"THIS MAY BE THE MOST IMPORTANT BOOK
ON HEALTH EVER WRITTEN"
- National Health Federation Bulletin
By Irwin Stone
With forewords by Nobel Prizewinners
Dr. Linus Pauling
Dr. Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
Vitamin C may save your life! A noted biochemist
reveals for laymen the exciting research into ascorbic acid's
powers against such deadly enemies as cancer, heart disease, strokes,
mental illness, old age, diabetes, arthritis, kidney disease,
hepatitis -- even cigarette smoking!
AGING - ALLERGIES
ASTHMA - ARTHRITIS - CANCER
COLDS - DIABETES & HYPOGLYCEMIA
EYE TROUBLE - HEART DISEASE - STROKES
KIDNEY & BLADDER AILMENTS - MENTAL ILLNESS
STRESS SYNDROMES - POISONING - POLLUTION
ULCERS - VIRUSES
WOUNDS & FRACTURES
COULD THEY BE
THE RESULT OF VITAMIN C DEFICIENCY?
COULD THEY BE
PREVENTED BY TAKING MORE VITAMIN C?
COULD THEY BE TREATED WITH VITAMIN C?
IS VITAMIN C REALLY A VITAMIN?
IRWIN STONE SAYS YES, YES, YES AND NO!
After 40 years research, Irwin Stone
unfolds his startling conclusion that an ancient genetic mutation
has left the primate virtually alone among animals in not
producing ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) in his own body. By treating
it as a "minimum daily requirement" instead of the crucial
enzyme it really is, we are living in a state of sub-clinical
scurvy whose symptoms have been attributed to other ailments.
The answer is to change our thinking about Vitamin C and consume
enough to replenish this long-lost "healing factor."
Stone illustrates, with massive documentation, Vitamin C's remarkable
ability to fight disease, counteract the ill effects of pollution
and prolong healthy life -- easily and inexpensively!
are published by
The Putnam Publishing Group
A GD/Perigee Book
are published by
The Putnam Publishing Group
200 Madison Avenue
New York, New York 10016
Copyright © 1972 by Irwin Stone
All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof,
may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
Published simultaneously in Canada by General Publishing
Co. Limited, Toronto.
Library of Congress Catalog Number:
First Perigee printing, 1982
Printed in the United States of America
This book is dedicated to my wife,
Barbara whose patience and collaboration over the years made it
Part I: Our Deadly Inheritance
1. The Beginnings of Life
2. From Fishes to Mammals
3. Our Ancestral Primate
4. The Evolution of Man
5. From Prehistory to the Eighteenth Century
6. The Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries
7. Finding the Elusive Molecule
8. The Genetic Approach
9. Some Effects of Ascorbic Acid
10. "Correcting" Nature
Part II: Pathways to Research
11. Breaking the "Vitamin" Barrier
12. The Common Cold
13. Viral Infection
14. Bacterial Infection
16. The Heart, Vascular System, and Strokes
17. Arthritis and Rheumatism
19. Allergies, Asthma, and Hay Fever
20. Eye Conditions
22. Kidneys and Bladder
23. Diabetes and Hypoglycemia
24. Chemical Stresses -- Poisons, Toxins
25. Physical Stresses
26. Pollution and Smoker's Scurvy
27. Wounds, Bone Fractures, and Shock
29. Mental Disease
30. The Future
References Cited from the Medical Literature
The numerals set off in parenthesis in the
text are intended to guide the reader to the appropriate medical
citation listed at the end of the book.
by Linus Pauling, Ph.D.
This is an important book -- important to laymen,
and important to physicians and scientists interested in the health
Irwin Stone deserves much credit for having
marshalled the arguments that indicate that most human beings
have been receiving amounts of ascorbic acid less than those required
to put them in the best of health. It is his contention, and
it is supported by much evidence, that most people in the world
have a disease involving a deficient intake of ascorbic acid,
a disease that he has named hypoascorbemia. This disease
seems to be present because of an evolutionary accident that occurred
many millions of years ago. Ancestors of human beings (and of
their close present-day relatives, other primates) were living
in an area where the natural foods available provided very large
amounts of ascorbic acid (very large in comparison with the amounts
usually ingested now and the amounts usually recommended now by
physicians and other authorities on nutrition). A mutation occurred
that removed from the mutant the ability to manufacture ascorbic
acid within his own body. Circumstances were such that the mutant
had an evolutionary advantage over the other members of the population,
who were burdened with the machinery for manufacturing additional
ascorbic acid. The result was that the part of the population
burdened with this machinery gradually died out, leaving the mutants,
who depended upon their food for an adequate supply of ascorbic
As man has spread over the earth and increased
in number, the supplies of ascorbic acid have decreased. It is
possible that most people in the world receive only one or two
percent of the amounts of ascorbic acid that would keep them in
the best of health. The resulting hypoascorbemia may be responsible
for many of the illnesses that plague mankind.
In this book, Irwin Stone summarizes the evidence.
The publication of Irwin Stone's papers and of this book may
ultimately result in a great improvement in the health of human
beings everywhere, and a great decrease in the amount of suffering
caused by disease.
- Linus Pauling -
by Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, M.D., Ph.D.
My own interest in ascorbic acid centered around
its role in vegetable respiration and defense mechanisms. All
the same, I always had the feeling that not enough use was made
of it for supporting human health. The reasons were rather complex.
The medical profession itself took a very narrow and wrong view.
Lack of ascorbic acid caused scurvy, so if there was no scurvy
there was no lack of ascorbic acid. Nothing could be clearer
than this. The only trouble was that scurvy is not a first symptom
of lack but a final collapse, a premortal syndrome, and there
is a very wide gap between scurvy and full health. But nobody
knows what full health is! This could be found out by wide statistical
studies, but there is no organization which could and would arrange
such studies. Our society spends billions or trillions on killing
and destruction but lacks the relatively modest means demanded
to keep its own health and prime interest cared for. Full health,
in my opinion, is the condition in which we feel best and show
the greatest resistance to disease. This leads us into statistics
which demand organization. But there is another, more individual
difficulty. If you do not have sufficient vitamins and get a
cold, and as a sequence pneumonia, your diagnosis will not be
"lack of ascorbic acid" but "pneumonia."
So you are waylaid immediately.
I think that mankind owes a serious thanks
to Irwin Stone for having kept the problem alive and having called
Linus Pauling's attention to it.
On my last visit to Sweden, I was told that
the final evidence has been found that ascorbic acid is quite
harmless. An insane person had the fixed idea that he needed
ascorbic acid so he swallowed incredible amounts of it for a considerable
period without ill effects. So, apart from very specific conditions,
ascorbic acid cannot hurt you. It does not hurt your pocket either,
since it is very cheap. It is used for spraying trees.
I also fully agree with Dr. Pauling's contention
that individual needs for vitamin C vary within wide limits.
Some may need high doses, others may be able to get along with
less, but the trouble is that you do not know to which group you
belong. The symptoms of lack may be very different. I remember
my correspondence with a teacher in my earlier days who told me
that he had an antisocial boy whom he was unable to deal with.
He gave him ascorbic acid and the boy became one of his most
easygoing, obedient pupils. Nor does wealth and rich food necessarily
protect against lack of vitamins. I remember my contact with
one of the wealthiest royal families of Europe where the young
prince had constant temperature and had poor health. On administering
vitamin C, the condition readily cleared up.
It gives me great satisfaction to see this
book appear and I hope very much that its message will be understood.
- Albert Szent-Gyorgyi -
This book took many years to write and involved
many people. Because of a nonexistent budget and the fact that
much of the data was in foreign languages, good friends had to
be relied upon to supply translations. Among these friends were
Lotte and George Bernard, Helene Gottlieb, Dorothy Kramer, Irving
Minton, Jutta Nigrin, Sal Scaturo, Tanya Ronger, and Natasha and
Invaluable help and advice on library work
were supplied by Eliphal Streeter and Vera Mitchell Throckmorton.
The medical library of the Statin Island Public Health Hospital
and the reprint facilities of the National Library of Medicine
and the Medical Research Library of Brooklyn were especially helpful.
In any radically new scientific concept, encouragement
nd inspiration to carry on are difficult to come by. The author
was fortunate in having men of scientific or medical stature such
as Linus Pauling, Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, Frederick R. Klenner,
Abram Hoffer, William J. McCormick, Thomas A. Garrett, Walter
A. Schnyder, Louis A. Wolfe, Alexander F. Knoll, Marvin D. Steinberg,
Benjamin Kramer, and A. Herbert Mintz as pillars of strength.
Miriam T. Malakoff and Martin Norris supplied editorial advice
and encouragement. My wife Barbara, in the latter years, handled
the bulk of the library research. To all these people and to
many others who have contributed, go my deep gratitude and thanks.
I trust that their efforts effectively contribute to better health
Discovery consists in seeing what everybody else has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.
The purpose of this book is to correct an error
in orientation which occurred in 1912, when ascorbic acid, twenty
years before its actual discovery and synthesis, was designated
as the trace nutrient, vitamin C. Thus, in the discussions in
this book the terms "vitamin C" and "ascorbic acid"
are identical, although the author prefers to use "ascorbic
Scurvy, in 1912, was considered solely as a
dietary disturbance. This hypothesis has been accepted practically
unchallenged and has dominated scientific and medical thinking
for the past sixty years. The purpose of this vitamin C hypothesis
was to produce a rationale for the conquest of frank clinical
scurvy. That it did and with much success, using minute doses
of vitamin C. Frank clinical scurvy is now a rare disease in
the developed countries because the amounts of ascorbic acid in
certain foodstuffs are sufficient for its prevention. However,
in the elimination of frank clinical scurvy, a more insidious
condition, subclinical scurvy, remained; since it was less dramatic,
it was glossed over and overlooked. Correction of subclinical
scurvy needs more ascorbic acid than occurs naturally in our diet,
requiring other non-dietary intakes. Subclinical scurvy is the
basis for many of the ills of mankind.
Because of this uncritical acceptance of a
misaligned nutritional hypothesis, the bulk of the clinical research
on the use of ascorbic acid in the treatment of diseases other
than scurvy has been more like exercises in home economics than
in the therapy of the sequelae of a fatal, genetic liver-enzyme
disease. One of the objects of this book is to take the human
physiology of ascorbic acid out of the dead-end of nutrition and
put it where it belongs, in medical genetics. In medical genetics,
wide vistas of preventive medicine and therapy are opened up by
the full correction of this human error of carbohydrate metabolism.
For the past sixty years a vast amount of medical
data has been collected relating to the use of ascorbic acid in
diseases other than scurvy, but only very little practical therapeutic
information has developed pertaining to its successful use in
these diseases. The reader may well ask what is the difference
between data and information? This can be illustrated by the
following example: the number 382,436 is just plain data, but
38-24-36, that is information.
The most probable reason for the paucity of
definitive therapeutic ascorbic acid information in the therapy
of diseases other than scurvy is related to the fact that the
vitamin C-oriented investigators were trying to relieve a trace-vitamin
dietary disturbance and never used doses large enough to be pharmacologically
and therapeutically effective. The new genetic concepts currently
correct this old, but now obvious, mistake by supplying a logical
rationale for these larger, pharmacologically effective treatments.
If the research suggestions contained in this
book are properly and conscientiously followed through, it is
the hope of the author that future medical historians may consider
this as a major breakthrough in medicine of the latter quarter
of the twentieth century.
While many scientific and medical papers have
appeared, the publication of Dr. Linus Pauling's book, Vitamin
C and the Common Cold, in late 1970 was the first scientific
book ever published in the new medical fields of megascorbic prophylaxis
and megascorbic therapy, which are branches of orthomolecular
medicine. Dr. Pauling's book paved the way for this volume.
Since the size of the daily intake of ascorbic
acid is so important in the later discussions, the reader can
refer to the following table of equivalents. The dosages are
usually expressed in the metric system in milligrams or grams
of ascorbic acid:
|1/2 teaspoonful*||1,500 to 2000||1.5 to 2
|20 international units||1||0.001
By Irwin Stone
Copyright (c) 1997 "The Vitamin C Foundation "
THE BEGINNINGS OF LIFE
The first part of this book is a scientific
detective story. The corpus delicti is a chemical molecule,
and to collect the evidence in this case we have to cover billions
of years in time and have to search in such odd places as frog
kidneys, goat livers, and "cabbages and kings." The
search will be rewarding because it will contribute to the understanding
of this tremendously important molecule. The evidence we unearth
will show that the lack of this molecule in humans has contributed
to more deaths, sickness, and just plain misery than any other
single factor in man's long history. when the molecule is finally
discovered and assigned its rightful place in the scheme of things,
and its potentialities for good are fully realized, undreamed-of
vistas of exuberant health, freedom from disease, and long life
will be opened up.
To start on the first leg of our journey, we
will have to get into our Time Machine, set the dials, and go
back 2.5 to 3 billion years. It will be necessary to seal ourselves
completely in the Time Machine and carry a plentiful supply of
oxygen because the atmosphere in those days was very different
from what it is now. It will be hot and steamy, with little or
no oxygen, and besides much water vapor, will contain notable
quantities of gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and ammonia.
The hot seas will contain the products of the chemical experiments
that Nature had been conducting for millions of years. If we
are fortunate, we will arrive on the scene just as Nature was
preparing to launch one of its most complicated and organized
experiments -- the production of living matter. If we were to
sample the hot sea and examine it with our most powerful electron
microscope, we would find in this thin consomme' the culmination
of these timeless chemical experiments in the form of a macromolecule
having the property of being able to make exact duplicates of
itself. The term "macromolecule" merely means a huge
molecule which is formed out of a conglomeration of smaller unit
molecules. The process of forming these huge molecules from the
smaller units is called "polymerization," and is similar
to building a brick wall (the macromolecule) from bricks (the
smaller unit molecules). The "cement" holding the unit
molecules together consists of various chemical and physical attractive
forces of varying degrees of tenacity.
This self-reproducing macromolecule in this
primordial soup might resemble some of our present-day viruses,
but it had many important biochemical and biophysical problems
to solve before it would begin to resemble some of the more primitive
forms of life, such as bacteria, as we know them today. Nature
had plenty of time to experiment and eventually came up with successful
solutions to problems like heredity, enzyme formation, energy
conservation, a protective covering for these naked macromolecules,
and then cellular and multicellular organisms. The problem of
heredity was solved so successfully by these early self-duplicating
macromolecules that our present basis of heredity, the macromolecule
DNA, is probably little changed from its original primordial form.
Enzyme formation was a problem that required
an early solution if life was to continue evolving, since enzymes
are the very foundation of the life process. An enzyme is a substance
produced by a living organism which speeds up a specific chemical
reaction. A chemical transformation that would require years
to complete can be performed in moments by the mere presence of
an enzyme. Enzymes are utilized by all living organisms to digest
food, transform energy, synthesize tissues, and conduct nearly
every biochemical reaction in the life process. The body contains
thousands of enzymes.
Energy conservation and utilization was neatly
solved in some of these early life forms by the development of
photosynthesis: an enzymatic process which uses the energy of
sunlight to transform carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are used for food and structural purposes, and
these primitive forms evolved into the vast species of the plant
At some time early in the development of life,
certain primitive organisms developed the enzymes needed to manufacture
a unique substance that offered many solutions to the multiple
biological problems of survival. This compound, ascorbic acid,
is a relatively simple one compared to the many other huge, complicated
molecules produced by living organisms. Because of its unique
properties, however, it is somewhat unstable and transient, a
fact that will complicate our later search for this substance.
We now know that ascorbic acid is a carbohydrate
derivative containing six carbon atoms, six oxygen atoms, and
eight hydrogen atoms and is closely related to the sugar, glucose
(see Figure 1). Glucose is of almost universal occurrence in
living organisms, where it is used as a prime source of energy.
Ascorbic acid is produced enzymatically from this sugar in both
plants and animals.
We can surmise that the production of ascorbic
acid was an early accomplishment of the life process because of
its wide distribution in nearly all present-day living organisms.
It is produced in comparatively large amounts in the simplest
plants and the most complex; it is synthesized in the most primitive
animal species as well as in the most highly organized. Except
possibly for a few microorganisms, those species of animals that
cannot make their own ascorbic acid are the exceptions and require
it in their food if they are to survive. Without it, life cannot
exist. Because of its nearly universal presence in both plants
and animals we can also assume that its production was well organized
before the time when evolving life forms diverged along separate
plant and animal lines.
This early development of the ascorbic acid
synthesizing mechanisms probably arose from the need of these
primitive living organisms to capture electrons from an environment
with very low levels of oxygen. This process of scavenging for
rare oxygen was a great advance for the survival and development
of the organisms so equipped. It also may have triggered the
development of the photo-synthetic process and sparked the tremendous
development of plant life. This great increase in plant life,
with its use of the energy of sunlight to produce oxygen and remove
carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, completely changed the chemical
composition of the atmosphere, over a period of possibly a billion
years, from oxygen-free air which would not support living animals
a we know them to a life-giving oxygen supply approaching the
composition of our present atmosphere.
The increase in the oxygen content of the atmosphere
had other important consequences. In the upper reaches of the
atmosphere, oxygen is changed by radiation into ozone, which is
a more active form of oxygen. This layer of high-altitude ozone
acts as a filter to remove the deadly ultraviolet rays from sunlight
and makes life on land possible. This series of events, which
occurred more than 600 million years ago, preceded the tremendous
forward surge of life and the development of more complicated,
multicellular organisms in post-Cambrian times, as is seen in
the fossil record.
The only living organisms that survive to this day in a form that has not progressed or evolved much from the forms which existed in the earliest infra-Cambrian times are primitive single-cell organisms, such as bacteria, which do not make (and may not need ascorbic acid in their living environment. All plants or animals which have evolved into complex multicellular forms make or need ascorbic acid. Was ascorbic acid the stimulus for the evolution of multicellular organisms? if not the stimulus, it certainly increased the biochemical adaptability necessary for survival in changing and unfavorable environments.
Further evidence for the great antiquity of
the ascorbic acid-synthesizing systems may be obtained from the
science of embryology. During its rapid fetal development, the
embryo passes through the various evolutionary stages that its
species went through in time. This led nineteenth-century embryologists
to coin the phrase, "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny,"
which is another way of saying the same thing. In fetal development,
ascorbic acid can be detected very early, when the embryo is nothing
more than a shapeless mass of cells. For instance, in the development
of the chick embryo (which is convenient to work with), the chicken
egg is devoid of ascorbic acid, but it can be detected in the
early blastoderm stage of the growing embryo. At this stage the
embryo is just a mass of cells in which no definite organs have
as yet appeared, and it resembles the most primitive multicellular
organisms -- both fossil and present living forms. In plants,
also, the seeds have no ascorbic acid, but a soon as the plant
embryo start to develop, ascorbic acid is immediately formed.
Thus all the available evidence points to the great antiquity
of the ascorbic acid-synthesizing systems in life on this planet.
Our Deadly Inheritance
Copyright (c) 1997 "The Vitamin C Foundation "