Vitamin C for spinal stenosis , back problems DR. Saul

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by grace54, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. grace54

    grace54 New Member

    Spinal Stenosis, Ruptured Disks, and Chronic Back Problems


    Spinal Stenosis




    A lack of vitamin C is specifically involved in the cause and progression of chronic back problems such as sciatica and spinal stenosis. The premise is basic: long-term inadequacy of vitamin C causes weak spinal disks.

    Without enough vitamin C, the body is unable to make collagen, the protein glue that holds cells together. When the cells of a cartilaginous intervertebral disk are not holding together, the disk will degenerate, rupture, herniate, or “slip.” There is a lot of body weight on the bones of your lower back. When you flex and move, and the disks are weak or worn down, the bones can compress nerves emerging from the sides. If only one or two disks are involved, it may result in the characteristic back and leg pain called sciatica.


    It is worse if multiple vertebrae are involved. Without healthy disks to prevent it, the center spinal channel can gradually stenose, or narrow. This channel is very important: it is the hollow through which your nerve superhighway, the spinal cord, runs. Squeezing or kinking the spinal cord means pain and problems. Try watering your garden when a cow is standing with its hoof on your garden hose.

    While spinal stenosis is sometimes congenital or caused by a tumor, by far the most common form is acquired stenosis. The usual way one “acquires” it is through injury, or osteoarthritis, or both.


    Inadequate vitamin C weakens ligaments and connective tissue, making injury easier, inflammation likely, and healing much more difficult.


    Inadequate vitamin C also causes the cushioning cartilage in your joints to deteriorate, roughen, and wear ever thinner. As the cartilage degenerates, bone scrapes on bare bone with each movement. That is osteoarthritis.


    In the absence of cartilage padding, bone may begin to grow (spur) in the joints of the spine. This is probably the body’s attempt to brace up and splint the vertebrae and limit the movement that is causing pain. Unfortunately, bone spurring can narrow the spinal canal and painfully squeeze the spinal cord in the center. If bone spurs form in the little joints (facets) of the sides of the vertebrae, the nerve roots at the sides get pinched.


    Without enough vitamin C to maintain their strength, ligaments can degenerate, thicken, and lose their elasticity. This too may narrow the spinal canal. If disks and ligaments are especially weak, lower-back (lumbar) vertebrae can slide over each other and squish nerves.

    All of the above conditions have a common causal factor: inadequate vitamin C. The good news is that they can all be significantly helped by administering large quantities of the nutrient.


    Doctors have seen many research studies on drug therapy, but very few on megavitamin therapy. This does not mean that vitamin therapy will not help; it means that vitamin therapy has not been applied.

    Well, not quite. One of the great proponents of massive dose vitamin C therapy was Dr. Robert F. Cathcart III, an orthopedic surgeon. One might want to think on that for a long moment. Cathcart, the inventor of a widely used hip replacement prosthetic, advocated doses of vitamin C, often in excess of 100,000 mg per day, to reduce severe inflammation. In decades of practice, he safely and effectively administered such treatment to tens of thousands of patients. Many had arthritis, back pain, or injury; some had ankylosing spondylitis.

    Read, and have your doctors read, his papers on high-doses vitamin C treatment posted at

    Full listing of Cathcart’s published articles:

    In scanning Cathcart’s work, one notices that none of his papers are expressly devoted to “treatment of chronic back problems with vitamin C.” Patients and doctors may therefore be tempted to walk away from this line of inquiry. Yet vitamin C is an important and overlooked key to understanding sciatica and spinal stenosis, and doing something non-surgical about it.

    One question, of course, is whether vitamin C can actually rebuild cartilage. The answer is this: cartilage cannot be made without it. The odds greatly favor taking Dr Cathcart's advice over the "just eat a balanced diet for your vitamin C" line that you so often hear.

    There is more good news about vitamin C:


    Very high doses of vitamin C provide prompt and profound pain relief. Low doses will not work.

    One of the biggest surprises in analgesia occurred during the 1970's in Scotland at the Vale of Leven Hospital. There, Ewan Cameron, M.D. was giving ten grams (10,000 milligrams) of vitamin C intravenously each day to terminally ill patients. In Great Britain at the time, it was acceptable to provide terminal patients with any and all pain relief available, including addictive narcotics such as heroin.

    “Cameron and Baird reported (in 1973) that the first five ascorbate-treated patients who had been receiving large doses of morphine or heroin to control pain were taken off these drugs a few days after the treatment with vitamin C was begun, because the vitamin C seemed to diminish the pain to such an extent that the drug was not needed. Moreover, none of these patients asked that the morphine or heroin be given to them- they seemed not to experience any serious withdrawal signs or symptoms.” (Cameron and Pauling, Cancer and Vitamin C (1981; revised 1993): page xii)

    Any vitamin that approaches the pain relieving power of opiates must be considered some kind of analgesic indeed. Although quite a lot of vitamin C is needed for results, it is a remarkably safe and rather simple therapy.


    Smokers are in a constant state of vitamin C deficiency. Do not let anyone tell you differently.

    William J. McCormick, M.D., ( , ,

    and found that just three cigarettes a day robs your body of the RDA of vitamin C. Therefore, even smokers without any obvious illness symptoms require daily vitamin C supplementation. Effectively treating illness requires far more.

    It is not difficult to see why smokers are much more likely to have serious disk and back problems. What really is difficult to understand is

    1) how very few physicians order their back-surgery candidates to stop smoking

    2) how very few physicians order their smoking patients to take vitamin C supplements

    3) how almost no physician offers high-dose vitamin C therapy as a treatment option

    More patients would stop cigarettes, and start vitamin C, if they knew why they absolutely had to.


    For results, vitamin C needs to be taken to bowel tolerance. That means exactly what you think it means.

    The dose varies widely from person to person, but the effective amount is in the range of tens of thousands of milligrams per day, taken in frequent divided doses. and

    Serious cases may require vitamin C initially be given intravenously. High daily oral amounts, divided into every-half-hour doses all day every day, may substitute if IV C is not available. It can almost always be arranged if you really want it:

    More hints:

    In massive doses, vitamin C (ascorbic acid) strengthens cartilage, reduces inflammation and relieves pain. Your doctor may not believe this, but it unless you consult a shaman, your health care should not be a matter of belief.


    Many people wonder why the medical professions have not embraced vitamin C therapy with open and grateful arms. Probably the main roadblock to widespread examination and utilization of this all-too-simple technology is the equally widespread idea that there MUST be unknown dangers to tens of thousands of milligrams of ascorbic acid. Yet, since the time megascorbate therapy was introduced in the late 1940's by board-certified chest specialist Fred R. Klenner, M.D. , there has been a surprisingly safe and effective track record of physician reports for one to follow.

    When an experienced orthopedic surgeon such as Dr. Cathcart chose to give patients huge amounts of vitamin C, it is time to ask why your physicians have not. There are many possible excuses, none of which should be accepted without examining the evidence.

    A search of the medical literature shows that vitamin C does not cause kidney stones. It is safe even at very high doses.

    Other mistakenly-believed "side effects" of vitamin C have been found to be completely mythical. According to a NIH report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (April 21, 1999), NONE of the following problems are caused by taking "too much vitamin C":

    Allegations of Hypoglycemia

    Allegations of Rebound scurvy

    Allegations of Infertility

    Allegations of Destruction of vitamin B-12

    This, however, is verifiably true: national USA poison control center statistics show that there is not even one death per year from vitamins.

    On the other hand, pharmaceutical drugs, properly prescribed and taken as directed, kill well over 100,000 Americans annually.

    Hundreds of thousands of Americans suffer from lower back (lumbar) spinal stenosis, which is now the most common indication for surgery for those over 60. Vitamin therapy is safer than drug or surgical treatment. There is very little to lose, and very much to gain, by trying high-dose vitamin C therapy in advance of, or along with, conventional treatment.


    Dr. Cathcart and other orthomolecular (nutritional) physicians usually give patients additional nutrients along with megadose vitamin C therapy.

    Vitamin B12

    B12 may help with injury and with spinal stenosis, although the dose probably needs to be much higher than 0.5 mg given orally three times daily in this study:

    Waikakul W, Waikakul S. Methylcobalamin as an adjuvant medication in conservative treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis. J Med Assoc Thai. 2000 Aug;83(8):825-31. “(N)eurogenic claudication distance which was better in the M (vitamin)-group.”

    See also: Petchkrua W et al. Prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency in spinal cord injury. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2003 Nov;84(11):1675-9. And: Vitamin B12 deficiency in spinal cord injury: a retrospective study. [J Spinal Cord Med. 2003] PMID:12828286

    Chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine sulfate

    Healthy cartilage contains a large amount of chondroitin sulfate, which helps strengthen it. Strong cartilage resists compression; weak cartilage means osteoarthritic changes. 1,200 mg/day is a common therapeutic dose.

    Glucosamine sulfate also helps your body rebuild cartilage. And, it relieves pain about as well as ibuprofen does. 1500 mg/day is a common therapeutic dose.

    Ruane R, Griffiths P. Glucosamine therapy compared to ibuprofen for joint pain.
    Br J Community Nurs. 2002 Mar;7(3):148-52. ”Glucosamine's pain-relieving effects may be due to its cartilage-rebuilding properties; these disease-modifying effects are not seen with simple analgesics and are of particular benefit. In practice glucosamine can be used as an alternative to anti-inflammatory drugs and analgesics or as a useful adjunct to standard analgesic therapy.” PMID: 11904551

    Both chondroitin and glucosamine have been shown clinically to be exceptionally safe.


    Since these substances work for horses, they might work for you.

    Forsyth R, Brigden C, Northrop A (2006). Double blind investigation of the effects of oral supplementation of combined glucosamine hydrochloride (GHCL) and chondroitin sulphate (CS) on stride characteristics of veteran horses. Equine veterinary journal. Supplement (36): 622-5. PMID 17402494.


    Vitamins D and E, the mineral selenium, the omega-3 fatty acids (“fish oil”) and gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) are very important, too. A search for any of these using the “Search” box at the main page will bring up more information.

    For more information on ARTHRITIS and DIET:


    Bassleer C et al. Stimulation of proteoglycan production by glucosamine sulfate in chondrocytes isolated from human osteoarthritic articular cartilage in vitro. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 1998 Nov;6(6):427-34.

    Bruyere O., Reginster J.Y. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate as therapeutic agents for knee and hip osteoarthritis. Drugs Aging, 2007; 24 (7): 573-580

    Kwan Tat S et al. Chondroitin and glucosamine sulfate in combination decrease the pro-resorptive properties of human osteoarthritis subchondral bone osteoblasts: a basic science study. Arthritis Res Ther. 2007 Nov 9;9(6):R117

    Pavelka K, Gatterova J, Olejarova M, Machacek S, Giacovelli G, Rovati LC. "Glucosamine sulfate use and delay of progression of knee osteoarthritis: a 3-year, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study," Arch Intern Med, 2002 October 14;162(18):2113-23. PMID 12374520

    Reginster JY et al. Long-term effects of glucosamine sulphate on osteoarthritis progression: a randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Lancet, 2001 January 27; 357(9252):251-6. PMID 11214126.

    Sowers M, Lachance L. Vitamins and arthritis. The roles of vitamins A, C, D, and E. Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 1999 May;25(2):315-32.

    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument, and which cannot fail to keep man in everlasting ignorance. That principle is condemnation without investigation." (Herbert Spencer)

    Copyright C 2008 by Andrew W. Saul. All rights reserved.

    Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at )

    For ordering information, Click here .

    Andrew W. Saul


    AN IMPORTANT NOTE: This page is not in any way offered as prescription, diagnosis nor treatment for any disease, illness, infirmity or physical condition. Any form of self-treatment or alternative health program necessarily must involve an individual's acceptance of some risk, and no one should assume otherwise. Persons needing medical care should obtain it from a physician. Consult your doctor before making any health decision.

    Neither the author nor the webmaster has authorized the use of their names or the use of any material contained within in connection with the sale, promotion or advertising of any product or apparatus. Single-copy reproduction for individual, non-commercial use is permitted providing no alterations of content are made, and credit is given.


    | Home | Order my Books | About the Author | Contact Us | Webmaster |

  2. tansy

    tansy New Member

    and a course of iv vit c did wonders for me in the early 90s.

    my spinal sx have improved after decades of pain; i still have related neuro deficits though. having an inherited hypermobility syndrome makes me more prone to this and nerve compression disorders. this only happened after i took matters into my own hands though i got a lot of useful info and suggestions from a wide variety of souces.

    i take the recommended supps above except chondroitin since i had an adverse reaction. instead i take a mamalian source of collagen that others in the uk have found helpful. my vit c doses are lower now except when i need to raise them for other reasons. i'm taking more today due to a viral infection.

    just an aside about vitamin c; it should not be used with a local aneasthetic since it can prevent it from working.

    <br>[<i>This Message was Edited on 02/27/2008</i>]
  3. Sunrise2780

    Sunrise2780 New Member

    Vitamin C and Fibromyalgia

    Friday, April 22, 2005

    Two More Diseases That Could Be Treated With Vitamin C

    Add fibromyalgia and Crohn’s disease to the growing list of health problems that can be treated with vitamin C. Cataracts, aneurysms, coronary artery disease, hypertension, peripheral vascular disease and viral infections (poliomyelitis, West Nile virus, etc.) are among the many other maladies that can be successfully treated with vitamin C. Here is the latest evidence that fibromyalgia and Crohn’s disease should be added to the list.

    Vitamin C and Fibromyalgia

    Fibromyalgia is an unexplainable “pain” disorder. Pain is usually experience in muscle rather than joints. There is no blood test or x-ray that can confirm its presence. It is diagnosed by symptomology, which often includes “tender points,” disturbed sleep, increased fatigue and other symptoms. [MMW Fortschr Med 146: 34-37, 2004] An estimated 2-6% of American adults have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. [Nursing Clinics North America 39: 195-204, 2004]

    The diagnosis and origin of fibromyalgia may be confusing because it is often accompanied by, or associated with, other conditions such as viral infection, panic disorder, indigestion and mood disorder. [J Psychosomatic Research 49: 285-89, 2000]

    Does a nutritional deficiency underlie this disorder?

    Some cases begin with a flu-like syndrome. Antibodies against small viruses called enteroviruses are more prevalent among individuals who have acute onset fibromyalgia. [Journal Rheumatology 28: 601-03, 2001]

    The best way to search for the origins of fibromyalgia is to examine muscle tissue itself. Researchers in Denmark and Switzerland confirm that fibromyalgia patients exhibit lower proline concentrations in muscle tissue than healthy adults. Two amino acids, proline and lysine, along with vitamin C, are required for collagen production. Lower amounts of collagen create a physical environment for pain. [Rheumatology 43: 27-31, 2004; Z Rheumatology 57: 52-55, 1998]

    Researchers in Germany have found that “decreased levels of collagen” around nerve fibers may reduce the threshold for pain among fibromyalgia patients. [Arthritis Rheumatology 40: 1450-54, 1997]

    Three separate studies confirm that fibromyalgia patients exhibit lower amounts of collagen within muscle tissue. Researchers have concluded that this “may lower the threshold for muscle injury” and “contribute to the lower pain threshold at tender points” among patients with fibromyalgia [Rheumatology 43: 27-31, 2004; Arthritis Rheum 40: 948-49, 1998; Z Rheumatol 57: 52-55, 1998]

    Vitamin C is unlikely to be a singular cure for fibromyalgia. But newly published data indicates much higher circulating levels of vitamin C can be achieved with oral dosing than previously thought possible. One survey showed that 35% of patients with fibromyalgia use vitamin C supplements. [Mayo Clinic Proceedings 80: 55-60, 2005] But they are likely taking relatively low doses of vitamin C and never experience the full benefits. Flawed information, disseminated by the National Institutes of Health, has misled the public into believing no more than 200 milligrams of vitamin C should be consumed because it is alleged that amounts above 200 milligrams per day are excreted in the urine. This has now been proven false. [Annals Internal Medicine 140:533-7, 2004] Pharmacology doctors Steve Hickey and Hilary Roberts of Manchester, England, have studied the dynamic factors involved in oral dose vitamin C administration and confirm that repeated oral doses at 3-hour intervals will help maintain optimal blood levels of vitamin C. [Ascorbate, The Science of Vitamin C,]
  4. grace54

    grace54 New Member

    Thanks for your excellent information. There is so much we can do to help us heal the mind ,body ,spirit.Keep up the good work of educating and awareness.:)
  5. ephemera

    ephemera New Member

    As an aside, anyone here have any experience (first hand, friends or relatives?) with the X Stop implant for spinal stenosis?
  6. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    Thanks for the info re vitamin C and spinal stenosis. My father (now 91 years old) has been diagnosed with spinal stenosis and bone spurs on his spine. He's in a wheelchair now.

    Anyways, he smoked cigarettes for many years, although he quit cigarettes many years ago too. However, the last 20 years or so he has smoked a pipe quite heavily, several times a day, and I'm sure this contributed to a vitamin C deficiency.

    It's interesting information - I never would have connected spinal problems with a vitamin C deficiency, although it makes a lot of sense.

  7. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    Have you heard of DGL? It stands for Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice - here's a link to an article:

    It's a licorice extract with the part which contributes to high blood pressure removed, so that it's safe to take long-term. It looks like it can be very helpful with ulcers and is supposed to help repair the mucosal lining of the stomach and intestines. The directions say the tablets have to be chewed, to mix with saliva, in order to be effective.

    So it might help you. I don't have any experience with it myself --

  8. grace54

    grace54 New Member

    I am pretty well convinced that my lifestyle contributed to my arthritis at a young age, smoking drinking, nutritional inbalances. Seems I functioned very well in my type A existence for quite some time before it all caught up with me. It is amazing how our bodies fuction with the least amount of care but as we know there is a limit where the body says- Enough -.

    What is also interesting to me is that I have never met anyone who uses vitamins for pain relief. I do know the old timers used calcium and magnesioum for relief. Its hard to imagine a pain reliever that could be good for other things with little or no side effects in most of us.

    I think nature supplies us with so much that we are just rediscovering. With the advent of the pain meds I think natural means were all but forgotten even though aspirin is or was derived from a plant I am finding much relief with natural means such as anti-oxidants and vitamin/minerals'aminos so that I am better than when I was much younger as far as pain and depression. I think we need more education on natural means for those who want a holistic approach to good heath.Thanks:)
  9. victoria

    victoria New Member

    My DH was dx'd with cervical spinal stenosis about 14 years ago, had 2 MRIs over a period of about 5 years, plus a few bulging discs...

    Due to his other problems, such as atypical Bell's palsy and RSD/Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, he has been taking high dosages of many vitamins, including C.

    The 3rd & last MRI he had done (about 5 years ago) showed that the cervical spinal cord canal had actually gotten WIDER... Something that is considered rare/not to normally happen.

    I have no doubt the vitamins all have helped (he takes about 40+, I couldn't even list them all!)

    <br>[<i>This Message was Edited on 04/10/2008</i>]
  10. grace54

    grace54 New Member

    It is good to hear about your DH's stenosis widening. I have that too but I don't seem to have any pain because of it. Some things do get better over time.