A serious public health problem
-Even for people who aren't 18th- century pirates-
“If a potato can produce vitamin C, why can’t we?”
The Vitamin "C"ontroversy
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin. Humans, Guinea pigs, some bats and primates are similar in that we all, unlike most mammals and other animals actually DON’T have the ability to make ascorbic acid, and we must get our Vitamin C from our diet.
Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water so this means that Vitamin C leaves our bodies; we need to continually make sure we are eating foods with Vitamin C so it can be replenished in our bodies.
Chemist Linus Pauling made mega dosing Vitamin C popular. In 1970, he published “Vitamin C and the Common Cold”. This small book (just about 100 pages) was made weightier by the fact that Pauling had not one, but two Nobel prizes on his shelf — one for chemistry and one for peace.
Ever since, people have been fighting over Pauling’s message.
Humans are one enzyme away from synthezising their own Vitamin C
We do not produce Vitamin C due to a mutation in one special gene, which results in the inability to synthesize the protein needed to produce Ascorbic Acid. There are some theories why we lost (if we ever had) the ability to make our own Vitamin C.
One is that our ancestors lived in the warmer regions on earth and their diets were rich in Vitamin C due to the abundance of fresh ripe fruits and greens. They probably got forty times more of Vitamin C just from food as we do today. The suggestion is that species which just have the inactive GLO gene (the gene that codes to make Vitamin C) were under no selective pressure to keep it.
So as long as a diet offers sufficient quantities of Vitamin C individuals from a species which have lost the ability to make their own Vitamin C will not be selected against.
Nowadays it became nearly impossible to consume enough Vitamin C and sadly, our food supply contains less and less of this water-soluble nutrient because of premature food harvesting, artificial ripening, long term storing and food processing.
Scurvy, a severe case of Vitamin C deficiency, made famous by pirates and sailors from the 1700s / 1800s, who would go for months or years at sea without fresh produce, experiencing symptoms from rashes to hemorrhaging. Back then, scurvy killed more seafarers than storms and shipwrecks combined.
In 2009 a middle-aged man showed up at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. He had bleeding gums, unexplained swelling, bruises, and fatigue.
Everyone suspected an infection but every bacterial test came up negative.
After someone eventually thought to ask this person about his diet it turned out he was very poor and had just eaten a very poor diet without any fresh fruits or vegetables.
This had led to severe nutritional deficiencies.
The man´s vitamin C levels were so low, that he qualified for scurvy.
At first, the medical team figured it was a once-in-a-career case. But a few months later, another patient came in to their clinic with similar symptoms. This time, the doctors were ready. They did a Vitamin C test right away, and bingo: scurvy.
Over the next five years, the Springfield doctors measured vitamin C levels in about 120 patients who came in with a range of mysterious symptoms, such as fatigue, mood changes, rashes, headaches, or joint pain.
Twenty-nine had vitamin C deficiencies severe enough to qualify for scurvy—more than had been found in any other recent study. (The closest was a study from the Mayo Clinic that found 11 cases between 1976 and 2002.)
The results were astounding, doctors said, because the nutritional bar for preventing scurvy is so low. “You can have a handful of McDonald’s ketchup packets a day, and that’ll give you enough vitamin C to keep you from contracting scurvy.” This is a hint on why there must be something more behind Vitamin C deficiency.
Since there’s no reason to think Springfield’s population is unique, the study suggests that scurvy could be endemic to communities across the world, and largely undiagnosed.
- When damage occurs to the body, Vitamin C helps rebuild the tissue and minimize scarring associated with the injury.
- It also maintains the integrity of connective tissue – cartilage, capillaries, bones and teeth.
- Vitamin C is involved in the biosynthesis of hormones.
- Vitamin C helps your body deal with stress by supporting the adrenals.
- Vitamin C supports the immune system – it helps the body fight infections and reduces the effects of environmental pollutants.
- An extremely powerful antioxidant in itself.
There are two medical issues that are filling most doctors offices, whether it is an alternative or a conventional medical doctors office.
These are diabetes and high blood pressure. Both of them are associated with low Vitamin C and both of them responding to various degrees very well (depending on the person and the dose) on Vitamin C supplementation. Every aspect of glycemic control is improved with supplementation of Vitamin C and thus, as it is an inflammatory state, fights the inflammation.
Heart disease is caused by too much oxidative stress, toxin exposure (toxins from inside and outside the body). It’s also an inflammatory state, which takes place in the whole body, but it’s one part in the heart that basically gets really sick. Every risk factor for heart disease (blood vessel health, Cholesterol metabolism, high blood pressure) is improved with Vitamin C.
Interesting fact about heart disease and stroke found out at biopsies in the 1950 is that they found that you can just have an area in your heart or brain that has scurvy even though your blood levels are maybe normal, but these parts of the body are usually parts that have a lot of stress acting on them.
Blood vessels are like layers of bricks and mortar and you can not make this mortar without having adequate amounts of Vitamin C.
Without vitamin C, the immune system is paralyzed and unable to regenerate the ability to dissolve disease-causing elements in the body.
VITAMIN C is the most powerful anti-oxidant there is.
What helped us to understand the importance of Vitamin C was to understand the mechanisms in our bodies in which Vitamin C is involved. Everybody is talking about this oxidative stress, but do you really know what it is about? Well, we guess you kind of know, like us, just having the glimpse of what the hell is happening there.
Picture yourself a cell of your body, with the DNA, the Nucleus and the Mitochondria which makes the energy for the body.
Things from our environment, like microbes, radiation from the sun, chemicals, pharmaceutical drugs and other toxic factors (we will focus on one in upcoming articles) coming into our body and bumping electrons out of their way. Not to forget emotions. A traumatic event and other emotional stressors or physical stress from an injury also causes oxidative stress.
Our bodies are made of energy that has basically, electrons, neutrons and protons and it is the arrangement of these things that dictates the chemicals and their functions. If an electron gets knocked out of its place in the body, it is now missing at its place. Like playing musical chairs, one place is always missing and everyone is fighting for the last chair. That exactly is happening with oxidative stress. Means that the molecule, called a free radical now, is missing its electron, which got bumped away, will always be searching for it. If it finds one from another molecule it will take it. But now the other molecule is searching for it. A chain reaction is created.
How The Damage Happens
Vitamin C can stop this chain reaction, because it acts as an electron donor, filling in the missing electron. It can do so because Antioxidants have extra electrons that they can donate without itself getting stingy and trying to steal electrons somewhere else. It can also improve the damage that has already been done by this chain reaction.
It’s important to stop these chain reactions because otherwise the free radicals will damage nerves, proteins, DNA, Mitochondria and lipids which then can lead (depending on a persons whole nutritional and toxic status) to all these diseases we commonly hear about. Arteriosclerosis, osteoporosis, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, chronic inflammation, strokes, septic shocks…just to name a few. Dr. Klenner boldly states that diabetics should be considered victims of sub-clinical scurvy and this is likely why they heal wounds so poorly. While Vitamin C can prevent the damage by interrupting the chain reaction, flavones and minerals in your food will chelate out metals and toxins. So nutrients in combination have the most powerful effect.
Maybe this explains why it is so important to eat fresh fruits. The anti oxidants found in these foods fighting the oxidative stress. Processed food sources won’t give you the needed electrons and though no protection against damage.
Also, if your own internal antioxidant production through enzymes like Glutathion, is not working well, because of an already impaired functioning system, its even more important to get these Antioxidants from Vitamin C.
Factors which increase your requirement for Vitamin C
- Increased estrogen (e.g. the oral contraceptive pill or HRT)
- Poor diet
- Toxin exposure/intake (e.g. smoking, pollution…)
It appears the amount of vitamin C which can be tolerated orally, without producing diarrhea, increases somewhat proportionately to how unwell you are. Large doses of vitamin C should always be given in divided doses and, at higher amounts during acute illness, may need to be given hourly.
But when it comes to Vitamin C most people have to figure out what their own dose is.
We all have different deficiencies and changes throughout the time.
You should figure this out with the help of your practitioner.
Its said an adult women needs 75 mg/day that is 1,2 mg/kg/day. It might prevent us from developing severe symptoms of scurvy, but that is not the same as promoting optimal health. If you compare it to what animals produce and eat on top per kg/day it is ridiculously low.
The science behind how much C we humans need is on wrong estimations.
The study on these estimations was simply made wrong with a small group of healthy men and women and just briefly said, they looked up on the wrong kind of cells.
Also, every country has their own numbers of recommendations, and usually just estimated on guesswork with no special focus on the different situations, like the all over health status of a person, physical or emotional state, weight, age, men or women.
Did you know...
The used up Vitamin C can be recycled in the body. There are various cells that take in the used up form of Vitamin C and can turn it back into the C that can be used in other places. And there are also some cells, that ONLY can take in the used up form.
If we have too much Vitamin C that’s not going to be used, we simply release it trough the urine.
To bring the ascorbate into the body, our intestines need Sodium. This is just one tiny example on how everything is intertwined.
Animals use four sequential liver enzymes to convert glucose (in a very simple way) into another chemical “2 kept L gunalalectone” which shifts automatically into L-Ascorbic Acid
Enzyme number 4 in this process is missing in human beings.
The gene that codes for it is present in humans but it just doesn’t work. So we depend on food sources in order to have this life saving nutrient.
Goats hardly ever get sick.
They give themselves high dose vitamin C levels to protect themselves.
They make 185 mg/kg/day (13,000 mg/day) in health, but when they are stressed or ill they make 1400 mg/kg/day (100,00 mg/day). Same with rats. That’s why they survive even in highly polluted environments.
One cigarette depletes the body of 25 mg Vitamin C. I you smoke ten cigarettes a day you are already tapping into your reserves when you go with a recommendation of around 100 mg/day for a smoker.
Absolutely NOT. Neither Dangerous nor wasteful. Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling took 18g/per day. If we had the ability to make our own Vitamin, we would probably produce the same amount of L-Ascorbic Acid then other mammals do, which is way more than 100 mg (depending on type between 3g up to 25g). Let’s have a look at the bio availability. These numbers are from Dr. Levin.
Dose % Bioavailability Absolute Bioavailability
100 mg 80 80 mg
200 mg 72 144 mg
500 mg 63 315 mg
1250 mg 46 575 mg
This shows that when you need a lot of Vitamin C a low dose gives you a lot. When you take 1250 mg it is only 46% bioavailabel. In a sense people are right saying you won’t absorb all the Vitamin C so it’s less bioavailable when you take more. But look at the number. You still get a relatively high number of Vitamin C in one dose even you spill a lot into the urine.
Old news. This rumor got refuted a long time ago. The main component of kidney stones consists as oxalets. In the body Vitamin C can get converted into oxelates. This assumption was supported by an American study from the 80th. Newer studies could not verify this assumption. There was no higher production of oxalets even when given high doses of 10g/per day. The high values of oxalets from the old studies had been a false result. The high amounts of oxalets had been formed by the excreted Vitamin C in the urine, not before. Even a study at Harvard University has refused this rumor.
First question is “How much is too much”? The exact amount of Vitamin C needed in our bodies depends greatly on the factors like health status, age…as we talked about already. The bodies use for Vitamin C are various. It is essential for most of our metabolic processes. The amounts not needed right away are getting stored in the immune cells. The amount that is not used at all is simply released through the urine. Even this has some benefits. Vitamin C can act as a chelator and though transports out toxins. Also, the bladder can benefit from the passing Vitamin C. The amount that is not used at all is simply released through the urine.
We talked about this before and there are several studies about the declining mineral and vitamin content in foods. There are studies since the early 70th that show declining amounts of C in foods due to declining minerals in our soils, pollution, fast growing crops and long term storage of food. Vitamin C from foods are a hundred times less potent than using the L-Ascorbic Acid in severe cases. You will simply not get enough Vitamin C from food, especially when you are severely sick.
Food is always best. Most of the things we find in our food is the best way to take it into our body.
“Large” doses of ascorbic acid can cause loose bowels. But biochemical individuality, stress and illness make it impossible to define “large”. Five grams might cause loose bowels in a healthy 20-year old athlete, but a 50-gram dose might have no bowel effects whatsoever in a 60-year old severely ill patient who has been taking such doses for months. There is no danger in getting some loose bowels as it is just a short term process. It indicates that the dose was too high and you reached your bowel tolerance. By backing up with the dose the loose bowel stop immediately. Parental (such as intravenous) sodium ascorbate is not observed to cause any bowel effects.