VITAMIN C - THE MASTER NUTRIENT
Preface | Foreword | Introduction | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13 | Bibliography
Attack on Viruses
Vitamin C and Colds
The advocacy of Vitamin C for the prevention and treatment of colds has received more publicity than perhaps any other health-related subject. Since the publication of Linus Pauling's book, "Vitamin C the Common Cold and the Flu (1970, Freeman & Co.)(164), debates on the merits and appropriate doses of Vitamin C have raged within the research establishment and amongst the public. Despite such universal bombardment via every kind of media, old ideas die hard; it continually astonishes me how a majority of people, convinced that the body "only stores 150 mg Vitamin C and excretes the rest", content themselves with rather small doses (500 mg/day) and wonder why they haven't experienced the wondrous effects of Vitamin C rhapsodized by enthusiastic advocates.
The research history concerning the use of Vitamin C against colds and viruses is actually almost half a century old. The detailed historical description of the various research trials conducted since the 1940's makes compelling reading, and the reader is enthusiastically encouraged to review the evidence presented by Drs. Irwin Stone and Linus Pauling in their respective books(164,166,200). A summary of placebo controlled trials with Vitamin C and colds (Table 5) is hereby reprinted from Dr. Pauling's "How to Live Longer and Feel Better", 1986(166):
Table 5: Controlled Studies Related to Vitamin C and Colds
% Decrease in
Study Illness per person
Glazebrook & Thomson (1942) 50
Cowan, Diehl, Baker (1942) 31
Dahlberg, Engel, Rydin (1944) 14
Franz, Sands, Heyl (1954) 36
Anderson et al. (1975) 25
Ritzel (1961) 63
Anderson, Reid, Beaton (1972) 32
Charleston, Clegg (1972) 58
Elliott (1973) 44
Anderson, Suranyi, Beaton (1974) 9
Coulehan et al. (1974) 30
Sabiston & Radomski (1974) 68
Karlowski et al (1975) 21
Clegg & Macdonald (1975) 8
Pitt & Costrini (1979) 0
Carr et al (1981) 48
From "How to Live Longer and Feel Better" Linus Pauling, 1986(166)
It should be borne in mind that NONE of the above studies REALLY tested Vitamin C's effect against colds to the limit, in that the above studies used relatively low doses for relatively short time intervals. The types of data that would be really convincing would use doses of 3-5 g per day over an extended period of time, at least one year.
The Vitamin C Recipe Against Colds
Depending on your biochemical individuality, your own protective dose of Vitamin C, which should prevent colds may range from 1-3-5 g per day. However, as will be discussed in Chapter 12, this level will vary according to the degree of stresses in your life, including physical, infectious, environmental and emotional. But generally, a "maintenance" dose of Vitamin C should offer significant protection against colds. However, when your resistance is lowered due to any number of factors, this is what to do with respect to Vitamin C. This regime is again borrowed from Drs. Stone and Pauling(164,166,200):
1. At the first signs of cold, ie scratchy or sore throat, malaise, sniffles, fever, etc., take 1-2 g Vitamin C. It is important to "catch" the cold at the onset of a cold, not to wait until it takes hold.
2. Repeat taking 1-2 g Vitamin C about every hour. Usually, after several hours, symptoms subside and relief is felt. Take a total of 5-20 g Vitamin C per day, depending on the severity of symptoms. A very severe cold may require more Vitamin C, perhaps as much as 50-100 g. To be more precise, what you are trying to achieve is to take Vitamin C to "bowel tolerance level", the optimum level for Vitamin C's efficacy. More about this in Chapter 12.
3. Continue taking 5-20 g Vitamin C for an extended period beyond that of the cold. Symptoms may return if the Vitamin C is suddenly withdrawn or reduced too early. Taper off the dosage gradually, until at your maintenance dose of 1-3-5 g per day. For instance, it you were taking 2 g Vitamin C 7 times per day, for a total of 14 g per day, after a week, take 2 g 5 times per day for 2 days, then 2 g 4 times per day, then 2 g 3 times per day, then perhaps down to your regular regime of 1.5 g 3 times per day.
For the die-hard skeptic who never believes any of the experts, this is your opportunity to test the Vitamin C/cold recipe for yourself. One of the best attributes about Vitamin C is that no matter how much you take, even 200 g per day, it cannot harm you. The clinical evidence of tens of thousands of patients attest to the nontoxicity of Vitamin C. There is many a Vitamin C supporting individual who started off attempting to disprove the theory that Vitamin C can prevent and treat colds and other illnesses.
Vitamin C and Other Viral Diseases
Historically, virtually as soon as viruses were first identified did published research report Vitamin C's potent broad-spectrum anti-viral activity against a wide ranges of different viruses. Table 6 highlights this very early research, going back over 50 years ago.
Although research decades ago documented the potent force of Vitamin C as a viral inhibitor, this has not been taken up by mainstream clinical or pharmacological concerns, who have spent billions in attempting to produce vaccines. And, as has been described in Chapter 3, Vitamin C was shown, in 1989, to inhibit HIV virus, the virus implicated in AIDS.
Table 6: Anti-Viral Activity of Vitamin C (Early Years)
Date Researcher(s) Virus
1935-9 Jungeblut(119-21) poliomyelitis1936 Holden & Resnick(104) herpes
1936 Kligler & Bernkopf(130) vaccinia (smallpox)
1936 Lominski(143) bacteriophage
1937 Langenbusch & Enderling(133) foot & mouth
1937 Amato(4) rabies
1937 Holden & Molloy(105) herpes
1939 Sabin(185) poliomyelitis
1943 Dainow(63) herpes (shingles)
1944 Lojkin(142) tobacco mosaic
1945 Paez de la Torre(163) measles
1949-59 Klenner(127) poliomyelitis
1949 Klenner(127) encephalitis, mumps
1950 Zureick(246) chicken pox
1952-4 Bauer & Staub(16,17) hepatitis
1963 Vargus Magne(218) influenza
1962 Dalton(64) pneumonia
1954-5 Greer(92);Gsell& Kalt(94) poliomyelitis
Vitamin C and the Effective Treatment of Viruses
Vitamin C was used, even in early days, for the treatment of viral hepatitis(8,39,125), and Vitamin C's antiviral activity against the herpes virus has enabled practitioners such as Klenner to successfully treat shingles and other viral conditions(126-9).
However, the king of the Vitamin C practitioners, who has treated some 20,000 patients is Dr. Robert Cathcart, of orthopedic fame (Cathcart hip-joint prosthesis). Dr. Cathcart, in his landmark 1981 paper "Vitamin C, Titrating to Bowel Tolerance, Anascorbemia and Acute Induced Scurvy"(46), described and documented the "bowel tolerance" technique in which he successfully treated viral conditions including colds, hepatitis, influenza, mononucleosis, pneumonia, and more recently AIDS with Vitamin C(47,48). The bowel tolerance method and doses of Vitamin C required to combat a wide variety of viral and other conditions will be described in more detail in Chapter 12.
Since the dramatic and almost miraculous development of the Salk and later oral Sabin vaccines against polio, which has been a blessing to man(woman)kind, the strategy of clinical research and pharmaceutical companies has been to develop effective vaccines against other viruses: measles, smallpox, influenza, hepatitis and, especially recently, AIDS. Given the complexities and manipulative cleverness of most viruses, which change their immunological "spots" fairly regularly to evade our attempts to kill them, the development of fool-proof vaccines against the many viral strains is a worthy research challenge indeed. And a huge financial investment as well.
Given that Vitamin C and other natural substances have been documented to possess antiviral activity(158), and that clinical practitioners such as Drs. Cathcart and Brighthope are successfully treating tens of thousands of patients with viral conditions, it would appear sensible, at the very least, to advocate health regimes which include Vitamin C and other antiviral substances, as adjuvant, if not necessarily stand-alone treatment for viral disorders. While drug companies promote their toxic antiviral drugs, it seems ludicrous to disregard an entirely nontoxic, inexpensive and effective antiviral substance such as Vitamin C. And in the market-driven society of today, it may have to be the consumer who leads the way to more effective, less expensive and less toxic medical treatments.