Vitamin C, Immunity and Acute Induced Scurvy
Review: The Many Faces of Ascorbic Acid
Vitamin C is one of the most widely used
and highly valued vitamins in the world. Vitamin C became
popular in 1970, when Linus Pauling published his groundbreaking
work, "Vitamin C and the Common Cold." Vitamin C sales
skyrocketed, with some impressive results, including a
staggering 40% drop in the number of deaths attributed to heart
disease in the next decade. Scientists now estimate that over
250,000 lives are saved every year because of the efforts of Linus Pauling and other dedicated researchers to educate the
public about the benefits of vitamin C. Based on these
statistics, it has been estimated that if everyone in the United
States took several hundred milligrams of vitamin C a day, over
100,000 lives and $100 billion in health care costs would be
saved each year.
Not only can vitamin C help us feel better and live longer, but
it has also been proven to support numerous functions that can
help us attain optimal health, including:
This premier antioxidant nutrient protects us from the ravages
of free radicals that, if left to destroy cell membranes and
damage DNA, lead to the development of degenerative diseases and
Vitamin C helps manufacture collagen, the basic cellular
'cement' that keeps muscles, tendons, bones, teeth and skin
healthy and strong, and aids in the repair of blood vessels and
Vitamin C benefits heart conditions of all kinds, normalizes
blood pressure, reduces cholesterol levels, and aids in the
removal of cholesterol deposits from arterial walls.
Despite these and other numerous health benefits, this basic
nutrient is constantly under attack from those who argue that
all good nutrition begins and ends with a fork.
And is it possible to get optimal amounts of vitamin C from food
alone? It has been shown that even the best diet cannot begin to
provide the minimum levels of vitamin C (500 to 1,000 mg per
day) that research has proven can help us fend off illness,
degenerative diseases and premature aging. In fact, a recent
study has shown that men who take vitamin C supplements live, on
average, six years longer than those who only get their vitamin
C from dietary sources.
The History of Vitamin C
Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is a powerful
water-soluble antioxidant vital for the growth and maintenance
of all body tissues. Though easily absorbed by the intestines,
vitamin C cannot be stored in the body, and is excreted in the
urine within two to four hours of ingestion. Human history has
been deeply influenced by vitamin C or more accurately, by a
frequent and disastrous lack of this vital nutrient. In his book
The Healing Factor: Vitamin C Against Disease, the late
biochemist Irwin Stone stated: '...the lack of this molecule
[vitamin C] in humans has contributed to more deaths, sickness,
and just plain misery than any other single factor in man's long
The Discovery of Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
The first breakthrough in vitamin C research occurred in 1926,
when the Hungarian scientist, Albert Szent-Gyi, MD, PhD,
traveled to Cambridge University to conduct research on the
chemical processes that caused fruits and vegetables to turn
brown. Szent-Gyi first succeeded in isolating a white
crystalline substance from the adrenal gland of cows, which he
referred to as Cx11. Later, in 1928, Szent-Gyi isolated these
same crystals from the juice of potatoes and cabbages, and
renamed the substance hexuronic acid. Szent-Gyi later
collaborated with the famed English chemist W. Haworth, and
together they finally determined the chemical structure of
hexuronic acid (C6H8O6). Finally, in 1932, after producing the
first pure crystals of vitamin C, Szent-Gyi and Haworth once
again renamed the substance, and, in recognition of its role in preventing
scurvy, called it ascorbic acid, from the Latin word, ascorbic, which means
Five years later, in 1937, Szent-Gyi was awarded the Nobel
Prize in Medicine for his discoveries in connection with the
biological combustion processes, with special reference to
vitamin C and the catalysis of fumaric acid.
What Does Vitamin C Do?
Vitamin C is utilized by virtually every part of the human body.
In fact, there are few, if any, biological functions that do not
require vitamin C.
- Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant to protect
cells from free radicals. Vitamin C also prevents oxidative
damage that leads to the development of atherosclerosis.
- Vitamin C is vital to the immune
system, aiding white blood cells that attack and destroy
cancer cells, viruses, bacteria, parasites and other
pathogens. Vitamin C also promotes wound healing and acts to
control the release of histamine.
- Vitamin C is used by the body to
produce collagen, used by connective tissues to give
strength and shape to our tissues, such as muscles, blood
vessels, bones and teeth.
- Vitamin C helps the body utilize folic
acid (required for maintaining our DNA) and regulates the
uptake of iron (needed for production of hemoglobin, the
oxygen-carrying part of blood cells).
- Vitamin C is important for the
synthesis of neurotransmitters, such as noradrenaline (for
energy and mood) and serotonin (for sleep, well-being and
Vitamin C and the Common Cold
Large doses of vitamin C (two grams or more per day) can
dramatically shorten both the duration and severity of a cold if
taken at first sign of symptoms. Most studies show that vitamin
C therapy can result in milder symptoms while reducing the
duration by about a third.
More than twenty studies have found that preventive vitamin C
supplementation reduces the annual number of colds in children.
One study of over 600 children, between
the ages of 8 and 9 years, found that 1,000 mg of vitamin C a
day for three months reduced the severity and duration of colds,
but not the number of colds. Based on these findings, it makes
more sense to increase vitamin C intake at the onset of cold
symptoms rather than as a preventive measure.
To understand how vitamin C can help us recover from colds, flu
and other forms of infection, we need to understand that vitamin
C takes on a new role when the body
is under attack.
Common Cold as "Acute Induced Scurvy"
Often we may begin to notice that we are starting to feel ill,
only to have the symptoms quickly disappear within a day or so.
This is what is supposed to happen when our immune system is
healthy and well supported. At the first sign of an attack, all
of the components of the immune complex move quickly to
identify, target and kill the invading pathogens.
Just as often we don't get better and our symptoms worsen as we
are caught up in a cold or flu infection that can last for days
or weeks. What has happened is that invading viruses have
slipped past our first lines of defense and are damaging
mitochondria, the cells that produce energy. This damage results
in a flood of free radicals that quickly use up all of the
vitamin C in the affected area, like the nose and throat. Dr.
Robert Cathcart, a pioneer in the field of orthomolecular
medicine, refers to this condition as 'acute induced scurvy.'
When vitamin C is depleted in the affected area, the body can no
longer mount an effective response until it has produced enough
antibodies to attack and destroy the virus. In the meantime the
condition has time to spread to the sinuses, ears, lungs, etc.
This also allows bacteria to take advantage of the situation,
potentially causing secondary infections, such as bronchitis,
pneumonia or worse.
Cathcart believes that taking moderate doses of vitamin C (200
to 2,000 mg per day) in such conditions may prevent the spread
of the infection to other areas of the body,
but will do little to shorten the course of the illness. On the
other hand, Cathcart argues that taking massive doses of vitamin
C (megadoses) can force enough electrons into the affected
tissues to neutralize all the free radicals and support the
white cells that come out fighting mad and destroy all the
viruses. It does not matter that the disease is moderately
advanced, states Cathcart, if sufficient C is used, the cold
will be shortly terminated.
The Power of High Dose (Megadose) Vitamin C
Building on the groundbreaking work of Linus Pauling, Irwin
Stone, and other orthomolecular physicians, Cathcart has helped
to shape our understanding of megadose vitamin therapy, which
uses vitamin C in doses higher than those required for normal
cellular functions. When taken in very high (ten to one hundred
grams or more per day, depending upon the person and the
illness) vitamin C works in a uniquely different way to fight
off serious illness.
We've seen that vitamin C is required to help protect the body
from the ravages of free radicals and for the constant repair of
our connective tissues. And, except for losses due to collagen
formation, most of the time vitamin C is recycled by the body's
antioxidant system. But when the body is challenged by cancer,
colds, or other diseases, vitamin C takes on a new role. Dr.
Cathcart describes the process in the following way, using the
term ascorbate, which is just another technical term for vitamin
|Free radicals are molecules that
have lost an electron and they are very reactive because
they want an electron in the worst way.
|Vitamin C (ascorbate) donates its
two spare electrons to neutralize two dangerous free
|When vitamin C (ascorbate) loses
its electrons it is turned into a form of vitamin C
Dehydroascorbate has a half-life in the body of only a
|If dehydroascorbate does not regain
its two electrons from the mitochondria within a few
minutes, it is irreversibly lost (mitochondria are tiny
structures in every cell that act like powerhouses that
provide cellular energy and aid in recycling vitamin C).
|White blood cells need vitamin C
(ascorbate) in order to kill viruses, bacteria,
parasites, fungi, cancer cells, etc.
|When the mitochondria are damaged
(by cancer, viruses, bacteria, etc.), they are unable to
provide the electrons needed to turn dehydroascorbate
back into vitamin C.
|These damaged mitochondria produce
more free radicals.
Free radicals turn on antibodies and increase
In essence what Cathcart and other supporters of megadose
therapy are claiming is that when we become seriously ill the
body is overwhelmed by a flood of free radicals that quickly use
up all of the available stores of vitamin C. This impairs the
immune response, which depends on vitamin C to mount an
effective defense against the invading organisms (or tumor, in
the case of cancer).
By ingesting or infusing large amounts of vitamin C, as in the
earlier cancer study by Pauling and Cameron, the aim is to
saturate the body with enough electrons to destroy all of the
free radicals being generated in the tissues affected by the
disease. In short, the body is using the electrons donated by
vitamin C, and then tossing away the dehydroascorbate.
The Controversy Surrounding Megadose Therapy
Megadose vitamin C therapy continues to be a highly
controversial topic. Traditional medicine tends to view vitamin
C as a nutrient that is only useful for preventing scurvy. In
The Third Face of Vitamin C, published in 1993, Dr. Cathcart
detailed his clinical experience treating over 20,000 patients
with high doses of vitamin C over a 23-year period. Cathcart
found that doses of up to 200 or more grams per day were
effective in treating clinical diseases involving free radicals.
The list of diseases involving free radicals includes
infections, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, trauma, burns (both
thermal and radiation), surgeries, allergies,autoimmune diseases
Megadose therapy has caught the interest and fired the
imagination of many eminent researchers. The late Irwin Stone
pioneered the early use of high dose vitamin C for treating
diseases. His close friend, Dr. Frederick Klenner conducted much
of the original clinical research on vitamin C megadose therapy,
reporting that most viral diseases could be cured when patients
were treated with intravenous sodium ascorbate in amounts up to
200 grams per day.
Klenner is credited with bringing megadose therapy to the
attention of Linus Pauling. Pauling went on to conduct research
with Ewan Cameron showing that high dose
vitamin C therapy doubled the life span of cancer patients.
Based on their work a large number of physicians now routinely
use massive doses of vitamin C in their clinical practice for
the treatment of a wide variety of diseases.
source of nutrients and supplements.
did we qualify them ?
Binaural Beat Brainwave Entrainment Audio - meditation,
altered states, relaxation, improved learning and memory,
relaxation, anti-stress, lucid dreaming, improved sleep,
hemispheric coherence and increased corpus callosum
Brainwave Entrainment Audio Technology
| Advanced Human Biochemical