PAULING, SZENT-GYORGYI, VITAMIN C AND ME
bgold at itsa.ucsf.edu
Wed May 8 15:30:55 EST 1996
If you bother to read Pauling, you will find that he not only advocated
MEGAdose amounts of vitamin C, but was an ardent advocate of establishing
a new RDA for ascorbate as well, based upon more controlled indicators
than relief from scurvy; this is precisely the work which Levine
et. al have now done, establishing a new RDA.
The current study only establishes a new RDA for healthy, men
non-smokers in their 20s. Dr. Pauling suggested that he thought
anti-oxidant requirements would increase with increasing age.
Levine et al. do not comment on this, or the RDA for women.
Dr. Pauling suggested many other functions for Vitamin C than
anti-oxidant effect: Few of these have been tested in the
time which intervenes between his suggestions and now.
It is notable that Dr. Levine did not cite Dr. Pauling or Dr.
Szent-Gyorgyi in his PNAS publication.
Further, in my telephone conversation with Dr. Levine last week,
he admitted to me that funding at NIH for nutrition was "political".
: Pauling and Szent-Gyorgyi are my heros too, but neither a conspiracy or
: scientific incompetence is necessary to explain delays in jumping to recommend
: large doses of vitamin C. In fact chemistry, physiology etc. of ascorbic acid
: has been under intense investigation over the last several decades. It is well
: known that ascorbate, under some conditions acts a a pro-oxidant rather than an
: antioxidant. As for all nutritional additives it is extremely difficult to
: determine whether consumption of high levels of the pure product may cause
: toxic effects which are neutralized by other components present in the natural
: food sources. Do large doses of ascorbate protect, deplete, or block induction
: of other antioxidants? I can probably find instances of all of these effects
: in the literature of the past 5 years. In short, its not that simple. Evidence
: for multiple benefits from increasing dietary intake of ascorbate and other
: antioxidants by increased consumption of fruits and vegetables is very
: convincing. The health benefits of ingesting large levels of purified
: antioxidants of any kind are proving harder to analyse. Unfortunately we are
: not yet to the point where we can usefully micro-manage our nutrition. Take
: megadoses of vitamins if you chose, at your own risk, but many of us would
: prefer to keep on eating our fruits and veggies.
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