In this article, I’m going to teach you how to use Vitamin C for opiate withdrawal. I first learned about mega-dosing with Vitamin C to alleviate opiate withdrawal symptoms a few months ago, and after much research on the subject, I’ve developed an easy and effective step-by-step plan (taken from a major study) that anyone can use …and I have to tell you, I’m really excited about this article!
Over the past few years, I’ve made it my life’s mission and purpose to study and write about the most effective strategies for coming off opiates with ease, and I believe Vitamin C can be a great remedy. I’ve become somewhat of an expert on prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, natural drugs, herbs, amino acids and home remedies for treating opiate withdrawal, and I now present you with a new way to detox from opiates.
After reading numerous studies, articles, and personal testimonials, I’m of the opinion that taking mega-doses of Vitamin C is a very effective natural method for easing opiate withdrawal symptoms. Furthermore, according to these studies and testimonials, many individuals have completely stopped 90-100% of their opiate withdrawal symptoms due to mega-dosing with Vitamin C.
A Brief Overview of Vitamin C
Vitamin C, or l-ascorbic acid, is an essential nutrient for humans and certain animals. Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant that is necessary for normal growth and development. Most people supplement with Vitamin C for it’s antioxidant benefits, that is, for it’s ability to destroy free radicals. Perhaps you’ve taken Vitamin C at the onset of a cold before with hopes of stopping the sickness or at least shortening the intensity and duration. The RDA of Vitamin C is 90 mg for adult males and 75 mg for females.
The Real Truth Behind Vitamin C and Humans
All living organisms either make Vitamin C, get it from their diets, or they die. Man, guinea pigs and certain monkeys, are unable to make their own Vitamin C. Therefore, humans must obtain Vitamin C from their diet or from supplements.
In the article Drug Addiction is Easy to Cure, Dr. James Howenstine, MD., states the following:
Human beings lack the l-gulonolactone oxidase enzyme (GLO). Lack of this enzyme makes humans unable to synthesize ascorbate from blood glucose. All mammals except primates, guinea pigs, and humans use glucose to create ascorbic when placed in stressful situations. A normal animal under minimal stress increases ascorbic output to the human equivalent of 10 to 20 grams daily. Under physical and chemical stress, animals can increase this ascorbic output three to five fold.
A daily intake of 10 to 20 grams by an unstressed human is not high. Under stress the need for ascorbic may go up to 30 to 100 grams daily. The continuation of sub-therapeutic doses of vitamin C recommended for 40 years in the USA would barely keep animals alive in poor health.”
The main component of Dr. Howenstine’s opiate withdrawal treatment protocol consists of taking 25 to 85 grams of Vitamin C per day in divided doses, and he is by no means the only physician that uses this opiate detox method. The following studies will demonstrate how these mega-doses of Vitamin C for opiate withdrawal work.
Mega-Doses of Vitamin C For Opiate Withdrawal
According to literature in the medical school library of the University of Mexico, Vitamin C might block the neuromodulatory response of opioid receptors to opioid drugs like heroin, morphine, oxycodone, etc. Furthermore, in vitro studies have also shown that high concentrations of Vitamin C may inhibit the endogenous opioid degrading metalloenzyme and increase endorphin levels. This is very relevant because opioids mimic endorphins. When you’re going through opiate withdrawal, you’re severely deficient in endorphins, and that’s one of the main reasons you feel so bad.
In a study from 2000, high doses of Vitamin C on the withdrawal syndrome of heroin abusers were investigated. The patients in the Vitamin C group received 300 mg per kg of body weight per day, along with Vitamin E in the amount of 5 mg per kg of body weight. The control group received only conventional medication.
The results showed that the Vitamin C group had much milder withdrawal symptoms than the control group. The study concluded that high doses of Vitamin C may ameliorate the withdrawal syndrome of heroin abusers.
In a study from 2008, researchers sought to study the effect of Vitamin C on the development of tolerance and dependence to opiates and it’s mechanism of action. Mice were made physically dependent on opioids from the repeated administration of morphine. Vitamin C (400-1600 mg/kg) dose dependently inhibited development of tolerance and dependence to morphine.
In the study, the researchers demonstrated that Vitamin C possessed antidopaminergetic activity and modulate the glutamatergic neurotransmission in mice. Opioid tolerance and dependence are thought to result form neuronal adaptations produced by repeated drug exposure, and according to the study, it is my understanding that Vitamin C appears to disrupt this mechanism.
My Favorite Theory on Vitamin C’s Method of Action
Throughout the rest of the informational (not the “how-to”) section of this article I will be summarizing a very small portion of the article Attenuation of Heroin Withdrawal Syndrome by the Administration of High-Dose Vitamin C, written by Dr. Alexander G. Schauss, PhD.
Some believe that Vitamin C (in the form of sodium ascorbic) might block opioid receptors in the brain of heroin addicts and block or reduce the rush produced from intravenous use of the drug. This theory was based on a series of experiments performed by Dr. Alexander G. Schauss, PhD, at the University of New Mexico. The hypothesis was that opioids bind to specific opioid receptors, and that Vitamin C can bind to these receptors, thereby blocking the neuromodulatory effect of the opioid.
Doctor Calls Vitamin C “A Cure to Cancer” for Addicts
In 1979, Dr. Schauss gave a presentation on one of the studies he conducted a decade earlier. He reported that out of 20 addicts that complied with the high doses of Vitamin C protocol, each one reported few symptoms commonly experienced during heroin withdrawal. Dr. Janice Keller-Phelps, MD, the medical director of the King County Center for Addiction Services, commented at the end of his presentation that the idea that Vitamin C could help heroin addicts was “total nonsense”.
Dr. Schauss challenged her to try the treatment for one month with any of the hardcore heroin addicts in her program. Dr. Keller-Phelps decided to take the challenge. She then traveled to meet with many other doctors who had been having success using Vitamin C for opiate withdrawal. After she saw the results these other doctors were getting, she soon returned to Seattle and began using Vitamin C (in the form of sodium ascorbate) at the addiction treatment facility in King County, Washington.
As a result, she had incredible success ameliorating the withdrawal symptoms of heroin abusers. There was even dramatic results with individuals that had been addicted to heroin for 25 years who went through a plethora of withdrawals. She was of the opinion that Vitamin C for opiate withdrawal was like “a cure to cancer” for addicts.
Testimonials from Vitamin C Users on Forums
Recently I read about people having mind-blowing results using mega-doses of Vitamin C for opiate withdrawal on the forums, and I was shaking my head at the utter ignorance of some of the responses. I read some really cool testimonials of people that said mega-doses of Vitamin C completely stopped all of their withdrawal symptoms…then I continued reading the threads, and most of the comments were negative. Over 90% of the other forum members that commented didn’t believe these stories.
They made jokes and stated there was no way Vitamin C could work that well, otherwise the whole world would know about it. I guess it’s the belief in the old saying, “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” But that made me wonder why virtually nobody is aware of Vitamin C’s capability to stop opiate withdrawal. It didn’t take me long to figure out the answer…and then I found research to back up my suspicion.
National Institute for Drug Abuse and Alcoholism Turns Vitamin C Down
After Dr. Keller-Phelps had her amazing results with Vitamin C mega-dosing and thought of it as “a cure to cancer” for addicts, she contacted officials of the National Institute for Drug Abuse and Alcoholism (NIDAA) in Washington, DC. She asked NIDAA to send a fact finding team to come question her patients that had the amazing results form using Vitamin C for opiate withdrawal. Some people from NIDAA came and interviewed many of the patients over the course of a few days.
NIDAA was very impressed with the results, although several months later they refused to endorse the treatment. How could this be? What I find funny is that during the exact same time they sent fact finders to interview Dr. Keller-Phelps’s patients, NIDAA was studying the medication called buprenorphine (better known now as Suboxone), a semi-synthetic partial opioid agonist, for the treatment of heroin withdrawal. NIDAA was also a proponent of the use of Methadone for opiate withdrawal.
In 1990 NIDAA created the Medications Development Division, with the goal of manufacturing medications to treat addiction. In 1994 they formed a partnership with the very first manufacturer of buprenorphine to get the medication available for use. The FDA approved it in 2002, and now there is an army of people that have been stuck Suboxone for years.
How to Use Vitamin C for Opiate Withdrawal
Luckily, Vitamin C can be used to get off buprenorphine as well as Methadone, heroin, oxycodone or any other opioid. The following “how-to” section of the article will provide you with a step-by-step plan to effectively and safely use Vitamin C for opiate withdrawal. As far as safety goes, the dosages and protocol I recommend is from a study performed at an addiction center in Harlem, New York. The hardcore heroin addicts experienced great results, and out of all the studies I’ve researched, this one makes the most sense to me. I’ve also added the use of an over-the-counter diarrhea medication to the plan as a safety precaution.
Step 1: Purchase Sodium Ascorbate
The type of Vitamin C that has been shown to work the best with the least amount of side effects is sodium ascorbate. Ascorbic acid and sodium ascorbate have both been used in studies with success, but ascorbic acid appears to be harder on the stomach. Since you’re going to be mega-dosing throughout the day (25-85 grams or more), my plan consists of purchasing a large container of high-quality Nutribiotic Sodium Ascorbate Powder. This brand is a non-bitter, fully reacted, buffered and 100% pure pharmaceutical grade form of sodium ascorbate. Each 1/4 teaspoon contains 1.25 grams of sodium ascorbate.
Step 2: Purchase Loperamide HCL
To counteract any possibility of diarrhea or intestinal issues of any major concern, you’re going to take loperamide HCL, the active ingredient in the over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medication Imodium AD. I’ve written an entire article on using loperamide for opiate withdrawal (I highly recommend reading it), so I won’t go deep into it here. However, I will inform you that loperamide can effectively stop any diarrhea or stomach discomfort you might have from using Vitamin C for opiate withdrawal. Kirkland Signature Loperamide HCL is a great deal for the low price. No need to purchase the name brand Imodium AD, as it’s the same exact ingredient and you’ll just end up paying a lot more money.
Step 3: Purchase Fruit Juice
Sodium ascorbate powder is pretty hard to drink when it’s mixed with water. This plan consists of drinking 6-ounce glasses of diluted fruit juice mixed with sodium ascorbate. The juice to water ratio will be 50:50, and the type of juice used can be apple or orange. This drink will still have a less than desirable and slightly “salty” taste, but I assure you it’s bearable.
Step 4: Follow the Protocol
Every opiate abuser is biochemically unique and brings to the table varying levels of addiction severity, so there is no way to accurately provide you with an exact dosage that will be optimal. However, I will provide you with a sample Vitamin C for opiate withdrawal protocol that is straight from the article referred to earlier that Dr. Schauss wrote.
Based on a Vitamin C for opiate withdrawal study in Harlem, New York, and taken directly from Attenuation of Heroin Withdrawal Syndrome by the Administration of High-Dose Vitamin C:
“The question of how much vitamin C an addict could tolerate before reaching “bowel tolerance” turned out to vary. (When diarrhoea occured, the amount of vitamin C was decreased to a lower dose.) Over time it was observed that addicts heavily addicted to heroin could tolerate considerable amounts of vitamin C before reaching bowel tolerance.
The first step in the protocol is to go through vitamin C loading for at least three days before going through withdrawal. This titration phase is critical. This would allow the dose of vitamin C to gradually increase to an amount of the vitamin that could be frequently administered every few hours once withdrawal symptoms were anticipated. Nurses adjusted the dose of sodium ascorbate in juice depending on the participants body weight, medical history, and frequency of daily heroin use. The protocol for an addict who met inclusion criteria might be as follows:
- Day-One: (three days prior to day of withdrawal): Drink six ounces diluted fruit juice (DFJ) containing 500-1000 mg of sodium ascorbate (SA) every two hours until bedtime.
- Day-Two: Drink DFJ with 1,000-2,5000 mg of SA every two hours until bedtime.
- Day-Three: Drink DFJ with 5,000-7,5000 mg of SA every three hours until bedtime. Begin withdrawal at bedtime. If withdrawal symptoms occur during the night, DFJ with 5,000 to 7,500 mg SA, administered when awake, and taken every two hours until symptoms abate.
- Day-Four: DFJ with 2,500-5,000 mg SA every two hours until bedtime. If symptoms occur during the night, DFJ with 2,500-5,000 mg SA, administered every two hours until symptoms abate.
- Day-Five: DFJ with 1,000-2,5000 SA every two hours until bedtime. If symptoms occur during the night, DFJ with 1,000-2,5000 mg SA, administered when awake, and taken every two hours until symptoms abate.
- Day-Six: DFJ with 1,000 mg SA every two hours until bedtime. If symptoms occur during the night, 1,000 mg SA, administered when awake, and taken every two hours until symptoms abate.”
Step 5: Measure Progress Along the Way
When this study was done, the trick was to take as much Vitamin c for opiate withdrawal as possible without causing bowel intolerance. I’ve added my own addition to their plan. The loperamide can be taken as needed to prevent diarrhea and stomach cramping. I’ve read many personal testimonials of individuals having great success using these two strategies together.
So there you have it…a plan using mega-doses of Vitamin C for opiate withdrawal that is simple and inexpensive. Measure your progress along the way. If it’s not working, take more Vitamin C. If it’s working but you are having unpleasant side-effects, take loperamide and/or lower your Vitamin C dose.
Step 6: Take Calm Support
During and after the Vitamin C for opiate withdrawal protocol, you’ll need something to further help ease your symptoms and restore your brain chemistry that has been disrupted from opiate abuse. While Vitamin C is powerful on it’s own, if you want to have an extremely comfortable withdrawal, you’ll need to use a strong opiate withdrawal formula. Furthermore, the reason most people relapse within the first 90 days of quitting opiates is because of the lingering symptoms, also known as Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). If you simply come off opiates, then do nothing more, the odds that you will relapse are very high.
That’s why I’ve incorporated the use of Calm Support (Read review…) into this withdrawal plan. Calm Support is an opiate withdrawal supplement that has a blend of natural ingredients to ease opiate withdrawal symptoms and restore brain chemistry. I recommend taking Calm Support starting three days before your withdrawal begins, which is right when you will be starting the Vitamin C loading phase. Taking these two together will enable you to have a very mild and comfortable withdrawal.
You won’t even believe how easy it will be…and taking the supplement for 30 days can provide you with the following benefits:
- Enhances mood
- Eases stomach discomfort
- Increases natural energy
- Calms anxiety
- Restores dopamine production quickly
- Reverses depression
- Reverses insomnia and helps you get more restorative sleep
NOTE: Many people that have only used the Vitamin C by itself have emailed me to say they relapsed, then when they tried the protocol again, they used Calm Support and thus were successful. Vitamin C doesn’t correct the long-term biochemical imbalances, but Calm Support does.
So at this point, you may be asking the question:
“If Vitamin C for opiate withdrawal works so well, why on Earth isn’t it used as a normal treatment modality?!
Many individuals and organizations are opposed to using “megavitamins” for substance abuse treatment. Some believe it is unsafe, while others believe it just results in “expensive urine.” Furthermore, in the past, as well as the present day, America appears to be obsessed with pharmaceutical medications to treat addiction. I foresee this obsession to continue for at least the next three to five decades, but I really hope I’m wrong.
I’m doing my best to help spread the word about these natural forms of treatment. I believe medications can be a useful form of treatment for some people, though I also am of the opinion that the patient should be given more choices.
Too many opiate abusers believe Suboxone, Subutex, Methadone and Vivitrol are their only options for staying clean. The only way things are going to change is if enough people finally come together and make some noise. Even then, it’s going to take a lot of dedication, persistence and action to get things moving in the right direction.
Since I wrote this article, I’ve learned something very important. Liposomal Vitamin C has a 90% bioavailability, so more of the nutrient gets absorbed into the bloodstream without the gastrointestinal issues (this is good news!). For awhile I had a small paragraph written here asking if someone tried this method to please inform me how it worked. You see, liposomal C is still ascorbic acid, which was shown in one of the studies to significantly reduce withdrawal symptoms, however, it is encapsulated in a lipid (fat) layer, which helps it get absorbed much better, and as a result also prevents stomach issues.
I ordered some liposomal C and took 10,000 mg three times a day and guess what? No bowel intolerance! Typically a dose of 3,000 mg regular Vitamin C will slightly upset my stomach. And here is some even better news. I recently received a comment on this article from someone that had great results using this method.
Here is what Lane had to say:
My experience with the Liposomal Vitamin C: Sunday night was my last pill! I had been taking vitamin c for 2 days (the building up phase). Day 3 (first day without pain pills) was awesome, no withdrawal symptoms at all! I guess I let my guard down the next day 4, and slacked off the C because the first day was so good! The freezing body temperature was awful, so I bumped up the C again, until I began to feel a little better the next day! Since then it has been ok overall! I had no bowel intolerance with this form of the C! I am continuing with the DLPA as well! I only pray I have the strength to stay away from my next pain appointment! Thanks for your informative site Matt!”
Pretty cool right?! Here are the two types of liposomal C I’ve tried that I believe are superior products: LivOn Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C Packets (I like this one best) and Dr. Mercola Liposomal Vitamin C. This form of taking Vitamin C is even more powerful than intravenous C, and I’m very grateful a reader told me about this. I am leaving the sodium ascorbate/fruit juice protocol up because I think it is a great framework to go by, and people can either use that method, or take liposomal C instead. If it were me, I would absolutely take liposomal combined with Calm Support.
Then after the acute detox ended, I would go immediately to my Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) regimen. Click here to read the PAWS protocol.
Here is a a short YouTube video showing how liposomal supplements get absorbed better:
Please feel free to comment on your experience using any of these methods. Click here now to view my best home detox program.
If you have any questions on using Vitamin C for opiate withdrawal, please feel free to post them in the comment box below.
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