The controversy still goes on between orthodox dietitians who regard ascorbic acid merely as a vitamin which in small doses will prevent scurvy, and the orthomolecular scientists and nutritionists who believe that to maintain health and resist disease every tissue in the body needs to be saturated with ascorbic acid — sufficient for the blood to contain 1 mg per cent and to spill over into the urine.
Over the last 50 years, since Dr Albert Szent-Gyorgyi identified and isolated Vitamin C as ascorbic acid, a tremendous amount of research has been carried out all over the world and thousands of papers published on the subject. But there has been no co-ordination in the research. Thus no firm conclusions can be drawn from the many controversial results as to how much is needed by the human body to maintain health, to resist disease and control poisons and pollution. How individuals differ in their requirements for ascorbic acid is not decided, nor optimum dosage in the stress of surgery, infections, injuries or in degenerative and malignant disease.
A great deal of co-ordinated research is still needed to resolve these questions.
However, research into vitamins and their practical value in clinical nutrition and therapy is going ahead, but is not popular in orthodox scientific circles, and there is little money forthcoming for such research.
Even Linus Pauling has had to turn to popular subscription to fund his research institute on the place of Vitamin C in cancer control — a most vital issue in the epidemic proportions that malignancy has reached in the ‘civilised’ world. National Institutions in U.S.A have refused to subsidies his research laboratories and sought to denigrate his work in every way, especially through the media.
The ridicule and disbelief with which Linus Pauling’s book on the common cold was received by the Establishment and orthodox nutritionists was, however, belied by the avidity with which the lay public received it; and, what is more, carried out his advice for scotching their winter colds.
The amazing thing is that Vitamin C works, if enough is taken; and it is now generally accepted almost as a normal practice, apart from all medical prescribing, to take Vitamin C daily as a supplement in far larger doses than the Recommended Daily Allowance. Thousands of people are taking 250 mg to 500 mg to 1000 mg a day — with up to 4000 mg to combat a cold, as recommended by Linus Pauling.
This practice is frowned on by some dietitians, who believe we can obtain our 30 mg to 50 mg of C in a good mixed diet and that is all we need. Indeed, the Commonwealth Pharmaceutical Board has reduced the dose available to pensioners from 500 mg to 50 mg doses as a pharmaceutical benefit.
Elderly pensioners who cannot afford to buy much fresh fruit will certainly not get frank scurvy on 50 mg to 150 mg ascorbic acid a day, but they will still suffer from bleeding gums, loose teeth and pyorrhoea, easy bruising and frequent colds, bronchitis and residual coughs, — which could all be prevented by a larger intake of Vitamin C as age advances.
There are a growing number of doctors, bio-chemists, nutritionists, dentists and other scientists who have seen and experienced the tremendous health saving — even life saving — effects of large or ‘mega’ doses of Vitamin C taken by mouth and/or by injection, intravenous or intramuscular. They have the courage of their convictions, and are proving not only through biochemical research but by their spectacular clinical results the, value of this simple harmless substance which we humans cannot make for ourselves.
The new orthomolecular dosage of Vitamin C is largely based on the amount of ascorbic acid manufactured by all animals normally and under circumstances of stress — all except man, monkeys and guinea pigs, who must take it in their food.
It is the fond hope of Dr Irwin Stone — expressed in his book The Healing Factor, Vitamin C Against Disease that ‘as further research is conducted on hyposcrobaemia, and the realization of its importance is confirmed, a National Megascorbic Authority will eventually be organized for Vitamin C with general aims and purposes similar to the proposed National Cancer Authority for cancer.
‘The main purpose of this agency would be to determine the optimum levels of ascorbic acid intake based on the genetic concepts, under normal and stress conditions, and the human individual variations and responses’.
Once the value of Vitamin C in clinical and preventive medicine is recognized, who, except the ultra-conservative, is going to wait for results to be ‘proven’ by double-blind trials to be ‘statistically significant’ in the face of its ability to cut short the lingering disability of hepatitis and glandular fever, the pain of shingles, the severity of infectious diseases (measles, mumps, chickenpox and rubella), to prevent the fatality of encephalitis and virus pneumonia, detoxify poison of carbon monoxide, mercury and lead and of the bites of snakes and poisonous insects; to hasten healing and finally to prevent and control the growth of cancer cells — and all in a reasonable, non-toxic form with no side effects.
Looking into the future, I can see that Vitamin C in one of its injectable forms will be part of the medical equipment of all hospitals and casualty wards; every ambulance and every first aid post and every life-savers club will be equipped with ampoules of sodium ascorbate for injection and tablets to take by mouth; and every doctor’s bag will contain Vitamin C ready to inject as he now carries antibiotics — as a first line of defence in the many emergencies and infections that must be met in the course of a day’s practice.
Ascorbic acid in one of its easily assimilated and acceptable forms will form part of our daily diet — and be accepted as part of the preventive medicine programme which we all realize must be the next step in community health.
I believe that a well balanced diet coupled with ample ascorbic acid or ascorbate daily will overcome the menace of malignancy and, should it occur, that ascorbate will be used as the best non-toxic chemotherapy to help control the growth of tumours and to prevent metastacies (that is spread of the malignancy to other parts of the body).
Much research and many trials are still needed, but I believe that the realisation of the value and life saving properties of Vitamin C (in one of its forms) will be one of the most important medical breakthroughs of this century and will ensure better health to thousands and freedom from many of the diseases that now beset us.
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