The Real Story Behind High Dose Vitamin C

The Real Story Behind High Dose Vitamin C

The typical diet of modern humans does not consist predominantly of Vitamin C-rich vegetables.

Although people live reasonable long lives with this limited intake, they increasingly suffer degenerative disease and a lower quality of life. This unnecessary suffering might not happen if the lost gene were still present (the lost gene is for the ability to synthesize vitamin C). Our inability to make our own ascorbate means that each newborn baby comes factory-equipped with, if not an inborn vitamin C deficiency, a vitamin C dependency.

The health benefits of vitamin C

The genuine vitamin C story has become clearer over recent years, as claims for unique health benefits of Vitamin Care are consistent with the available evidence. There is little scientific support for the idea that low (RDA level : recommended daily allowance) doses of ascorbate are optimal for humans. Antioxidants like vitamin C are essential for life because disease processes almost invariably involve free radical attack, which antioxidant defences can counteract.

People visiting a physician expect to receive clear, unbiased information about what ails them and its treatments. More importantly, they need to know what they can do to prevent disease. Patients would like to have the information necessary to make informed choices, but in many cases, this information is not provided, and even doctors are often unable to evaluate the information they need to make decisions that are optimal for patients interests. People often disregard the advice of conventional experts and supplement their diet with gram-level doses of vitamin C and other antioxidants.

Gram-levels of vitamin C may prevent many diseases, but much higher doses are required fir treatment of illness. The massive doses needed for therapy are often greeted with disbelief. When doctors are informed that 50-100grams (50000-100000mg) of vitamin C per day may be required to treat a common cold, their scepticism is transferred from the efficacy of the treatment to the size of the dose. Most clinical studies have considered doses of a single gram. A dose 100 times larger has very different properties.

One reason for the vitamin C controversy is contradictory clinical results from trials that use inadequate doses, doses that are 100 times too small and have consistently broken the basic rules of pharmacology. For as analogy, imagine a study in which 20000 fertile young women are placed on the contraceptive pill to prevent pregnancy. The researchers want to show that the pill has no effect, so they give one pill a month, instead of one a day, as designed. Control subjects take one sugar pill (placebo) per month. Now, suppose the results of this five-year trial indicate that, when taking a contraceptive pill once a month, the women became pregnant at the same rate as those on the sugar pill. No reasonable person would accept the claim that “the trial shows the pill does not prevent pregnancy.” You cannot expect a daily pill given monthly to have the same effect as the daily dose. However, this methodology is equivalent to studies of “high-dose” vitamin C, which purported to show it is ineffective.
An optimal intake of Vitamin C is the amount that prevents disease while minimizing the potential risk. It is a huge assumption to think that an intake to prevent acute scurvy will be adequate to prevent other diseases. Furthermore, there is substantial evidence that the intake of vitamin C needed to prevent chronic illness is much greater than the RDA (recommended daily allowance).

Unfortunately , direct studies on chronic disease and high-dose vitamin C intakes have not been undertaken, so we have to base our conclusions on an insufficient knowledge base. Typically, prospective studies provide the most direct information. In a prospective study, Vitamin C intake is estimated in large numbers of subjects, who are then tracked over time to see if they develop specific chronic diseases. Such studies are expensive and often and often imprecise. For example, the vitamin intake may be estimated by a questionnaire and approximated from typical proportions found in particular food items – fresh, organic carrots contain more vitamin C than those found in cans, for example. To get an accurate estimate of the optimal intake, it would be necessary for these studies to include intakes of vitamin C ranging from 50mg up to at least 10000mg/day, and this has not been done.

Some researchers suggest strangely that vitamin C from food is somehow more effective than the same molecule contained in supplements. However, an alternative explanation is that the methods used to estimate vitamin C intake from food have limited accuracy. Another possible explanation relates to the fact that we eat several times a day and vitamin C intake is released from food more gradually than from supplements.

Some beneficial effects of Vitamin C include

  1. cardiovascular disease reduction
  2. osteoporosis reduction
  3. less stretch marks
  4. cancer reduction
  5. numerous other health benefits.

Mechanisms of working :

a) Direct cancer killing effects in vitamin C sensitive subjects
b) Strengthening of connective tissue resulting in less invasion and less spread of cancer
c) Immune system support
d) Patients feel much better when on vitamin C compared to subjects with out
e) Strengthening of connective tissue and the matrix results in an effective therapy in cancer patients (Dr McCormick appears to have been the first to connect scurvy with predisposition to cancer.)

Dr McCormick considered vitamin C to be a pivotal therapeutic nutrient. He suggested that vitamin C could act both as an antioxidant and, occasionally, as an oxidant within the body.

Vitamin C’s oxidation-reduction effects provide a powerful chemotherapeutic action, especially when given in large, gram-level doses at hourly intervals (see references attached from Vitamin The real story by Andrew Saul PhD and Steve Hickey PhD. )

Furthermore the decline in death rates from infectious disease is generally attributed to sanitation, hygiene, and unspecified improvements in nutrition.

The Case for
High Vitamin Doses

Dr Pauling considered how animals use vitamin C.  Animals that synthesize Vitamin C make relatively large amounts; for example, rats reportedly make 70mg per kilogram of body weight each day.   If a rat is stressed the amount of ascorbate it produces increases, to about 215mg per day.  However this is insufficient to maintain vitamin C levels in sick animals, and as blood levels fall, urinary excretion increases by a factor of ten. An injection of vitamin C – a dose roughly equivalent to about 5grams (5000mg) in a human-restores the plasma ascorbate level, blood pressure, and capillary perfusion to normal, while inhibiting bacterial growth.

Other animals also increase their vitamin C production when stressed. A plausible explanation is that sick animals increase both the manufacture of Vitamin C and its excretion.    The rate of ascorbic acid production in the rat is equivalent to a dose of 5 grams to 15 g per day, given intravenously to a 154 pound (70kg) adult human. Similar rates of production are found in goats and other animals.    Domesticated cats and dogs produce somewhat less (human equivalent 2.5 grams).    By way of comparison, the RDA in the United States is less than 0.1 grams per day, between 50 and 150 times lower.   Furthermore, oral vitamin C is only partly absorbed.

A direct comparison between the amounts required by animals and humans could be misleading.  Humans might have evolved to need less, for example. Dr Pauling used an evolutionary argument and estimated that the amount of vitamin C in 110 raw plant foods, supplying 2500 calories, is at least 35x the RDA.  However there is little data on the diet of early man or other mammals.    While it is likely that plants 40 million years ago had similar levels of Vitamin C to those we find today, we do not have direct measurements.    Our ancestors may have been largely vegetarian, though we cannot be certain about this.

Animals that do not synthesize vitamin C may eat a vegetarian diet, providing a high level of the vitamin.  However, we cannot be sure that this is always the case as we do not have a complete list of such animals.    We do know that primates, other than humans, consume large amounts of vitamin C in their mainly vegetarian diet.

Dr Pauling became convinced that there was a scientific case for high doses of vitamin after listening to Dr Irwin Stone’s ideas. According to dr Stone. People need high dose vitamin C in large quantities to deal adequately with infection and stress.   Drs Stone and Pauling thought vitamin C, as ascorbic acid, is required in the diet because of an identifiable genetic mutation, which could be classed as an inborn error of metabolism.

There is no supporting evidence that “vitamin C complex containing bioflavonoids” is superior to L-ascorbic acid.    Suggestions that vitamin C is an ill-defined mixture of natural substances is unscientific, although it may be profitable to the commercial organizations concerned.

People consuming the low RDA levels of vitamin C may be considered deficient.    Authorities who claim that we only need such small amounts should be required to provide solid data to show that low doses are optimal. Unless such data is produced, official advice may be subjecting millions of people yo unnecessary ill health.    There is a bias at the heart of conventional nutritional advice. The original hypothesis for a vitamin was that it was a substance required in small amounts to maintain good health.    This definition has carried through into modern medicine and it has come to be regarded as fact.  People have forgotten that the idea that vitamins were needed in only small amounts was a relative measure, comparing the amount of vitamins to the proportion of fat, protein and carbohydrates in typical foods.  We are nowin the unfortunate position where the idea has become a medical dogma.

For decades, it was assumed (without any supporting evidence) that acute scurvy was the only vitamin C deficiency disease.   The idea that long-term deficiency could result in chronic illness, such as cataracts, heart disease, or arthritis, was largely ignored because there was no “proof” for this suggestion.  Dr Pauling argued for an increased requirement for vitamin C, using comparable biochemistry and evolutionary data. He believed that people had enough vitamin C in the diet to prevent them dying or becoming sick from acute scurvy, but insufficient to prevent disease in the longer term.

Dr Pauling brought the claims for high-dose vitamin C to the public and named a few form of nutritional therapy – orthomolecular medicine.    After a stellar career as one of the greatest scientists ever, he was happy to be known as “the Vitamin C man.”

These and other scientists and medical doctors have fought over the decades to make a case for the high-doses to fight disease.    While they remain marginalized by the conventional medical community, their courageous struggle has brought the many benefits of Vitamin C to the attention to a wider public and, in the process, saved many from needless suffering.


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Internet resources :

  1. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine (free full-text papers)
  2. Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling institute
  3. Frederick R Kleiner’s book Clinical Guide to the use of vitamin C
  4. C for yourself
  5. Vitamin C Foundation
  6. Ascorbate Web
  7. Irwin Stone’s book The Healing factor : Vitamin C Against Disease