Vitamin C Ascorbate for dogs

Vitamin C

Research seems to be validating more and more of Linus Pauling’s hypotheses about Vitamin C (ascorbate). Linus Pauling won the Nobel Prize, twice.


Linus Pauling believed that Ascorbate boosts the immune system and it definitely does, even in research on fish!

Taking ascorbate to the next-level, Pauling’s researchers found anti-cancer benefits in high dose vitamin C.

But about that time, the NIH/FDA released a study saying that your blood only holds 40-200 mg at a time.

It was assumed that the rest was excreted from the body. And it IS, but not before it hits HIGH intracellular / interstitial levels which provide the purported benefits.

Research by Pauling, Hickey, Roberts and more show striking results with very high doses of ascorbate against cancer in vitro and in vivo.

Check that out:

Vitamin C also boosts immune function and can invigorate collagen producing cell activity.

For dogs; hyper supplementation starts cautiously, because some dogs can get diarrhea from a mega-dose of Ascorbate.

What to get: “Liposomal sodium ascorbate” (Rose hips = whatevs)

If Dr Johnson says your 50-60 lb dog’s dose could eventually be two to three grams per day, (2,000-3,000mg) you might start with an ascorbate only 10-20% of that. (10mg/lb once a day)

So you’d initially buy 250mg pills and start thusly:

Day 1-3: One or two a day

Day 4-5: One twice a day

Day 6-7: Two in the am and just one in pm

Day 8-9: Two twice a day

Perhaps at that level you would spend another $10-$15 and buy a more substantial pill, such as 30-50% of the total dose. For example, 1,000-1500mg pills.

With the high-strength pills you repeat the upward titration:

Day 10-12: One a day

Day 13-15: One twice a day

Day 16-18: Two in the am and just one in pm

Day 19-?: Two twice a day

Two crucial keys:

Diarrhea, and Who Gets Ascorbate?

If your patient develops soft stools or diarrhea, skip a dose or more, and STOP titrating-up for a week.

High dose Vitamin C should be reserved for:

  1. Patients with an actual need for it, such as cancer, brittle joints, liver disease, immune dysfunction, extreme age and osteoarthritis.
  2. Patients with good hydration and the propensity to remain that way
  3. Patients with sufficient kidneys.

Should you hyper supplement Vitamin C constantly?

No. Titrate up to the dose suggested by Dr Johnson, and run a regimen like this:

High dose x 5-7 days

Low dose x 4-5 days (Low = Day 1 dose)

High dose x 5-7 days

Low dose x 4-5 days

…and so on.

If you totally STOP between spikes, it’s possible the patient will develop loose stools when resuming.

For all of the “lip service” given to ascorbate-diarrhea above, I haven’t encountered it *at all*.

That could be because we taper UP.

Or dogs just aren’t as likely as some people to have the problem.

Animals can synthesize vitamin C.

Humans cannot synthesize ascorbate, so we die without it.

Animals with several aging, nutritional and metabolic disorders can’t make enough to have a practical benefit.

I hold the idea that “aging” is a snowball effect of subtle, but predictable diminishment of:

  1. energy-production-metabolism,
  2. control-hormones,
  3. nutritional: digestive and absorptive
  4. and organ system-‘frailties’

…that gradually sum-up to ‘decline’.

Not in my lifetime; but soon, science will arrive at an answer to the question: ‘What are the aggregate metabolic changes that start the physical decline after adolescence? Plainly it is NOT just testosterone and estrogen!

Dr Erik Johnson is a Marietta, Georgia Veterinarian with a practice in small animal medicine. He graduated from University of Georgia with his Doctorate in 1991. Dr Johnson is the author of several texts on Koi and Pond Fish Health and Disease as well as numerous articles on dog and cat health topics.