Vitamin C

Vitamin C (mineral ascorbates) and Ascorbic Acid

This vitamin is the most important water soluble nutrient antioxidant. Its structure was determined by Nobel Laureate, Dr. A. Szent-Gyorgyi, who became a strong supporter of Dr. Linus Pauling in his views about the importance of this water soluble vitamin. According to Irwin Stone it should be considered an essential nutrient and that all humanity suffers from the deficiency disease he called hypoascorbemia. The amount present on our food is very low. There is enough so that we do not suffer scurvy. This does not mean that these small amounts will keep us healthy. The optimum amount may be much larger and this is the reason we have had the major controversy about this vitamin for the past forty years. The debate rages between those who believe that only tiny doses, less than 100 milligrams each day, are adequate, and those who believe that the optimum amount can be much larger depending upon many factors such as age, disease, and level of stress. The vitamin-as-prevention school believes that only people with scurvy should be given vitamin C supplements, while the vitamins-as treatment school believes that this view is altogether too narrow and that each person should determine their optimum. Over the years the first school is slowly losing its inflexibility as more and more is learned about this very important vitamin.

Dose Range

The orthomolecular literature suggests that the more common dose range should be between one and three grams daily taken after meals; but for many diseases much more is recommended. The best way of determining one’s optimum dose is to increase the dose until it causes loose stools and then to decrease it. It is a very good laxative and since at least one-third of any population over 65 suffer from constipation, this may a very effective and safe way of dealing with that.

Vitamin C can be taken as pills, capsules or the free powder dissolved in juice. It should not be stored in pure water as the copper in water will destroy some of it. It can also be used intravenously in doses going as high as 100 grams given over a 4 to 6 hour period.

The use of vitamin C was given a very powerful impetus by Dr. Linus Pauling, twice Nobel Laureate, after he published his book “Vitamin C and The Common Cold”. Following these books there was an amazing increase in sales of this vitamin, but at the same time an amazing increase in hostility toward him and his use of the word orthomolecular, which he used in his famous report in Science Magazine in 1968. More misconceptions were developed about vitamin C than about any other single nutrient. These factoids (in plain language, lies), are based upon hypotheses. There is no clinical data to support any of them and almost all studies show that they are not true. They are not supported by research.


Factoids About Vitamin C

  • causes kidney stones,
  • causes kidney damage,
  • causes pernicious anemia,
  • decreases fertility in women,
  • causes liver damage,
  • causes iron overload and toxicity,
  • is dangerous for diabetics by interfering with glucose tests,
  • causes cancer,
  • inhibits chemotherapy,
  • prevents radiation from being effective
  • prevented Linus Pauling from living longer
  • prevents surgical scars from healing
  • causes arteriosclerosis

I should have used weasel terms: instead of causes, I should have written may cause. Because using the word “may” allows the proponent of the factoid to suggest that these factoids are true, but leaves an escape path in case they turn out not to be true. The author can then claim, “Well, I did not say that these factors were true. I merely suggested that they might be true.” There is the usual confusion of probability and possibility. If a phenomenon occurs once out of a million times the probability is one out of a million, but there is no value attached to the possibility. It is indeed possible. The enormous sale of lottery tickets depends upon confusing the public in this way. Or, looked at in another way, if the probability of winning a lottery is one in ten million if one buys one ticket, and the probability is zero if one does not buy the ticket, then one can say that dividing the ratio one in ten million by zero yields the enormous probability of infinity that one will win the lottery. Any number divided by zero yields infinitesimal large values. Critics of megavitamin therapy never give any probability values since they know they are close to zero.