Continuing Education for Every Medical Doctor and Registered Dietician
What is Vitamin C?
Technically vitamin C is the ascorbate ion (C6H7O6) so every form of vitamin C has this anti-scurvy factor. Vitamin C comes in many forms because the vitamin C part (C6H7O6) easily combines with other atoms and molecules. For example, the ascorbate fraction rapidly attaches to hydrogen, sodium, calcium, magnesium and potassium atoms.
All forms of vitamin C can be called ascorbates. Even the most common form of vitamin C, ascorbic acid, is hydrogen ascorbate (the ascorbate ion attached to a hydrogen atom).
Ascorbate has different shapes in three-dimensional space. The different shapes of the ascorbate fraction have the same atoms, but the atoms are arranged differently, much like the right hand is the same but different from the left hand.
The following has not been verified accurate by the Foundation
Vitamin C - What do you Need?
Over the years that I have recommended vitamin C, many have complained that vitamin C irritates their stomach. Yet, when they take high-quality vitamin C, this doesn't happen. It's the D-ascorbate contaminant that's the problem. Those who are supplementing with regular commercial vitamin C need to know that half of what they are paying for is biologically useless, a waste of money and perhaps even detrimental. Another issue is that even vitamin C from natural sources degrades. For example, a fresh orange is almost all L-ascorbate. Once extracted to make orange juice, it will, in a matter of days, degrade to become a 50/50 mixture of D- and L-ascorbate" - Raymond Francis www.beyondhealthnews.com/wpnews/index.php/2013/09/vitamin-c-what-do-you-need
Vitamin C Foundation Approved® products are DSM Quali-C® certified L-ascorbate. See Quali-C Spec Sheet
Is Vitamin C Really a Vitamin?
Most vitamins are readily available in food and are only required in minuscule amounts by the animals that eat the food. It is true that tiny amounts of vitamin C (around 10 milligrams daily) can keep human beings alive by preventing death from the vitamin C deficiency disease scurvy. Therefore, the RDA (60-90 mg) keeps most of us alive.
There is something different about vitamin C.
The intellectual argument whether vitamin C is more than just a vitamin is based on the theory of evolution. Genetic deletions are common, yet most plants and animals make their own vitamin C. Very few species have survived to the present day after losing their innate ability to make vitamin C.
According to British nutritionist Patrick Holford,
Another clue that we evolved to require more ascorbate than is in our food is the amount of vitamin C animals make for themselves: thousands of milligrams (not tens of milligrams), far more than nutritional authorities recommend. [ * ]
High dosages of ascorbate have been found to make many people feel better, making the case that ascorbic acid (C6H8O6) is not just a vitamin in the commonly used sense of the word.
Flashback: 86 Years Ago...
September 22, 1934 (Science News)
The mouth disorder known as pyorrhea, a certain kind of hemophilia, which is a disease of bleeding, certain forms of hemorrhagic nephritis, and several other diseases against which medicine was helpless are seemingly being cured by ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid is not a cure for hereditary hemophilia.
'This is the more striking since these pathological conditions have not been thought to be connected with lack of vitamin,' Prof. Szent-Györgyi explained. 'These curative effects suggest that humanity is suffering much more gravely from a lack of vitamin C than has hitherto been supposed.'
Disfiguring colorations of the skin brought on by illness are also made to disappear by ascorbic acid. Patients with Addison's disease, who have a yellow color, can be bleached out again by the use of this substance."
Why Do We Need More Vitamin C than the RDA?
The intriguing question is whether larger-than-recommended amounts of vitamin C improve the health of human beings?
Nobelist and Chemist Linus Pauling became one of the world's foremost vitamin C experts. Pauling explained that there is a wealth of scientific research information that expands vitamin C's role past that of an ordinary vitamin.
Linus Pauling, after reviewing the research, himself supplemented 18,000 milligrams of ascorbic acid daily and he recommended that every adult take at least 6000 milligrams (or 6 grams) to 18,000 milligrams (18 grams) every day. [*]
The Vitamin C Foundation's daily recommendation (RDA) is 3000 milligrams.
The late Robert Cathcart, III, MD reported that in his clinical practice of over 13,000 patients, (and later over 20,000 patients), that he occasionally used more then 200,000 milligrams of vitamin C. This report is detailed in his original 1986 "Vitamin C: Titrating to Bowel Tolerance" paper.
Steve Hickey and Hiliary Roberts explain in Ridiculous Dietary Allowance why the current official recommendations are unscientific and inappropriate.
According to Linus Pauling, vitamin C deficiency is more common in human beings than generally believed.
The complete absence of vitamin C in the diet will cause death from the vitamin C deficiency disease scurvy. Nobelist Pauling felt that we are all dying a slow death from a low-grade form of scurvy.
It is a fact that Linus Pauling and associates Unified Theory of Heart Disease [*] implicates a sub-clinical vitamin C deficiency leading to a condition Pauling called chronic scurvy.
Don't Tissues Saturate at 200 mg of Vitamin C?
The NIH papers were analyzed by pharmacology professors Steve Hickey, Ph.D. and Hilary Roberts, Ph.D., and the errors were communicated to the NIH and other authorities. After normal scientific channels failed, these UK scientists authored two important books detailing the errors in the NIH research conclusions.
Natural Vitamin C-Complex - Fact or Fiction?
Is there really such a thing as natural vitamin C complex?Such a complex can be defined, but it isn't vitamin C.
If such a complex really exists with vitamin C activity (minus ascorbic acid), this fact escaped the attention of all world scientists, including Linus Pauling. Such a complex is not reported in over 100,000 published studies, papers, reports and scientific articles regarding ascorbic acid (C6H8O6).
The official Vitamin C Foundation response to the Natural Vitamin C and C-complex arguments that are widely distributed across the Internet:
Forum Discussion of the Vitamin C Complex
Those who argue that a vitamin C complex exists, and is different from ascorbic acid, usually claim (falsely) that the Nobel scientist credited with isolating Vitamin C, Professor A. Szent-Györgyi, believed in the so-called natural C-complex. This rumor is based on early speculation and misquotes earlier writings by Dr. Szent-Györgyi.
Our thanks to Vitamin C Foundation researcher Ralph Lotz for finding this reference
More Vitamin C Information on the Web
- Ascorbate Web One of the largest collections of vitamin C research on the web.
- The Genetic Reason Why We Can't Make Our Own Vitamin C
Nutrition Journal article on Vitamin C
Good overview. Excellent references. The authors make the common mistakes (e.g. they cite tissue saturation without explaining why animals produce so much more endogenous ascorbate than their own tissue saturation levels, etc.).
- The Last Interview: Linus Pauling's final interview with the Journal of Optimum Nutrition in 1994
VITAMIN. THE EARLY YEARS OF DISCOVERY...
- Help us Save Gorillas From Sudden Zoo Death
- Free, Peer-Reviewed Nutritional Medicine Information Online
- Vitamin C - Linus Pauling Institute (Oregon State University)
- Vitamin C Overview
- The best source information for the lay person is Linus Pauling's 1986 book How to Live Longer and Feel Better.
Example Vitamin C Science Project
Eight Year-old Daniel Crawford's Science Project contains a procedure for testing for vitamin C content in foods.
Foundation Does Not Sell Vitamin C
Vitamin C Content in Foods
(Large file! Derived from the USDA database)
Vitamin C Products
Vitamin C Information
"Vitamin C is a normal constituent of the body, required for life. It is involved in essentially all of the biochemical reactions that take place in the body and in all of the body's protective mechanisms. With the ordinary intake of vitamin C these reactions and mechanisms do not operate efficiently." - Linus Pauling (pg. 123 HOW TO LIVE LONGER AND FEEL BETTER, 1986, paperback)
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