1000 mg Vitamin C: Another Stupidity (2), What’s next?

“Vitamin C bad for you in large does some good in small doses. It seems to keep the DNA repair mechanism in good working order. The same principle is observed with alcohol, and a number of poisons. Very heavy drinking will kill you, but a glass of wine a day is a tonic” …. Bernard L. Cohen


Vitamin C for our body

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, it is means that our body doesn’t store it. We need vitamin C for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of our body. It helps the body make collagen, an important protein used to make skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Vitamin C is needed for healing wounds, and for repairing and maintaining bones and teeth. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, along with vitamin E, beta-carotene, and many other plant-based nutrients. Antioxidants block some of the damage caused by free radical.

How much we need it?

Daily intake of dietary vitamin C (according to the National Academy of Sciences) is listed below.

Pediatric

  • Birth – 6 months: 40 mg (Adequate intake)
  • Infants 6 – 12 months: 50 mg (Adequate intake)
  • Children 1 – 3 years: 15 mg
  • Children 4 – 8 years: 25 mg
  • Children 9 – 13 years: 45 mg
  • Adolescent girls 14 – 18 years: 65 mg
  • Adolescent boys 14 – 18 years: 75 mg

Adult

  • Men over 18 years: 90 mg
  • Women over 18 years: 75 mg
  • Pregnant women 14 – 18 years: 80 mg
  • Pregnant women over 18 years: 85 mg
  • Breastfeeding women 14 – 18 years: 115 mg
  • Breastfeeding women over 18 years: 120 mg

Because smoking depletes vitamin C, people who smoke may need an additional 35 mg per day.

How this is started?

It was Linus Carl Pauling (February 28, 1901 – August 19, 1994), an American chemist, biochemist, peace activist, author, and educator. He was one of the most influential chemists in history and ranks among the most important scientists of the 20th century. He  is one of only four individuals to have won more than one Nobel Prize. He is one of only two people awarded Nobel Prizes in different fields (the chemistry and peace prizes) and the only person awarded two unshared prizes.

In 1970; s Linus Pauling’s book, Vitamin C and the Common Cold claim that taking 1 gram (1,000 mg) of vitamin C daily would reduce the incidence of colds by 45% for most people, but that some persons might need much larger amounts. It recommended that if symptoms of a cold do start, you should take 500 or 1,000 mg every hour for several hours – or 4 to 10 grams daily if symptoms don’t disappear with smaller amounts. Publication of this book, combined with Pauling’s reputation as a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, has made vitamin C a best seller. When his theory was announced, millions of Americans rushed to try it for themselves. The second edition of the book, issued in 1976 as Vitamin C, the Common Cold and the Flu, suggested even higher dosages

Vitamin C and the Common Cold also suggested that most people need a daily vitamin C intake of 2,300 mg or more for “optimum” health and to meet stresses, including infections. In a subsequent book, How to Live Longer and Feel Better, Pauling stated that individual biochemical variability is so great that optimum intake may may be as great as from 250 mg to 20 grams or more per day

Many concerned persons have wondered whether Pauling’s advice was prudent, and millions have experimented upon themselves to see whether they could tell. Pauling himself reportedly took 12,000 mg daily and raised it to 40,000 mg when symptoms of a cold appeared! Pauling apparently adapted to such dosage, but most people would suffer chronic diarrhea and the risk of kidney stones. Also, the vast majority of reputable medical and nutritional scientists strongly disagree with him.

What’s Behind Linus?

The Linus Pauling Institutes of Science and Medicine was founded in 1973 and operated under that name until 1995. For many years, its largest corporate donor was Hoffmann-La Roche, the pharmaceutical giant that produces most of the world’s vitamin C. Many of the institute’s fundraising brochures contained questionable information. During the 198o’s for example, they falsely stated that no significant progress had been made in cancer treatment during the previous twenty years.

A dispute between Pauling and Arthur Robinson gives additional evidence of Pauling’s defense of vitamin C megadosage was less than honest. Robinson is a former student and long-time associate of Pauling. According to an investigate report by James Lowell, in Nutrition forum newletter, Robinson’s research in 1978 conclude that the high doses of vitamin C being recommended by Pauling might actually promote some types of cancer in mice. Robinson told Lowell, that for example,  that animals feed quantities equivalent to Pauling’s recommendation contracted skin cancer almost twice as frequently as the control group and that only doses of vitamin C that were lethal had any protective effect. Shortly after reporting this to Pauling, Robinson was asked to resign from the institute. When Robinson refused, Pauling locked him out and kept the filing cabinets and computer tapes containing nine years’ worth of research. They were never recovered. Pauling also told lab assistants to kill the 400 mice used for the experiments. Pauling’s later sworn testimony showed that the story about the damaging information was invented, while experiments by the Mayo Clinic conclusively proved that the theory about cancer and Vitamin C was wrong. Pauling also  declared publicly that Robinson’s research was “amateur” and inadequate. Robinson responded by suing the institute and its trustees. In 1983, the suit was settled out of court with Pauling paying Robinson 575,000. In an interview quoted in Nature, Pauling said that the settlement “represented no more than compensation for loss of office and the cost of Robinson’s legal fees.” However, the court-approved agreement stated that $425,000 of the settlement was for slander and libel. the Institute’s own legal fees were close to a million dollar.

A sharp divergence of political opinion between the two men also became apparent. A few years after he won the Nobel Peace Prize, Pauling also won the Lenin Peace Prize. He told Robinson that he was more proud of the Soviet than the Norwegian award. For his part, in the spring of 1978 Robinson had given a speech at the Cato Institute, then in San Francisco, deploring the government funding of science as harmful to the independence that is essential to scientific inquiry.

High doses of Vitamin C make us feel better …why?

Research in 1940, led by the co-discoverer of vitamin C, Professor Charles Glen King of Columbia University. Dr. King’s group showed that stressing rats with certain drugs stimulated their bodies to synthesize extra vitamin C. Later, evidence was presented to support the belief that animals, such as the rat, who can make their own supply of vitamin C, react to histamine by producing extra vitamin C. In 1974, two other research teams found that rats given vitamin C along with histamine-releasing drugs had a reduction in stress symptoms and reduced histamine in the urine [30,31]. They concluded that vitamin C can act like an anti-histamine drug. However many physicians believe that reducing infection-caused inflammation (nature’s defense reaction) slows recovery.

Histamine in varying amounts is almost always released in the tissues of the respiratory tract by an allergic-type response to the stress of common cold infections. Because vitamin C can act as a histamine or anti-depressant drug, that give stress-reduced effect and giving  sense of calm, cure feeling in patient is actually caused by calm sense. This feeling can be called fake recovery sense.

Effect of high doses vitamin C

According to mayo clinic, although too much dietary vitamin C is unlikely to be harmful, megadoses of vitamin C supplements may cause:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Abdominal bloating and cramps
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Kidney stones

END OF THE STORY:

Although Pauling’s megavitamin claims lacked the evidence needed for acceptance by the scientific community, they have been accepted by large numbers of people who lack the scientific expertise to evaluate them. Thanks largely to Pauling’s prestige, annual vitamin C sales in the United States have been in the hundreds of millions of dollars for many years. Pauling also played a role in the health food industry’s successful campaign to weaken FDA consumer protections laws. The Linus Pauling Institute that bears his name has evolved into a respectable organization. But Pauling’s irrational advice about supplements continues to lead people astray.

SCIENTIFIC FACTS THAT BURIED PAULING

  1. Chalmers TC. Effects of ascorbic acid on the common cold. An evaluation of the evidence. American Journal of Medicine 58-:532-536, 1975.
  2. Dykes MH, Meier P. Ascorbic acid and the common cold. Evaluation of its efficacy and toxicity. JAMA 231:1073-1079, 1975.
  3. Truswell AS. Ascorbic acid (letter). New England Journal of Medicine 315:709, 1986.
  4. Walker GH and others. Trial of ascorbic acid in prevention of colds. British Medical Journal 1:603-606, 1967.
  5. Schwartz AR, Hornick, RB and others. Evaluation of the efficacy of ascorbic acid in prophylaxis of induced rhinovirus 44 infection in man. Journal of Infectious Diseases 128:500-505, 1973.
  6. Coulehan JL and others. Vitamin C prophylaxis in a boarding school. New England Journal of Medicine 290:6-10 1974.
  7. Coulehan JL and others. Vitamin C and acute illness in Navajo school children. New England Journal of Medicine 295:973-977, 1976.
  8. Coulehan JL. Ascorbic acid and the common cold: Reviewing the evidence. Postgraduate Medicine 86:153-160, 1979.
  9. Anderson TW and others. Vitamin C and the common cold: a double-blind trial. Canadian Medical Association Journal 107:503-508, 1972.
  10. Anderson TW and others. The effect on winter illness of large doses of vitamin C. Canadian Medical Association Journal 111:31-36, 1974.
  11. Anderson TW. Large-scale trials of vitamin C. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 258:498-504, 1975.
  12. Anderson TW and others. Winter illness and vitamin C: the effect of relatively low doses. Canadian Medical Association Journal 112:823-826, 1975.
  13. Carson X and others. Vitamin C and the common cold. Journal of the Society of Occupational Medicine 25:99-102, 1975.
  14. Karlowski TR, Chalmers TC and others. Ascorbic acid and the common cold: A prophylactic and therapeutic trial. JAMA 231:1038-1042, 1975.
  15. Miller JD and others. Therapeutic effect of vitamin C: A co-twin control study. JAMA 237:248-251, 1977.
  16. Tyrell DAJ and others. A trial of ascorbic acid in the treatment of the common cold. British Journal of Preventative and Social Medicine 31:189-191, 1977.
  17. Carr AB and others. Vitamin C and the common cold: using identical twins as controls. Medical Journal of Australia 2:411-412, 1981.
  18. Pitt HA, Costrini AM. Vitamin C prophylaxis in marine recruits. JAMA 241:908, 1979.
  19. Briggs MH. Vitamin C and infectious disease: A review of the literature and the results of a randomized, prospective study over 8 years. In XH Briggs XH, editor. Recent Vitamin Research. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1984, pp 39-82.
  20. Shult PA, Dick EC and others. Abstract No. 617, Proceedings of the Interscience Conference of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Atlanta, Oct 1990.
  21. Audera C and others. Mega-dose vitamin C in treatment of the common cold: A randomised controlled trial. Medical Journal of Australia 175:389, 2001.
  22. Baird IM, Hughes RE and others. The effects of ascorbic acid and flavonoids on the occurrence of symptoms normally associated with the common cold. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 32:1686-1690, 1979.
  23. Subramanian N and others. Effect of ascorbic acid on detoxification of histamine in rats and guinea pigs under drug treated conditions. Biochemical Pharmacology 23:637-641, 1974.
  24. Nandi BK and others. Effect of ascorbic acid on detoxification of histamine under stress conditions. Biochemical Pharmacology 23:643-647, 1974.
  25. Gorski, David. High Doses Vitamin C and cancer: Has Linus Pauling Been vindicated?  Science Based Medicine (2008).
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37 thoughts on “1000 mg Vitamin C: Another Stupidity (2), What’s next?

  1. I take 2,000 mg of Vitamin C per day. There are too many big pharma-driven nay-sayers who like to plant fear in people that vitamins are bad for you unless you take super-small doses. I lean further away from scare-tactics when I start seeing the mega-big pharma-funded name next to the study that disputes the effectiveness of vitamins. It is also in the best interests of big pharma to instill a fear of all things natural, so that they are willing to become addicted to toxic cocktails for no other reason than to line the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies.

    I have met many people who endured the agony of having and passing kidney stones. Not one was even taking a multi-vitamin let alone a Vit C supplement. I fail to see the connection.

    Other than that, I truly do enjoy your posts.

    Veggiewitch ♥

    • Consume high dose of vitamin C that causing kidney failure still connecting to water consume since water has a big effect to neutralize toxin in our kidney. By the way, 4000mg a day is wow for me, since normal human body can only absorb 400 mg a day 🙂

      • High doses of Vitamin C causing kidney failure AND kidney stones? That’s exactly the kind of fear-mongering the big pharma-funded, biased studies are designed to make people/you believe. Please do some research about people suffering from kidney failure, and first find out if any of them are actually taking vitamin c, a multi-vitamin or even EATING healthy. I’m willing to bet you’ll have trouble linking any of them together. I’m so sorry that Western/American brainwashing techniques are so pervasive throughout the world. It’s actually very sad.

      • we do not need to perform any research since we do not believe in research method, the results and the peer-reviewed results it self

    • Veggie witch- I’m a chronic kidney stone maker for the last 17 years – calcium oxalate stones. Im only 35. I will always make stones for the rest of my life. What I also know is that a certain substance increases my stone production beyond my normal 1-2 stones a year, and that’s Vit C! I discovered this myself before later learning of the correlation in a nutrition class and pathophysiology books. I can personally attest that on 2 separate occasions (years apart) when I took high levels of vitamin C (emergen-C brand) for 2 months or longer, I ended up passing stones by the multiples ( ouch) within the proceeding months. A marked increased noted by myself and the CT scans at the hospital. Once I stopped the high C, my stone production lowered back down to my ” norm” . This correlation has nothing to do with BIG Pharma…it has everything to do with body chemisty, urine composition, physiology, and chemistry. I’m no fan of Big Pharma myself…and I dont take any RX meds. I prefer natural whenever possible, but there is such thing as too much of a good thing….look at Vitamin A, E and D…..they all have toxic levels associated with too much.

  2. I have MA as Certified Holistic Addiction Professional. Orthomolecular Medicine and other nutritional therapy protocols are an integral part of addiction recovery and physical and mental restoration. However, the super doses are not healthy in my opinion and may be dangerous to most. I take 2,000 C every day. I attribute that and the fact that I drink bottled water purified(although flu pathogens are air born) and no tap water for having less than a dozen colds in last decade although I have no other scientific support for this assertion. I wanted to check out how successful the ideas are as Pauling lived to mid 90’s. So did the dozen or so of his supporting protegees and scientists. My own doctor says it is not scientific to use them as proof of anything because people that are nutrition conscious take care of themselves in many ways beyond vitamin therapy so it is difficult to say if vitamin therapy and mega doses contributed to this life span. There is evidence that super doses are cancer inhibitors but it seems most modern day oncologists are dismissive of that theory or application in treatment other to say that a good diet is naturally helpful for all people, diseased or not.

    • It’s still long debate, in this case, I am still holding on peer-reviewed journals, but I agree about good diet. Well Carl, talking about life span, caloric restriction in scientific american journal become a new trend, although I am not interested to do the diet. I can’t live without flour 😦

    • Dalam jeruk, kandungan vitamin C sekitar 50-53 mg/100 gram, kalau untuk mencapai 1000mg saja, anda harus makan 2kg jeruk kira-kira. Apa nggak mabuk? Intinya konsumsi vitamin C dalam dosis yg direkomendasikan (bisa dilihat di atas). Yang alami tetap lebih baik 🙂

  3. Wonderful publish, very informative. I wonder why the other experts of this sector don’t realize this. You must proceed your writing. I’m confident, you’ve a huge readers’ base already!|What’s Going down i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It absolutely helpful and it has helped me out loads. I am hoping to give a contribution & help other customers like its aided me. Good job.

  4. Well it’s definitely getting into the cold season over here so I will heed you advice. It’s fascinating to think Vitamin C would have such an impact on stress and mood levels too, very informative post…

  5. Thank you, I have just been searching for info approximately this topic for a while and yours is the best I have found out till now. But, what about the bottom line? Are you positive in regards to the source?|What i do not realize is in fact how you are not actually a lot more neatly-favored than you might be now. You are very intelligent.

  6. What I embrace the most heartily when it comes to medicines *and* supplements is thinking, asking questions, challenging the popular wisdom of the day, and trusting what my body tells me. If in the circumstances, what works for me is completely anti-logical or anti-intuitive, who really cares? And if what the most brilliant of scientists and doctors recommend doesn’t do a thing, or worse, makes me feel horrible, why would I prolong that by continuing to take the treatment? Most of the time, a measured approach will save any of us a whole lot of heartache (and heartburn, probably), and when the times are a little more desperate and less predictable, then I go back to my original plan, stated above. Great post!
    Kathryn

  7. Very pleased to have you set so many straight about MODERATE amounts of Vitamin C needed per day! As a former biochemical/nutrition research editor and admin assist, I have cautioned about overdosing on Vitamin C supplements for years. I just get my Vitamin C from natural foods and juices.

  8. Hmm, I take 6-8 grams of vitamin C a day and have for about 10 years and I literally haven’t been sick once during that time. I also take other vitamins and stuff, but none more than vitamin C. Also, there is no definitive evidence anywhere proving that Vitamin C causes kidney stones, so until then, it’s nothing more than a myth. I certainly don’t believe it. The RDA’s are too low and are nothing more than the minimal dosage to prevent scurvy, but not enough to prevent disease. Anyway, there is no clinical evidence or scientific evidence that Vitamin C causes kidney stones, none, zero, doesn’t exist. However, there IS evidence that Vitamin C prevents and dissolves kidney stones. You should probably stop spreading lies and promoting them as facts. I see from your earlier post that you don’t “believe in research” and, well, that pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? 🙂 You should try thinking for yourself instead of letting others think for you.

    Good day. 🙂

  9. kofegeek, i enjoyed reading your post, but i think you misunderstood that mike was saying that he has been using 6-8grams (which is 6000-8000mg) per day for about 10 years. i think it is not taking vitamins alone; it also is one’s whole lifestyle, work-life balance, and foods we eat and anything we consume plus our environment that makes us sick or not. i’m sure each person is different…while mike doesn’t feel any side effects so far, others may feel them with half the amount of vitamin c each day. we are all unique individuals. 🙂 apparently, we (human beings) know way too little about nutrition….in 2013!

  10. Well now, we ALL know there has NEVER been a reason to believe or DOCUMENTED case of vitamin C death. Not even related kidney failure, damage and disease from VC. Get real! You writer of the obscure are a hyperIST. Have you, yourself, actually even taken vitamin C 1000 mg. when you are feeling like you are coming down with a cold????? I have documented with Johns Hopkins University hospital in 1976 that pediatrics were giving mega mega doses of VC for children with advanced pneumonia. Our son lungs were filled with pneumonia bacteria and we were told the last antibiotic regimen was all they could do for him. He was hospitalized. We were told by his physicians that JHU was administering mega mega doses of VC for these cases and began at once with our son. That was then and this is now 39 years later. Our son is healthy, and, of course only takes VC as an immune builder when he is ill. How much? Three times a day 1000 mg. Think what you want to think you followers of this hyperIST. MOST and I do believe most physicians THESE days and times are unsure….but proactive to admit there is no HARM with VC but that the body can only absorb so many mgs and the rest voided out. What say ye ALL?????

  11. “the vast majority of medical and scientific opinions disagree with mega doses if vitamin c”…..you mean American opinions right? 20 grams of vitamin c per day is what I take and have for years. I won’t take the medical opinion of a country that recommends an orange a day as the RDA for vitamin c….utter garbage.

  12. ive taken 500mg vit c for 20yrs now when i used to smoke a cig used to take so many mg’s out of system ive stopped smoking (a year now) but i must say in 20yr ive never had a cold or flu etc these do work also keep my skin in nice condition (ppl say i look 20 yrs younger) im now taking 1000mg a day while clearing out the smoking toxins,) im 65 and feel so fit (also using vitc serum on skin) this works wonders……..clive

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