Problems with some criticisms of Vit C

When it comes to Vitamin C, there are so many claims out there.

I have been a lifelong scientist and sceptic, and remain so.
I normally trust the site Quackwatch to a very high degree, but in this case they appear not to have done sufficient study.

The doses established by Pauling and Cathcart are far above any of those referenced on the Quackwatch site.

Quackwatch accurately report that the Mayo Clinic study administered 10g per day.
I could not understand that, because on a 2 x 5g dose the effect should have been substantial – 5g goes close to the critical threshold for most people.
It took me a long time to track down a copy of the actual Mayo study (I finally found one in the Otago Medical School Library). They did not do 2 x 5g doses, they did 4 x 2.5g doses at 6 hourly intervals. 2.5g per dose only achieves a little over half what appears to be the critical threshold serum concentration for activity in most people. And waking people to give them medication is not optimal.
Several factors in that study that explain why it didn’t work.

In my own case, every time I reduced Vit C, I got more tumours, when I increased (well above the 5g threshold) they went away.
5 times.
4 times I had them surgically removed and histologically sectioned, just to be certain I was still dealing with the same thing – I was.
The last lab report said the doctor had cut close to the margin, and wider excision was recommended. I said no- I want a real test of the Vit C, and it is working for me, there have been no more tumours in that 5+ years.

I haven’t missed a dose since March 2011. There have been some days when I was held up, and it was about 17 hours between doses, and I did get two doses in each of those days. Most days I am within a couple of hours of 12 hours from the last dose. No more tumours in that time (March 2016 at time of writing).

I cannot stress enough the need for regular doses. The immune system does benefit hugely from high dose vit C, and it does seem to get to rely on it. Missing even one dose seems to be a substantial hit to the immune system that takes quite a while to recover from.
When I was trying to get rid of the liver tumours, I was taking up to 80g per day.

Several people have come to me, started out well and achieved good results (tumour reduction), then started missing doses and days, and have since died.
All of those I know of who are keeping up the regular dosage, minimum 5g per dose, maximum 14 hours apart, no exceptions, are still alive, most with no tumours and some of the more recent ones with tumours much reduced in size.

And nothing in biology is certain, particularly in respect of the immune system, and I expect that this will not work for some people.

And I have not had any significant symptoms of colds or flu in the entire time I have been on high dose Vit C, and all other members of my family, and my friends, have.

And the dose I am on normally is 9g (one heaped teaspoon) dissolved in a glass of warm (about 30C) water, twice daily.

When I feel the first slight twinges of a cold or flu I up the dose substantially, and add in a quarter teaspoon dissolved in a glass of water every waking hour. That usually has me symptom free within about two hours of first noticing the symptoms.

And you can’t do placebo on this stuff, it tastes foul, in a way that only vitamin C tastes foul (unless you can find some people that have never tasted vit C, and could you ever be certain).
(I am using pure L Ascorbic Acid powder.)

And I would certainly not advise taking it without water. Dissolve it first.

The Cochrane Institute did a review in 2012, that showed that mortality went up, even in some cases with Vit C.

I have written the following to them, and have not yet had a response.

Subject: Antioxidant supplements for prevention of mortality – 2012 review


I am very interested in this review.

Was any analysis done of the difference between mortality while on the supplements, and mortality after ceasing to use supplements?

I strongly suspect that the mortality would spike after people cease supplements (particularly Vitamin C) as it takes quite a long time for the body to return to a biochemical balance that strongly scavenges available Vit C from diet. So there should be a substantial increase in mortality risk after ceasing supplementation, and for about 2 years to come back to within 5% of normal.

Has that analysis been done?

Can it be done on the datasets available?

I have done quite a bit of research on this topic over the last 5.5 years.

Very interested in your response.

The information has substantial public health implications.”

As at March 2016, I have still not received any reply.

[As at September 2016 – the website now explicitly states: “The increased risk of mortality was associated with beta-carotene and possibly vitamin E and vitamin A, but was not associated with the use of vitamin C or selenium.”]

Statistics can be very misleading.

As my old stats lecturer drummed into me “correlation does not mean causation” – his example was (if I recall correctly from 1974) a perfect correlation between the incidence of potato blight in Argentina and the incidence of syphilis in London.

The average wind speed at my home here in Kaikoura is 7m/s (14 knots), but that doesn’t tell you that it is calm most of the time, and blows a gale quite frequently. Several times a year the wind is over 70 knots, and sometimes it gusts over 100 knots, and most days it is over 20 knots for a few hours. And sometimes a gale can settle in and blow for days (usually over 40 knots and sometimes of 70 knots for hours on end).

So statistics need to be fit for purpose, and very few statistics are generally useful. If one has even the slightest devious intentions, it is very easy to say something that is true, but conveys the wrong impression, by using statistics rather than raw data – like the Mayo Clinic stating their trial had a dose of 10g per day, leaving the impression it was the same as Pauling’s 10g per day, which it was not.

So check everything, question everything, test it for yourself if you can.

I did.
I still am.

Comment and critique welcome

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