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Medicine 101 – Dr. Tara Macart


Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is essential for life and I believe it is greatly underappreciated in medicine today.  Thanks to Dr. Szent-Gyorgyi, Nobel Prize winner for his work on vitamin C and its metabolism, and to Dr. Linus Pauling, famous for his studies of vitamin c and the immune system, we are the fortunate recipients of advanced molecular medicine for a variety of diseases.  Both infectious and chronic diseases make a significant dent in public health and could benefit largely from the therapeutic use of vitamin c.

Vitamin C has many roles in the body.  The most well known is that of an antioxidant, a free radical scavenger.  Structurally, vitamin C is a component of collagen and provides tensile strength to ligaments, tendons and bones. It is used to neutralize toxic substances since it is a cofactor for the liver’s detoxification mechanisms.  Allergy sufferers should know that vitamin C helps inhibit histamine reactions and can lessen allergic symptoms quickly. In terms of the immune system, it was Dr. Linus Pauling who extolled the virtues of vitamin C’s properties, especially viral suppression.

It was Dr. Fred Klenner who first used what we call mega-dose vitamin C therapy.  For general health maintenance, 1000mg three times a day is a good place to start but doses that exceed intestinal absorption tend to have an osmotic laxative effect.  This information can be useful for those dealing with constipation problems.  However, massive diarrhoea should never be left to continue.  Fortunately, in a clinical setting, high doses that would otherwise cause gastric distress or diarrhoea can be well tolerated as an intravenous infusion.

Certainly there are some rumours about ascorbic acid that need to be laid to rest.  The most popular worry people have about vitamin C is that they heard it could cause kidney stones.  I think there is no way to guarantee that a person in therapy of any kind, who is prone to kidney stones, would never develop them, but so far, there is no evidence that vitamin C causes kidney stones.

Another rumour is that ascorbic acid interferes with chemotherapy.   Not only is this not true, but recent studies show that chemotherapy patients who also got clinical nutrition therapy have the best outcomes in terms of longevity and quality of life during treatment.   Vitamin C therapy seems to make chemotherapy and radiation less painful, and therefore more tolerable.   It is an excellent adjunctive therapy.   It is ironic that oncologists are not head over heels about ascorbic acid.  I would have assumed that they would embrace an oncological agent that is both cancer killing as well as being non-toxic to the healthy cells of the body.  Ascorbic acid fits this bill.

There are numerous case studies that illustrate the oncological, immunological, and other physiological benefits of vitamin C therapy.  When there is such a safe and effective nutritional therapy that is well tolerated, why not embrace it, instead of underestimating it.