The Importance of Vitamin C for Adrenal Health

by lydia on September 28, 2012

Vitamin C may quite possibly be the single most essential anti-stress nutrient. Why? Not only does it offer cellular protection and immune support, but it provides adrenal support to produce more cortisone and epinephrine. The adrenals store the highest concentration of Vitamin C in the body. The more cortisol made in the body,  the more vitamin C is used up. The more stress you live in, the more vitamin C your body needs. Vitamin C is water soluble and gets used up quickly by the body, it is imperative to get it in the diet. However, most people do not consume enough for their bodies needs. It really is critical to supplement, especially if you live a stressful life. And we all know, stress is a huge factor in adrenal fatigue. (cover photo credit)

‘In the adrenal glands the concentration of vitamin C is among the highest in the body, being roughly 100 times that of blood plasma levels. As such the adrenals are extremely sensitive to inadequacies in vitamin C. In catecholamine synthesis, vitamin C is required as a co-factor in the conversion of dopamine to norepinephrine. In humans vitamin C secretion occurs as part of the stress response via hormone regulation, specifically in response to stimulation via the adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH). Utilizing adrenal vein catheterization, it was demonstrated that following ACTH stimulation, the mean adrenal vein vitamin C level increased approximately four fold, and then subsequently returned to near pre-stimulation levels approximately 15 minutes thereafter. Peak ad- renal vitamin C and cortisol concentrations have been strongly correlated, suggesting a local action of vitamin C on the adrenal glands. Additionally, it has been noted that, although being of unknown function, the increase in vitamin C secretion suggests that “adrenal vitamin C secretion is an integral part of the stress response.” Stress, fever and viral infections, as well as habitual actions, such as smoking and alcohol use, cause a rapid decline in the blood level of vitamin C, and the vitamin C requirements tend to be higher in stressed or traumatized persons.’  (Source -ADB5-Plus Article)

Supplementing with Vitamin C


It’s important to find your own bio-individual dose of vitamin C as everyone will need differing amounts. The more stress you have been under the more you may need. It’s also important to find quality supplements, a lot of ascorbic acid supplements are derived from corn syrup, and some from cane sugar or beet sugar. If you have any sensitivity to corn or sugars, it’s best to avoid these. In order to know what’s in your supplement you will likely have to call the company and ask directly. I can recommend Biotics Mixed Ascorbates, they are not derived from corn or sugar and are made in a gluten free facility. (Also, check out Standard Process or Apex Energetics). I am sure there are others out there, you will just have to do the digging to find out what the quality is. Also, it’s important to make sure you are getting adequate bioflavinoids as well. Most ascorbic acid powders do not include bioflavinoids and most supplements in pill form with the combination of c and bioflavinoids are not a high enough dose for some, nor are they the proper ratio. You want a 2:1 ratio of vitamin C to bioflavinoids. I use a powder mixed ascorbates with a seperate citrus bioflavinoid tablet so I can make sure I get the ratio I need. Look for bioflavinoids made from citrus, check to see if they are made in a gluten free facility and don’t be afraid to call the company to make sure of the source and quality. The last thing you need is a cheap supplement when you are trying to get your body well.

Vitamin C -Loading or Calibration Test

To find your body’s current vitamin C dose, try the following. Obtain your quality sourced ascorbic acid and bioflavinoids and find a day that you do not have to go out. Take 500 mg of ascorbic acid with 250 mg of bioflavinoids every hour until your bowel movements become loose and runny. Once you reach bowel tolerance, reduce the amount by 500 mg and that is your dose. Over time your body will get to the point where loose bowels are attained, meaning you can then lower your dose again by 500 mg. If you experience excessive gas while trying this try taking the dose with food. The dose could range from anywhere between 2-4 grams to 15-20 grams for people with severe and chronic stress.

Be sure to keep in mind that your body will adapt to the level of vitamin C you are taking, and it is wise to carefully and gradually reduce your intake. If you stop suddenly you can experience symptoms of scurvy. The body takes twice as long to adapt to a decrease in vitamin C as it does any increase, so please keep that in mind. This goes for babies, either in utero or nursing. Moms will have to keep in mind that they need to provide their babies or themselves with enough continued vitamin c to avoid this potential problem.

Further Reading on this Topic

How to Use Vitamin C For Adrenal Support

One woman’s tale of how she escaped Adrenal Fatigue by supplementing with Vitamin C

[Sources: Staying Healthy with Nutrition, Elson Haas; 'Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome", James L. Wilson]


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