PUTTING THE "C" IN CURE:
Quantity and Frequency are the Keys to Ascorbate Therapy
Comment by Andrew W. Saul
Editor-In-Chief, Orthomolecular Medicine News Service
(OMNS, December 15, 2009) What is it about a little left-handed molecule of six carbons, six oxygens, and eight hydrogens that ticks off so many in the medical community? Maybe it's cases like this one: Ray, a health professional I know, had an 11-month old son who was very sick for over a week. No one, and I mean no one, in their family had had any sleep in a long time. They were up night after night with this child, who had a high fever, glazed watery eyes, tons of thick watery mucus and labored breathing. The child would not sleep, and did little else but cry. The baby was under the care of a pediatrician, who, in the infant's eleven months on earth, had already prescribed twelve rounds of some very serious antibiotics. That they clearly were not working was all too apparent to Ray, who out of desperation decided to try something he previously had been taught to not try: bowel tolerance quantities of oral ascorbate. Ray and his wife gave their baby vitamin C about every 15 minutes. As a result, the baby was noticeably improved in a matter of hours, and slept through the night. With frequent doses continuing, the child was completely well in less than 48 hours. Ray calculated that the child had received just over 2,000 mg vitamin C per kilogram body weight per day. This is even more than what vitamin C expert Dr. Frederick Robert Klenner customarily ordered for sick patients. Remarkably, at 20,000 milligrams of vitamin C/day, that baby never had bowel-tolerance loose stools. (1)
With such a little body, you have to marvel at where all that ascorbate was going. Of course, it is the opinion of those who promulgate the US RDA and related nutritional mythology that almost all of that baby's vitamin C went uselessly into the toilet. Ray and his wife would tell you differently. They would say that their sick child soaked it up like a sponge, and then promptly got better. You choose the answer that works for you.
Quantity of Dose
Dr. Frederick Robert Klenner earned his MD from Duke University School of Medicine and was subsequently board certified in diseases of the chest. (2) A working summation of Dr. Klenner's therapeutic use of vitamin C is 350 milligrams vitamin C per kilogram body weight per day (350 mg/kg/day), in divided doses. (3) Since a kilogram is about 2.2 pounds, this translates to:
mg of Vitamin "C" Body Weight Number of Doses Amount per dose
35,000 mg 220 lb 17-18 2,000 mg
18,000 mg 110 lb 18 1,000 mg
9,000 mg 55 lb 18 500 mg
4,500 mg 28 lb 9 500 mg
2,300 mg 14-15 lb 9 250 mg
1,200 mg 7-8 lb 9 130 - 135 mg
Although these quantities may seem high, Dr. Klenner actually used as much as four times as much for serious viral illness, administered by injection. The oral doses listed above are, for the doctor, comparatively moderate.
Frequency of Dose
For those unable to obtain intravenous vitamin C, it is essential to pay special attention to one of the most important aspects of vitamin C therapy: dividing the dosage improves absorption and retention of vitamin C. High oral doses of vitamin C yield higher blood levels of the vitamin, and dividing the oral doses maintains those higher levels. Although initially seeming almost too obvious to mention, these are not self-evident concepts. Many a medical website and government-based dietary recommendation hinge on ignoring them. Hilary Roberts, PhD, writes: "Stressed and even mildly ill people can tolerate 1,000 times more vitamin C, implying a change in biochemistry that was ignored in creating the RDA. In setting the RDA, unsubstantiated risks of taking too much vitamin C have been accorded great importance, whereas the risks of not taking enough have been ignored. Real scientists understand that 'no scientific proof' is a fancy way of saying 'we don't like this idea.'" (4)
And there is ample proof to not like. Vitamin C, in very high doses, has been used to successfully treat several dozen illness (5), with a published, peer-reviewed literature spanning the last 60 years. Therefore, the effectiveness and safety of megadose vitamin C therapy should, by now, be yesterday's news. Yet I never cease to be amazed at the number of persons who remain unaware that vitamin C is the best broad-spectrum antibiotic, antihistamine, antitoxic and antiviral substance there is. Equally surprising is the ease with which some people, most of the medical profession, and virtually all of the media have been convinced that, somehow, vitamin C is not only ineffective but is also downright dangerous.
Bias against Ascorbate Therapy
When you pick up a health or nutrition book and need to know really fast if it is any good or not, just check the index for "Klenner" and three other key names: Cathcart, Stone, and Pauling. Robert F. Cathcart, an orthopedic surgeon, administered huge doses of vitamin C to tens of thousands of patients for decades (6), without generating a single kidney stone. Irwin Stone, the biochemist who first put Linus Pauling onto vitamin C, is the author of The Healing Factor: Vitamin C against Disease. (7) Pauling cites Stone thirteen times in his landmark book How to Live Longer and Feel Better (8), a recommendation if there ever was one. The importance of vitamin C's power against infectious and chronic disease is extraordinary. To me, omitting it is tantamount to deleting Shakespeare from an English Lit course.
Because of such bias, the primary way patients (and through them, their physicians) have been exposed to Dr. Klenner's work has been through Dr. Lendon Smith's 68-page Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C: The Clinical Experiences of Frederick R. Klenner, M.D. (9) Upon discovering this book, one of my undergraduates submitted a paper to another class discussing a substantial number of medical references she had found on vitamin C as a cure for polio. That course's instructor told me privately that the student's work was absurd, and he literally described her as a "dial tone." I recall a nutritional presentation I made to a hospital staff. All was going well until I mentioned using vitamin C as an antibiotic, as Dr. Klenner did. The mood changed quickly. And how many of us have heard this old saw: "If vitamin C was so good, every doctor would be prescribing it!"
Cardiologist Thomas Levy, MD, explains: "I could find no mainstream medical researcher who has performed any clinical studies on any infectious disease with vitamin C doses that approached those used by Klenner. Using a small enough dose of any therapeutic agent will demonstrate little or no effect on an infection or disease process." (10)
Dr. Klenner recommended daily preventive doses of 10,000 to 15,000 mg/day. He advised parents to give their children their age in vitamin C grams (1 g = 1,000 mg). That would be 2,000 mg/day for a two year old, 9,000 mg/day for a nine year old, and for older children, a leveling-off at about 10,000 mg/day. As for me, I simply say, "Take enough C to be symptom free, whatever that amount may be." It worked for my family. I raised my children all the way into college and they never had a dose of any antibiotic. Not once.
It is high time for medical professionals to welcome vitamin C megadoses and their power to cure the sick. Cure is by far the best word there is in medicine. It would seem that you cannot spell "cure" without "C." I do not think Dr. Klenner would dispute that.
(Andrew W. Saul taught nutrition, health science and cell biology at the college level, and has won three New York State teacher fellowships. He is the author of Doctor Yourself and Fire Your Doctor! and, with Dr. Abram Hoffer, co-author of Orthomolecular Medicine for Everyone and The Vitamin Cure for Alcoholism. Saul is featured in the documentary film Food Matters.)
(1) Bowel tolerance as an indicator of vitamin C saturation is discussed by Dr. RF Cathcart at http://www.doctoryourself.com/titration.html and http://www.doctoryourself.com/cathcart_thirdface.html
(2) For more about Dr. Klenner's life and work: http://www.doctoryourself.com/klennerbio.html
(3) Klenner FR. The significance of high daily intake of ascorbic acid in preventive medicine, p 51-59, in: A Physician's Handbook on Orthomolecular Medicine, Third Edition, Roger Williams, PhD, ed. Keats, 1979.
(4) Hickey S and Roberts H. Ascorbate: The science of vitamin C. 2004. ISBN 1-4116-0724-4. Morrisville, NC: Lulu.
(7) The complete text of Irwin Stone's book The Healing Factor is posted for free reading at http://vitamincfoundation.org/stone/
(8) Pauling L. How to Live Longer and Feel Better, revised edition, 2006. ISBN-13: 9780870710964. Reviewed at http://www.doctoryourself.com/livelonger.html
(9) The full text of Dr. Frederick R. Klenner's Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C is posted for free reading at http://www.seanet.com/~alexs/ascorbate/198x/smith-lh-clinical_guide_1988...
(10) Levy TE. Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins: Curing the Incurable. Livon Books, 2002. ISBN: 1-4010-6963-0 and 978-1401069636
Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine
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Editorial Review Board:
Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D.
Damien Downing, M.D.
Michael Gonzalez, D.Sc., Ph.D.
Steve Hickey, Ph.D.
James A. Jackson, PhD
Bo H. Jonsson, MD, Ph.D
Thomas Levy, M.D., J.D.
Jorge R. Miranda-Massari, Pharm.D.
Erik Paterson, M.D.
Gert E. Shuitemaker, Ph.D.
Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D., Editor and contact person. Email: email@example.com