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From: ((Steven B. Harris))
Subject: Re: ester c: better or worse?
Date: 23 May 1995

In <> (Haoma) writes:

>It is our belief, based on personal experience, that ester c is not as
>effective as pure vitamin c.
>Ester c is produced by decomposing part of the vitamin c molecule by
>heating it. This saves the manufacturer money since they don't have to
>remove solvents at a low temperature.
>We asked a large supplier what he thought about it and he not only agreed
>with us, but said that he thought that ester c was a hoax and a rip off.
>Anyone else have any comments or information to add?

That's pretty much my feeling as well. Incredible that somebody can
bottle oxidized vitamin C, call it something it isn't (no ester is
present) and sell the stuff at double the price.  There's a sucker born
every minute.

                                           Steve Harris, M.D.

From: ((Steven B. Harris))
Subject: Re: Capsules -- who needs them?
Date: 13 Jul 1995

In <3u2jc3$> (Bryan
Shelton) writes:

>One obvious caveat:  acidic substances like vitamin C should be rinsed
>down with your favorite beverage, of course.

That probably won't get out all the acidic powder or granules packed
into your teeth, if you chew vitamin C.  No, if you're going to chew C,
either brush and floss immediately, or else use a neutralized ascorbate
C.  That is, if you want your tooth enamel to still be there in 10

                                                Steve Harris, M.D.

From: (Martin Banschbach, Ph.D.)
Subject: Re: Some Humans Don't Need Vit C?!? (was: aluminum and alzheimers)
Date: 04 Oct 1996

In article <532hdm$>, B. Harris) writes:

>    What???   Have you got a reference for this statement?  It's so
> totally against everything I've read in nutrition texts for 20 years,
> it must be very new if true.  The going wisdom has been that you need
> L-gulonolactone oxidase to make vitamin C, and in primates this gene is
> still there, but horribly mutated and beat up and unusable after not
> doing anything for 10s of millions of years.
>                                          Steve Harris, M.D.

No it's not new Steve.  Two separate gene defects occured, one affecting
lactonase activity and the other affecting L-gulonolactone oxidase
activity.  Not everyone died on those long sea voyages (those that didn't
still synthesized vitamin C). In some populations, the nonsynthesizers have
been completely removed from the gene pool (the Sahara nomads for example).

The lactonase defect prevents any vitamin C synthesis at all.  The L-
gulonolactone oxidase defect (which is the last enzymatic step in the
vitamin C synthetic pathway) does allow some vitamin C synthesis because
the substrate (L-gulono-gamma-lactone) will spontaneously decompose to 2-
keto-gulono-gamma-lactone in the presence of oxygen (which the L-
gulonolactone oxidase would have used to complete the same kind of reaction
process).  The only difference now is the speed (the enzyme oxidase would of
course done it much faster than the spontaneous oxidation process can).

The final step, conversion of 2-keto-gulono-gamma-lactone to L-ascorbic
acid is a spontaneous nonenzymatic conversion process.  From reading the
literature the best estimate I have of vitamin C formation in humans that
can still form it is 15-20mg per day in a nonstressed state (no active
infection) with higher amounts possible during infection but I have never
been able to get what the maximum formation could (can) be during severe
stress. Maybe Cindy knows.

Vasco de Gamma lost 100 of 150 men.  Magellan lost 92 of 198 men.  As more
long sea voyages occured, only those men who could form vitamin C were left
to go on them (until Lund came along).  I've never seen estimates of the
number of lactonase defect people still left in the gene pool (although I
do know that none are found among the Sahara nomads).

Textbooks are correct in stating that there is no enzymatic synthesis of
vitamin C in humans.  Any formation (and it's going to be very small in
comparison to what could have been formed without a defective gene) that
still occurs in humans is all spontaneous nonenzymatic formation.  But that
process is enough to prevent scurvy (which only needs 15 mg per day).

If you really start digging into the area of nutrition, you will find many
bits and pieces of information that don't find their way into textbooks.

We just went to a new biochemistry textbook for our medical students,
"Basic Medical Biochemistry, A Clinical Approach" by Dawn (Ph.D.) and Allan
(M.D.) Marks.  They cover autophagy, no otheer textbook (even medical) that
I've ever read covers this area.  They all hit the red cell and it's life-
span and why it wears out and how it's removed and the stuff in it that
gets reused and how that's done (and the boards hit it hard too).

Mitochondria are a hell of alot more important than the stupid red cell and
we have known what heppnes to them for a long time now and even know about
their own DNA and maternal transmission of that DNA and we know that
without these things, no cell is going to function very long.

Autophapy is the normal process the cell uses to remove it's oxidatively
damaged mitochondria (just like the spleen takes out the old red cells).
We know how it's done, why it's done and what regulates replacement.  What
has amazed me Steve is why it has taken so long to get this into medical
textbooks (especially since we now know that reperfusion after heart blood
flow stoppage or brain blood flow stoppage is what kills the tissue and
it's their loss of mitochondria that helps do them in).

Some people still forming vitamin C isn't all that important medically and
I can understand why this information has not found it's way into medical
textbooks.  But the life cycle of the cell's power plant?  The most
important factor in whether the patient's heart (or brain) can come through
interruptered blood flow with minimal cell loss?  This isn't new science
Steve (some of the factors protecting the mitochondria from oxidative damage
is new science) but the loss and replacement of mitochondria has been known
about for a hell of a long time (it was even covered when I was in
graduate school in the early 70's).  But as a graduate student, we never
had textbooks, only learned mentors teaching us "cutting edge"
biochemistry.  I long ago decided that medical students needed a good
biochemistry textbook and not graduate level lectures or notes.  As I worked
my way into the medical school environment, it always amazed me that none of
the textbooks written for medical student education ever covered this
process but the stupid red cell got beat to death.  I have prompted my
biochemistry colleagues to move toward the more clinically relavent
textbooks that are being published now (we had been using Devlin) but until
this new one, what I learned as a gradaute student had not found it's way
into a medical school biochemistry textbook.

Our new Dean forced problem-based education on us (hardly any faculty
supported it) for this very reason (information changes all the time and
you have to teach medical students how to learn and solve problems, not
memorize textbooks or faculty notes).
Marty B.                   "You are what you eat"

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Vit C and mood
Date: 22 Oct 1996

In <> writes:

>I have heard that some heart conditions can affect mood by reducing
>oxygen supply to brain and that Vit C may help compensate.   Any
>truth to this?

   Heart conditions don't usually reduced oxygen supply to the brain,
and if they do, the treatment is a trip to the hospital (and/or
possibly home oxygen therapy).

   It is true, however, that the most consistent early clinical
correlates to low vitamin C levels in the blood (nice double blind
crossover studies proving this) are "fatigue" and "irritability."  These
are very common, and they present will before any signs or symptoms of
classic scurvy.  Needless to say, vitamin C supplements help these a
lot, if low vitamin C is the cause.  As for the range of vitamin C
levels which correlate with these symptoms, they correspond with levels
easily found in 5 to 30% of the US population, depending on what
sub-populations you look at.  Male ghetto-dwellers are astonishing low
on vitamin C.

   Early in the history of sailing, lime juice was expensive, and the
captain didn't want to waste it until the first signs that things were
about to go bad, but hadn't quite done so.  So it didn't get doled out
aboard ship until the first fights broke out among the crew.  Nasty
tempers and loss of energy are actually the very first signs of scurvy.

                                        Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Date: 26 Dec 1997 07:37:51 GMT

In <> writes:

>Dept. of Chem., Faculty of Pharmacy, Shiraz wrote:
>> *selah* <> wrote in article
>> >
>> > There are forms of Vitamin C that are not acidic, such as sodium
>> > ascorbate or mixed mineral ascorbates.
>> >
>> > Mariel
>> Dear Mariel,
>>   Ascorbic acid is a weak acid with an acidic equilibrium
>> constant in the range of 10E-4 (0.0001). When ascorbate salt
>> enters stomach, due to high acidity of stomach (because
>> of high concentration of HCl), it completely changes into acid
>> ascorbic. The rest of its path in the body is identical to the same
>> amount of ascorbic acid.
>>               Sincerely Yours,
>>          Ahmad Mokhtari Fard
>	Bravo!  Ester C, anyone, at a mere $4,000/kilo?  Patented of course.

   But we've discused this before.  It is not true that puting ascorbic
acid salts into the stomach is the same as putting in buffered vitamin
C.  You have to get rid of the stuff in your urine.  If you eat
ascorbic acid in high amounts, you have to pee ascorbic acid, since the
acid load has to be got rid of (unless you're ingesting an alkaline
load somewhere else).  If you take the ascorbates, you can pee

   Your stomach acid isn't free.  Every bit you make demands you make
bicarbonate somewhere else in the body-- enough to exactly neutralize
the stomach acid when it hits your duodenum.  The vitamin C at that
point is left in whatever form you took it.

                                        Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Date: 26 Dec 1997 20:07:31 GMT

In <680tfb$> "Frank" <>

>Can you explain that again? I didn't follow you. If you ingest Calcium
>Ascorbate, does that cause an acid load in the stomach or anywhere else?

No, salts of ascorbic acid (ascorbates) are more or less neutral to the
body.  Taking pure ascorbic acid does cause an acid load.  Though not a
big on if you're only taking 500 mg or 1000 mg.

                                     Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Date: 11 Jan 1998 20:46:06 GMT

In <> writes:

>David Wright wrote:
>> If I recall correctly, Pauling used about 18g/day, spread out in
>> multiple doses.  Prostate cancer got him anyway, eventually.
>Yeah, but like at 90.

   True, but his wife died of gastric cancer at a younger age.  Gastric
cancer is tied to chronic use of gastic irritants, like high doses of
acidic vitamin C.  She used the same dose as Pauling.

   If you're going to base your world view on single case reports,
stick that one in.


                                    Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Vitamin C , 500mg, harmful !!!!
Date: 24 Apr 1998 19:01:07 GMT

In <01bd6f9f$cb493e20$d610a2d1@home-pc> "BIRDIE" <>

>speaking of animals and vit c did you know that cats get vit c from

  In your dreams.  They make it in their livers from glucose, just like
most animals do (except primates, guinea pigs, and some fish and

                                     Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Tutorial For Bob Roberts (was: Vit. C half-life?)
Date: 10 Sep 1998 06:51:24 GMT

In <> Bill Roberts
<> amazingly writes the
following, in reply to Evan J Morris, who

> just curious if anyone knows the approx. halflife of vit. c in
> the human body...

Roberts' reply:
>I don't know exactly, but it isn't long, no more than a few


One wonders, if Roberts doesn't know exactly (or even, as it
turns out, approximately) what the figure is, why he
nevertheless feels obligated to reply at all.  After all,
he has just finished castigating me for this
type of thing in very self-rightous terms, and assured me
personally that persons in don't reply to
questions they are not fully informed about.  So his answer above
is quite curious.  Apparently, not even Roberts follows the rules
(Roberts' rules of order, I assume) he told me about.

His answer is especially odd since it shows no evidence that
Roberts is aware that the issue is far too complicated to even
HAVE an answer of the sort Roberts gives.  The further curiosity of
this is that Roberts has assured all that his knowledge of biology
and pharmacology is quite superior.


Tutorial for Bill Roberts Regarding Vitamin C Kinetics:

Vitamin C doesn't have "a" (single) half-life in the body.  A
half-life implies first order kinetics, and vitamin C elimination
displays first order kinetics only in two very different dose
ranges: that around 30-100 mg/day (RDA is presently 60 mg/day),
and at doses far in excess of the RDA (40 x RDA).  Thus, for any
given daily dose of vitamin C from 30 mg a day to 2.5 grams (2500
mg) a day (a fairly hefty "therapeutic" dose) the blood and
tissue levels of vitamin C (which are roughly proportional, or
linearly related, though not equal) will be sigmoidal as graphed
against dose (with the steep and semi-linear part of the curve
from about half the RDA to 1.6 times RDA).  If vitamin C had "a"
half-life, steady state plasma levels would vary linearly with
daily intake.  They don't, by a long shot.

If a person with normal vitamin C nutriture is taken off the
vitamin, kinetics are first order for a while, but not with the
half-life implied by Roberts.  Levels in the body (plasma and
tissues, though not CNS) decay with a halflife of about 2 weeks
(10- 20 *days*, depending on what initial levels were), until a
level of roughly 0.9 mg/dl is reached, which corresponds roughly
to the steady state over the average non-smoker, at RDA doses.
This is the half-life of vitamin C in the body of the average
person eating a good diet and taking no supplements. Below these
levels, "half-life" increases to over 20 days as the
levels drop, which means there is no one single "half-life"
number.  Thus, as the body tries to conserve vitamin C from these
levels, half-life increases and kinetics are no longer first
order.  (This also suggests that present RDA consumption of
vitamin C is barely enough to get the body past the 20 mg/Kg
vitamin C tissue levels, below which mechanisms come into play to
conserve C.  It's barely up to par.)

At doses of vitamin C over 200 mg per day, levels in plasma
approach the renal excretion threshold, which varies from person
to person and even between men and women, but starts very roughly
at 1.3 to 1.6 mg/dl in plasma (I use these figures because they
come out to much more conveniently remembered numbers than SI
units, which are in uM/L).  As vitamin levels approach and exceed
renal threshold, kinetics are due to a two compartment model,
each with very different first order elimination k's and half-times
(ln2/k).  The renal excretion elimination half-time for levels far
above renal threshold, depends only on the renal function (GFR).  For
young adults with normal kidneys, the elimination half-time is about
the same as any water-soluble non-protein bound substance which is
freely distributed in extra-cellular water: about an hour.  As age
increases, this figure drops.  As it goes below renal threshold,
half-time increases to weeks once again.

Thus, in summary, the answer given by Roberts is not the half-
life of vitamin C in the body (what was asked for), but something
approximating the half-life of **the portion of a megadose of
vitamin C which is rapidly excreted in older people while levels
are far over renal threshold.**  For the rest of the vitamin C in
the body, and for the vitamin C in the bodies of people not on large
supplements, the correct answer is very different.

                                   Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: the different flavors of Vitamin C???
Date: 4 Oct 1998 03:48:05 GMT

In <> (Don)

>On 1 Oct 1998 03:21:48 GMT, B. Harris)
>>   The slight difference in assimilation is hardly worth the huge
>>increase in price.  Far more efficient to just take 50% more regular
>>cheapy vitamin C.
>actually the vrp stuff isn't all that high.  it's a mineral supp after
>all and just happens to have that high dosage of C in there.  thanks
>for all the replies.  I just for some odd reason never heard of these
>forms of C and it's nice to know it's not some hocus pocus.

There are cheaper ways to take minerals, too.  Same argument applies.
Take ascorbic acid and mineral oxides or carbonates and make the salts
in the privacy of your own stomach for a lot less money.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: high-dose vitamin c
Date: 13 Dec 1998 07:15:41 GMT

In <> Robert Schuh
<> writes:

>I have yet to read  legitimate study that actually proves the
>correlation of Vit C to the formation of kidney stones. Vit C can be a
>problem to people with renal failure, but if you are healthy, the only
>thing I suggest is using a buffered form like calcium ascorbate or
>sodium ascorbate. Another version that is very effective is the fat
>soluble Vit C, ascorbyl palmitate. There seems to be a group of anti
>Vit C whackos out there that are in the same boat as the anti protein

   There are very few animal studies on ascorbyl palmitate.  Besides
the original patent study, I can find only one.  In the patent study,
toxicity showed up as animals with bladders packed with stones,
presumably oxalate stones.  I can't think of another GRAS chemical
which has been so little tested, and which has evidence of such a
serious problem.  But standards were lax in the 1940's, and if it took
a lot of a chemical to so something to animals, they often approved
adding a lot LESS to foods for other purposes (such as antioxidation of
oils).  Nobody then envisioned that the crap would be sold in health
food stores half a century later in 300 mg capsules.  And that by that
time the old literature (such as it is) would be forgotten, and only
the standard "food category" designation, from a different era, and for
a different use, would survive.  Scary.

   Ascorbyl palmitate is NOT vitamin C.  Don't even think of them
approximately in the same category in your mind.

                                          Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: high-dose vitamin c
Date: 13 Dec 1998 22:20:34 GMT

In <> Aaron Engelhart <>

>Is there any reason they didn't just use a normally lipophilic
>antioxidant - like vitamin E?
>"Steven B. Harris" wrote:
>> adding a lot LESS to foods for other purposes (such as antioxidation of
>> oils).  Nobody then envisioned that the crap would be sold in health
>> food stores half a century later in 300 mg capsules.  And that by that

   Good question.  Don't know.  I suspect ascorbyl palmitate is very
cheap to make.  Probably far more than vitamin E.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Questions on Vitamins
Date: 1 Jan 1999 12:11:58 GMT

In <76h4hl$bj$> Doug <do@not.spam> writes:
>Steven B. Harris wrote:
>>   It's safe to take at least 1000 mg, and probably a lot more (though
>> evidence of great benefit is lacking).  As for evidence that 1000 mg
>> saturates your tissues better than 500 mg, there isn't much of that,
>> either.  Save and get the 500's, unless you find an incredible sale on
>> the 1000's.  Even 250 mg pretty much tops you out on tissue saturation,
>> though, and that's the best index that your body has regarding what it
>> needs for maximal healing and immune function.  As to prevention, we
>> have no idea.  There are yet no prospective randomized studies of
>> vitamin C in normal people.  Go figure.
>So what's all the hype about Linus Pauling
>telling everyone to pile on the C?
>Was old Pauling wrong or just misguided?

    We don't know, yet.  But we do know that he sometimes used
arguments in a rather biased way.  For example his argument is that you
should try to maintain tissue saturation of vitamin C (1 to 1.5 mg/dl
of blood or so) because if less was just as good, your body wouldn't
have evolutionarily built the pumps in your kidneys to let you retain
that much.  Not too bad an argument.  But the converse is that if it's
good for you to eat so much more than those same pumps are saturated,
and spill the extra stuff very rapidly from your blood (by a factor of
several hundred times), why then by the same reasoning didn't evolution
build even bigger pumps to get your levels *higher* all the time (as
they are if you really do take several grams, several times a day, to
keep up with the extra spillage)?  Pauling doesn't like that argument
as well.

>I work with a gent that has taken Paulings advice to
>the wall and routinely takes about 4 GRAMS of C every
>day plus loads of vitamins to boot.  I think this guy's
>liver is going fail soon.

   Not from the C.  But niacin and A can be nasty.

                                    Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: liquid vitamin c
Date: 6 Apr 1999 12:44:28 GMT

In <> Tom Matthews <> writes:

>dejanero wrote:
>> Does anyone know of any companies that sell liquid vitamin C ? Also, is this
>> more expensive than vitamin C sold as powder or in pill form.
>Liquid vitamin C is not a good idea.
>Ascorbic acid can easily oxidize when stored in water.

  And, if in acid form, can rot your teeth.  Chewable un-neutralized
vitamin C tablets are also a bad idea, for the same reason.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Greedy GP's vaccine ploy
Date: 6 Feb 2000 11:03:17 GMT

In <87go1e$17b$> "John"
<> writes:

>You haven't cured much with drugs so far cleverdick.  Just a few
>infectious diseases, and only after you just about wiped out the British
>Navy looking for a scurvy bug.

   A medical doctor, James Lind, discovered the dietary cause of scurvy
in the 18th century.  Not my problem that the British navy didn't
listen to the man.

From: "Steve Harris" <>
Subject: Re: Building muscle as a vegetarian
Date: Sat, 5 May 2001 22:36:34 -0600

"Martin E. Lewitt" <> wrote in message

> BTW, do you know the gene for uricase is present in the human genome.
> It might be reasonable to expect recovery of the capability to
> synthesize vitamin-C, since a non-functional form of the gene is
> still present in the genome, a few chance mutations might recover it.

Don't bet on it. I read those articles, and the remnants of our
L-gulonolactone oxidase genes have been beaten to crap, not having been used
for at least the 10's of millions of years that primates have been around,
and subject to randomization for all that time.  You won't get THIS gene
back with a few mutations!

From: "Steve Harris" <>
Subject: Re: Is it possible to have too little sugar in your diet?
Date: Tue, 15 May 2001 11:50:58 -0700

Elim wrote in message <9dpvd6$lde$>...
>Vitamin C powder certainly has a taste, and you can taste it in oranges.

Naw, it has no specific taste. It's just sour like any acid. What you taste
in oranges is vitamin C and citric acid.  An orange with no
vitamin C at all would not taste strange. Lemons, for example, are
far more tart than oranges. That's not just lack of sugar, it's also
more acid. But it's not more vitamin C.

From: "Steve Harris" <>
Subject: Re: Vit C: Real or Syn?
Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2001 10:54:41 -0700

George Lagergren wrote in message <>...
>"JTMac" <>  wrote:     12  06-21-01  21:55
>Pr> By the way, most ingested ascorbic acid is excreted, too. Remember,
>Pr> ascorbic acid, in spite of the FDA, is NOT vitamin C. It, synthetic
>Pr> ascorbic acid, acts mostly like a drug in the body.
>    Question:  Is "real" Vitamin C supplements more expensive to
>    produce than synthetic ascorbic acid supplements?

Hugely more expensive. So much so that I know of no natural
source vitamin C pills on the market. I've seen a few claims, among
which the most dishonest are labels that say "natural" (means nothing).
And a few people who add synthetic stuff to yeast cultures and think
that by some magic it gets converted to "natural" by this means.


From: "Steve Harris" <>
Subject: Re: Vit C: Real or Syn?
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2001 15:19:56 -0700

JTMac wrote in message ...
>Standard Process, of Wisconsin, sells only to licensed professionals.
>They have been making natural vit C and other natural food concentrate
>products for more than 70 years. Dr. Royal Lee, inventor of the Norden
>Bombsight, and various motor speed regulators, not only started the
>company, but invented and patented the special equipment needed, did the
>research to prove their products work, that natural complexes are far
>superior to synthetic products, etc. etc.,Their Cataplex C has 90 tablets
>and retails for US$9.00.
>They grow their own organic food on hundreds of acres of farmland and
>make the products at the optimum time right off the farm. They have a web
>site. Check it out.

I did. It's at  They are perfect examples of the
kind of thing I'm talking about: lying by implication. If you read their
stuff you see that they do everything in their power to make you think
they're extracting all their vitamins from the pure whole natural foods
they grow there on their farm, without ever actually saying this. Since
saying this would, of course, be a lie.  They grow a bunch of stuff,
compress it into a tablet along with the standard synthetic vitamins they
buy from the same place everybody else does, and call it "natural."  You
see that in every one of their products. The "other ingredients" listed
on the label are the pure vitamins. They don't even sell a plain vitamin
C.  However, they add "ascorbic acid" to a lot of products and there's no
evidence that they extract this from Wisconsin oranges or whatever. And
if you think they do, you're 17 kinds of a fool.

>Lee was, naturally, badly hassled by the FDA types.

Lee had trouble with state medical boards, and should have stayed in
Utah.  As for Standard Products, they appear to have gotten the FDA's
truth in labeling message, for they list the pure vitamins they add. If
they weren't adding them, they wouldn't have to list them. If you're
selling yeast extract tablets you don't have to list "niacinamide" as an
ingredient unless you add it, as pure niacinamide. How the Stardard
Products people must have hated having to tell the truth on the label!
Crappy people like these are why we HAVE an FDA. If you don't like the
FDA you can blame Standard Products as much as anyone.


From: "Steve Harris" <>
Subject: Re: common cold: vitamin c and zinc do not affect
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2002 16:33:20 -0700
Message-ID: <a4c8sq$sgg$>

"David" <> wrote in message
> Six grams a day? Try 100-200 grams in the form of sodium ascorbate per
> day. That's how much Klenner, Cathcart, etc. claim is necessary to treat
> a viral infection.


Don't recommend this to anybody unless YOU have personally tried it. Good

It's time somebody said this. Here's my assertion: anybody who says they
took 100 g of vitamin C for a couple of days with no side effects, no matter
how sick they were and with what, is either a goddamned liar, or else
somebody who has no idea of what's going on with their rear end.

And yes, I think that includes Linus Pauling. I think that on this matter he
was incapable of finding his rear end with both hands, in fact. Cathcart,


From: "Steve Harris" <>
Subject: Re: Vitamin C Part 2???? Eskimos?
Date: Sun, 17 Feb 2002 21:05:08 -0700
Message-ID: <a4pv0u$6vs$>

lj" <> wrote in message
> I'm still waiting for the sequel to the research/theories on Vit. C., it's
> lack of synthesis in humans---but how do Eskimo's survive on a fish/blubber
> diet?


You mean how did they, long ago?  These days they drive their snowmachines
to the local store and buy frozen concentrated O.J.and multivitamins.

Animals synthesize vitamin C, and especially concentrate it in brain, spinal
cord, and adrenals. Eskimos once upon a time ate all this stuff, and
sometimes raw. Actic explorers who killed animals but fried the brains or
threw away the adrenals found themselves with scurvy. Not a good thing to
have in the cold.

From: "Steve Harris" <>
Subject: Re: Taking Supplements [was Re: Money Talks in Science :-(
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002 01:05:46 -0700
Message-ID: <a52aqd$lko$>

"Tom Matthews" <> wrote in message

> > Steve's specific questions was why do you have to take supplements
> > several times a day, instead of just once. I'd like to hear an answer
> > to that one too.
> I missed it because the answer is so obvious:
> To keep blood levels high with supplements which have short half-lives
> in the body. Ascorbic acid is one example. Anything used as a glycation
> inhibitor is another clear example.


And you want to keep ascorbic acid levels in the blood as high as possible
WHY?  Ascorbate generates free radicals in some cases, and is hardly a
benign molecule at any dose in tissue culture. Did it not occur to you that
there might be some optimum level-- an S shaped or even inverted U shaped
concentration-vs-benefit curve?  And even that it might be different in
humans (who've had to get along on low vitamin C intakes for a long part of
our evolution) than in other animals?  What evidence is there that going
above the plasma levels seen in the upper tissue saturation quarter of the
population (a group which supplements modestly, and certainly rarely more
than once a day) does any good, health-wise?  Where is even the epidemiology
for megadoses, let alone the controlled trials?

If you really believe that more C the better, without limit, do you take
vitamin C up to max tolerance levels? To bowel tolerance, ala Pauling?  And
if less, why?

Okay, glycation inhibitors. Nutrients such as thiamin?  Again, the animal
data for this is where? Was there ever even so much as a normal rat made
healthier, or had its life extended, by megadose thiamine in every bite?


From: "Steve Harris" <>
Subject: Vitamin C and women's cancer risk
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2002 14:27:07 -0800
Message-ID: <a5h26u$us1$>

This is not the NHANES II but it's interested that the same dichotomy
between the effect of vitamin C on men's and women's cancer risk show up
here also (though here vitamin C merely fails to be a cancer risk reducer
for women, rather than an active promotor).  Something about it must be
real, and one suspects that in women some competing processes of vitamin C
cancer promotion and reduction much be fighting.


Relation between plasma ascorbic acid and mortality in men and women in
EPIC-Norfolk prospective study: a prospective population study
Kay-Tee Khaw, Sheila Bingham, Ailsa Welch, Robert Luben, Nicholas Wareham,
Suzy Oakes, Nicholas Day

Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Institute of Public Health,
University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, UK (Prof K-T
Khaw FRCP, A Welch BSc, R Luben BSc, N Wareham MRCP, S Oakes, N Day PhD);
and MRC Dunn Human Nutrition Unit, Cambridge (S Bingham PhD)

Correspondence to: Prof Kay-Tee Khaw, Clinical Gerontology Unit, Box 251,
University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Addenbrooke's Hospital,
Cambridge CB2 2QQ, UK (
Background Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) might be protective for several chronic
diseases. However, findings from prospective studies that relate ascorbic
acid to cardiovascular disease or cancer are not consistent. We aimed to
assess the relation between plasma ascorbic acid and subsequent mortality
due to all causes, cardiovascular disease, ischaemic heart disease, and
Methods We prospectively examined for 4 years the relation between plasma
ascorbic acid concentrations and mortality due to all causes, and to
cardiovascular disease, ischaemic heart disease, and cancer in 19496 men and
women aged 45-79 years. We recruited individuals by post using age-sex
registers of general practices. Participants completed a health and
lifestyle questionnaire and were examined at a clinic visit. They were
followed-up for causes of death for about 4 years. Individuals were divided
into sex-specific quintiles of plasma ascorbic acid. We used the Cox
proportional hazard model to determine the effect of ascorbic acid and other
risk factors on mortality.
Findings Plasma ascorbic acid concentration was inversely related to
mortality from all-causes, and from cardiovascular disease, and ischaemic
heart disease in men and women. Risk of mortality in the top ascorbic acid
quintile was about half the risk in the lowest quintile (p<0·0001). The
relation with mortality was continuous through the whole distribution of
ascorbic acid concentrations. 20 µmol/L rise in plasma ascorbic acid
concentration, equivalent to about 50 g per day increase in fruit and
vegetable intake, was associated with about a 20% reduction in risk of
all-cause mortality (p<0·0001), independent of age, systolic blood pressure,
blood cholesterol, cigarette smoking habit, diabetes, and supplement use.
Ascorbic acid was inversely related to cancer mortality in men but not
Interpretation Small increases in fruit and vegetable intake of about one
serving daily has encouraging prospects for possible prevention of disease.
Lancet 2001; 357: 657-63

From: "Steve Harris" <>
Subject: Re: too much Vitamin C causes Cancer
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 09:31:26 -0800
Message-ID: <a77sj9$6k9$>

mbansch314 wrote in message ...
>> My doctor told me that taking too much Vitamin C can provoke the growth of
>> cancer.  Is that true?
>Your doctor has probably read the many published reports of vitamin C
>increasing DNA mutation in humans.
>While most cancers can not occur without DNA mutation, this does not mean
>that vitamin C increases the risk of developing cancer.  If this were the
>only action of vitamin C in the human body, then you might be tempted to
>draw this conclusion.
>However, vitamin C does other things that probably lower the risk that
>cancer cells will ever make it past the human immune system attack on them.
>Cancer cells are formed in humans every day but our immune system takes them

Marty, there is epidemiologic evidence that vitamin C intake is associated
with risk of cancer development in women. This risk persists despite all
attempts to control for it. So you have a mechanism in the lab, and you have
epidemiological evidence in people.  I think you're engaging in denial.  Why
not admit it's a good hypothesis from the evidence we have, and let it stay
at that.  Evidence that C is bad for women is stronger than the evidence
that C supplements are good for men.  You can't believe one, and act on it,
without believing the other also.  That's frankly irrational.

I welcome email from any being clever enough to fix my address. It's open
book.  A prize to the first spambot that passes my Turing test.

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