This interesting and vital information is taken from a free health food store pamphlet by Dr. Ronald W. Thompson Director of Nutrition Education, General Nutrition Corporation, 1983.
Several years ago two time Nobel Prize winner Dr. Linus Pauling wrote a book titled
This book generated considerable interest among the general Public and much controversy among the scientific community But most importantly, it caused many scientists to actively investigate the role of Vitamin C in nutrition and health. Much has been learned.
Vitamin C, THE COMMON COLD AND VIRUSES:
Shortly after release of Dr. Pauling’s book, a study was conducted at the University of Toronto in which 1,000 volunteers received either one gram of Vitamin C every day and an additional three grams (3000 milligrams) during the first three days of any illness, or a Placebo (a substance with no known therapeutic value) for the illness being studied). In the group receiving Vitamin C there was a 7% decrease in the number of illnesses, a 12% decrease in the number of days during which cold symptoms were reported and a 30% decrease in the number of days spent at home. These results suggest, that Vitamin C can reduce the severity and duration of a cold when taken in gram (1,000 mg) quantities.
While results of a later study indicated that maximum–benefit from supplemental Vitamin C comes from taking more at the first symptom of a cold, a study involving Arizona children found that two grams of Vitamin C per day, with no increase in dose at the first sign of illness, produced the same result: a reduction in the severity and duration of a cold.
More recent evidence supports the conclusion that extra Vitamin C may be beneficial. In 1979 Doctors H. A. Pitt and A. M. Costrini reported results of a scientific investigation of the effect of supplemental Vitamin C on prevention of pneumonia in Marine Recruits. Approximately 800 subjects were involved in the study. Half of this group were given two grams of Vitamin C each day and the other half was given a placebo. At the end of the eight week study the incidence of pneumonia was seven times, higher in the group not taking Vitamin C.
There even is evidence that levels of Vitamin C above the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) may be helpful in cold, northern climates. A study reported that subjects who were given about half a gram of Vitamin C each day were better able to maintain skin temperature an exposure to cold and have a lower incidence of frost bitten feet with less severe symptoms compared to those not given extra Vitamin C.
Results of an interesting study at a hospital in Japan suggest that Vitamin C may be beneficial in preventing viral infection. This study was limited to the occurrence of hepatitis–B in surgical patients receiving blood transfusions. In the United States blood used for transfusions is carefully checked and virus contaminated blood is discarded. In other countries, however, this is not routinely done and the incidence of post surgical hepatitis in patients receiving blood is rather high, (7 to 10%)
The effect of Vitamin C in preventing hepatitis–B infection was studied over a nine near period at Torikai Hospital in Japan. For patients receiving blood transfusions, there were twelve cases of hepatitis among 170 patients who received little or no Vitamin C (7%) and only three cases among 1,367 Patients who were given two or more grams of Vitamin C each day (0.2%). (Note: this is 35 times less). Further, the three cases of viral infection in the patients given Vitamin C were not of the hepatitis-B type.
Scientists are still trying to find out how Vitamin C works to reduce the severity and duration of a cold and prevent hepatitis–B infection in those patients in the Japanese study. Much more work is needed, but some scientists think that Vitamin C in some ways helps our body’s own disease defense system to function better.
Vitamin C, IRON AND FOLIC ACID:
Vitamin C helps in the intestinal absorption of iron. It does this be keeping the iron in a form that is more easily absorbed. Further, after the iron is absorbed, Vitamin C apparently aids in the transfer of iron from a protein that transports it in the body to a protein that stores it until it is needed. Certain enzymes (specialized proteins that keep the body’s metabolic machinery running) require iron to function properly. Several of these iron-containing enzymes will not work unless Vitamin C is present.
Folic acid deficiency can result in anemia. Vitamin C has been reported as necessary in the conversion of folic acid to the form of this vitamin that is active in the body.
Vitamin C AND STRESS
You would probable meet little argument over a comment that the current life–style and daily pace in the United States can be very stressful.
There is a high level of Vitamin C in the adrenal gland. In stressful situations this gland produces hormones which help us to respond to that stress. Vitamin C is needed to help make these compounds. It is known that the Level of Vitamin C in the adrenal gland goes down as the production of hormones goes up.
Certain B vitamins are affected be stress. There is biochemical evidence that Vitamin C spares (reduces the demand for) folic acid, pyridoxine, biotin, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid. (Note: these are all “B” vitamins.) The body in response to certain stresses produces histamine. There is evidence that Vitamin C acts to destroy this (harmful) compound and may be an explanation for scientific reports concerning the apparent beneficial effects of Vitamin C in such diverse conditions as frostbite and HAYFEVER. Many smokers increase their use of tobacco in times of stress. There are many ill effects caused by smoking; one more is that blood levels of Vitamin C decrease with smoking.
Vitamin C AND WOUND HEALING
That Vitamin C is necessary for proper wound healing has been known for many years (among many other known metabolic functions of this vitamin). It is required for the production of a special body protein called COLLAGEN. Collagen is the MOST ABUNDANT PROTEIN IN OUR BODY. IT FORMS THE CONNECTIVE TISSUE THAT, SIMPLY PUT, HOLDS US TOGETHER.
Connective tissue must be formed in the process of wound healing. Surgeons are aware of the importance of Vitamin C in the healing process and many routinely give extra Vitamin C to their patients.
Daily repair or replacement of body tissue is a process similar to wound healing. Since nutritional surveys suggest that many people, especially the elderly, do not even get enough Vitamin C with their diet to meet the RDA, there may be a good cause to take a supplement.
Results of nutrition surveys suggest that many people are not getting the recommended amount of Vitamin C in their diet. Food preference survey results indicate that many people are not eating a balanced diet and many skip meals altogether. A balanced diet is an important part of a sound health care program. But because the amount of Vitamin C used in studies of the common cold is difficultly IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE, TO GET FROM EVEN A BALANCED DIET, many people choose to take a Vitamin C supplement.
Consider the way you eat. You may decide, along with many others who have already made that decision, to include a Vitamin C supplement as part of your own health care program.
In response to your many helpful suggestions and in answer to your many questions, the writer will try to systematically present only scientifically proven material.
Dr. Irwin Stone, a noted biochemist, is the author of the book, “THE HEALING FACTOR, Vitamin C Against Disease”. He has some 54 pages of medical text references that cover 18 chapters on specific diseases. He describes the effects of Vitamin C on the human body.
The writer was able to contact Dr. Stone at his home here in San Jose and obtain permission to quote a part of chapter 9 for our Weekly Health Note. Excerpts from his book now follow:
»Throughout the evolution of the vertebrates, including the mammals, nature has used ascorbic acid to maintain physiological homeostasis. In simple non-technical terms, this means that when stressful situations arose which disturbed the biochemical equilibrium of the animals, ascorbic acid was produced in increased quantities to get things running normal again. The amount of ascorbic acid produced is related to the severity of the stresses and if enough was produced soon enough, then the animal was able to survive the bad biochemical effects of the stresses. If, however, the enzyme system for producing ascorbic acid was overwhelmed or poisoned by the stresses and too little ascorbic acid was produced, then the animal succumbed.
MAN, UNABLE TO PRODUCE HIS OWN ASCORBIC ACID, could not take advantage of this natural protective process. Instead, stresses only further depleted his low stores of this vital metabolite. NOW HE CAN EASILY DUPLICATE THIS TIME–TESTED DEFENSIVE MECHANISM BY REACHING FOR THE BOTTLE OF ASCORBIC ACID AND SWALLOWING ADDITIONAL QUANTITIES WHENEVER HE IS SUBJECTED TO BIOCHEMICAL STRESSES. In duplicating this normal process for combating stresses, man has one great advantage over the other mammals – he can set an unlimited supply of ascorbic acid without being dependent upon an enzyme system which may not produce enough, quickly enough. All man needs to know is how much to take.
»One of the outstanding attributes of ascorbic acid is its lack of toxicity even when given in large doses over long periods of time. This has been recognized since the 1930s, and ascorbic acid can be rated as one of the least toxic substances known of comparable physiological activity. It can be administered in huge doses, intravenously, (writer’s note: When given intravenously it is in the form of sodium ascorbate.), without registering any serious side effects. Because of human variability and because the human organism has been exposed to such low levels of this essential substance for so long, some usually transient side effects may occur in a small percentage of hypersensitive individuals. This man be evidenced as diarrhea or rashes which clear up on lowering the dosage. In many cases it is possible to avoid these reactions by building up to the desired dosage gradually, which permits the body to become accustomed to these essentially normal mammalian levels.
(Writer’s note: Dr. Stone states also in the book that a 150 pound goat creates some 13 grams a day in its own body and 2 or 3 times more under stress. Although men must have it, his body makes none at all.) Taking the ascorbic acid with food or before meals often helps .....
»There are no large storage depots for ascorbic acid in the body and any excess is rapidly excreted. When saturated, the whole body may only contain 5 grams. This means that the body requires a, continuous supply to replenish losses and depletions. The livers of nearly all mammals are constantly making and pouring ascorbic acid into their bloodstreams, but man’s liver is unable to do this.
He needs a constant, large, outside supply to make up for this genetic defect. When the different organs and tissues are analyzed, it is found that ascorbic acid concentrates in the organs and tissues with high metabolic activity: the adrenal cortex, the pituitary gland, the brain, the ovaries, the eyes, and other vital tissues. Any form of biochemical stress or physical trauma will cause a precipitous drop in the ascorbic acid levels of the body in general, or locally in the affected organs or tissues.
In animals biochemically equipped to produce their own ascorbic acid, any stressful situation causes them to synthesize more and greater amounts to replace that destroyed or utilized in combating the stresses. “ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT BIOCHEMICAL FUNCTIONS OF ASCORBIC ACID (Vitamin C) IN THE BODY’S CHEMISTRY IS THE SYNTHESIS, FORMATION, AND MAINTENANCE OF A PROTEINLIKE SUBSTANCE CALLED COLLAGEN.
COLLAGEN CANNOT BE FORMED WITHOUT ASCORBIC ACID, WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL TO COLLAGEN PRODUCTION BY THE BODY. COLLAGEN IS THE BODY’S MOST IMPORTANT STRUCTURAL SUBSTANCE.
It is the ground substance, or cement, that supports and holds the tissues and organs together. It is the substance in the bones that provides the toughness and flexibility and prevents brittleness. Without it the body would just disintegrate or dissolve away. It comprises about one–third of the body’s total weight of protein and is the MOST EXTENSIVE TISSUE SYSTEM.
It is the substance that strengthens the arteries and veins, supports the muscles, toughens the ligaments and bones, supplies the scar tissue for healing wounds and keeps the youthful skin tissues soft, firm, supple and wrinkle–free. When ascorbic acid is lacking, it is the disturbance in collagen formation that causes the fearful effects of scurvy — the brittle bones that fracture on the slightest impact, the weakened arteries that rupture and hemorrhage, the incapacitating muscle weakness, the affected joints that are too painful to move, the teeth that fall out, and the wounds and sores that never heal. Suboptimal amounts of ascorbic acid over prolonged periods during the early and middle years, by its effect of producing poor quality collagen, may be the factor in later life that causes the high incidence of arthritis and joint diseases, broken hips, the heart and vascular diseases that cause sudden death, and the strokes that bring on senility. Collagen is intimately connected with the entire aging process.
»Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) detoxifies carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and carcinogens, so it is the only immediate protection we have against the bad effects of air pollution and smoking ....
»The antiseptic and bactericidal qualities of ascorbic acid have long been known. At relatively low levels it will inhibit the growth of bacteria and at slightly higher amounts it will kill them. The bacteria causing tuberculosis is particularly sensitive to the lethal action of ascorbic acid.
»One of the body’s defenses against bacterial infections is the mobilization of white blood cells into the affected tissues. The white blood cells then devour and digest the invading bacteria. This process is known a phagocytosis and is controlled by ascorbic acid. The number of bacteria that each white blood cell digests is directly related to the ascorbic acid content of the blood. This is one of the reasons why a lack of ascorbic acid in the body produces lowered resistance to infectious diseases.”
“IN 1969 IT WAS REPORTED THAT LABORATORY TESTS CONDUCTED AT THE NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE SHOWED THAT ASCORBIC ACID WAS LETHAL TO CERTAIN CANCER CELLS AND HARMLESS TO NORMAL TISSUE.”
The above book can be ordered by mail from the local “Wholesale Nutrition Club” for $3.00 (It is $4.95 in stores.) The address is: “Wholesale Nutrition Club” Box 3345Y Saratoga, Ca. 95070. [Drs. Pauling/Szent–Gyorgyi approve.]
To continue answering specific questions as to local orthomolecular physicians and what Vitamin C amounts that taking for preventive maintenance and for various diseases, the writer will present parts of a NEWSLETTER published by the LINUS PAULING INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE AND MEDICINE, 440 Page Mill Road, Palo Alto, Ea., 94306. Dr. Pauling interviewed a local physician, Dr. ROBERT CATHCART, M.D., who is now located in San Mateo, at 36 South El Camino Real. Dr. Pauling’s words now follow: (Fall 1978)
“The word orthomolecular was first used 10 wears ago. It means involving the right molecules in the right amounts. Orthomolecular medicine is the achievement and preservation of food health and treatment of disease by regulating the concentration of molecules that are normally present in the human body. Important orthomalecular substances are the vitamins, ESPECIALLY Vitamin C.
Several books on orthomolecular medicine have been written. There are orthomolecular societies, a journal of orthomolecular psychiatry and many physicians who describe themselves as orthomolecular physicians. One of these physicans is Dr. Robert Cathcart.
He is, I think, an unusual physician. Seven years ago he wrote a long letter to me about his experiences with Vitamin C. In his letter he said that he felt that his way of thinking was more like that of an engineer then that of the usual physician, and that perhaps he should have become an engineer.”
NOTE: Dr. Pauling goes on to describe a special hip joint ball that Dr. Cathcart designed to solve a longstanding problem in replacing the broken off upper round leg bone and then he continues:
»Dr. B.J.Luberoff, editor of the journal, CHEMTECH, which is published by the American Chemical Society, interviewed Dr. Cathcart recently (Chemtech, Feb. 1978), questioning him ESPECIALLY ABOUT HIS USE OF Vitamin C IN HIS MEDICAL PRACTICE. In 1971, while he was still practicing orthopedic surgery in San Mateo, Dr. Cathcart read my book, “Vitamin C and the Common Cold”, and tried taking a few grams of Vitamin C at the onset of a cold in order to check whether or not it would stop the cold. He then wrote me that TWO GRAMS OF Vitamin C EVERY HOUR SEEMED TO DO THE J0B, but that he preferred taking EIGHT GRAMS (About 2 teaspoons) AT ONE TIME, AND THAT THIS WAS USUALLY EFFECTIVE.
»In his interview he (Dr. Cathcart), said, ‘After reading Pauling and everything else I could on the subject, I started experimenting with Vitamin C, first on myself and the family, and then on a few selected patients. In San Mateo I had little opportunity to treat patients with Vitamin C. Peer pressure at that time, about seven years ago, was pretty much against the physician using Vitamin C. Besides, as an orthopedic surgeon, I seldom saw patients who had colds or other viral diseases. So I commuted to Incline Village every week for a year ... where I went into association with a general practitioner who planned to go to another town after about another year. During that year I demonstrated that, properly used, Vitamin C could decrease most of the morbidity (diseased, unhealthy) and ALL OF THE MORTALITY (DEATH) from viral diseases. I contacted Pauling about this, and he said that he knew of no other Physician who was doing exactly what I was doing.”
Dr. Cathcart then said that DR. FRED KLENNER of Reidsville, North Carolina, had during the PAST THIRTY YEARS FOUND THAT HE COULD DETOXIFY (REMOVE POISONOUS EFFECTS) MOST VIRUS DISEASES with intravenous doses of Vitamin C, which he uses even for carbon monoxide poisoning, barbiturate poisoning, and snake bites.
(Note:Sodium ascorbate is the form used for intravenous treatment.)
What Dr. Cathcart discovered was that, although most people develop a MILD DIARRHEA (looseness of the bowels) when they take 10 or 15 GRAMS of Vitamin C in divided doses in one day WHEN THEY ARE WELL, THEY CAN TOLERATE MUCH GREATER AMOUNTS IF THEY ARE ILL.
He stated, “The astonishing thing is that the same person — the patient who when well gets diarrhea on say, 12 GRAMS — when ill with a MODERATE COLD CAN TAKE 30 to 60 GRAMS WITHOUT DIARRHEA; with a BAD COLD or the FLU, 100 GRAMS, sometimes even 150 GRAMS, and with VIRAL DISEASES SUCH AS MONONUCLEOSIS OR VIRAL PNEUMONIA I’VE USED IN EXCESS OF 200 GRAMS A DAY WITHOUT ITS PRODUCING DIARRHEA. ... In some cases the body evidently NEEDS that much, albeit for only a short time. With mononucleosis or viral pneumonia, during the first couple of days of the disease we sometimes see a need for that half pound of the vitamin ... Essentially, the sicker you are, the more you can take, and taking enough – AND THAT’S IMPORTANT – seems to detoxify you. You get well quickly. And as you do, you find that you can tolerate less and less ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) until you go back to normal when you are well.
Dr. Cathcart pointed out that it is known that Vitamin C has many functions in the body, including its involvement in several enzyme–catalyzed reactions and in the body’s ability to make collagen, dentyne, adrenaline, and corticosteroids. It maintains proper functioning of the immune system, the blood coagulation system, and controls the metabolism of several amino acids.
With respect to the treatment of patients, he said, “My practice is to let the body take as much of the Vitamin C as it needs ... to take an amount proportional to the amount of toxin that’s around. Remember, everyone else has been talking about a FIXED DOSE, USUALLY AT WHAT I CONSIDER TO BE ONLY A HOMEOPATHIC LEVEL (a very small dose taken by a healthy person). Those studies go from two to maybe four grams a day and then see little clinical effect and no effect statistically. That doesn’t surprise me. IF YOU HAVE A 100 GRAM COLD .... IT’S MY CUSTOM TO PUT A NUMBER BEFORE THE NAME OF A DISEASE TO REPRESENT THE AMOUNT OF Vitamin C THAT THAT PATIENT CAN CONSUME THE FIRST COUPLE OF DAYS WITHOUT DIARRHEA .... S0 THAT IF YOU HAVE A 100–GRAM COLD AND THE PATIENT IS TAKING ROUGHLY 100 GRAMS A DAY, YOU WILL QUICKLY ELIMINATE PERHAPS 90% OF THE SYMPTOMS OF THE DISEASE. BUT IF YOU TREAT THAT SAME COLD WITH 2 GRAMS OR EVEN 20 GRAMS A DAY? YOU WON’T SEE MUCH HAPPEN.”
»In some cases, especially if treated early, it almost seems as if megadoses were killing viruses. With bad colds or influenza we don’t seem to shorten the duration of the infection, but we render patients sufficiently asymptomatic (reduce the intensity of the normal symptoms) so that they will weather the infection without complications. Most of the time my patients don’t HAVE TO MISS ANY WORK TIME. If you’re using enough ascorbic acid it will promptly take a fever down to normal, and you WON’T HAVE THE NORMAL ACHES AND PAINS OF FLU–LIKE DISEASES .... The typical patient who gets mononucleosis is exactly the one who does the best on Vitamin C: older teenagers or young adults are just fantastic Vitamin C takers. They can understand the bowel tolerance idea, have iron stomachs, and couldn’t care less about slight gas and diarrhea when they have this horrible disease. In fact, the sicker a Patient is the better he does because the relief of symptoms is so dramatic that they do not need any arguments to convince them to continue treatment. So what usually happens is that in three to five days the symptoms are 90% relieved .... The important thing with mononucleosis or other responsive diseases is that we can get people back to work in days.”
This is the last half of the interview of Dr. Cathcart by Dr. B. J. Luberoff, editor of the journal Chemtech, which is published by the American Chemical Society. (Chemtech, February 1978.)
DR. CATHCART’S MINIMUM DOSE OF Vitamin C PER 24 HOURS TO NEUTRALIZE ACUTE SYMPTOMS OF DISEASE»The other disease that is very specific is infectious hepatitis ... It’s a cinch for Vitamin C. The difference between the course of the disease with and without Vitamin C is quite obvious if only because hepatitis is a disease that we can put numbers on. There are various enzyme systems that we can follow to show the course of the disease. Infectious hepatitis can be mild, where the patient is just a little yellow and maybe a bit tender in the abdomen, but not very sick. But the patients I’m talking about – 20 of them, at least – were profoundly ill with hepatitis, and here again we were able to detoxify them in three to five days. It generally took about six days for the jaundice to clear. In two or three days the urine returned to normal color.
In a question and answer format, the interview in Chemtech, continued: Dr. Cathcart was asked if he had published his observations about Vitamin C in the STANDARD MEDICAL JOURNALS. He answered, “NO, BUT I’VE TRIED. MY MANUSCRIPTS WERE REJECTED.”
Q. What did the referees say? in chemical periodicals the editor refers the paper to REFEREES he chooses, experts in the field, and then forwards their comments, anonymously usually, to the author. Is that the practice in the medical periodicals?
A. IN MY CASE THE MANUSCRIPTS WERE JUST FLAT OUT REFUSED.
Q. Just like that, without any explanation?
Q. MIGHT IT HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH AN ESTABLISHMENT PROTECTING ITSELF OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT?
DO YOU WANT TO COMMENT ON THIS?
A. Well, really I don’t. You know I really believe that the doctors involved in these decisions don’t believe this is true.
Q. In other words you think they are saying that this qualified physician who has an international reputation for his hip prothesis (the upper round leg bone metal bell that Dr. Cathcart developed to replace a broken socket bone) has made all this up. Colds, flu, hepatitis, mononucleosis, diseases a second–year medical student could recognize with high probability ... they don’t BELIEVE this?
A. Yes, they just don’t believe it. They think I’m deceiving myself somehow.
In the interview as published in CHEMTECH, there was the following caution; “This article is only for a mature audience. The views expressed here are unorthodox (Not conforming to convention) and do not necessarily represent those of the American Chemical Society.”
BACK ISSUES OF THE PAULING INSTITUTE NEWS LETTERS ARE AVAILABLE BY PHONING (415) 327 4064 AS WELL AS GETTING ON THEIR CURRENT LIST.
See also: Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University FOR QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT LIKE ANSWERED BY DR. CATHCART WRITE TO 36 SOUTH EL CAMINO? SAN MATEO, OR PHONE (415) 348 1352. THE WRITER WISHES TO THANK OUR COMPANY FOR BEING ABLE TO GIVE THIS IMPORTANT HEALTH INFORMATION. MAY IT BE OF HELP TO MANY.
Dale_Phelps@cupman (company internal eMail address(of 1983))
Remarks: I want to point out, that this article does not constitute medical advice, even though I made best experiences according to the article by taking Vitamin C as described. Current price at local drugstore is ~1,5€ per 100g
newer studies have been reported by Deutsches Ärzteblatt that refer to Linus Pauling.
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