Mainstream medication has lengthy had a wholesome skepticism of dietary dietary supplements, extending to the current day with commentaries like “Sufficient is sufficient.” In an essay entitled “Battling quackery,” nevertheless, revealed within the Archives of Inner Drugs, it’s argued that we might have gone too far in our complement bashing, as evidenced by our “uncritical acceptance” of supposed toxicities; the surprisingly “indignant, scornful tone” present in medical texts utilizing phrases like “careless,” “ineffective,” “indefensible,” “wasteful,” and “insidious”; and ignoring proof of attainable profit.

“As an example the uncritical acceptance of unhealthy information” about dietary supplements, the authors mentioned the “well-known” idea that high-dose vitamin C could cause kidney stones, as I spotlight in my video Do Vitamin C Dietary supplements Forestall Colds however Trigger Kidney Stones? Simply because one thing is well-known in medication, nevertheless, doesn’t imply it’s essentially true. In reality, the authors couldn’t discover a single, reported case.

We’ve recognized that vitamin C is become oxalates within the physique, and, if the extent of oxalates within the urine will get too excessive, stones can kind, however, even at 4,000 mg of vitamin C a day, which is sort of a couple gallons’ price of orange juice, urinary oxalates might not get very excessive, as you’ll be able to see at 1:10 in my video. After all, there stands out as the uncommon people who’ve an elevated capability for this conversion into oxalates, so a theoretical threat of kidney stones with high-dose vitamin C dietary supplements was raised in a letter printed in a medical journal again in 1973.

When the theoretical threat was mentioned within the medical literature, nevertheless, the researchers made it sound as if it had been a longtime phenomenon: “Extreme consumption of vitamin C may additionally be related to the formation of oxalate stones.” Sounds much less like a theoretical threat and extra like a longtime phenomenon, proper? That assertion had seven citations supposedly suggesting an affiliation between extreme vitamin-C consumption and the formation of oxalate kidney stones. Let’s take a look at the cited sources, which you’ll see from 1:47 in my video. One reference is the letter in regards to the theoretical threat, which is reputable, however one other listed quotation, titled “Jaundice following the administration of niacin,” has nothing to do with both vitamin C or kidney stones. What’s extra, the opposite 5 citations are simply references to books. Which may be acceptable if the books cited major analysis themselves, however, as an alternative, there was a form of round logic, the place the books simply cite different books citing that theoretical threat letter once more. So, whereas it seems to be as if there’s a variety of proof, they’re all simply expressing this opinion with no new information.

By that point, there truly had been research that adopted populations of individuals taking vitamin C dietary supplements and located no elevated kidney stone threat amongst males, then later, the identical was proven in girls. So, you’ll be able to perceive the frustration of the authors of “Battling quackery” commentary that vitamin-C dietary supplements gave the impression to be unfairly villainized.

The irony is that we now know that vitamin-C dietary supplements do certainly seem to extend kidney stone threat. The identical inhabitants of males referenced above was adopted additional out, and males taking vitamin-C dietary supplements did in actual fact find yourself with greater threat. This has since been confirmed in a second research, although additionally of males. We don’t but know if girls are equally in danger, although there has now additionally been a case reported of a kid operating into issues.

What does doubling of threat imply precisely on this context? These taking a thousand milligrams or so of vitamin C a day might have a 1-in-300 likelihood of getting a kidney stone yearly, as an alternative of a 1-in-600 likelihood. One in 300 “shouldn’t be an insignificant threat,” as kidney stones will be actually painful, so researchers concluded that since there aren’t any advantages and a few threat, it’s higher to remain away.

However there are advantages. Taking vitamin C simply while you get a chilly doesn’t appear to assist, and though common complement customers don’t appear to get fewer colds, after they do get sick, they don’t get as sick and get higher about 10 p.c quicker. And, these underneath excessive bodily stress might lower their chilly threat in half. So, it’s actually as much as every particular person to steadiness the potential frequent chilly profit with the potential kidney stone threat.


What about intravenous vitamin C? I’ve acquired an entire video sequence on that, together with:

If you happen to’re not taking vitamin C dietary supplements for pharmacological results and simply wish to know what number of vitamin C-rich fruit and veggies to eat daily, try my video What Is the Optimum Vitamin C Consumption?.

Is there something we will put into our mouth that basically would possibly assist stop colds? These movies will level you in the fitting course:

And, in case you’re curious about studying about a very powerful steps you’ll be able to take to forestall and deal with kidney stones, look no additional than my movies Easy methods to Forestall Kidney Stones with Weight loss plan and Easy methods to Deal with Kidney Stones with Weight loss plan.

What about high-oxalate greens comparable to rhubarb, spinach, beet greens and swiss chard? I’d encourage a moderation in consumption. If you happen to’re going to take my recommendation to ideally eat cups of darkish inexperienced leafy greens a day I’d suggest sticking with different greens comparable to kale or collards.

In well being,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you happen to haven’t but, you’ll be able to subscribe to my free movies right here and watch my dwell displays:

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