Vitamin myths again

Dom Spinella dspinella at chugaibio.com
Thu May 28 17:00:38 EST 1998

> The reference is to the latest issue of Circulation, probably May 26th.
> Obviously, they could not measure lung macrophage uptake of Vitamin C
> without doing surgical biopsies or killing the subjects. Earlier, I had
> suggested that measuring the depletion of Vitamin C in the blood in
> response to an attack on macrophages would indicate that the macrophages
> were taking up Vitamin C. I was thinking more of something involving the
> skin, to minimize the threat. The Finnish researchers were just looking
> for effects of second hand smoke and kind of stumbled on these results.
> I was happy to accept a "gift horse". If Dom Spinella has a good
> alternative explanation for the results, I would appreciate hearing
> what it is. Maybe enough of similar results in the future will convince
> the unbelievers.
> Regards, Ralph L. Samson

Ralph, there must be dozens of plausible alternatives as to why blood
ascorbate levels go down after smoke exposure that have nothing to do
with lung macrophages or any other component of the immune system.  Here
are a few just off the top of my head: Perhaps inhaled components of the
smoke enter the blood stream and react with vitamin C to break it down
or bind it up.  Perhaps other tissues increase their absorption from the
blood in response to components in the smoke (after all, if lung
macrophages supposedly do it, why not other tissues?).  Perhaps the
smoke components cause increased urinary excretion of vitamin C by the
kidney.  Perhaps those same components interfere with the measurement of
vitamin C levels so there is in apparent decrease in the absence of any
real change. I don't know the answer. There are many other
possibilities. But to suggest that there can be only one explanation
(uptake of vitamin C by lung macrophages) is silly at best.  To conclude
that this one alternative MUST be correct (in the absence of any
experimental evidence) just because it happens to fit your favorite
hypothesis is the very essence of psuedoscience.  I am not an
"unbeliever" Ralph -- I am simply neutral.  If you want to convince me
(or any other professional scientist for that matter), show me data, not
biased conjecture.
Regards, Dom Spinella

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