The below article was originally published in Earth Clinic's June, 2011 e-newsletter.
Vitamin C - More than Just an Anti-Oxidant
By Bill Thompson, Contributing Writer
Published: June 22, 2011
Vitamin C History
As far back in history as 1747, a Scottish physician called James Lind discovered through a simple experiment that, by taking lime or lemon juice every day, British sailors avoided contracting scurvy. He didn't know why this was, but from that point on, all the British Navy started issuing daily rations of lime juice, which is probably how the nickname "Limey" originated for Brits in the old days.
Two hundred years later, a Hungarian called Albert Szent-Gyorgyi actually discovered Vitamin C and got a Nobel Prize for his efforts in 1937. An interesting and active man, during WW 2 Szent-Gyorgyi was a key member of the Hungarian resistance. Adolf Hitler himself issued a direct order for his arrest. After the war Szent-Gyorgyi's research interests moved towards studying the effects of free-radical damage as a reason for cancer onset. Another interesting fact about Szent-Gyorgi was that he always supplemented at least 1 gram of Potassium Iodide every day - that's 1000 mgs of KI (which is about 8000 times higher than the current RDA for iodine). He lived to the age of 93. In those days, people had no fear of iodine supplementation. A well-know protg and supporter of Szent-Gyorgi's work, Ralph Moss, has since carried on his wonderful research work.
Later research by Dr Denham Harman enabled more understanding on the dangerous effects of free-radicals on the body to further enhance the work of Albert Szent-Gyorgyi. Harman's essential discovery and proof was that anti-oxidants like Vitamin A, C & D actually help to extend human life by eliminating free-radical damage. But something that was always ignored by peer reviewed writings on Dr Harman's research was the fact that he regarded BHT(Butylated Hydroxytoluene) as a super anti-oxidant. He also discovered other conclusive facts from his anti-oxidant research along the way that have been completely and conveniently ignored for years by organizations such as the FDA and WHO:
"In 1961, Harman published a study showing that the degree of polyunsaturation in fats had a dramatic effect on cancer rates in mice. The most highly polyunsaturated dietary fats [vegetable oils] were found to be the most carcinogenic.
In 1968 Harman published a dietary antioxidant study showing that the food preservative BHT fed over a lifetime to mice produced a 45% increase in life span. Harman became concerned that although many of his studies showed an increase in average lifespan by antioxidants, none showed an increase in maximum life span."
-- Source -- Wikipedia
Then came Mathias Rath's and Linus Pauling's research on the usage and correct dosages of Vitamin C which broke so much new ground - this research consequently gave birth to the well-known Orthomolecular Medicine movement, whose approach was to use natural nutritive methods at correct dosages discovered through intensive research in order to alleviate and cure disease. They both went on to discover the usefulness of high dose Vitamin C (as Ascorbate) and high dose Lysine - a simple amino acid protein pre-cursor -- as a very simple cure and preventative for heart disease, arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure etc. It was found that Vitamin C simply acted to remove the actual arterial plaque blockages while the Lysine removed the Lipoprotein(a) or Lp(a) from the blood in order to stop the plaque reforming again. In talking about arteriosclerosis, Pauling always liked to refer to this problem simply as "arterial scurvy" in order to drive his point home about the importance of correct dosages of Vitamin C in the human diet.
And, when natural epigallocatechins (green tea tannins) were added to the vitamin C and Lysine protocol, this treatment would stop cancer tumor growth, prevent angiogenesis, and also help to prevent metastasis. Few people know about the Pauling-Rath research because the drug industry has done its utmost to suppress or spoil this vital research information for years.
Ted from Bangkok has also recommended the use of larger dose Vitamin C with larger dose Lysine (sometimes combined with aspirin), which can help to cure some strains of ordinary flu as well as H1N1. He also recommends this as part of his cure protocol for cancer and as a cure for chlamydia, herpes, pneumonia and dengue fever.
The simple point I am making here is that Vitamin C is far more than just an anti-oxidant. What comes out from all the independent research is that Vitamin C is also a vital ingredient for building or repairing collagen or body tissue; Vit C supports and greatly aids and boosts the immune system; Vit C can chelate and remove dangerous heavy metals from the body; it also greatly helps in accelerating cross cell-wall nutrient transport and absorption of nutrients. This is why, for instance, Vitamin C should always be taken with iodine supplementation - Vitamin C simply accelerates the absorption of iodine, overcoming any iodine transport problems - which is not only useful for thyroid problems but is also used in every other iodine cell receptor in the human body as well.
Correct Vitamin C Dosages
The current recommended daily RDA for Vitamin C is about 75 mgs.
In his own research on Vitamin C, Pauling mentions that humans, apes, bats and guinea pigs cannot produce their own Vitamin C internally because they lack one vital liver enzyme - so they have to get their Vitamin C from an external food source. However, cows, horses, goats, dogs and cats and many other mammals all produce their Vitamin C internally simply by metabolizing glucose into Vitamin C in their livers. Pauling further goes on to say that just a small goat automatically and internally produces 12 grams of vitamin C on average per day and in times of stress can up that amount to 18 grams a day.
Cows, horses and goats rarely, if ever, get heart disease or cancer.
So now how do 12 grams of Vitamin C produced automatically and naturally everyday in a small goat stack up against the RDA Vitamin C dose of 75 mgs recommended for humans?
I personally take 1000 - 3000 mgs of Vitamin C every day (much more if I'm ill). I also make sure that I eat plenty of fruit - mangoes, melons, apples, oranges etc - on a daily basis. Thus I get the benefit of Vitamin C as ascorbate but I also benefit from the fruit, which contains the added benefit of bio-available Vitamin C co-factors such as bio-flavonoids, ascorbinogens, rutin and tyrosinase as well as many mineral co-factors that also work as associated enzymes to further enhance Vitamin C's positive effects on the body.
Linus Pauling regularly took about 8 - 10 grams of Vitamin C (sometimes twice as much as this) per day for years and years and he died at the ripe old age of 93.
When Should I Take Vitamin C?
Lastly, you can take Vitamin C, which is a water soluble vitamin, either during mealtimes or outside mealtimes. But, as Linus Pauling proved from his own research, if you take Vitamin C at mealtimes then you will automatically lose 1/3 of your dose through normal intestinal excretion. So if you take Vitamin C - it's always best to take the ascorbate or alkaline form outside mealtimes - your body will simply absorb more of the Vitamin C dosage and you will thus get a much greater benefit.
The other oily vitamins such as Vitamins A, D, E and K should all be taken at mealtimes for proper digestion and emulsification by the pancreatic lipase enzymes and bile respectively.
What Supplement Form is the Best?
This section applies to all vitamins, minerals and amino acid supplement forms that you can buy - not just to Vitamin C. Let's go through these one by one:
I would avoid this supplement form for the following reasons:
- This form contains many caking additives (to form the tablet) such as Calcium Diphosphate, Magnesium Stearate, Stearic Acid, plant cellulose etc. Some people are even allergic to some of these caking substances.
- The waxy, hard tablet forms will not be easy to break down and digest in the body. To test this - just drop the tablet into a glass of water with a little vinegar. If it doesn't dissolve into solution in about 20 minutes. - the tablet is useless.
- Caking agents are waxy, sticky substances that help form the tablet. This wax will also tend to embed and trap the nutrient supplement in the wax, which will then not be absorbed by the intestine.
- The best way to take tablets is to first crush them up using a mortar and pestle and then to dissolve the powder in a glass of water. Note that the water will look opaque and unclear due to the heavy presence of these waxy and insoluble caking residues.
In my opinion, this is the worst possible supplement form of all to take. All the disadvantages that apply to the tablet form also apply to the multivitamin form. But I would also add these disadvantages as well:
Multivitamin forms always contain lesser amounts of vitamins, minerals and amino acids than even the RDA. This is because it would be physically impossible to put all the correct RDA dosages for vitamins, minerals and amino acids into one multivitamin pill. If you did, the pill would probably be bigger than a ping pong ball!! That's why I think the multivitamin concept - all beneficial daily nutrients in one pill - is so utterly ridiculous.
Minerals such as Iron, Zinc, Magnesium, Manganese and Calcium, for example, are all combined into one multivit pill. All these minerals, when taken in the wrong form, are mutually antagonistic and will compete for absorption pathways in the intestines. No use at all.
Many multivitamin forms contain various synthetic (patented) minerals, vitamins and amino acids etc. These forms are not handled in the body as well as the natural more bio-available food forms. Such multivit forms are usually also more expensive because they contain these synthetic, patented nutrient forms.
I read an interesting article awhile ago written in an alternative health magazine. The journalist went to a sewage works to interview the sewage manager. During the interview the manager happened to mention that every day, whenever he went out to inspect the human sewage - he would see hundreds and hundreds of multi-coloured pills in the sludge - multivitamin pills - all undissolved.
Liquid Tonics, Dissolvable (fizzy) and Chewable Forms
I wouldn't trust these forms because, generally, they will include additives such as aspartame, flavourings, high fructose corn syrup or sugar and other additives to make them taste better. Also, the liquid tonic form will have a greater tendency to oxidize in the sunlight. Avoid.
These should contain just the powdered herb, mineral or vitamin and nothing else - no additives or caking agents etc. This powder should be contained in an enteric-coated capsule. This form is OK - my number 2 choice.
My top choice. This is the best form if you can get it - no additives or preservatives or caking agents. When I first bought my powdered Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid) and dissolved the dose in a glass of water with some baking soda powder to convert it to ascorbate - after the fizz - it was crystal clear, just like a simple glass of water.
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