All truth passes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed; Second, it is violently opposed; Third, it is accepted as self-evident.” ~ Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)
Vitamin C was first synthesized by Albert Sznet-Gyorgyi (1893-1986), for which he won the Nobel Prize in 1937.[1,2] Later on, this vitamin was found to be a cure for scurvy, a disease that killed tens of thousands of British sailors during the 18th century. Found in fresh fruit and vegetables, vitamin C also supports the formation of collagen needed for muscles, tendons, bone and blood vessel repair, healthy teeth, and skin. Further research also found that this vitamin could work wonders when used in therapeutic doses, way beyond the small amount that the so-called healthy diet provides to prevent scurvy. (Unlike most animals, humans somehow lost the genetically anchored ability to make vitamin C in their bodies from foods in general, and in need-based varying amounts.)
In view of the accumulated research, Arthur Schopenhauer would no doubt agree that vitamin C is now on its way to stage three status. That is, the evidence confirming vitamin C’s therapeutic effect is now so well-known that its value to health preservation and disease prevention is broadly accepted by mainstream science.
Twenty years ago, when I began writing for Vitality, I already knew about the benefits of C. But in the mainstream media, vitamin C had been vilified as a quack substance for decades. Even the great Linus Pauling, a two-time Nobel laureate, was ridiculed because of his pro-vitamin C stance.[3,4] Quackbusters and their friends in Big Pharma warned of vitamin C causing kidney stones, and attempts were even made to show that it causes cancer. Indeed, every dirty trick known to crooked science had been used to cast doubt on C’s efficacy.[5,8,10] Today, the website of the American Cancer Institute no longer dismisses vitamin C. Instead they provide access to the actual research on how it works with, and within, cancer therapy.
Synopsis of Research on Vitamin C
Here is a short summary of what vitamin C is known to do; all of it comes from the mainstream medical literature:
- It protects against serious radiation damage.
- It can help in treating one of the worst of all cancers, that of the pancreas.
- It can reduce blood pressure drastically and keep it at a proper level.[16,17]
- Some forms of chemotherapy become more effective when vitamin C is provided simultaneously. [18,19]
- It acts as an effective antihistamine in allergy.
- In some cases of early Alzheimer’s disease, vitamin C can slow down its development.
- Providing high-dose vitamin C can reduce or stop the progression of both osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis.
- I have personally seen it used to stop a dramatic asthma attack when I was out in the wilderness with one of my kids, far away from a hospital; I had no idea why.
- In the 1950s, intravenous vitamin C was used by Dr. Klenner to treat polio and none of these victims developed paralysis, but nobody really knew why.
- When vitamin C is provided to pre-diabetics it can stop the development of Type 2 diabetes, and even reverse it when it has started, although it is not understood why.
- It is so effective in preventing and treating septic shock that emergency medicine practitioners are advised to use it in each case at once.
- Its immune-enhancing role has been known for some two decades at least, but not how it works.
- Amazingly, it causes the body to create the key enzyme cholinesterase in the liver to block the toxicity of organophosphates like Melathion and Roundup.
- Most astonishing is the fact that, since 2015, we have known that vitamin C kills colorectal cancer cells selectively, honing in on them specifically and sparing all other cells; there are no synthetic drugs that can do that.
Documented evidence shows that vitamin C is very well-tolerated even in high-dose intravenous therapy, and establishing optimal dosages is still in its exploratory phase. None of this is questionable, and now we are even beginning to understand it.
Vitamin C, the Microbiome, and Epigenetics
As the research into, and the battles over, vitamin C escalated in the decades after Sznet-Gyorgyi’s discovery, information began to emerge from a most unlikely quarter: the discovery of the microbiome. (See my articles in Vitality March 2016, July 2016, February 2017). In 2012, the finding was published that lactic acid bacteria, in conjunction with gut bacteria, actually do synthesize and then supply vitamins to our bodies. Specifically, a microbe called Corynebacterium glucoronolyticom contains the L-ascorbate biosynthesis pathway that was thought to be completely lost to humans. It actually does cause the body to produce its own vitamin C – just not enough of it when you are seriously ill and not enough for the sailors of yore. To benefit from this we can ingest so-called spore-biotics which provide powerful immune modulation. (See Resources at end, re: Mercola and the video discussion by Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt.) The supplement industry has just begun to catch up with this.
Meanwhile, sophisticated science research by Young, Wagner, and Wang [27,28] published last year revealed how vitamin C behaves. This research was financed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Far more than being just a demonstrably helpful supplement, vitamin C is the “mediator of the interface between the genome and the environment.” Vitamin C actually “regulates the epigenomic process”; this means that the effects of all external influences (quality and quantity of food, bacteria, viruses, environmental toxins, stress hormones such as cortisol) are modulated by the vitamin C inside our cells, as is the entire immune and repair response. Epigenetic processes are all those biological events that cause genes to be switched on or off without changing the genes themselves. Thus, vitamin C is the magic that makes everything happen; it is the CEO of the DNA. When it is insufficient nothing works. The DNA cannot function without vitamin C. What matters most is how much vitamin C is inside the cell, which can be hundreds of times higher than the vitamin C present in the extracellular environment. Not surprisingly, these researchers observed, in the ultimate understatement: “These unexpected findings … call for a re-evaluation of the role of ascorbate in human health and disease.”
The research by Young and colleagues described how vitamin C (or a lack of it) is involved in cancer, birth defects, problems with physical and mental development, premature aging, chronic diseases, brain dysfunction and much more – essentially because vitamin C makes T-cells which cannot begin to develop unless “taught” by vitamin C to become our defence system. In other words, when vitamin C is present, we have an immune system. Just one week without dietary supplementation with vitamin C can reduce our immune system to a state of weakness and vulnerability. These researchers are, therefore, understandably bothered by research methods generally used because the single most critical regulatory substance is routinely overlooked in cell-based research. They stress that “this novel epigenetic function of ascorbate needs to become known to the general public.” I am doing my best by advising you to go download those articles! Vitamin C status ought to become the Sixth Vital Sign in clinical assessment.
My Own Experience with Vitamin C
Back in the 1990s, we did not know any of this. The human microbiome was just starting to be discovered and the beneficial effects of vitamin C were being recorded and efficacy theories were being developed. In 1997, one of my children was accidentally doused with the herbicide Roundup as the result of a farm accident. Within weeks, his T-cell count dropped as low as that of a dying AIDS patient. We suspected a connection to Roundup, but had no access to toxicity data because Monsanto had not been forced by government regulators to provide it (although they were later compelled to do so in another case before the Supreme Court of France in the 2000s). Nor was the crucial role of vitamin C in T-cell formation known at the time. In desperation, Dr. Jozef Krop, well-known to Vitality readers, and I decided on a novel treatment approach: a long series of intravenous vitamin C infusions. Within a few months, my son’s T-cell count was back to normal! Now we know why.
This article is dedicated to Dr. Jozef Krop in gratitude for his courage.