Frequently Asked Questions

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Moderated By Owen R. Fonorow

 Last Updated: Mon May 18 05:44:27 CDT 2009

Question Index.

  1. Is there a difference between "natural" and "synthetic" vitamin C?
  2. What do you mean that the "Dynamic Flow" model has resolved the vitamin C controversy
  3. I've read different advice on the Internet about taking vitamin C during pregnancy, what is the evidence?
  4. What is the rebound effect?
  5. Is vitamin C with rose hips fine?
  6. The directions state one pill per day, is this how I should start
  7. When is the best time to take vitamin C?
  8. Also, I was told if I stop taking Vitamin C once I've started, I'm likely to get sick
  9. Why does the Linus Pauling Institute recommend only 200 mg (now 400mg) vitamin C?
  10. My doctor warned me that at USC study showed vitamin C clogs arteries
  11. I've heard that the latest science implicates high vitamin C intake in DNA damage and cancer
  12. Problem with ascorbic acid on teeth

  1. Q., Is there a difference between "natural" and "synthetic" vitamin C?

    A. There is no difference according to Linus Pauling. Unlike vitamin E, the molecular structure of vitamin C is known, it is the ascorbate ion, and the body can't tell the difference between the bioidentical ("synthetic") molecule and that which is produced by nature in plants and animals.

    In our view, the most "natural" form of vitamin C is ascorbic acid - the form made in the kidneys and livers of most other mammals, in fact all species. (Note: Animal livers do not make bioflavonoids or rose hips.)

    Almost all vitamin C in virtually any product over 200 mg from any company is "synthetic" vitamin C. If you want "natural" vitamin C, be sure to eat plenty of oranges and uncooked red and green peppers.

    Foundation's Position Paper on Natural Vitamin C

  2. Q., You say the "Dynamic Flow" model has resolved the vitamin C controversy, yet my doctor doesn't know anything about it?

    A. What we mean is that Drs. Hickey and Robert's Dynamic Flow theory is an important scientific achievement because it accounts for all known experimental data regarding vitamin C, without exception. Until another theory which explains all the data is put forth, or until repeatible experiments are run that refutes Dynamic Flow, in our opinion, the scientific controversy is resolved.

    The communcation link to physicians regarding therapeutic nutrients and nutrition is broken. Drug firms have thousands of sales reps promoting the use of phramcetuicals. Vitamin C has few, if any.

  3. Q., I've read different advice on the Internet about taking vitamin C during pregnancy, what is the evidence?

    A., Vitamin C is essential for the health of both mother and fetus. When vitamin C is in short supply, nature favors the baby. The Foundation strongly advocates that pregnant women ingest sufficent (at least 6000 mg) vitamin C during pregnancy.

    An early pioneer, Fred Klenner, MD, has stated that Vitamin C has definite "Primary and lasting benefits in pregnancy,"

    "Observations made on over 300 consecutive obstetrical cases using supplemental ascorbic acid, by mouth, convinced me that failure to use this agent in sufficient amounts in pregnancy borders on malpractice.

    The lowest amount of ascorbic acid used was 4 grams and the highest amount 15 grams each day. (Remember the rat-no stress manufactures equivalent "C" up to 4 grams, and with stress up to 15.2 grams). Requirements were, roughly, 4 grams first trimester, 6 grams second trimester and 10 grams third trimester. Approximately 20 percent required 15 grams, each day, during last trimester. Eighty percent of this series received a booster injection of 10 grams, intravenously, on admission to the hospital. Hemoglobin levels were much easier to maintain. " - Fred Klenner, MD

    More than 99.99% of animal species synthesize vitamin C (ascorbic acid) on average, adjusted for body weight, 5400 mg daily. In animals, their ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is transmitted directly into the blood stream. They also obtain a little more in their diets.

    Irwin Stone believed that most humans are born with scurvy. Stone is not alone in blaming Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) on the lack of vitamin C in baby diets.

    In our personal experience, my wife took 6000 to 8000 mg vitamin C daily during pregnancy, more than the 3000-6000 she was taking. More during lactation. Mom was healthy. Our son was born notably healthy, and remains that way (illness free) to this day, 16 years later.

    It is wise for the mother to consume all orthomlecular vitamins, especially 1 to 5 mg of folic acid.

    Per Dr. A. Hoffer, MD, Ph.D.:

    The recent studies showed that folic acid supplementation decreased Neural Tube Defts's by 75 percent. If all the other vitamins were used as well I am certain that figure would be closer to 100 percent. I can not recall in the past 40 years a single female patient of mine on vitamins giving birth to any child with a congenital defect. I have been able to advise them all that they not only would not harm their developing baby by taking vitamins, but that their chances of giving birth to a defective child would be greatly diminished. I was frequently asked this by my patients who had been told by their doctors that they must stop all their vitamins while pregnant. They looked upon vitamins as toxic drugs.

    See also General advice on pregnancy and lactation

  4. Q., What is the rebound effect?

    A., It is our understanding that most humans are in a state of sub clinical scurvy (vitamin C deprivation). In this state "non critical " body functions (ascorbate-dependent enzyme systems) that rapidly use up vitamin C are 'switched off' - for survival.

    The phenomenon is similar dehydration. When the supply of water is limited, the body holds on to its water supply, and a person may even experience swelling. When water is plentiful, the body allows normal dynamic flow, and it won't retain water.

    When one begins taking adequate replacement vitamin C (amounts that mimic what animal make) the blood concentrations increase. Ascorbate dependent enzyme reactions begin and the body uses the plentiful ascorbate for other metabolic functions. Note: This is the normal nonscorbutic state for most animals.

    Linus Pauling explained  that with vitamin C in the blood, these enzymes reactions have numerous health benefits, including possible anti-cancer effects.

    The 'rebound effect' is caused by the sudden discontinuation of vitamin C. The ascorbate-dependent enzyme reactions continue for 24-48 hours, and use up the dwindling vitamin C in the blood. This effectively lowers your serum vitamin C blood concentration below normal for a few days.

    During this short period, cells may be deprived of vitamin C and people may experience the onset of a cold, fatigue, or other temporary unpleasant feelings. This has been called the discontinuation or "rebound" effect. It can be completely avoided by a continuous vitamin C intake.

    After returning to a normal low-vitamin C diet, the ascorbate-dependent enzyme system turns off. The individual returns to the "normal" subchronic, scorbutic state that allows humans survive with less then optimal vitamin C.

    See More on this Topic at the Forum

  5. I just recently received a prevention Magazine and read an article on the great effects on taking Vitamin C. I purchased 1000 mg in a pill form. The label states the pill contains 'Rose Hips'. Question: Is vitamin C with rose hips fine?

    A., Linus Pauling mentioned in his book HOW TO LIVE LONGER AND FEEL BETTER (1986) that "Sometimes the effort is made to charge a higher price by using names that have little significance, such as Rose Hips Vitamin C..." (Page 15, paperback) Rose Hips are not known to be harmful.

  6. Q, The directions state one pill per day, is this how I should start and then up the level to two pills a day?

    A., It is prudent to make gradual changes in your biochemistry - both starting and stopping. Read to help determine your optimal or maximum dose, which may be much higher than 2000 mg.

    The Foundation now recommends, based on Dr. Hickey/Robert's Dynamic Flow theory, 500 mg of vitamin C every 4 hours. If you cannot take it that often, then take more than 3000 mg daily, less frequently.

    Generally, the problem with all high-dose vitamins, as pills, is that more fillers are required forming the pill, holding it together. We recommend capsules that contain only ascorbic acid - or pure ascorbic acid powder (as fine crystals) to mix with water or unsweetened juice.

    Sometimes people prefer mineral ascorbates to improve digestion, but this form experts say has less therapeutic effects at high dosages. According Dr. Robert Cathcart, twice as much vitamin C is required for the same therapeutic effect when ascorbates are already bound to minerals.

  7. Q., When is the best time to take? Morning and/or night or both?

    A., Both. Animals produce their vitamin C throughout the day, in the human equivalent oral amount, on average and adjusted for body weight, of 500 mg per hour. They produce more when under stress.

    I've noticed that I can take about 9000 mg orally - twice-a-day, in the morning and evening, (18,000 mg total) without any noticeable difficulty or "rebound" effect. (Owen)

    The Hickey/Roberts Dynamic Flow findings indicated that the half-life of vitamin C in the blood stream is 30 minutes, and that 500 mg every 4 hours keeps the blood at the highest concentrations all day long.


  8. Q., Also, I was told if I stop taking Vitamin C once I've started, I'm likely to get very sick..... Is this true?

    A., No. You'll be much sicker by not taking vitamin C on a regular basis.

    We believe that the more vitamin C you consume, the less sick you are - generally.

    The people who told you this are probably thinking of the so-called 'rebound effect' - which described in Pauling's book and is temporary. Linus Pauling wrote, "It is important not to stop the vitamin supplements, even for a single day." (Page 14, paperback) If you follow Pauling's advice, stopping vitamin C will not be an issue.


  9. Q, Why does the Linus Pauling Institute recommend only 200 mg (now 400mg) vitamin C?

    A., Excellent question. The leaders of the institute no longer have the knowledge and experience of a scientist of the calibre of Linus Pauling.  

    The new leadership has not read Linus Pauling's 1986 book HOW TO LIVE LONGER AND FEEL BETTER, or, they do not understand it. The Institute now makes the same mistake Pauling chastised "old fashioned" nutritionists for making.  By focusing on "tissue saturation" as an indicator of optimal vitamin C intake, they do not account for the 9000 mg of vitamin C that are *NOT* lost in the feces or urine at the daily intake of 18,000 mg.

    Linus Pauling explained that vitamin C, unlike a coenzyme vitamin, is used up making collagen, the most abundant protein in the human body. Pauling also told us that ascorbate is changed or lost during the manufacturing other substances as well. These reactions do not occur at low or minimal intakes, and once they begin, a rebound effect is likely to occur when vitamin C intake is suddenly stopped. Pauling thought many of these reactions and substances produced at high intakes have anti-cancer properties.

    Furthermore, if Pauling's Unified Theory of Cardiovascular Disease is correct, the great problem of heart disease is a chronic vitamin C deficiency. The Linus Pauling Institute meager vitamin C recommendation contributes to the genocide.

    In my opinion, the so-called 'Linus Pauling' Institute, now residing at Oregon State University, does not really understand vitamin C. They have ceased to be a strong voice for Linus Pauling, and, with respect to vitamin C, they should refrain from the use of his name.  (Owen Fonorow)


    Linus Pauling Institute's answer. (At least they admit these are not Linus Pauling's recommendations!)

  10. Q., My doctor warned me that at USC study showed vitamin C clogs arteries. Does vitamin C cause atherosclerosis or heart disease?

    A., This widely placed report sprung from a meeting of the American Heart Association before any paper was published, and was contrary to the earlier published findings of the same researcher (Dwyer.)

    Dr. Dwyer was studying arterial thickness in heart disease and reported that patients who supplement vitamin C had "thicker" arteries. Apparently, vitamin C's role in collagen was unknown to these researchers who found no adverse effects, i.e. no narrowing or blockage.

    Life Extension Foundation commissioned its own study to check the USC results and found no evidence what-so-ever of heart disease in subjects with high vitamin C intake.

    It is our understanding that Dr. Dwyer has not published this paper and has retracted his concerns. See this link for more information. And Linus Pauling's theory that chronic low vitamin C intake causes heart disease.

  11. Q., I've heard that the latest science implicates high vitamin C intake with DNA damage and cancer. True or false?

    A., Someone once said, "Next, they'll be blaming vitamin C for cancer..."

    Contrary to widely published reports, most of which were based on papers or comments that have since been retracted, there is no evidence that vitamin C damages DNA or contributes to cancer formation. (When you hear reports like this, remember that the entire animal kingdom has evolved to produce "massive" amounts of vitamin C which is deposited into the blood stream 24/7.)

    We believe these baseless, widely placed, so-called 'news' stories are part of a deliberate propaganda campaign. These stories are usually wrong, yet the retractions rarely make news. This scare tactic lowers demand for non-toxic, non-prescription substances.

    We also believe that the main competitor to most drugs is ordinary ascorbic acid, vitamin C.

    Read our extended rebuttal and even Sloan-Kettering now admits vitamin C PROTECTS DNA

  12. Q., I have been ordering your vitamin C for a while, and I am convinced that this is the best vitamin C that I can buy. I have tried the Cardio-C and the plain L-ascorbic acid, and I have recommended it to friends and patients. I have received no complaints from my patients, but I have encountered one problem myself.

    The vitamin C is acidic enough to etch the surface of teeth, and can get to be a problem if I am taking several doses per day. Of course, the pure L-ascorbic acid is the strongest, but even the Cardio-C has this problem in my mouth. I am currently loading the Cardio-C into capsules. I am hoping that in the future, you will consider offering the Cardio-C in capsules.

    Daniel Cobb DOM

    A., We suggest using a straw to avoid any potential issue with the bare teeth. Making your own capsules is a good idea, and we will explore providing our vitamin C in capsules. Thank you for this report.

More Questions Answered at the Forum


See Vitamin C Foundation Recommended Vitamin C Intake


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The VITAMIN C FOUNDATION is a national nonprofit, charitable organization that has recently been assigned the IRS tax-exempt 501(c)(3) designation as a Texas non-profit corporation devoted to preserving the "lost knowledge" about ascorbic acid and its role in life. Dedicated to the memory of Linus C. Pauling, the foundation's activities are funded by charitable contributions.

"Ultimately, it will be common knowledge that the optimum daily intakes of vitamins are far larger that what can be had in food, even by selecting foods for their high vitamin content." - Linus Pauling, (Pg. 50, HOW TO LIVE LONGER AND FEEL BETTER, 1986, paperback)

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In Stock! Foundation-Approved Pauling Therapy Drink Mix "My father loved the taste of Cardio-C." -TOMMY O. (Sweden)