Heros Of Vitamin C
The twentieth century had its vitamin C heroes. Among them
Dr. Albert Szent-Gyorgyi (credited with discovering ascorbic acid crystals),
Irwin Stone (vitamin C as a missing link),
Linus Pauling (vitamin C and the common cold),
Frederick Klenner, MD (pioneer in megadoses of C), and
Robert Cathcart, MD (who developed the bowel-tolerance model of vitamin C dosage).
Vitamin C Keeps Us Together
This is the literal Truth. The presence of vitamin C is imperative to the health of every tissue and organ in our body. This is because the primary biochemical function of vitamin C is the synthesis of collagen. (Yes, this is the same material that is injected into lips and facial creases to create plumping. It also appears as an ingredient in cosmetics). Collagen is the body’s most important structural substance. It is a proteinous glue that supports and holds the tissues and organs together.
Collagen comprises about one-third of the body’s total protein weight, and is its most extensive tissue system. Collagen provides bones with toughness and flexibility while preventing brittleness. It strengthens the arteries and veins, supports the muscles, and toughens the ligaments. It supplies scar tissue for healing wounds and keeps our skin tissues soft, firm, and youthful. Not surprisingly, collagen is intimately connected with the entire aging process. Quite simply, without vitamin C, the body simply disintegrates.
In fact, this disintegration has a name. It is called scurvy. All vitamins have deficiency diseases associated with them. Scurvy is the deficiency disease of vitamin C, and it has caused the deaths of untold millions. It was 70 years before the British Navy mandated the stowing of citrus into ships’ stores. An estimated two million seamen died of scurvy. There’s more info in Scurvy: Disease of Discovery, by Jonathan Lamb.
By the late 1700s, James Lind, an Englishman (and later a ship’s surgeon), had conducted the first known controlled clinical study. His results demonstrated that men sick with “the scurvy” would recover rapidly when given fresh citrus. This eventually lead to British sailors eating limes, resulting in the sobriquet “Limeys”. Today in Western countries, scurvy is rare.
The tradition of policy lagging behind best practices backed by science continues today.
Without sufficient vitamin C, the body is unable to produce collagen. Gums bleed, leading to loss of teeth; bones become brittle and fracture; weakened arteries rupture and hemorrhage; muscles are useless. Wounds and sores never heal. As we have noted, eventually, the afflicted person dies. In essence, they fall apart.
Makes you want to start paying attention to how much vitamin C is in your daily diet, doesn’t it?