Are Vitamin D and Vitamin C Supplements a Toxic Scam?
In my Telegram group, a woman going by “Medicine Girl” told another woman that vitamin D supplements are a toxic scam, and so is vitamin C.
The woman was very upset, as she lives in a state that is cold 6+ months a year, so her family relies on D3+K2 supplements, and she asked for more information.
May I give these comments context? Because many of you take vitamin D3+K2, or some kind of D supplement, and many of you consider high-dose vitamin C a solution to any illness.
Medicine Girl is mostly right, but let’s go a little deeper. First, your body does need both “vitamin D” (which may be more hormone than vitamin) and vitamin C, for many reasons, not least of which is strong immune function.
The main thing you should know, which very few do, is that essentially every major industry has been consolidating for many years – even before the massive consolidation that has occurred since March of 2020, which left just two or three monolithic corporations standing in each industry.
For instance, most people aren’t aware that their dentist probably sold their practice in the last ten years and now just works for a huge billion-dollar company.
(You already know that most doctors work for huge companies, and few are still in private practice. You saw that those working for the big hospitals and corporations did not stand up against the vaccine mandates. Those in private practice did, in many cases, and they are currently being persecuted and punished by their licensing boards and insurance companies.)
Another example: my husband worked many years in the funeral industry, and he showed me how even though “Mortenson Family Mortuaries” might be on the sign in front, these companies mostly sold out to a few huge corporations over the last twenty years.
The megabillion-dollar supplement companies, and the pharmaceutical industry, are part of the big consolidation, where we’ve seen an alarming number of mergers and acquisitions.
Pharma owned more than 80% of supplement companies and brands/labels, BEFORE the “pandemic,” a trend that seems to be escalating.
For example, Nestle now owns not only the companies shown (at the 3:00 position) in the 2018 infographic below (Genestra, Garden of Life, Douglas Laboratories, Pure Encapsulations, and Wobenzym), but also Nature’s Bounty, Solgar, Osteo Bi-Flex, Puritan’s Pride, Ester-C, Sundown, Vital Proteins, Nuun, Persona Nutrition, Orthica, Minami, AOV, Klean Athlete and Bountiful … and probably more.
Why I Don't Take Vitamin D Anymore
I don’t take vitamin D. I used to before I learned more, but since I get my vitamin D tested every year, I’ve found that with just minimal sun exposure (15 minutes a couple times a week, and sometimes an hour-long early-morning run), my vitamin D levels are optimal, year after year, even at Utah’s northern latitude where, compared to Florida, sunshine is scant much of the year.
Also, D can be toxic when consumed in excess, as is common with fat-soluble vitamins. Did you know that either ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) or cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) is actually the main ingredient in the category of rodenticides known as “hypercalcemia rat poison?”
They work by dosing the rats with significantly more vitamin D than the tiny amount they need (humans also, actually, need very little), which elevates blood calcium to a lethal level (hence the name “hypercalcemia”). Symptoms of excess serum calcium are the same as symptoms of rat poisoning.
The Resources section at the end of this article includes a couple of links on this topic … if you check them out, I’m pretty sure you’ll learn a few things!
If you eat animals, it’s easy to get vitamin D second hand, from food. For plant-exclusive folks, look to sunlight, sun lamps, or mushrooms if you want to avoid supplements and synthetically fortified foods. (My own optimal D levels cannot be from animal foods, since I don’t eat them.)
You’ll have to read up on these topics. For example, you have to set your mushrooms outside in the sun or under a sun lamp to bathe in UVB rays. And you’ll need to learn some things about sun lamps (crazy expensive, unless you make your own).
You’ll also need to read up on what months and times of day at your latitude have the UVB rays that allow your skin to make vitamin D from the sun. But with a little digging, you’ll find lots of information to be available, if you want to go deeper and stop taking D supplements.
What About Vitamin C Supplements?
Now, vitamin C. Without a doubt, vitamin C plays many critical roles in human health. It’s a powerful antioxidant, and it also prevents scurvy.
(Hundreds of years ago, long-distance British sailors suffered scurvy, a gum disease that often caused them to lose their teeth. For a long time, no one knew why this happened or how to treat it, but in the mid-1700s, a doctor discovered that sucking citrus fruits prevented the condition. Thus, British navy ships began carrying large stocks of the fruits, and sailors came to be nicknamed “limeys,” as they sucked limes throughout their voyages to avert the illness.)
Which goes to my first point, that vitamin C (and other vitamins) is best obtained by eating fruits, as well as other whole plant foods that naturally contain the vitamin. I take Pure Synergy brand “Pure Radiance C,” because it’s made from wild-harvested camu camu, organic acerola cherries, and nine other antioxidant-rich organic berries and fruits.
Another reason to get your vitamin C from food (or at least to carefully source a high-quality brand) is that the vast majority of vitamin C sold as supplements is in the form of ascorbic acid, a highly processed synthetic product that cannot hold a candle to the vitamin C in fresh fruit. Genetically modified corn is a common feedstock used to produce ascorbic acid, often in the form of highly toxic high-fructose corn syrup.
Finally, the wide array of “cofactors” (other nutrients and bioactive compounds) that accompany the vitamin C in whole fruits provide far superior nutrition to the equivalent amount of lab-derived isolated vitamin C we purchase as supplements.
For example, most of the antioxidant activity of a fresh apple comes from the combination of phytochemicals (plant chemicals) within it (we take vitamin C for its antioxidant properties).
You Get More Vitamin C from Foods Than Supplements!
Fascinating fact: In a 2000 study in the journal Nature, Cornell Professor Rui Hai Liu and his team showed that just a half cup of apple contained the vitamin-C-like activity equivalent to 1,500 milligrams of vitamin C (about 3 times the amount in a typical vitamin C supplement), But when they analyzed that small portion of apple, they found just 5.7 milligrams of vitamin C in it!
Did you catch that? You might want to read it again. It’s important, if you’re spending hundreds of dollars on supplements, to think about how science knows little-to-nothing about how bioavailable nutrients are–from FOOD. Isolated synthetic supplements, not so much.
In his book Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition, author T. Colin Campbell discusses the significance of this groundbreaking study:
“The vitamin-C like activity from 100 grams of whole apple was an astounding 263 times as potent as the same amount of the isolated chemical! Said another way, the specific chemical we refer to as vitamin C accounts for much less than 1 percent of the vitamin C-like activity in the apple – a miniscule amount. The other 99-plus percent of this activity is due to other vitamin C-like chemicals in the apple, the possible ability of vitamin C to be much more effective in context of the whole apple than it is when consumed in an isolated form, or both."
What About High-Dose Vitamin C?
Now, someone has probably told you that “high-dose vitamin C” is what you need. Fresh fruits, the most bioavailable sources, do provide biologically appropriate amounts, but not a particularly “high” dose.
So, if I get sick, I up the ante by juicing cucumbers, celery, a couple limes, and a large piece of ginger root, which provides me plenty of vitamin C. I don’t need more than my body can use, anyway.
(PS: I also make that juice when I’m NOT sick, to avoid getting sick in the first place. Favorite juicer: BREVILLE -- quick to juice, quick to clean up.)
I also make Mums’ Magical Antiviral Hot LemonAid Tonic, which contains six immunity-boosting whole-food ingredients. “Mums” is what we called my grandmother, Eleanor Romney.
This concoction, at least four generations old in my family, operates on sounder principles than does taking synthetic ascorbic acid. I make a batch in the fall and freeze pint jars, so it’s there when someone gets sick.
Just thaw it in a sink of hot water. (Don’t microwave or heat it, which deactivates the enzymes. Also, label your jar with masking tape; otherwise, in six months you’ll forget what’s in that mystery jar in the freezer.)
Don’t wait until you get sick to whip up a batch, because when you’re unwell, you don’t want to go shopping and make a recipe for the first time.
Bottom line: I don’t trust the IV bags of “vitamin C,” and I won’t take ascorbic acid vitamin C, either.
If your D levels are low and you live where you have little sunshine and feel strongly about supplementing, be sure to take your D3 with K2, because D and K work together to knit your bones and perform many other functions.
Also, you might want to make sure your supplements come from small manufacturers you can trust. The owner of a small company would be put out of business if she didn’t comply with regulatory requirements such as organic certification laws, non-GMO guidelines, California’s Prop 65, and others.
Small businesses can’t take shortcuts, and they aren’t owned by the central banksters (corporations owned by corporations, owned by BlackRock, owned by a handful of billionaires). Plus, they’re a dying breed we should all care about and support. The backbone of America has always been its entrepreneurial spirit.
Many Americans have awakened to the perpetual, growing fraud of Western medicine and the pharmaceutical industry.
Sadly, most of them have merely shifted their “pill for every ill” mindset from one medical model to another, thinking that supplements are the answer (“what are you taking for that?”), when getting their nutrition from whole, fresh fruits and vegetables would be far superior, on every level.
In fact, “functional medicine” doctors (NDs, NMDs, DCs, and a few holistic-oriented MDs) now do little more than lab testing and prescribing supplements. You’ll leave your FMD’s office after a confusing download of what your lab tests supposedly mean, with a $1,500 bag of hopium (and when you run out of those supplements, you’ll have to pay for another visit to get more).
Most of the supplements they prescribe are just private-labeled products manufactured by the monolithic billion-dollar companies. The doctor knows little to nothing about their sourcing, ingredients, or supply chain.
How did we fall so far that people who went to grad school to learn how to optimize the human immune system don’t do it anymore, and instead just order labs and prescribe pills?
Two Things You Must Do to Get Well, and Stay Well
FMDs know you must do two things to get well, but they don’t help you do them:
(1) Transition to a whole-foods, mostly plant-based diet, and
(2) Do an intensive detoxification protocol.
Most won’t guide you through either of these because (a) they can’t monetize these activities (whereas selling supplements is massively more profitable than your office visit is), or (b) they may not know how, or (c) doing so would be very labor intensive.
I did a free video masterclass here, where I share the most important tips I’ve learned about whole-plant-based eating, over my own twenty-eight years on the journey.
And the detox protocol I developed was pivotal in my getting well, after spending four years in bed after a flu jab in graduate school. I can’t recommend a deep detox more highly … it’s a game changer!
And then, given the toxicity of the world we live in, I also encourage doing an abbreviated version of it, twice a year. As I write this, John and I are on Day 6 of the detox.
We didn’t have a beer on the beach last weekend, but we feel like a million bucks! When I feel like a million bucks, I get all my extra projects done.
These two things gave me my health back–switching to a WFPB diet, and detoxing twice a year. When people ask me questions about various disease states, they want me to send them to some doctor.
For instance, last week I was asked for a referral to a holistic pulmonologist or the like (there is no such thing), or to make referrals to other practitioners who can somehow stand in for doing the work of getting well.
(I’m not saying doctors have no place; I’m saying we lean on them too heavily.) I’m the worst person in the world to ask for a referral, since the last doctor I went to delivered my 22-yo youngest son.
Or, they want me to tell them what to take. I get at least a dozen questions every day asking what I think about supplement X, Y, or Z.
The Final Word on Supplements
Supplements are, by definition, supplemental. In my experience, they are adjuncts to doing the WORK of getting well. Most doctors are fairly disinterested in helping you “do the work,” and most patients are also looking for “easier” paths to health.
Unfortunately, if actual cellular health is your goal (rather than playing a shell game with symptoms), there are no shortcuts.
GreenSmoothieGirl is here to stand in the gap. My work is to help people make the whole-foods transition, and to support them in learning about and implementing the best, most effective detoxification strategies.
I’ve committed the rest of my career to teaching those two things. And not in the hit-or-miss way I did: it was a lonely path twenty-eight years ago, with no guide, and little information.
I was blessed to find teachers along the way, and I was inspired by seeing my Mums get well 20 years earlier, after being diagnosed with advanced metastatic cancer and refusing chemo and radiation.
My free detoxification video masterclass is here -- the “Cliff’s Notes” on what I’ve learned about how the human body unclogs itself and returns to homeostasis.
Robyn Openshaw, MSW, is the bestselling author of The Green Smoothies Diet, 12 Steps to Whole Foods, and 2017’s #1 Amazon Bestseller and USA Today Bestseller, Vibe. Learn more about how to make the journey painless, from the nutrient-scarce Standard American Diet, to a whole-foods diet, in her free video masterclass 12 Steps to Whole Foods.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that help support the GSG mission without costing you extra. I recommend only companies and products that I use myself.