerines
  Water Cress Potato

** Rule of Thumb Per Day: 2 healthy servings from Excellent category or 3 healthy servings from Good category or 4 healthy servings from Fair category or any combination thereof. By the way, an orange can have anywhere from 0 mgs. of vitamin C to 30 mgs. of C nowadays.

Infants 0-6 months 40 mgs.
Infants 7 ? 12 months 50 mgs.
Children 1 ? 3 years 15 mgs.
Children 4 ? 8 years 25 mgs.
Boys 9 ? 13 years 45 mgs.
Boys 14 ? 18 years 75 mgs.
Girls 9 ? 13 years 45 mgs.
Girls 14 ? 18 years 65 mgs.
Men 19 ? 30 years 90 mgs.
Men 31 ? 50 years 90 mgs.
Men 51 ?70 years 90 mgs.
Men 70 + 90 mgs.
Women 19 ? 30 years 75 mgs.
Women 31 ? 50 years 75 mgs.
Women 51 ? 70 years 75 mgs.
Women 70 + 75 mgs.
Pregnancy 14 ? 18 years 80 mgs.
Pregnancy 19 ? 30 years 85 mgs.
Pregnancy 31 ? 50 years 85 mgs.
Lactation 14 ? 18 years 115 mgs.
Lactation 19 ? 30 years 120 mgs.
Lactation 31 ? 50 years 120 mgs.
Men - smokers Any age 125 mgs.
Women - smokers Any age 110 mgs.

NOTE: The government (not clinical) LOAEL (Lowest Observed Adverse Effect) is 3 grams or 3,000 mgs. and therefore has set the UL (Tolerable Upper Level Intake) at 2 gms. per day for those over 19 years.


1. Unfortunately, medical doctors know very little about nutrition generally speaking. To achieve the perfect vitamin C intake, or any nutrient intake for that matter necessitates getting tested for vitamin and mineral needs via home test kits as suggested in my books.

2. Definitely take 2 ? 3 times more vitamin C than usual when under stress and up to 10 grams per day if on the verge of a cold. But I wouldn't advise an elevated intake of this type for more than 10 days straight as it will interfere with the utilization of other nutrients over time.

3. In practice, I do not utilize time released vitamin C due to an inherent reduction in bioavailability which accompanies this type of supplement. It's best to take smaller amounts of bioflavanoid complex and/or low acid vitamin C through the course of the day. Since vitamin C is not readily excreted unless taken in large amounts, blood levels are usually kept stable using this format.

Stay well and enjoy the holidays!