PAULING, SZENT-GYORGYI, VITAMIN C AND ME

Bert Gold bgold at itsa.ucsf.edu
Wed May 8 15:30:55 EST 1996


Dr. Deneke,

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".

Bert Gold
San Francisco


: 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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