A Simple Genetic Model For Function of the Human Vitamin C

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A Simple Genetic Model For Function of the Human Vitamin C

Post Number:#1  Post by ofonorow » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:50 am

A Simple Proposed Model For Function of the Human Vitamin C GULO Pseudogene
http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/08/a_simple_propos075721.html

We'll we do know that some number of guinea pigs examined by Ginter made their own vitamin C, and Dr. Levy has speculated that some humans can to, perhaps from a different pathway.

It is a legit question: Why if vitamin C is so important did we lose the ability to make it. (One answer is that almost no other species have survived without it, and perhaps our enormous brain had something to do with it?)

Owen R. Fonorow, Orthomolecular Naturopath

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Re: A Simple Genetic Model For Function of the Human Vitamin

Post Number:#2  Post by randian » Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:04 am

ofonorow wrote:(One answer is that almost no other species have survived without it, and perhaps our enormous brain had something to do with it?)

A predator so apex its genetic flaws don't bring it down? There's some sense in that.

I would argue that early and painful death from scurvy was humanity's fate for many millennia, once away from the easy C availability of the tropics.

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Re: A Simple Genetic Model For Function of the Human Vitamin

Post Number:#3  Post by Steve Brown » Thu Aug 22, 2013 6:29 pm

This is a topic that fascinates me. Why did our primate ancestors lose the ability to make vitamin C? I surmise it was because their diet was so abundant in ascorbate-rich fruit and vegetation, that glucose not converted to vitamin C had survival value that exceeded vitamin C itself, a rare and unique situation, possibly caused by a brain that was rapidly evolving in size and complexity. It is well known that the human brain consumes a lot of calories from glucose, not from fat. A problem arose when our primate ancestors left the forest to dwell on the plains; the diet became deficient in vitamin C. Survival became a challenge, and intelligence probably gave rise to folk wisdom about the value of eating fruit and vegetables, reinforcing the evolution of intelligence, as those too stupid to eat their vegetables died out.

What we have now, in synthetic vitamin C, is a triumph of evolution; it has found a way to restore healthy levels of vitamin C in our bodies, via the intelligence to discover, isolate, and synthesize vitamin C. I find it remarkable, really extraordinary, to have been born not only within a decade or two of the discovery of vitamin C, but to have been born to a father who was a chemical engineer involved in the manufacture of vitamin C at Hoffman-LaRoche, a Swiss pharmaceutical company that in 1935 acquired the patent to the Reichstein process for making vitamin C. My father was in charge of production of vitamin C by the metric ton, so our family always had an adequate supply. It is extraordinary, in light of the millions of years of human evolution and history, to have been born into that family, at just that time, in 1949.

Being able to supplement our diets with synthetic vitamin C gives us a tremendous advantage over our ancestors who had to fare as best they could without it. When I look at photographs from the 1800s, I am struck by how old people in their 60s appear, their skin deeply wrinkled. Compared to them, I look youthful in my 60s. I feel sorry for all the pain, misery, and suffering they had to endure. Synthetic vitamin C is a blessing; it gives us the ability to become super-human.

Regarding speculation about correcting the mutation of the gene responsible for converting glucuronolactone to vitamin C, I think complications might arise, the most serious being that the human body does not discard glucuronolactone but utilizes it in the construction of connective tissue, and possibly in other ways. If the mutation were corrected, not an easy procedure as it involves many mutations that have accumulated over millions of years, it might be necessary to supplement the diet with glucuronolactone.
Last edited by Steve Brown on Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A Simple Genetic Model For Function of the Human Vitamin

Post Number:#4  Post by Steve Brown » Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:42 pm

I wrote my previous post before reading the article, and I wrote this post after reading it.

It's a very interesting article, and surprising to learn that human embryos appear to synthesize vitamin C, by editing of the RNA transcript of the GULO pseudogene, and that this editing process is turned off around the time of birth. The article proposes the reason for shutting down vitamin C biosynthesis is to confer resistance to malaria. It is all very interesting, but at the end of the article, it becomes evident that the author's main point is to refute the argument against intelligent design which cites the defective GULO gene.

Can we transcend the whole intelligent design versus evolution controversy here on the Vitamin C Foundation forum? I believe we can if we agree that the universe proceeds as though according to intelligent design. I believe the intelligence is in the nature of the universe, but it has its own way of arriving at an intermediate or final design, and that does not have to be in the mode of someone at a drafting table or using CAD software.

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Re: A Simple Genetic Model For Function of the Human Vitamin

Post Number:#5  Post by tjohnson_nb » Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:33 pm

ofonorow wrote:
It is a legit question: Why if vitamin C is so important did we lose the ability to make it. (One answer is that almost no other species have survived without it, and perhaps our enormous brain had something to do with it?)


Here's my take on this. There is some good things about not being able to synthesize Vit C. We developed biochemistry to recycle it - we get very stingy with it as our intake goes down. This means that when food supply is low we actually have an advantage over animals that can't recycle it and have to manufacture it from glucose - so if their food supply dries up so does their Vit C. The net result is that humans can go a long time without eating thanks to our ability to recycle Vit C. Of course now, thanks to our brains and science, we can take Vit C without eating anything. :D
'Always' and 'never' are 2 words you should always remember never to use.

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Re: A Simple Genetic Model For Function of the Human Vitamin

Post Number:#6  Post by ofonorow » Sat Aug 24, 2013 2:51 pm

Steve Brown wrote:What we have now, in synthetic vitamin C, is a triumph of evolution; it has found a way to restore healthy levels of vitamin C in our bodies, via the intelligence to discover, isolate, and synthesize vitamin C. I find it remarkable, really extraordinary, to have been born not only within a decade or two of the discovery of vitamin C, but to have been born to a father who was a chemical engineer involved in the manufacture of vitamin C at Hoffman-LaRoche, a Swiss pharmaceutical company that in 1935 acquired the patent to the Reichstein process for making vitamin C. My father was in charge of production of vitamin C by the metric ton, so our family always had an adequate supply. It is extraordinary, in light of the millions of years of human evolution and history, to have been born into that family, at just that time, in 1949.

Thank you for sharing this Steve. I don't think you ever mentioned how close you were to the development and commercial manufacture of vitamin C... Fascinating.. Lots of questions come to mind ... What ever you would like to remember and post about this.. please so.

I can understand consternation at the evolution versus so-called "intelligent design" debate (I am sure both have an element of truth!) and while it is a conundrum for evolutionists to explain the GULO defect, why would the Inteligent Designer have omitted what was possibly the most important nutrient for health?
Owen R. Fonorow, Orthomolecular Naturopath

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Re: A Simple Genetic Model For Function of the Human Vitamin

Post Number:#7  Post by w6nrw » Sat Aug 24, 2013 4:38 pm

Hey Steve I wondered why you are so damn sharp. Now I know!
Curiosity cures boredom, there aint no cure for curiosity . . .

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Re: A Simple Genetic Model For Function of the Human Vitamin

Post Number:#8  Post by Steve Brown » Sat Aug 24, 2013 6:50 pm

ofonorow wrote:I can understand consternation at the evolution versus so-called "intelligent design" debate (I am sure both have an element of truth!) and while it is a conundrum for evolutionists to explain the GULO defect, why would the Inteligent Designer have omitted what was possibly the most important nutrient for health?


Owen, we do know that evolution has arrived at very good but often imperfect designs. An interesting book I read is Why Evolution is True, by Jerry A. Coyne. He explains that evolution of higher life forms was usually a process of adding successive layers of elaboration on less advanced forms. For that reason, the design of the ancestral fish is more straightforward and logical than the design of the human being who descended, through successive stages, from that fish. One consequence of that is that in the fish, the nerve that controls muscles for swallowing runs straight from the brain to those muscles. In the human, however, that nerve runs from the brain, down into the chest, loops around the heart, and goes back up to the muscles that control swallowing.

What I mean about "intelligence of the universe" is that it has the necessary properties for the creation of elements, compounds, the emergence of life, and for evolution to occur. More than that, the universe has the necessary properties that enable us to be conscious beings. Since that occurred to me, I regard it to be a profound revelation, even the basis for spiritual belief that being is an essential aspect of the universe. It is evident to me that evolution occurred in accordance with the laws of physics, as a chaotic process filtered by natural selection. What intelligence there may appear to be in the design of life results from the nature of nature, as it were, not necessarily the work of a master designer at a virtual CAD workstation. If such were the case, then that master designer must have a wry sense of humor, expressed in the Rube Goldbergian designs that have emerged. Regarding the disabled GULO gene in humans, it is evident that natural selection favored that mutation at some stage, although it became disfavored, resulting in scurvy, at later stages. However, intelligence eventually compensated for that genetic defect, manifested in the discovery and synthesis of vitamin C.
Last edited by Steve Brown on Sat Aug 24, 2013 6:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A Simple Genetic Model For Function of the Human Vitamin

Post Number:#9  Post by randian » Sat Aug 24, 2013 6:54 pm

ofonorow wrote:I can understand consternation at the evolution versus so-called "intelligent design" debate (I am sure both have an element of truth!) and while it is a conundrum for evolutionists to explain the GULO defect, why would the Inteligent Designer have omitted what was possibly the most important nutrient for health?[/b][/color]

Were I designing the human body, I would have it be able to synthesize all of the essential nutrients from the three macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbohydrate).

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Re: A Simple Genetic Model For Function of the Human Vitamin

Post Number:#10  Post by Steve Brown » Sat Aug 24, 2013 7:59 pm

ofonorow wrote:Thank you for sharing this Steve. I don't think you ever mentioned how close you were to the development and commercial manufacture of vitamin C... Fascinating.. Lots of questions come to mind ... What ever you would like to remember and post about this.. please so.


You may find this interesting. In 1973, Hoffman-LaRoche built a new facility to manufacture vitamin C in Belvidere, NJ. My father, the late Vincent D. Brown, was responsible for designing and supervising the operation of the plant, which he did until his retirement in 1985. Linus Pauling paid a visit in the 1970s, and my father took him on a tour through the plant. In 2003, Roche sold the plant, along with patent rights and process technology, to Netherlands-based DSM, who continued to operate the plant for a few years. DSM eventually moved all vitamin C manufacturing to its facility in Scotland. A result of that transfer of technology is that some aspects of the process DSM uses to make vitamin C may have been designed by my father. I recall the plant had a computerized control room, and a large, transparent column ran from the top floor down to the first floor. It ran through ceilings and floors, so that people working on middle levels of the plant could see the product flowing down through the column.

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Re: A Simple Genetic Model For Function of the Human Vitamin

Post Number:#11  Post by majkinetor » Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:01 am

The article is wild wild speculation. There are number of mechanisms that could explain that phenomena [babies having better C status then moms] - different microbiota status, upragulation of C transporters and different properties, different priorities, innapropriate surrogate markers.

Explanation provided, that babies somehow express defective gene, patch it in the process of translation etc... is only explained as theoretically possible. Is it a model ? No. Because for that, you need to have some prognosis that turns out to be true when experimentally checked.

Also, some new papers show that the initial observations might not be correct:

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/di ... id=8894236
The present results indicate that preferential transport of vitC from the mother to the fetus is overridden during sustained maternal vitC deficiency, maintaining maternal vitC concentration at the expense of the offspring. This contradicts the notion that a fetus is protected from vitC deficiency by the placental Na-dependent vitC co-transporter, SVCT2, thus fetal development may be susceptible to the negative effects of maternal vitC deficiency.

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Re: A Simple Genetic Model For Function of the Human Vitamin

Post Number:#12  Post by ofonorow » Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:40 am

Steve Brown wrote:Owen, we do know that evolution has arrived at very good but often imperfect designs. An interesting book I read is Why Evolution is True, by Jerry A. Coyne. He explains that evolution of higher life forms was usually a process of adding successive layers of elaboration on less advanced forms. For that reason, the design of the ancestral fish is more straightforward and logical than the design of the human being who descended, through successive stages, from that fish. One consequence of that is that in the fish, the nerve that controls muscles for swallowing runs straight from the brain to those muscles. In the human, however, that nerve runs from the brain, down into the chest, loops around the heart, and goes back up to the muscles that control swallowing.

What I mean about "intelligence of the universe" is that it has the necessary properties for the creation of elements, compounds, the emergence of life, and for evolution to occur. More than that, the universe has the necessary properties that enable us to be conscious beings. Since that occurred to me, I regard it to be a profound revelation, even the basis for spiritual belief that being is an essential aspect of the universe. It is evident to me that evolution occurred in accordance with the laws of physics, as a chaotic process filtered by natural selection. What intelligence there may appear to be in the design of life results from the nature of nature, as it were, not necessarily the work of a master designer at a virtual CAD workstation. If such were the case, then that master designer must have a wry sense of humor, expressed in the Rube Goldbergian designs that have emerged. Regarding the disabled GULO gene in humans, it is evident that natural selection favored that mutation at some stage, although it became disfavored, resulting in scurvy, at later stages. However, intelligence eventually compensated for that genetic defect, manifested in the discovery and synthesis of vitamin C.


Steve very interesting about your father... A thought we have now and again is how hard might it be to open a small vitamin C plant back in the United States? So we could use the Made in USA label (rather than Not Made in China.) EPA/Pollution seems to be an issue. Any thoughts?

It is hard to deny evolution when you go the Natural History museum (At least in Chicago) and see the amazing tree of life - which clearly illustrates where we came from, and all the branches, mostly to failures. You also realize that the path to us had to be in a sense perfect, without interruption, from that early primordial soup.)

However, it is not a perfect theory and we humans are probably the largest exception, for multiple reasons. (I once read an article by Linus Pauling, in a book of Puzzles I think, where he postulated that at the known rate of genetic mutations, and accounting for the fact that most mutations are detrimental, etc. the human brain should have required at least 30 million years of evolution. I think our common Mom - Eve - was what 125,000 years ago? even if 400,000 years ago, a far cry from 30 million years. So where did we come from all of a sudden? One thought provoking answer was offered by the late Zecharia Sitchin in his series of books called the Earth Chronicles. He was fluent in ancient sumerian and took 30 years to write the first book in the series - The 12th Planet.



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Re: A Simple Genetic Model For Function of the Human Vitamin

Post Number:#13  Post by Steve Brown » Tue Aug 27, 2013 10:57 am

Owen, I think in order to establish a vitamin C manufacturing plant in the USA, the conditions that motivated manufacturers to move their operations offshore need to be reversed. The cost of labor has been cited as a major reason for moving offshore, but I think that has become less a factor as foreign wages and standards of living are rising. I think the cost and availability of energy has become a major factor, and I believe the key to revival of U.S. manufacturing is low-cost, abundant energy from a very different nuclear technology developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the 1960s and 1970s: the molten salt reactor fueled by thorium, an abundant resource. Energy from thorium can enable us to end our reliance on imported oil and eventually on all fossil fuels, providing a huge boost to the economy and manufacturing. A nuclear engineer named Kirk Sorensen who worked for NASA has founded Flibe Energy in Huntsville, AL to develop and market the LFTR or Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor. For several reasons, a LFTR is far safer than a conventional solid-fuel, water-cooled reactor, and creates far less radioactive waste.

I think it is entirely possible for the human being to have evolved from primate ancestors in the span of several million years, which appears to be what happened, as the remains of the earliest human ancestors ("Lucy") discovered in Africa were dated to around 6 million years ago. That hominid's brain capacity was already far greater than that of other animals. Evolution can proceed rapidly under favorable conditions. The DNA of humans and other primates, such as chimpanzees, is closely related, and that would not be the case if the origin of humans, but not primates, were extraterrestrial.

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Re: A Simple Genetic Model For Function of the Human Vitamin

Post Number:#14  Post by ofonorow » Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:16 am

he he he interesting and fascinating about the reactor technology... I am not sure how far we want to go here at the Vitamin C Foundation with the idea of an extraterrestrial origin of our species, but you can see how an objective observer might ask the question how we evolved so quickly, especially if our closest relative is the chimpanzee!

http://sitchin.com/adam.htm has the findings from the human genome project
So, 223 genes is more than two thirds of the difference between me, you and a chimpanzee!


Here is the sitchin archive with a lot of interesting material related to his findings/books. http://sitchin.com/articles.htm

And if there is another planet on a perpendicular orbit from the rest of the planets (coming at us from the South) there will be no denying it at some point in our future. You tell me the year of the Exodus and I can then predict the year of the return to our part of the solar system :mrgreen:
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Re: A Simple Genetic Model For Function of the Human Vitamin

Post Number:#15  Post by Saw » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:05 pm

Bingo!

I Used to enjoy listening to Zecharia Sitchin on coast to coast.

Although Sitchin never mentioned vitamin c. According to him the Sumerian
texts say the Anunnaki modified the Sumerians DNA and if true it is at this point
we probably lost our ability to make vitamin c. Makes a lot more sense than "we evolved in the tropics
and there was a vitamin c tree around every corner, it even rained vitamin c, blah blah... :)
Even a Blind Squirrel makes his own vitamin C.


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