Robert F. Cathcart, III, M.D. Orthomolecular Medicine. 127 Second Street, #4, Los Altos, California, 94022 USA. 650-949-2822
Bowel tolerance to oral ascorbic acid increases almost directly with the feeling of toxicity in disease processes. The tolerance when well may be from 4 to 20 grams, divided in 4 to 6 doses, per 24 hours. When sick with a mild cold the tolerance may increase to 30 to 60 grams; with a severe cold, 75 to 100 grams, with influenza, 50 to 150 grams; and with mononucleosis or viral pneumonia up to 200 grams or more. With recovery, the bowel tolerance returns to the normal baseline. Amelioration of the symptoms occurs at a threshold usually just short of doses that produce diarrhea. When the ascorbate destroys the free radicals produced by a disease process, the free radicals destroy the ascorbate. That which does not reach the rectum does not produce diarrhea. The diarrhea is an osmotic phenomenon; accordingly, intravenous sodium ascorbate increases the tolerance to ascorbic acid orally. The increased tolerance above the normal baseline represents an additional amount of ascorbic acid destroyed or utilized by the disease process. These amounts of ascorbate tolerated reveal a magnitude of free radicals involvement in these disease processes which has not been suspected. Aside from the practical importance in the treatment of diseases through the relieving of the free radical load, the rate of ingestion tolerated is a clinically useful measure of the variation in that free radical load. Exercise, allergies, aging, chemical exposure, trauma, etc., all processes involving free radicals, affect the bowel tolerance in the expected manner.