THE MAGIC OF VITAMIN C: How It Heals a Variety of Health Problems

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THE MAGIC OF VITAMIN C: How It Heals a Variety of Health Problems

Vitamin C can help in treating one of the worst of all cancers, that of the pancreas; it has also been found effective against colorectal cancer

“All truth passes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed; Second, it is violently opposed; Third, it is accepted as self-evident.” ~ Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

Vitamin C was first synthesized by Albert Sznet-Gyorgyi (1893-1986), for which he won the Nobel Prize in 1937.[1,2] Later on, this vitamin was found to be a cure for scurvy, a disease that killed tens of thousands of British sailors during the 18th century. Found in fresh fruit and vegetables, vitamin C also supports the formation of collagen needed for muscles, tendons, bone and blood vessel repair, healthy teeth, and skin. Further research also found that this vitamin could work wonders when used in therapeutic doses, way beyond the small amount that the so-called healthy diet provides to prevent scurvy. (Unlike most animals, humans somehow lost the genetically anchored ability to make vitamin C in their bodies from foods in general, and in need-based varying amounts.)

In view of the accumulated research, Arthur Schopenhauer would no doubt agree that vitamin C is now on its way to stage three status. That is, the evidence confirming vitamin C’s therapeutic effect is now so well-known that its value to health preservation and disease prevention is broadly accepted by mainstream science.

Twenty years ago, when I began writing for Vitality, I already knew about the benefits of C. But in the mainstream media, vitamin C had been vilified as a quack substance for decades. Even the great Linus Pauling, a two-time Nobel laureate, was ridiculed because of his pro-vitamin C stance.[3,4] Quackbusters and their friends in Big Pharma warned of vitamin C causing kidney stones, and attempts were even made to show that it causes cancer. Indeed, every dirty trick known to crooked science had been used to cast doubt on C’s efficacy.[5,8,10] Today, the website of the American Cancer Institute no longer dismisses vitamin C. Instead they provide access to the actual research on how it works with, and within, cancer therapy.[20]

Synopsis of Research on Vitamin C

Here is a short summary of what vitamin C is known to do; all of it comes from the mainstream medical literature:

  • It protects against serious radiation damage.[11]
  • It can help in treating one of the worst of all cancers, that of the pancreas.[14]
  • It can reduce blood pressure drastically and keep it at a proper level.[16,17]
  • Some forms of chemotherapy become more effective when vitamin C is provided simultaneously. [18,19]
  • It acts as an effective antihistamine in allergy.
  • In some cases of early Alzheimer’s disease, vitamin C can slow down its development.
  • Providing high-dose vitamin C can reduce or stop the progression of both osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis.[7]
  • I have personally seen it used to stop a dramatic asthma attack when I was out in the wilderness with one of my kids, far away from a hospital; I had no idea why.
  • In the 1950s, intravenous vitamin C was used by Dr. Klenner to treat polio and none of these victims developed paralysis, but nobody really knew why.[23]
  • When vitamin C is provided to pre-diabetics it can stop the development of Type 2 diabetes, and even reverse it when it has started, although it is not understood why.[21]
  • It is so effective in preventing and treating septic shock that emergency medicine practitioners are advised to use it in each case at once.[24]
  • Its immune-enhancing role has been known for some two decades at least, but not how it works.[22]
  • Amazingly, it causes the body to create the key enzyme cholinesterase in the liver to block the toxicity of organophosphates like Melathion and Roundup.[25]
  • Most astonishing is the fact that, since 2015, we have known that vitamin C kills colorectal cancer cells selectively, honing in on them specifically and sparing all other cells; there are no synthetic drugs that can do that.[26]

Documented evidence shows that vitamin C is very well-tolerated even in high-dose intravenous therapy[9], and establishing optimal dosages is still in its exploratory phase.[15] None of this is questionable, and now we are even beginning to understand it.

Vitamin C, the Microbiome, and Epigenetics

As the research into, and the battles over, vitamin C escalated in the decades after Sznet-Gyorgyi’s discovery, information began to emerge from a most unlikely quarter: the discovery of the microbiome. (See my articles in Vitality March 2016, July 2016, February 2017). In 2012, the finding was published that lactic acid bacteria, in conjunction with gut bacteria, actually do synthesize and then supply vitamins to our bodies.[13] Specifically, a microbe called Corynebacterium glucoronolyticom contains the L-ascorbate biosynthesis pathway that was thought to be completely lost to humans. It actually does cause the body to produce its own vitamin C – just not enough of it when you are seriously ill and not enough for the sailors of yore. To benefit from this we can ingest so-called spore-biotics which provide powerful immune modulation. (See Resources at end, re: Mercola and the video discussion by Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt.[12]) The supplement industry has just begun to catch up with this.

Meanwhile, sophisticated science research by Young, Wagner, and Wang [27,28] published last year revealed how vitamin C behaves. This research was financed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Far more than being just a demonstrably helpful supplement, vitamin C is the “mediator of the interface between the genome and the environment.” Vitamin C actually “regulates the epigenomic process”; this means that the effects of all external influences (quality and quantity of food, bacteria, viruses, environmental toxins, stress hormones such as cortisol) are modulated by the vitamin C inside our cells, as is the entire immune and repair response. Epigenetic processes are all those biological events that cause genes to be switched on or off without changing the genes themselves. Thus, vitamin C is the magic that makes everything happen; it is the CEO of the DNA. When it is insufficient nothing works. The DNA cannot function without vitamin C. What matters most is how much vitamin C is inside the cell, which can be hundreds of times higher than the vitamin C present in the extracellular environment. Not surprisingly, these researchers observed, in the ultimate understatement: “These unexpected findings … call for a re-evaluation of the role of ascorbate in human health and disease.”

The research by Young and colleagues described how vitamin C (or a lack of it) is involved in cancer, birth defects, problems with physical and mental development, premature aging, chronic diseases, brain dysfunction and much more – essentially because vitamin C makes T-cells which cannot begin to develop unless “taught” by vitamin C to become our defence system. In other words, when vitamin C is present, we have an immune system. Just one week without dietary supplementation with vitamin C can reduce our immune system to a state of weakness and vulnerability. These researchers are, therefore, understandably bothered by research methods generally used because the single most critical regulatory substance is routinely overlooked in cell-based research. They stress that “this novel epigenetic function of ascorbate needs to become known to the general public.” I am doing my best by advising you to go download those articles! Vitamin C status ought to become the Sixth Vital Sign in clinical assessment.

My Own Experience with Vitamin C

Back in the 1990s, we did not know any of this. The human microbiome was just starting to be discovered and the beneficial effects of vitamin C were being recorded and efficacy theories were being developed. In 1997, one of my children was accidentally doused with the herbicide Roundup as the result of a farm accident. Within weeks, his T-cell count dropped as low as that of a dying AIDS patient. We suspected a connection to Roundup, but had no access to toxicity data because Monsanto had not been forced by government regulators to provide it (although they were later compelled to do so in another case before the Supreme Court of France in the 2000s). Nor was the crucial role of vitamin C in T-cell formation known at the time. In desperation, Dr. Jozef Krop, well-known to Vitality readers, and I decided on a novel treatment approach: a long series of intravenous vitamin C infusions. Within a few months, my son’s T-cell count was back to normal! Now we know why.

This article is dedicated to Dr. Jozef Krop in gratitude for his courage.


[1] Albert Szent-Gyorgyi – see Wikipedia entry

[2] Albert Szent-Gyorgyi’s Nobel lecture of December 11, 1937, is available via Google

[3] Pauling, L. Orthomolecular psychiatry: varying the substances normally present in the human body may control human disease. Science, vol. 160:265-271, 1968.

[4] Pauling, L. How to Live Longer and Feel Better, 30th Anniversary Edition, Oregon State University Press, 2015

[5] Simon, J.A. & Hudes, E.S. Relation of serum ascorbic acid to serum vitamin B12, serum ferritin, and kidney stones in US adults. Archives of Internal Medicine, vol. 159 (6), 1999. This proved vitamin C does not produce kidney stones; Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine removed its cautionary advice on this issue from all subsequent editions.

[6] Ames, B. N. et al, High-dose vitamin therapy stimulates variant enzymes with decreased coenzyme binding affinity: relevance to genetic disease and polymorphisms, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 75:616-658, 2002

[7] Cass, H. MC & English, J. User’s Guide to Vitamin C, Basic Health Publications 2002

[8] Hickey, S. MD & Roberts, H. MD, Ridiculous Dietary Allowance: An open challenge to the RDA on vitamin C,, 2005.

[9] Padayatty, S. J. et al. Vitamin C: Intravenous use by complementary and alternative medicine practitioners and adverse effects. PLoS ONE, vol. 5 (7), July 2010,

[10] Michels, A. & Frei, B. Myths, artifacts, and fatal flaws: Identifying limitations and opportunities in vitamin C research. Nutrients, vol 5 (12) 2013

[11] Schuitemaker, G. E. Vitamin C as Protection Against Radiation Exposure, Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine; Vol 26 (3) 2011

[12] How Spore Probiotics can help reverse chronic disease, Nov. 10, 2017

[13] LeBlanc, J. G. et al. Bacteria as vitamin suppliers to their host: a gut microbiota perspective. Current Opinion in Biotechnology; April 24 (2), 2013

[14] Chen, P. et al. Anti-cancer effect of pharmacologic ascorbate and its interaction with supplementary parenteral glutathione in preclinical cancer models, Free Radical Biology & Medicine, 2011

[15] Frei, B. et al. What is the optimum intake of vitamin C in humans? Clinical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, vol. 52 (9) 2012

[16] Juraschek, S.P. et al. The acute effects of vitamin C supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 4, 2012

[17] Ried, K. et al. The acute effect of high-dose intravenous vitamin C and other nutrients on blood pressure: a cohort study. National Institute of Integrative Medicine, Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia Jan 18, 2016

[18] Welsh, J.L. et al. Pharmacological ascorbate with gemcitabine for the control of metastatic and node-positive pancreatic cancer (PACMAN) results from a phase I clinical trial. Cancer Chemotherapy & Pharmacology vol. 71:765 ff, 2013

[19] Hoffer, J.L. et al High-dose intravenous vitamin C combined with cytotoxic chemotherapy in patients with advanced cancer: A phase I-II clinical trial, PLoS ONE, April 7, 2015

[21] Wilson, R. et al. Inadequate vitamin C status in prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes mellitus: associations with glycaemic control, obesity, ands smoking. Nutrients No 9 (page 997) 2017

[22] Wintergerst, E. S. et al. Immune-enhancing role of vitamin C and zinc and effect on clinical conditions. KARGER, 2006 online

[23] Riordan Clinic publication on Klenner Protocol for polio in the 1940s and current applications.

[24] Secor, D. et al. Impaired microvascular perfusion in sepsis requires activated coagulation and P-selectin-mediated platelet adhesion in capillaries. Intensive Care Medicine vol 36 (11), 2010

[25] Tarherdehi, F. G. et al. Evaluating the protective effects of vitamin C on serum and erythrocyte cholinesterase activity of male rats exposed to Melathion. Electronic Physician, vol.8 (7) July 2016

[26] Yun, J. et al. Vitamin C selectively kills KRAS and BRAF mutant colorectal cancer cells by targeting GAPDH. Science, Nov. 5, 2015

[27] Camarena, V. & Wang, G. The epigenetic role of vitamin C in health and disease. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences vol.73: 164 ff. 2016

[28] Young, J. I. Et al. Regulation of the Epigenome by vitamin C. Annual Review of Nutrition, July 2015

Editor’s note: For more information on this topic, visit Vitality’s website and type “vitamin C” into the search box. There you will find several excellent articles, including one by Orthomolecular News Service that explains the difference between oral and IV dosages:

Helke Ferrie is a medical science writer with a master's degree in physical anthropology. Her specialty lies in investigative research into ethical issues in medicine and the politics of health. She started her investigative journalism career in the mid-1990s, looking at issues of medicine and environment. She has been a regular contributor to Vitality Magazine ever since. Helke has also authored books on various subjects including: "Ending Denial: The Lyme Disease Epidemic", "What Part of No! Don't They Understand: Rescuing Food and Medicine from Government Abuse", and "The Earth's Gift to Medicine".


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  1. g
    January 20, 11:27 gerdy

    Excellent article. Can you comment on therapeutic dosing of vitamin C?

    Reply this comment
  2. B
    July 09, 21:35 Bitlife

    It’s fascinating to see the journey of vitamin C and how it has evolved from being ridiculed to being recognized as a valuable therapeutic substance. The research and understanding of vitamin C’s benefits have come a long way, and it is now widely accepted by mainstream science.

    Reply this comment
  3. C
    August 25, 10:19 ComfortBilt HP22-SS Pellet Stove Burgundy

    Wonderful blog. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply this comment
  4. w
    November 20, 21:35 woodworking Bozeman

    Awesome post! Great information about Vitamin C

    Reply this comment

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