Vitamin C is found in numerous fruits and vegetables and is vital for our survival. The richest sources include blackcurrants, guava, red peppers, oranges and other citrus fruit, papaya, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, potatoes and more.
On top of being an excellent antioxidant, vitamin C is used in the production of collagen (required for skin, bone, muscle, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels). It is also required in the production of some of your neurotransmitters and the synthesis of carnitine, which helps convert fat into energy in your cells. Vitamin C is also needed to convert cholesterol into bile acid.
As with many other vitamins and minerals, there is a recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
Current dietary recommended daily allowances, (RDAs), for vitamins and minerals, relate to the bare minimum quantities necessary to prevent deficiency diseases, such as scurvy.
The RDAs are not set at what is required for optimum health. That is a big difference.
Neil Riordan at the Riordan Clinic, Arizona noted that 46 per cent of breast cancer sufferers are vitamin C deficient, some even to the point of scurvy (British Journal of Cancer Vol 84, II).
It is theorised that during the course of our evolution, we lost one of the 4 enzymes necessary to manufacture vitamin C within our own bodies, so we must consume it as part of our diet. Animals, (except for guinea pigs), are able to make their own.
Interestingly, if you look at the amount of vitamin C per kg of body weight across all animals, it is very similar, from a mouse to an elephant. It equates to what would be around a 1500mg daily dose for an adult human.
Yet the UK RDA for vitamin C in people is only set at 60mg, or 1/25th of the level that every other mammal on this planet has in their bodies. The US RDA is set at 75mg for men and 90mg for women.
More shockingly, these levels were determined by the National Institute of Health after just 2 studies involving only 7 and 15 participants respectively!
I find it disgusting that they can dictate the safe daily consumption of a vital nutrient for 300 million people, (and all of their future offspring), based upon data from just 22 people!
A case in point is that 35% of our population require more vitamin C than usual due to the depleting effects of smoking, the contraceptive pill, pregnancy, diabetes and using aspirin or numerous other drugs.
Is it any wonder that our immune systems fail and that our arteries become decreasingly elastic from reducing levels of collagen and elastin, because you need vitamin C in order to make them.
You really cannot take it for granted that mainstream science has all the answers. The bogus RDAs issued by the NIH have probably cost millions of lives.
An epidemiological study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, by the NIH in the year 2000, showed that adults whose blood plasma concentrations exceeded the 73.8 micromole level [equivalent to a 500-1000mg daily dose] experienced a 57 percent reduced risk of dying from any cause and a 62 percent reduced relative risk of dying of cancer when compared to adults who consumed low amounts of vitamin C (28 micromole) [equivalent to the RDA].
Have they changed the RDA for vitamin C in light of this research? No.
Another study, published in the journal Epidemiology in 1998, demonstrated that for every 500 microgram increase in blood serum level of vitamin C, an 11 percent reduction in coronary heart disease and stroke prevalence could be anticipated.
A firm advocate of a higher vitamin C RDA, Dr. Hickey, estimates that 500mg of vitamin C, taken orally in 5 divided doses every three waking hours daily, (2500mg total per day), could reduce the cardiovascular mortality risk by 55 percent compared with people consuming low doses of vitamin C.
According to the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 1995, eight different double-blind, placebo-controlled studies and six non-placebo controlled clinical trials have confirmed the safety of vitamin C, where up to 10,000mg of vitamin C was consumed daily for up to 3 years.
Just take a look at the research on the impact of 2000 to 2500mg daily vitamin C:
- The reduction of, and delay of, forming cataracts (J Clinical Epidemiology 52: 1207-11, 1999; Am J Clin Nutrition 66: 911-16, 1997)
- Reduction in the symptoms of arthritis (Arthritis Rheumatism 39: 648-56, 1996)
- People getting colds less often and for a shorter duration (Advances Therapy 19: 151-59, 2002)
- Smokers living longer, with less symptoms (J Am College Nutrition 22: 372-78, 2003)
- Rates of gall bladder disease dropping by 25% (J Clinical Epidemiology 51: 257-65, 1998)
- 2.68 times less calcification of arteries (American Journal of Epidemiology, 2004)
- The risk of angina in adults who consume high levels of alcohol cut by half (Ann Epidemiology. 9: 358-65, 1999)
- A 750mg daily dose of vitamin C could increase male life-span by 6 years (Epidemiology 3: 194-202, 1992)
But these levels are very difficult to achieve with diet alone. So in order to have the raw building blocks necessary for health, and to act as an antioxidant, vitamin C supplementation should be considered a necessity.
In the past, high doses of vitamin C have been shown in studies to eliminate the risk of cot death, reverse heart disease, destroy certain viruses, and now it has been strongly linked with killing cancer cells, especially if given intravenously.
But the integration of Vitamin C into cancer treatment has not been at all smooth, despite the compelling evidence. Perhaps this is because it is very cheap to produce, not patentable and hard to monetise. So just like many other “alternative” medicines, the cancer establishment has resisted it ferociously.
According to CANCERactive, a UK holistic cancer charity, “In 1974, Cameron and Campbell took 50 terminal cancer patients and gave them 10 grams intravenously of sodium ascorbate (a form of vitamin C). All had been given less than three months to live. Half survived 361 days on average with five people surviving an average of 610 days.
They requested that the National Cancer Institute conduct proper clinical trials – a double blind study. For some reason this was denied.
So Linus Pauling and Cameron repeated the experiment with 100 terminal cancer patients, comparing them with control groups of 1000 people in all. Whilst all the 1000 control group died, 18 of the group receiving vitamin C survived, and five of these appeared to overcome the disease.
In 1978, Pauling and Cameron repeated this in a second study, this time taking nine control groups each with similar cancers to the test group. As in the previous tests, the patients taking intravenous vitamin C had renewed vigour and energy and their quality of life improved. Whilst all of the control group died, the vitamin C group lived 300 days on average and five patients survived for 16 months.”
As a result of these studies, Ewan Cameron and the two-time Nobel Prize winner, Linus Pauling, concluded that intravenous vitamin C could significantly increase the cancer patient’s life-span.
Three subsequent studies, which supposedly replicated their work did not get the same results and were often used to discredit their findings.
Further investigation revealed that the studies used oral doses of vitamin C and not intravenous doses. This is a blatant error, given that for every 1g of vitamin C taken orally, only 7% of it typically makes it into your bloodstream. Although now, we have a new liquid form of vitamin C, called liposomal vitamin C, which can enable up to 91% of it to be absorbed!
A second issue was that Pauling had noted that megadoses of vitamin C did not have anywhere near the same impact upon patients who had previously had chemotherapy. Therefore, when the Mayo clinic replicated the study with 60 patients, where 52 had received chemotherapy, it was no wonder that they did not get the same impressive results.
Unfortunately, such contradictory studies detracted from the message that vitamin C could be highly beneficial in the treatment of cancer.
Given the inability of the body to absorb dietary vitamin C efficiently, Linus Pauling later advocated oral consumption of vitamin C in doses as high as 3 to 6g per day for adults. This is the same as 3000 to 6000mg.
Most people can easily tolerate upwards of 4000mg spread over the day without suffering loose stools from excessive vitamin C intake.
Whilst I would not suggest a dose this high, it is important to realise that vitamin C in your bloodstream only has a half life of around 30 minutes. This means that after 30 minutes, the level of vitamin C in your bloodstream drops in half. In order to counteract this, dividing your vitamin C intake throughout the day is a wise precaution, along with using timed release vitamin tablets.
In addition, co-factors like bioflavinoids increase the effectiveness of vitamin C, so getting your vitamin C from fruit and vegetables, or a supplement which also includes them is wise.
The 1000mg vitamin C tablets I take also contain citrus bioflavinoids and are designed to release over the course of 6 hours. Alternatively, you could eat an orange when you take your tablets.
A gentle word of warning though. If you do consider taking higher doses of vitamin C, you should also increase your magnesium intake to decrease the small possibility of kidney stones. This possibility has largely been debunked, but the magnesium may act as a safeguard just in case.
For more information on vitamin supplements, visit our recommended products page.
Subsequent studies have helped to reinforce the dramatic cancer prevention qualities of vitamin C. Higher levels of blood vitamin C reduce cancer risk for breast, cervix, colon, rectum, mouth, lung, prostate, stomach and oesophagus.
But there have been fears that the FDA are taking steps to ban the intravenous use of vitamin C, even though it is an acknowledged burn treatment in many countries, including the US.
Fortunately, the Center for New Medicine in Irvine, California, has FDA approval to treat cancer patients with vitamin C in trials, so hopefully the resulting published data will stimulate the wider use of this treatment.
At the center, they are using intravenous high dose vitamin C, then enhancing the effect by putting people in a hyperbaric chamber. This means that when the tumour absorbs the vitamin C and produces hydrogen peroxide, the pressure prevents it from actually processing the hydrogen peroxide, which poisons the mechanisms within the cancer cells, triggering programmed cell death. This means that the vitamin C is able to have an anti-cancer effect whilst simultaneously having an immune system stimulating effect.
“Amazingly, vitamin C has actually already been documented in the medical literature to have regularly and consistently cured both acute polio and acute hepatitis, two viral diseases still considered by modern medicine to be incurable.” – Thomas E. Levy, M.D., JD