Vitamin C May Be A Life-Saver
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VITAMIN C MAY BE A LIFE-SAVER
By Jane Feinmann
April 14, 2005
Imagine that a deadly virus is sweeping the world, killing and maiming
hundreds of thousands of children. Nothing seems able to stop it -- until a
doctor stands up at the American Medical Association and reports on 60 cases
involving severely infected children, all of whom have been cured. Yet his
work, subsequently reported in a peer-review journal, is ignored, leaving
the virus to wreak havoc for decades.
This isn't a docudrama about some futuristic plague -- it's a true story
about what happened in June 1949 when polio was at its peak. Dr Frederick
Klenner, a clinical researcher from Reidsville, North Carolina, reported
that a massive intravenous dose of Vitamin C -- up to 20,000mg daily for
three days (today's recommended daily allowance is 60mg) -- had cured 60 of
his patients. The findings were published in a medical journal, yet there
was virtually no interest. Apart from a couple of minor trials, no attempt
was made to find out if they had any scientific substance.
Relating this curious incident in a new book, Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases
& Toxins: Curing the Incurable, Dr Thomas Levy, a U.S. cardiologist, admits
to being gripped by a range of emotions when he came across Klenner's work
and other studies that replicated it. "To know that polio had been easily
cured yet so many people continued to die, or survived to be permanently
crippled by it, was difficult to accept."
Levy argues that the medical profession has routinely ignored research
showing that high doses of Vitamin C can combat bacteria, toxins and severe
viral infections including avian flu, SARS, hepatitis and herpes. And this
is not a case of doctors sniffing at anecdotal evidence from a handful of
enthusiasts. "Vitamin C is possibly the best-researched substance in the
world. There are more than 24,000 papers and articles on the authoritative
clinical website, Medline. Yet virtually the all the evidence has been
dismissed." Levy even claims that Aids can be controlled if a high enough
dosage of Vitamin C is maintained.
This is not the first time doctors have had their cages rattled over the
benefits of Vitamin C. The controversy has been simmering since 1753, when
just a couple of sucks of a lime were shown to prevent scurvy. In the 1950s
the chemist Linus Pauling, a double Nobel prize-winner, promoted the use of
mega-doses of Vitamin C, but his research was rubbished by clinicians.
Recently, the anti-Vitamin C sentiment has grown. It has been blamed for
causing the formation of kidney stones, and a study published in the journal
Science in 2001 found that even 200mg doses of Vitamin C "facilitated the
production of DNA-damaging agents associated with a variety of cancers".
This finding was widely interpreted as proving that Vitamin C causes cancer.
Britain's Food Standards Agency recommends taking a maximum of 1,000mg of
Vitamin C a day. But a directive going through the European Parliament aims
to reduce this to less than 100mg in an attempt to harmonise dosages across
the Continent. Despite being dubbed "illegal" by the advocate general of the
European Court of Justice last week, the directive could still be passed.
The controversy has not put off consumers, many of whom take Vitamin C to
ward off colds. The 1,000 mg capsule is the most popular single vitamin in
Britain, with the 500mg version second.
Some people argue that we can get sufficient Vitamin C from a diet rich in
fruit and vegetables, but Levy disagrees. The problem, he says, is that a
genetic design fault makes us unable to synthesise our own Vitamin C. Levy
claims that while recommended daily allowances of 60mg are enough to prevent
the development of scurvy in otherwise healthy people, much higher levels
are required to maintain health when an infection strikes. At such times,
the body begins to "metabolise unusually large amounts of vitamin C, keeping
stores so depleted that the recommended daily allowance will not even
prevent many of the symptoms of scurvy from developing".
Levy claims that the reason why most animals stay healthy throughout their
lives, while humans spend years coping with one or more chronic diseases, is
that animals make their own Vitamin C. The wild goat, for instance, makes
around 13,000mg a day, rising to 100,000mg when faced with life-threatening
infectious or toxic stress, according to a 1961 study published in the
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.
So, is Levy right? Should everyone be taking mega-doses every day and having
intravenous infusions when they fall ill? Possibly.
Dr Rodney Adeniyi-Jones regularly gives 20,000mg doses to people with
arterial disease and as part of a flu treatment protocol, describing its
effects as "beneficial... but not miraculous". And Professor George Lewith
of the Centre for Complementary and Integrated Medicine says that while
Vitamin C is not a panacea, it does have clinical benefits depending on the
dosage. "There may be doses that are therapeutic, while another dose may be
damaging for the same condition. It is not a dose-response curve as with
pharmaceuticals, and we need to be cautious until this is better
But he also warns that: "Many of the [Vitamin C] trials have been badly done
and what evidence exists is mixed. Both those in favour and against high
doses frequently misinterpret the data."
Levy may well be seen to have an axe to grind, yet the evidence seems to
support his view that apart from causing diarrhoea, mega-doses of Vitamin C
are not toxic. He says that a series of studies published in leading
journals have shown that, far from causing cancer, Vitamin C is a safe
supplement for chronic cancer patients. Further large studies suggest that
supplements do not put a normal person at greater risk of developing kidney
According to Levy, the problem is not that people might take too much, but
that they won't take enough -- and thus won't get the desired effects.
"There's a popular medical view that taking Vitamin C just makes expensive
urine. Some of it is lost in urine, but the more you consume, the more stays
in your body."
With a new book on the way claiming that Vitamin C deficiency is also a
primary cause of cardiovascular disease, Levy cannot be accused of
underselling his case. Nor can he overcome the fact that proper clinical
trials are still desperately needed.
Considering its overall safety, there appears to be no good reason why
anyone with a chronic or acute health problem should not try, at the very
least, a couple of week's regime of two or three 1,000mg tablets of Vitamin
C a day.
Need to Know: So how much should you take?
* For a cold
Three 1,000mg doses a day, according to the campaign group Consumers for
* For flu
Although it's more serious, the viral load is similar, according to
research, and taking up to 20,000mg a day could be beneficial.
* For shingles
Research has shown that this painful post-viral condition can be pretty well
cured by an injection of 3,000mg of vitamin C. Taking four 1,000mg tablets
orally for three days could be worthwhile as well.
* For a hangover
Taking 1,000mg daily in the week before a booze-up reduces stress on the
liver. If you're drunk and want to look sober, a large dose of vitamin C
will prevent drunken behaviour, according to a 1986 study, "Alcohol and
* To maintain your health
A 1,000mg daily dose is regarded as safe by the Food Standards Agency, and
adequate to keep sufficient vitamin C in the plasma and tissues. "We believe
this is absolutely safe and definitely beneficial to people's health," says
Sue Croft of Consumers for Health Choice.
BOOK & KLENNER VITAMIN C CURE FOR POLIO:
Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases & Toxins: Curing the Incurable
By Dr Thomas Levy
CURING, REVERSING, AND
PREVENTING INFECTIOUS DISEASES
Paving the Way: Frederick R. Klenner, M.D
Even today only a very small number of medical researchers and clinicians
completely appreciate the enormous benefit that can be obtained for a wide
variety of infections and diseases by the proper use of what is considered
very large doses of vitamin C. Frederick R. Klenner, M.D. led the way in
both advocating and using the routine administration of these high doses of
vitamin C for a wide variety of diseases, many of them infectious. Although
primarily a clinical doctor rather than an institution-based researcher,
Klenner also managed to publish at least 20 significant papers that
documented the successful outcomes that he repeatedly achieved with many
patients in Reidsville, North Carolina (see references at the end of this
After obtaining bachelor's and master's degrees in biology, Klenner went on
to earn his medical degree from Duke University in 1936. He spent three more
years in postgraduate training before deciding to go into the general
practice of medicine. It was only in the late 1930s and early 1940s that
vitamin C became readily available and economically affordable as a
pharmaceutical. In his early medical practice Klenner subjected only himself
to the initial large doses that he would later use on his patients. He then
proceeded to use similarly large doses on his patients, and the results were
Polio (Curable and Preventable)
When I first came across Klenner's work on polio patients, I was absolutely
amazed and even a bit overwhelmed at what I read. I had already worked on a
number of different medical conditions with large intravenous doses of
vitamin C, so I was not completely surprised by the fact that the poliovirus
could be easily eradicated by vitamin C. However, I was not prepared to
easily deal with the spectrum of emotions that would grip me. To know that
polio had been easily cured and so many babies, children, and some adults
still continued to die or survive to be permanently crippled by this virus
was extremely difficult to accept. As a child, I swallowed the little sugar
cube polio vaccination along with all of my elementary school buddies, and
we all prayed the same prayer, hoping against hope that the virus bogeyman
wouldn't attack us as we slept.
Even more incredibly, Klenner briefly presented a summarization of his work
on polio at the Annual Session of the American Medical Association on June
10, 1949 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Galloway and Seifert (1949) reported
on Klenner and the other presenters in their article in The Journal of the
American Medical Association. Landwehr (1991) discussed this occasion and
commented on its possible significance. Klenner's comments followed an
extensive presentation on the best-known ways to support the ability of
advanced polio patients to continue breathing. Klenner made the following
"It might be interesting to learn how poliomyelitis was treated in
Reidsville, N.C., during the 1948 epidemic. In the past seven years, virus
infections have been treated and cured in a period of seventy-two hours by
the employment of massive frequent injections of ascorbic acid, or vitamin
C. I believe that if vitamin C in these massive doses-6,000 to 20,000 mg in
a twenty-four hour period-is given to these patients with poliomyelitis none
will be paralyzed and there will be no further maiming or epidemics of
In the journal Southern Medicine & Surgery Klenner (July 1949) gave an
in-depth accounting of his impressive treatment and results on polio
patients. He noted that all 60 of his patients presented with all or almost
all of the same signs and symptoms during the epidemic: fever of 101oF to
104.6oF, headache and pain behind the eyes, bloodshot eyes, reddened throat,
nausea, vomiting, constipation, and pain between the shoulder blades, in the
back of the neck, in the lower back, and in one or more limbs. Fifteen cases
had confirmatory spinal taps, and eight had been in contact with another
proven case of polio, helping to confirm the clinical diagnoses.
Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C
The Clinical Experiences of Frederick R. Klenner, M.D.,
abbreviated, sumarized and annotated by
Lendon H. Smith, M.D.
The Treatment of Poliomyelitis and Other Virus Diseases with Vitamin C
By Fred R. Klenner, M.D., Reidsville, North Carolina
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