Excerpts From Letters to Physicians

Robert F. Cathcart, M.D.

I understand and utilize all the different free radical scavengers and nutrients that you talk about for the prevention of disease and for the treatment of many chronic diseases. However, I think everyone is missing the magnitude of the amount of free radicals involved when a person actually becomes acutely ill and that this is why acute diseases are not more rapidly cured.

My discovery that the bowel tolerance to oral ascorbic acid may increase to 200 grams or more with serious diseases like mononucleosis, pneumonia, etc. indicates the magnitude of the amounts of free radicals involved. I believe that it is damaged mitochondria that produce most of these free radicals. Additionally, the free radicals produced by these damaged mitochondria further damage adjacent mitochondria. A cascade results. These damaged mitochondria are unable to make available the extra electrons to rereduce the spent non-enzymatic free radical scavengers. The only thing then that saves the person is that the immune system is turned on by the oxidative redox potential and antibodies, T-cell, NK-cells, etc. hopefully will rid the body of the offending organisms.

The way around this is to flood the body with ascorbic acid orally (if you can tolerate enough) or take sodium ascorbate intravenously. The massive amounts of extra electrons carried will neutralize the free radicals even with this advanced damage to the mitochondria situation. If the mitochondria cannot refuel the free radical scavengers with electrons then we can flood the body with extra electrons carried on the ascorbate. It is my experience that no other free radical scavengers can be given in the amounts necessary to rapidly cure these severe acute illnesses. This, what I call the ascorbate effect, is a threshold phenomenon.

All this is the reason that the massive doses of ascorbate work rapidly in acute situations where all the balancing of other free radical scavengers and nutrients will not be of as much help.