This week, Jill answers a question about vitamin C supplements and kidney stones.
Have a question? Leave us a voicemail at (773) 789-8763.
Stop Kidney Stones Once and For All
- Kidney Stone Prevention Course
- Kidney Stone Diet Meal Plans
- Safe Snacks and Desserts Ebook
- 24 Hour Urine Collection Analysis
- Private Coaching
Kidney Stone Diet Resources
Find more episodes of the Kidney Stone Diet Podcast here.
Who is Jill Harris?
Jill is a nurse and health coach that specializes in educating patients on kidney stone prevention. For more than 20 years she’s helped patients understand that kidney stones can be prevented with the right treatment plan. It’s one thing to be told to lower oxalate or drink more water, but HOW do you do it? That’s where she comes in. Through the educational resources at kidneystonediet.com, stone formers can learn everything they need to know to significantly lower new stone risk.
Who is Jeff Sarris?
Jeff’s co-founder of SPYR, a branding agency based out of Chicago, where he and his business partner Dave help awesome people like Jill create online platforms that make an impact. He’s also a certified health coach, Executive Producer of the Netflix documentary Minimalism, and host of the Starting Now podcast.
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Jeff Sarris: Welcome back to the Kidney Stone Diet podcast, the show about reducing your kidney stone risk and living your best life. I’m your host and fellow student, Jeff Sarris.
Jill Harris: And I’m Jill Harris, your kidney stone prevention nurse. I’m answering emails as we’re doing the show, right now. I mean, not while I’m talking, but as the show’s going.
Jeff Sarris: Well, yeah, there’s always new questions. This is never ending. ou would think that–I think this is the 141st episode of this show. You would think we’d be out of questions. We’d be out of things, topics to cover. You’d be out of people to reach, but you’ve been doing this now, what, 24 years?
Jill Harris: Yeah, and I figured it out the other day in December, it will be 25 years. We’ll have to do a special show for that.
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, that is just unfathomable, but that’s where you get the breadth of experience. I mean, so much time with patients.
Jill Harris: I mean, well, I started I started doing this in ’99.
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, that’s wild! And that’s why we started the whole platform. You’ve been doing this for so long, but it’s hard to scale, that direct one-on-one time. Where having the podcast, having the blog, the Facebook group, all these things where you can finally branch out and reach more people. It’s so much more valuable to the whole, to the whole of the kidney stone-forming community. That’s why we appreciate every one of you who listens, subscribes, likes on YouTube, comments, it means a lot to help us reach more people, because that is the goal at the end of the day.
Jill Harris: Yeah, it really is. And no, you know, I have always said, people are always so gracious and it’s a privilege. That’s how I feel. You know, as a nurse, you want to help people, right? As trite as that sounds, but I mean, you know, I never thought in my whole wide world that I’d be doing kidney stone patients, but that’s where it led. And it’s been a remarkable career for me. And the great thing about the internet is it’s here. These YouTube videos, if, you know, God forbid I leave the Earth, they’re here. They’re here, right?
And so they’ll just always be here. So that’s wonderful because a lot of things we’re talking about, they’re not going to change. Doing a low salt, low sugar diet, the Kidney Stone Diet is always going to be a healthy diet. There’s not going to be something drastic, “Oh, shit! We were wrong about that thing!” No. I mean, we should be eating in normal portion sizes, blah, blah, blah. All the things that we talk about. It’s what we should all do, always. So this will always be pertinent. It will always be what should be done, right?
Jeff Sarris: It’s evergreen. It’s always gonna be good. What do you say? Should we dive into this week’s question?
Don’t do this before your urine collection!
Listener Voicemail: Hi, Jill and Jeff! It’s Alan from Indiana. My question is about vitamin C. I, personally, do not take multivitamins or supplements, never have. My question is this: I know the RDA is 90 milligrams a day to prevent scurvy, for the most part. I kind of wanted a more thorough explanation of food intake with vitamin C, due to the body turning vitamin C into oxalate and just some recommendations, and stuff like that. It’s not really a concern. It’s just kind of on my mind today. And I have not seen a post about it. So yeah, just vitamin C intake on a daily basis and that was my question. Have a wonderful day. Thank you guys so much!
Vitamin C. If you do a urine collection, it will say on a lot of them, “Please stop taking vitamin C before the test.” Because too much vitamin C can convert over to oxalate in your body. Not everybody, but in a lot of people. So we ask patients to stop. First of all, I had a number here, and it’s like 600 online. Vitamin C, just vitamin C, over $200 million were spent on vitamin C last year. Two hundred million, people. People haven’t had scurvy since 1912. Vitamin C is always “I have a cold. I’m going to suck down vitamin C. I have a fever. I have this, I have that!”
Vitamin C is the most overused vitamin there is. So we know there have been studies done that when people take too much. I’ve read some studies that say 1000 a day is too much. I’ve read some studies that say 2000 is too much. I’ve read some studies that say a couple 100 a day is too much. So I’m gonna go with 1000 or 2000, in the 1000 range is too much. Why we’re overdosing on Vitamin C is beyond me. It’s called marketing, vitamins, in general. If you eat a well-balanced diet and you’re a healthy individual – certainly there’s people with medical conditions that will require them to take some supplements as recommended by their doctor because the blood test says they need it.
So, certainly, if you need a vitamin, please take them. I take vitamin D, I take fish oil, and I take B12 because I need those things. So, everybody has different means, but for the majority of Americans, we just go in that vitamin aisle, and we act like it’s Pez, candy. Like we could just take it like “Oh, and more is better, more is better, more is better!” Well, too much vitamin C can convert over to oxalate and cause excess oxalate in your urine, which could increase your risk for kidney stones. Most people get plenty of vitamin C. I don’t know many people who are deficient in vitamin C. Of course, some people have medical conditions, and their doctor will tell them they need to take it.
Don’t overdo your vitamins, people
But most people are just taking it because they think it’s going to be a healthier thing. And also with vitamins: “Well, my doctor told me to take 1000, Jill, so I just naturally thought that taking 10,000 would be better.” That’s not how it’s not how it works. So I want you guys to be really responsible in taking your vitamins, okay? Talk to your doctor about vitamins. “My doctor don’t know nothing about vitamins, Jill!” Talk to your pharmacist about vitamins. Do your research, get blood tests to see what you’re deficient in. But, if you want to get vitamin C naturally, women should get 75 a day and men 90, like Alan said, so he’s a male. So he’s saying 90, but women should get 75 milligrams a day.
I don’t know of anybody that’s low in vitamin C. Eat your fruits and vegetables and you’ll get plenty of vitamin C and you don’t have to supplement. For people that are taking supplements, you’re spending a lot of money if you don’t know if you need them. So, I’m always careful. I don’t love the supplement questions because everybody’s different. And sometimes when I say something people are like, “She said, ‘Don’t take it!'” I’m not saying that. I’m saying if your doctor says you’re low in something, and you cannot get it naturally, you should take supplements. But don’t take supplements like they’re just free little extra, you know, things to boost your immune and stuff.
Certain supplements can cause kidney stones!
First of all, you have to be taking a supplement for a long time before it’s going to do any boosting of anything. It doesn’t happen overnight. And you should talk to your doctor about safe doses talk to your pharmacist about safe doses. In some cases, excess vitamin dosages can cause kidney stones: the vitamin C, the vitamin D, collagen, turmeric pills, all these things that people take can increase your risk of kidney stones. So don’t take them as a miracle immune-booster pills. If you eat your fruits and vegetables, that’s just natural. Get a good, varied, wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Get you lean meats, of course, if you’re a meat eater. Get your calcium needs met.
Most of the things that you’re lacking can be gotten by diet. If not, then a supplement should be taken as directed by your doctor. But also don’t pick the dose for yourself and think that more is better because that’s not how it works. So I think that people just are a little bit too glib about vitamins. A lot of these vitamins are not, you know, third party-tested. You don’t know the quality of them. So, I’d be very careful. The vitamin industry is just billions of dollars every year. And lots of people are taking vitamins with no reason. They’re just taking them. They sat on the toilet they read Reader’s Digest, and the latest, greatest said to take whatever.
And so they go to the Walgreens and they go pick up that in the highest dose possible because more is always better. And then some problems can come about. So I’m always careful about talking about vitamins because I don’t want to dissuade people who need them to stop taking them. And I definitely don’t want people to start taking them just because they think it’s a healthy immune booster kind of thing. Food, eating it, and getting a wide variety of it, especially fruits and vegetables, that’s the best immune boosting you can possibly do.
So, that’s my take on it. Vitamin C can increase kidney stone risk. I’ve seen many different levels as to which level increases it. They always say high doses. So, just think 1000 or up. That’s what I have seen steadily. So, go with that. And most of you do not need vitamin C because you’re getting plenty. So, just make sure you need it before you start gobbling it down spending your hard-earned money on it, especially in a recession, by the way. That’s my take.
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, and the portion not perfection, I mean, that’ll self-regulate your vitamin intake, too. It’s easy to take way too many pills, way too many, supplements.
Jill Harris: Many people do!
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, but it’s hard to eat too much fruit and veggies to get so much vitamin C that it’s a problem. That’s much more unlikely.
Jill Harris: Yes, and for people who are saying, “Well, Jill, I can’t eat oranges because they’re high in oxalate!” Oranges are higher in oxalate. Twenty-something per orange. But if you get 100 a day, most people can safely have 100 milligrams of oxalate a day, you’ve still got 70 left. So, that’s okay. Sometimes a girl or a boy needs an orange. It’s perfectly fine. It’s a great source of vitamin C. So, enjoy your orange, get calcium needs met every day, but you don’t have to take away things that are orange, I promise you. You don’t you can certainly fit that into your oxalate budget if you’d like to.
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, absolutely. So that’s a good place to wrap up today. Thank you, Alan, for your question. That number again, is 773-789-8763, if you would like to have your question answered on the show and have your voice featured. We love hearing from everyone. It’s so nice to connect a voice with maybe a name that you’ve seen in the Facebook group or even, because I have no no involvement in your group calls or anything, so it’s always fun to connect the people to the wider audience that listen or watch the show. I think it’s really fun because it’s a community. It’s people who are all going through the same thing.
Jill Harris: I’m like, “Oh, it’s Alan today. Hi, Alan!” Because I know Alan. He’s in the course and he’s on the Facebook page. So yeah, it’s always an extra treat when it’s somebody I know for sure. I love it!
Jeff Sarris: Absolutely! And to do a deep dive, you can head over to kidneystonediet.com, where you can find all the resources, the free, weekly newsletter, the links to the Facebook page, the premium, the course the meal plans–
Jill Harris: Oh, and the course, by the way, because we haven’t said this, it remains $40 off because of the recession! So, we’re very sensitive to these kinds of things. And so the course, has been $189, but now it’s $149 as of this date, of course. Look, you’ll see courses, people copy me now, their courses are $300 and over. So, I will always be the person on the internet who has the most experience and the least expensive course. We pride ourselves on that because as people who have medical bills, we understand that. It’s expensive. So, we took $40 off and it’s going to remain for a little while a while the recession is here and so buy it at sale price because it will go up.
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, absolutely. But, with that, I think we will wrap for this week. Thank you everyone for listening, watching, liking, subscribing, commenting. Everything is so helpful and we genuinely appreciate it and, with that, we’ll see you next time.
Jill Harris: Thanks, Alan! Bye!