Any reference to vitamin C could not be complete without referring to the works of Dr. Linus Pauling, Ph.D. It is now common knowledge, even to the uninitiated in nutrition, that there is a link between vitamin C and the common cold and this is mostly due to the work of Dr. Pauling. I would like to make clear a point about Dr Pauling's work and reference to vitamin C and the cold, he never stated that vitamin C would cure the cold, what he stated was that vitamin C could reduce the severity and symptoms of the viral attack and could possibly prevent the onset of the cold. With that out of the way it is now time to look at the most important work Dr. Pauling did in the field of vitamin C, that of heart disease and vitamin C. Let's take a look at some of the work Pauling did prior to his death.
During the last decade, 2-time Nobel Prize winner Pauling and his associate and heart researcher Dr. Mathias Rath, M.D., independently formulated their own assessment regarding the cause and nature of occlusive heart disease. They agree that heart disease is essentially a repair process that is started by a lesion; their theory explains the primary reason these lesions occur. Accordingly, CVD (coronary vascular disease) is a natural body healing process for the walls of arteries and veins weak from insufficient collagen, a condition caused by inadequate vitamin C in the diet. Their theory also included the recent work preformed on Lipoprotein (a) or Lp(a) and it's 'sticky' tendencies that cause it to be bound to the lesions in the arterial walls. The team of Pauling and Rath gathered information and concluded that, due to certain chemical markers found in the lesions (lysyl groups), that the amino acid L-Lysine, which is an essential amino acid and not found in adequate amounts in our diets, worked in conjunction with vitamin C to repair the lesions and remove the Lp(a) from the plaque in the arteries. This is great detective work on their part , and it provides a simple explanation for the amount and severity of heart disease seen in humans. Man, primates and guinea pigs are the only animals that do not produce their own vitamin C internally. This may be a flaw of evolution, however, it leaves us humans with a need that must be met. These stats talk for themselves:
According to the American Heart Association:
Nearly 59 million Americans have a form of Cardiovascular disease
Over 100 million Americans are at risk
Every 34 seconds an American dies of Cardiovascular disease
This is not only an American problem:
"A study of 1,605 randomly selected man in Finland, aged 42 to 60 years, was conducted between 1984 and 1989. None of the men had evidence of pre-existing heart disease. After adjusting for other confounding factors, men who were deficient in vitamin C had 3.5 times more heart attacks than men who were not deficient in vitamin C. The scientist's conclusion was, "Vitamin C deficiency, as assessed by low plasma ascorbate concentration, is a risk factor for coronary heart disease." British Medical Journal (Vol 314, Iss 708, 1997).
With their (Pauling and Rath) therapeutic approach of vitamin C and L-Lysine therapy, results were dramatic and quickly noticed:
"People with severe heart disease who have adopted the therapeutic program (shown below) report relief of their angina-pectoris pain in a short period of time, often as little as 2 weeks." Pauling stated: "We have verified one recent case where ultrasound estimated a 90% and 50% blockage in the carotid arteries. Surgery confirmed and cleared the 90% blockage. One month later (after the patient adopted Pauling's program) a second surgery on the 50% verified that his carotid arteries had somehow, "miraculously," cleared of the blockage".
Pauling's and Rath's Recommendations
Pauling and Rath recommended that every adult should take at least 3 grams of vitamin C and 1-2 grams of L-lysine per day as a preventative against heart attacks and stroke. And those who are considered high risk, (that is, anyone whose mother, father, sister, or brother, has had a heart attack or stroke), should take at least 3 to 6 grams
of vitamin C and 2 to 3 grams
of lysine per day.
According to Dr. Rath,( Dr. Rath has kept up the work he and Dr, Pauling started) significant documentation attests that:
"Vitamins belong to the most powerful agents in the fight against heart disease. This fact has been established by studies of thousands of people over many years. Here are some important results of recent clinical studies: Vitamin C cuts heart disease rate almost in half (documented in 11,000 Americans over ten years) Vitamin E cuts heart disease rate by more than one third (documented in 36,000 Americans over six years.) Beta Carotene (pro vitamin A) cuts heart disease rate almost in half (documented in 36,000 Americans). No prescription drug has ever been shown to help prevent heart disease similar [vitamins A, C and E]. These results and those of countless other studies are so clear that anybody questioning the value of vitamins in the prevention of heart disease may safely be considered as uninformed."
As we can see, there is mounting evidence that vitamin C can and does reverse heart disease. How about other benefits of vitamin C? A few quotes from some other very respected scientist regarding vitamin C:
Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, M.D., Ph.D., Nobel Laureate
"My own interest in ascorbic acid centered around its role in vegetable respiration and defense mechanisms. All the same, I always had the feeling that not enough use was made of it for supporting human health. The reasons are rather complex. The medical profession itself took a very narrow and wrong view. Lack of ascorbic acid caused scurvy, so if there was no scurvy there was no lack of ascorbic acid. Nothing could be clearer than this. The only trouble was that scurvy is not a first symptom of lack but a final collapse, a premortal syndrome, and there is a very wide gap between scurvy and full health. But nobody knows what full health is!"
Irwin Stone from THE HEALING FACTOR: Vitamin C Against Disease
"We can surmise that the production of ascorbic acid was an early accomplishment of the life process because of its wide distribution in nearly all present-day living organisms. It is produced in comparatively large amounts in the simplest plants and the most complex; it is synthesized in the most primitive animal species as well as in the most highly organized. Except possibly for a few microorganisms, those species of animals that cannot make their own ascorbic acid are the exceptions and require it in their food if they are to survive. Without it, life cannot exist. Because of its nearly universal presence in both plants and animals we can also assume that its production was well organized before the time when evolving life forms diverged along separate plant and animal lines."
Dr. Emanuel Cheraskin, Dr. Ringsdorf and Dr. Sisley from THE VITAMIN C CONNECTION
"There are more than ten thousand published scientific papers that make it quite clear that there is not one body process (such as what goes on inside cells or tissues) and not one disease or syndrome (from the common cold to leprosy) that is not influenced -- directly or indirectly -- by vitamin C."
As you can see there is considerable documentation on this nutrient, and it all points to the fact that we humans need to be concerned with getting adequate amounts every day!