| Who Are These Guys? |
Who Has the Power to Repeatedly Plant Fake Worldwide 'News' Stories?
After Linus Pauling wrote his book on vitamin C in 1970, mortality from heart disease decreased 30-40% in the USA. From around 741,000 deaths per year to less than 500,000 deaths by 1986 - U. S. Bureau of National Health Statistics 1986. [Here for more info]
Vitamin C Foundation,
I've already figured out what is wrong with the researcher's work, and I'm a rank amateur at this.
The researcher dropped vitamin C into lipid hyperoxide to see if it would produce genotoxic materials.
Lipid hyperoxide is formed by free radical damage on lipids.
People who take vitamin C DO NOT FORM lipid hyperoxide because vitamin C is a free-radical scavenger.
In addition, lipid hyperoxide does a huge amount of bodily damage itself (such as heart disease plaques, I believe), and anything that combines with it would, under normal circumstances, be considered a good thing.
Thus what this researcher did was to take a reaction out of context using a scenario that cannot occur, and blamed vitamin C for forming potentially harmful compounds from a particularly nasty one. Typical bogus research.
The latest series blame vitamin C and vitamin E for "interfering"
with statin anti-cholesterol drugs" and advises "cardiovascular patients
not to take antioxidants." In our opinion, this is DEADLY advice, and
we devote this PAGE to a discussion. As you
blithely take your cholesterol lowering medication, keep this recent
coincidental FDA action in mind:
Statin Cholesterol Lowering Drug Recalled Due to Deaths
Remember, animals generally make large
(multiple gram) amounts of vitamin C daily. They do not suffer any
known DNA damage. These stories are not based in
rigorous science. Vitamin C leads to health and poses an economic
threat to pharmaceutical-based medicine. - O. Fonorow
The continued stream of unfounded attacks generated massive worldwide news,
usually before any
published article is available for inspection, review or comment.
The latest series blame vitamin C and vitamin E for "interfering" with statin anti-cholesterol drugs" and advises "cardiovascular patients not to take antioxidants." In our opinion, this is DEADLY advice, and we devote this PAGE to a discussion. As you blithely take your cholesterol lowering medication, keep this recent coincidental FDA action in mind: Statin Cholesterol Lowering Drug Recalled Due to Deaths
Remember, animals generally make large (multiple gram) amounts of vitamin C daily. They do not suffer any known DNA damage. These stories are not based in rigorous science. Vitamin C leads to health and poses an economic threat to pharmaceutical-based medicine. - O. Fonorow
"The vast majority of all published studies on vitamin C supplementation show an overwhelmingly positive effect on health," said Phil Harvey, Ph.D.,
"What I find particularly astonishing is that later in 1998, the authors of the original [widely reported] study published another report on vitamin C. This showed that people who received 500 milligrams of vitamin C per day had substantial benefit from the practice!
"These results illustrate... a role for vitamin C in the regulation of DNA repair enzymes," and demonstrate an "antioxidant effect," they wrote.
"Did you hear about these pro-vitamin C results? Probably not, because unlike the scare stories, these positive findings and comments passed without mention in the mainstread media.
- Ralph Moss
As the threat to the economic well being of Medicine and major Pharmaceutical companies (from vitamin C) increases, so do the groundless attacks designed to scare people from taking Vitamin C. (And according to published statistics - these attacks work. Vitamin C sales are off 19% year over year.)
If you doubt the impact of vitamin C on pharmaceutical profits, consider that after Linus Pauling wrote his book on vitamin C in 1970, mortality from heart disease decreased 30-40% in the USA. From around 741,000 deaths per year (National Center for Health Statistics, Pauling 86, p 164) to less than 500,000 deaths per year. Adam Smith's Invisible Hand works against us when it works for medicine without ethics. Fewer people with heart disease means enormous economic loss for the segments of our society that make money from heart disease.
Can you imagine how Science mag. would have responded if the said test-tube experiment had produced a group of anti-cancer, tumor-inhibiting compounds? Of course, they would have said "this needs further study and corroboration with animal or clinical tests before we can publish such a claim". Since the claim goes against Vitamin C, they put out the red carpet. It really is a transparent lie they have woven, fully understandable when you consider that 50% of the pages of Science mag. are composed of advertisements for the bio-tech and pharm industry. Reminds me when they were issuing all sorts of articles "proving" how save and efficient nuclear energy was.
James DeMeo, Ph.D.
Dr Sarah Brewer on worries about too much vitamin C
DEAR DOCTOR - I take vitamin C and was alarmed by the recent sugg estions that high dose vitamin C might cause cancer. What is your opinion?
One of the authors of the recent paper in Science was so worried that his results would be misreported that he was quoted as saying: "Absolutely, for God's sake, don't say vitamin C causes cancer". Unfortunately, many reports did. The study used vitamin C to induce conversion of lipid hydroperoxides (which are formed in the body during the oxidation of unsaturated fats) into compounds that can damage DNA. This effect, demonstrated artificially in a test tube, cannot occur in living cells where a number of enzyme systems exist to remove the damaging substances formed. In addition, fat-soluble Vitamin E protects lipid cell membranes in living systems from oxidative reactions and, as vitamin C is essential for the regeneration of vitamin E, it actually plays an important role in preventing the formation of lipid hydroperoxides.
Other factors that make this a non-story include the fact that researchers used lipid hydroperoxide concentrations 10,000 times greater than those found in the body, and that the methods used to measure DNA could have caused the damage noted. There is ample evidence that vitamin C is beneficial in doses of up to 2g daily. A recent study of 19,196 adults aged 45 to 79 in Britain found that circulating levels of vitamin C were inversely related to death from all causes over the four-year study period. While diet should always come first, I will continue to take my supplements.
Knowledge of Health, Inc. 457 West Allen Avenue #117 San Dimas, California 91773 Telephone: 909.861.3454 Fax: 909.861.3442 Email: Bsardi@aol.com For Immediate Release 6.16.2001 Contact: Bill Sardi 909.861.3454 NEWS MEDIA AND TEST-TUBE RESEARCHERS OVERLOOKED FAVORABLE HUMAN STUDIES ON VITAMIN C
SAN DIMAS, CA- Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Center for Cancer Pharmacology and the news media overlooked five separate human studies that disproved high-dose vitamin C causes DNA damage and instead chose to make headlines out of a sole test-tube study that concluded that a 200-milligram dose of vitamin C could potentially cause cancer.
While millions of Americans who take vitamin C supplements were beginning to question whether high-dose vitamin C is safe, Ian A. Blair, the lead researcher in the study published in June 15 issue of Science magazine, was unavailable for comment and is travelling outside the country, leaving an air of uncertainty in the public's mind regarding vitamin C.
Usually test-tube studies precede animal or human studies, and results in the laboratory often do not coincide with those found in living systems. In this case, human studies had already been performed and have, as expected, not confirmed the notion that vitamin C is toxic to living cells or DNA.
Even though researchers are a bit puzzled as to why vitamin C supplements do not always reduce the risk for cancer, there are no studies that confirm that vitamin C supplement users are at greater risk for cancer.
Report overlooked contrary data
The report in Science was submitted in early February and approved for publication in May of 2001, and included other published references dated as late as the year 2000. Four of the five human studies that do not confirm that vitamin C causes DNA damage were published in 2000, and could have been cited by the authors of the report in Science, but were overlooked.
The five overlooked studies
For example, researchers at Johns Hopkins University could not find evidence of a "significant main effect or interaction effect on oxidative DNA damage in non-smoking adults" with 500 milligrams/day of vitamin C supplementation. [Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers Prevention 2000 July;9:647-52]
Another study, conducted by researchers in Germany found that 1000 mg. of vitamin C consumed by smokers and non-smokers for 7 days did not produce DNA damage as measured by the number of micronuclei in blood lymphocytes. [Free Radical Research 2001 March;34:209-19]
In yet another study conducted by Immunosciences Laboratory in California, twenty healthy volunteers were divided into four groups and given either placebo or daily doses of 500, 1,000 or 5,000 mg of ascorbic acid for a period of 2 weeks. This study concluded that "ascorbic acid is an antioxidant and that doses up to 5,000 mg neither induce mutagenic lesions nor have negative effects on natural killer cell activity, apoptosis, or cell cycle." [Cancer Detection Prevention 2000;24: 508-23]
In London researchers measured the effects of 260 milligrams/day of vitamin C and vitamin C + iron in humans and concluded that there was "no compelling evidence for a pro-oxidant effect of ascorbate supple- mentation, in the presence or absence of iron, on DNA base damage." [Biochemistry Biophysical Research Communications 2000 November 2;277:535-40]
In Ireland, researchers gave 1000 mg. of vitamin C to volunteers for 42 days and concluded that "supplementation with vitamin C decreased significantly hydrogen-peroxide-induced DNA damage in peripheral blood lymphocytes." [British Journal Nutrition 2000 August;84:195-202]
News media also remiss
The news media was also remiss in not checking whether there was any contrary data on this topic, and did not interview other scientific sources, such as the Linus Pauling Foundation, the Vitamin C Foundation, the National Nutritional Foods Association or the Council for Responsible Nutrition. Reuters Health and the Associated Press health reporters ran the story without checking on the validity of the report in Science. No explanation has been given for this oversight, even though science reporters for both organizations are well versed on medical topics. A cub reporter could have uncovered the five contrary human studies in a 30-minute search on Medline.
Similar erroneous report in 1998
Recently researchers have been exploring the dual nature of vitamin C. Is vitamin C a pro-oxidant or rusting agent, or is it an antioxidant, a cellular preservative? In 1998 Nature Magazine published a similar report to the University of Pennsylvania study. Researchers then claimed that high-dose vitamin C had "rusting" properties in living cells and that 500 milligrams of vitamin C was found to oxidize guanine, one of the four bases that make up DNA. But the researchers overlooked that high-dose vitamin C also increased the level of guanine, another of the nucleic acids in DNA. The researchers failed to point out their paradoxical results and the news media made headlines out of the story then, as they are doing now. No corrections were ever published. The mistaken impression left on the public then was that high-dose vitamin C is potentially dangerous.
It remains unclear whether the researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Center for Cancer Pharmacology will clear the air on their report, which received worldwide headlines. ####
June 14, 2001 TO: Will Dunham, health reporter for REUTERS, Washington DC email@example.com FROM: Bill Sardi Knowledge of Health, Inc. Independent health journalist Diamond Bar, California Bsardi@aol.com
I have questions regarding your recent report which alleges that vitamin C supplements beyond 200 milligrams per day may promote DNA damage that could cause cancer.
1. Were you aware this is not a new story, and that researchers can create DNA damage in test tubes, but not in living systems, with many essential nutrients or food factors found in the diet?
2. Why didn't your report carry interviews with those who have a differing opinion? Interviews could have been conducted with the Vitamin C Foundation, or the National Nutritional Foods Assn., or the Council for Responsible Nutrition? Did you seek to obtain balanced information?
3. Why did Reuters select this report from Science Magazine, and why did it run with the headlines "Vitamin C Found To Promote Cancer-Causing Agents?" rather than "Researchers study dual role of vitamin C in cancer???"
4. What do you think the impact of your report will be on the public at large, since many people take vitamin C supplements in doses that exceed what your article suggests as safe?
5. Are you aware of reports which show that consumption of vitamin C beyond 300 milligrams per day causes a major reduction in the risk of cataracts, and beyond 500 milligrams per day reduces the risk of hypertension? These dosages would generally required supplements rather than foods.
6. Are you aware that, in July of 2000, researchers found that supplementation of diet with vitamin C (500 mg/day) had no significant main effect or interaction effect on oxidative DNA damage as measured by urinary 8-OHdG in nonsmoking adults. [Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2000 Jul;9(7):647-52] In other words, high-dose vitamin C did not produce any measurable DNA damage.
The very issue of whether vitamin C promotes DNA damage was undertaken in 1998 by researchers at the International Antioxidant Research Centre, Department of Pharmacology, King's College, London, United Kingdom. [Biochem Biophys Res Commun 1998 May 8;246(1):293-8] They reported on the effects of co-supplementing healthy volunteers with iron (14 mg/day ferrous sulphate) and vitamin C (either 60 mg/day or 260 mg/day as ascorbic acid) on levels of oxidative DNA damage in white blood cells. The subjects were divided into two groups: one group of 20 volunteers with a higher mean initial level of plasma vitamin C (71.9 +/- 14.0 mumol/l) and a second group of 18 volunteers with a lower mean level (50.4 +/- 25.8 mumol/l). In the first group there was a significant rise in several oxidative DNA base damage products and in total oxidative DNA damage in DNA extracted from white blood cells, but not in 8-hydroxyguanine, after 6 weeks of supplementation. However, after 12 weeks levels returned approximately to normal. In the group with the lower initial level of plasma ascorbate, presupplemental levels of oxidative DNA damage were higher and decreased on supplementation with iron and ascorbate.
A recent study, reported in the January issue of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers, indicates, among 711,891 men and women in the United States, followed from 1982 thru 1996, regular use of vitamin C supplements, even long-term use, was not associated with colorectal cancer mortality. The combined-sex rate ratios were 0.89 for 10 or more years of vitamin C use, a slight reduction in the risk for cancer. In subgroup analyses, use of vitamin C supplements for 10 or more years was associated with decreased risk of colorectal cancer mortality before age 65 years, 52% relative reduced risk, and 60% reduced risk reduced risk for rectal cancer mortality. [Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2001 Jan;10(1):17-23]
In India researchers used high-dose vitamin C in animals exposed to cigarette smoke and found that vitamin C supplementation increased resistance to lipid peroxidation and "this study seems to suggest that an intake of a mega dose of vitamin C can protect the liver from oxidant damage caused by cigarette smoke." [J Appl Toxicol 1997 Sep-Oct;17(5):289-95]
In 1999 researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle
reported that supplement use in 697 incident prostate cancer cases (ages
40-64) identified from the Puget Sound Surveillance, Epidemiology and End
Results program registry. Adjusted odds ratios vitamin C, 0.77 (range 0.57
- 1.04), about a 23% relative reduced risk. The researchers said: "Overall,
these results suggest that multivitamin use is not associated with prostate
cancer risk." [Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 1999 Oct;8(10):887-92]
The latest attack quotes so-called authorities at the Linus Pauling Institute. If these quotes are accurate, the institute now uses Pauling's name, but lacks his spirit. Dr. Frei has not read Pauling's HOW TO LIVE LONGER AND FEEL BETTER, else he would not make such inaccurate statements using Pauling's name. We would ask any contributor to check with the Pauling Institute, re-read HOW TO LIVE LONGER AND FEEL BETTER, and reconsider giving the institute any more money until Dr. Frei leaves his post.
REUTERS NEWS REPORT Thursday June 14 3:11 PM ET Vitamin C Found to Promote Cancer-Causing Agents By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vitamin C, an essential nutrient found in fruits and vegetables and taken in large doses by many people as a dietary supplement, is a double-edged sword, providing benefits but also inducing the production of compounds associated with cancer, researchers said on Thursday. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania added vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, to solutions of a degraded version of an important fatty acid found in blood, and found that it triggered the production of DNA-damaging agents known to cause mutations associated with a variety of cancers.Lead researcher Ian Blair of the university's Center for Cancer Pharmacology cautioned that the study was conducted in a test tube and not with living human cells or in actual people. ``Absolutely for God's sake don't say vitamin C causes cancer,'' Blair said in a telephone interview.`` The key finding is that vitamin C can do good things and bad things. And we've figured out what the bad ones are. In terms of the impact, I think it just redirects people's attention to the fact that you can't replace a good diet with magic bullets such as vitamin C.''The value of vitamin C has been the subject of a long and heated debate in the scientific community. One of the leading scientists of the 20th century, Linus Pauling, who died at age 93 in 1994, championed it as a tool for fighting cancer.But skeptics argued that numerous studies have found that vitamin C produced no benefit in combating cancer, and that taking supplements actually could have negative consequences. The new study appears to add weight to those concerns. CAUTION URGED ON DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS ``Far more caution should be taken in the use of dietary supplements -- and an insistence on real proof that there's a benefit before undertaking any of them,'' said Dr. Arthur Grollman, director of the Laboratory for Chemical Biology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.``The real, serious implication is that it (vitamin C) could contribute to DNA damage that could cause cancer,'' added Grollman, an expert in cancer causes who was not involved in the study. ``It just adds more evidence that there could be a significant risk to ascorbic acid.''Blair said the study, which appears in the journal Science, may explain why vitamin C has shown little effectiveness at preventing cancer in clinical trials. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is important for bone and connective tissue growth, wound repair and the function of blood vessels. It is abundant in citrus fruits, green peppers, tomatoes, cabbage and potatoes. The recommended U.S. adult dietary allowance for vitamin C is 60 milligrams daily. Most supplements contain many times that amount.Dr. Garret FitzGerald, director of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Experimental Therapeutics, pointed to evidence of a benefit from an overall healthy diet rather than taking supplements on any particular nutrient.``We have very clear evidence that eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits is a healthy thing in terms of it being associated with a reduced incidence of cancer and, indeed, heart disease, for that matter,'' FitzGerald said. ``On the one hand, I would say to people there's no evidence to stop taking vitamin C on the basis of these observations at this point in time. On the other hand, I'd say consider very carefully what the evidence is for taking vitamin C, which is nonexistent. The better part of valor is: save your money.''
VITAMIN C IS AN ANTIOXIDANT
Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant protecting against damage by ``free radicals'' -- highly reactive ions produced by the breakdown of oxygen in cells. In addition to damaging DNA directly, free radicals also can act indirectly.They begin by converting linoleic acid, the major polyunsaturated fatty acid in human blood plasma and the key polyunsaturated fatty acid in certain cooking oils, into another compound called a lipid hydroperoxide.When certain metal ions are present as catalysts, the compound degrades into DNA-damaging agents called genotoxins, which cause mutations that have been found in human tumors. Blair said he had a hunch that vitamin C might be capable of changing lipid hydroperoxides into genotoxins. He added vitamin C to test tube solutions of lipid hydroperoxides, using concentrations comparable to those found in the human body if a person were taking 200 milligrams a day.The study found that vitamin C was more than twice as efficient as transition metal ions at inducing the formation of genotoxins, including a particularly potent variety.
Read About the Role of Vitamin C in Heart Disease
Knowledge of Health, Inc. 457 West Allen #117 San Dimas, California 91773 Phone: 909.861.3454 Fax: 909.861.3442 E-mail: Bsardi@aol.comFor Immediate Release Contact: Bill Sardi 909.861.3454
Who is Behind The Negative News Reports On Vitamin C?
The news media features a report published in Science magazine that high-dose vitamin C in a test-tube causes DNA damage that could lead to cancer. It's not news, since test-tube studies do not correlate with tests conducted in living systems and the dual role of vitamin C as both a pro-oxidant (rusting agent) and anti-oxidant (cell preservative) has been published in scientific journals for some time now. But it's a heralded news story that Reuters Health and the Associated Press embellish with sensational headlines. Instead of saying "Dual nature of vitamin C in cancer explored," the headlines read "Vitamin C Found to Promote Cancer- Causing Agents." It's yellow journalist at its worst, since a quick search on Medline reveals that high-dose vitamin C did not reveal any toxic by-products in human studies. The toxic effect is only observed in test tubes.
The lead university researcher, Ian Blair of the University of Pennsylvania Center for Cancer Pharmacology, is conveniently outside the country, so he can't easily respond to questions. Ian Blair, covers his story by saying "Absolutely, for God's sake, don't say vitamin C causes cancer." But the headlines read otherwise.
The University of Pennsylvania is the originator of Oncolink, a prestigious online resource of cancer information. But who sponsors Oncolink? Hidden behind the whole affair are Oncolink's sponsors --- the pharmaceutical companies. AstraZeneca, Amgen, Ortho Biotech, Pharmacia, Pfizer and Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Are the drug companies using a major university as their shill to spread misinformation about vitamins?
It is becoming more obvious that misinformation about vitamins, minerals and herbal products is being planted in the news media and published in medical journals in a calculated fashion. The reason is that more and more Americans are taking health care into their own hands and relying less and less on doctors and drugs to cure their ills. The big secret is that the biological action of virtually every prescription drug can be duplicated with nutritional supplements at far less cost and with fewer side effects. The only way to counter the growing demand for natural remedies is to confuse the public with misinformation.
And the misinformation campaign is working. The natural products industry reports their growth has leveled off. Vitamin C sales were off by 19.2 percent last year according to a report in Natural Foods Merchandiser. In the past months dubious negative reports have been published on garlic, St. John's wort, and products containing ephedra. A characteristic of all these reports is their emphatic conclusion that all previous research which confirmed the validity of these natural remedies is to be discarded because the latest scientific report reached a contrary conclusion.
Last year the news media made a front- page headline story out of a presentation on vitamin C at the American Heart Association meeting. The study wasn't even published and hadn't undergone peer review, but the news agencies were quick to release a factitious story that high-dose vitamin C could clog arteries in the neck (the carotids). Vitamin C does not clog arteries, but it does strengthen and thicken the walls of arteries via its ability to promote collagen formation.
How do these non-news stories get front-page coverage? It's simple. Public relations agencies have bragged at seminars how they can take a presentation at a medical meeting and get it aired on television and published in newspapers. These publicity agencies do the dirty work of planting misinformation in the news media. It's propaganda, not news.
The natural products industry is mounting its own public information campaign, to counter negative news stories, and has hired their own agency, Hill & Knowlton of Washington, D.C., to air its side of the story.
There are simply no standards of journalism being upheld here. Bad science gets front-page coverage regardless of whether it is true or not. Journalists aren't checking on the validity of medical reports, and they aren't interviewing opposing views. In the case of the recent vitamin C report, reporters did not interview the National Nutritional Foods Association, the Council for Responsible Nutrition, the Vitamin C Foundation, nor the American Healthcare Products Association.
But how long can the public be fooled? Why are the pharmaceutical companies so afraid of a simple vitamin? It's because high doses of vitamin C virtually eradicate the risk of developing cataracts, eliminate the need for blood pressure medication, reduce the need for anti-allergy drugs, reduce the risk of gall stones, and produce many other health benefits. The drug companies can't invent and patent a molecule as efficacious as vitamin C. ####
TO: Owen Fonorow VITAMIN C FOUNDATION FROM: Bill Sardi I just E-mailed this inquiry to Ian A. Blair, the lead researcher of the now infamous vitamin C report in Science Magazine. June 15, 2001 TO: Ian A. Blair Center for Cancer Pharmacology University of Pennsylvania firstname.lastname@example.org FROM: Bill Sardi Health reporters, Nutrition Science News Bsardi@aol.com Phone: 909.861.3454 Diamond Bar, California USA
Unfortunately your paper in SCIENCE regarding ascorbic acid and DNA damage was published while you were out of the country and unavailable for quick comment. Of course, it is disappointing that the news media made such headlines out of research that does not appear to be new. The issue of whether vitamin C is a pro-oxidant or anti-oxidant has been debated for some time now. The fact that your paper concluded from a test-tube study that vitamin C concentrations equivalent to a 200 mg. dosage in humans could be genotoxic is not confirmed by epidemiological or human studies which your paper did not cite.
The submission date on your paper was February 2001, and your paper cited other references as late year 2000. The following reports, which includes reports up to the year 2000, encompassing a review of human studies with vitamin C and DNA damage, do not confirm your findings, and should have been included in your paper, am I correct?
I was wondering why your paper did not cite these references and why you did not inform the news media that your findings were not confirmed by human nor epidemiological studies? Your comments to the news media left the door open that it is possible for vitamin C to promote cancer. The references below are for your review, with the total abstracts following. Don't you think you should clear this matter up by clarifying the conclusion from your paper in light of other contrary research studies conducted outside of test tubes?
For example, researchers at Johns Hopkins University could not find evidence of a "significant main effect or interaction effect on oxidative DNA damage as measured by urinary 8-OHdG in non-smoking adults" with 500 milligrams/day of vitamin C supplementation. [Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2000 Jul;9(7):647-52]
Another study, conducted by researchers in Germany found that 1000 mg. of vitamin C consumed by smokers and non-smokers for 7 days did not produce DNA damage as measured by the number of micronuclei in blood lymphocytes. [Free Radic Res 2001 Mar;34(3):209-19]
In yet another study conducted by Immunosciences Laboratory, twenty healthy volunteers were divided into four groups and given either placebo or daily doses of 500, 1,000 or 5,000 mg of ascorbic acid for a period of 2 weeks. This study concluded that "ascorbic acid is an antioxidant and that doses up to 5,000 mg neither induce mutagenic lesions nor have negative effects on NK cell activity, apoptosis, or cell cycle." [Cancer Detect Prev 2000;24(6):508-23]
In London researchers measured the effects of 260 milligrams/day of vitamin C and vitamin C + iron in humans and concluded that there was "no compelling evidence for a pro-oxidant effect of ascorbate supplementation, in the presence or absence of iron, on DNA base damage measured by GC-MS." [Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2000 Nov 2;277(3):535-40]
In Ireland, researchers gave 1000 mg. of vitamin C to volunteers for 42 days and concluded that "supplementation with vitamin C decreased significantly H2O2-induced DNA damage in peripheral blood lymphocytes." [Br J Nutr 2000 Aug;84(2):195-202]
I await your comment.
Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2000 Jul;9(7):647-52
The effects of vitamin C and vitamin E on oxidative DNA damage: results from a randomized controlled trial.
Huang HY, Helzlsouer KJ, Appel LJ.
Department of Epidemiology, School of Hygiene and Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21205-2223, USA.
Oxidative DNA damage may be important in mutagenic, carcinogenic, and aging processes. Although it is plausible that antioxidant vitamins may reduce oxidative DNA damage, evidence from human studies has been sparse and inconsistent. We determined the short-term effects of vitamin C (500 mg/day) and vitamin E (400 IU d-alpha-tocopheryl acetate/day) supplements on oxidative DNA damage in a double-masked, placebo-controlled, 2x2 factorial trial in 184 nonsmoking adults. Mean duration of supplementation was 2 months. Oxidative DNA damage was measured by 24-h urinary excretion of 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG). At baseline, urinary 8-OHdG (mean +/- SE; ng/mg creatinine) was associated with race (15.6 +/- 0.8 in African Americans versus 20.3 +/- 1.2 in Caucasians, P = 0.001), prior antioxidant supplement use (18.6 +/- 0.8 in users versus 13.8 +/- 1.5 in non-users, P = 0.007), and regular exercise (19.2 +/- 1.1 in exercisers versus 16.6 +/- 0.9 in non-exercisers, P = 0.04). Fruit and vegetable intake and serum ascorbic acid were inversely associated with urinary 8-OHdG (P-trend = 0.02 and 0.016, respectively). The benefits of fruit and vegetable intake became evident with the consumption being at least three servings/day. At the end of supplementation, change from baseline in urinary 8-OHdG (mean +/- SE; ng/mg creatinine) was -0.6 +/- 1.4 (P = 0.61), 0.6 +/- 1.1 (P = 0.59), 0.5 +/- 1.0 (P = 0.61), and 1.6 +/- 1.4 (P = 0.27) in the placebo, vitamin C alone, vitamin E alone, and combined vitamins C and E groups, respectively. In overall and subgroup analyses, there was no significant main effect or interaction effect of the supplements on urinary 8-OHdG. In conclusion, supplementation of diet with vitamin C (500 mg/day) and vitamin E (400 IU d-alpha-tocopheryl acetate/day) had no significant main effect or interaction effect on oxidative DNA damage as measured by urinary 8-OHdG in nonsmoking adults. However, several aspects of a healthy lifestyle were associated with lower oxidative DNA damage.
Free Radic Res 2001 Mar;34(3):209-19
Protective Effects of Vitamins C and E on the Number of Micronuclei in Lymphocytes in Smokers and their Role in Ascorbate Free Radical Formation in Plasma.
Schneider M, Diemer K, Engelhart K, Zankl H, Trommer WE, Biesalski HK.
Fachbereich Biologie / Abteilung Humanbiologie der Universitaet Kaiserslautern, Germany.
Cigarette smoke is widely believed to increase free radical concentrations causing subsequent oxidative processes that lead to DNA damage and hence, to several diseases including lung cancer and atherosclerosis. Vitamin C is a reducing agent that can terminate free-radical-driven oxidation by being converted to a resonance-stabilized free radical. To investigate whether short-term supplementation with the antioxidants vitamin C and E decreases free-radical-driven oxidation and thus decreases DNA damage in smokers, we determined the frequency of micronuclei in lymphocytes in 24 subjects and monitored the electron paramagnetic resonance signal of ascorbate free radical formation in plasma. Further parameters comprised sister-chromatid exchanges and thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances. Twelve smokers and twelve non-smokers took 1000 mg ascorbic acid daily for 7 days and then 1000 mg ascorbic acid and 335.5 mg RRR-alpha-tocopherol daily for the next 7 days. Baseline concentrations of both vitamins C and E were lower and baseline numbers of micronuclei were higher (p < 0.0001) in smokers than in non-smokers. After 7 days of vitamins C and E, DNA damage as monitored by the number of micronulei was decreased in both, smokers and non-smokers, but it was more decreased in smokers as indicated by fewer micronuclei in peripheral lymphocytes (p < 0.05). Concomitantly, the plasma concentrations of vitamin C (p < 0.001) as well as the ascorbate free radical (p < 0.05) were increased. The corresponding values in non-smokers, however, did not change. Our findings show that increased ascorbate free radical formation in plasma after short-term supplementation with vitamins C and E can decrease the number of micronuclei in blood lymphocytes and thus DNA damage in smokers.
Cancer Detect Prev 2000;24(6):508-23
New evidence for antioxidant properties of vitamin C.
Vojdani A, Bazargan M, Vojdani E, Wright J.
Immunosciences Lab, Inc, Beverly Hills, CA 90211, USA.
This study was designed to examine the effect of 500 to 5,000 mg of ascorbic acid on DNA adducts, natural killer (NK) cell activity, programmed cell death, and cell cycle analysis of human peripheral blood leukocytes. According to our hypothesis, if ascorbic acid is a pro-oxidant, doses between 500 and 5,000 mg should enhance DNA adduct formation, decrease immune function, change the cell cycle progression, and increase the rate of apoptosis. Twenty healthy volunteers were divided into four groups and given either placebo or daily doses of 500, 1,000 or 5,000 mg of ascorbic acid for a period of 2 weeks. On days 0, 1, 7, 15, and 21, blood was drawn from them, and the leukocytes were separated and examined for intracellular levels of ascorbic acid, the level of 8-hydroxyguanosine, NK cell activity, cell cycle progression, and apoptosis. Depending on the subjects, between a 0% and a 40% increase in cellular absorption of ascorbic acid was observed when daily doses of 500 mg were used. At doses greater than 500 mg, this cellular absorption was not increased further, and all doses produced equivalent increases in ascorbic acid on days 1 to 15. This increase in cellular concentration of ascorbic acid resulted in no statistically meaningful changes in the level of 8-hydroxyguanosine, increased NK cytotoxic activity, a reduced percentage of cells undergoing apoptosis, and switched cell cycle phases from S and G2/M to G0/G1. After a period of 1 week, with no placebo or vitamin washout, ascorbic acid levels along with functional assays returned to the baseline and became equivalent to placebos. In comparison with baseline values, no change (not more than daily assays variation) was seen in ascorbate concentrations or other assays during oral placebo treatment. We concluded that ascorbic acid is an antioxidant and that doses up to 5,000 mg neither induce mutagenic lesions nor have negative effects on NK cell activity, apoptosis, or cell cycle.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2000 Nov 2;277(3):535-40
Potential problems of ascorbate and iron supplementation: pro-oxidant effect in vivo?
Proteggente AR, Rehman A, Halliwell B, Rice-Evans CA.
Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases, GKT School of Biomedical Sciences, King's College London, St. Thomas' Street, London, SE1 9RT, United Kingdom.
The comparison was undertaken between the effects of ascorbate versus ascorbate plus iron supplementation on DNA damage. Twenty healthy subjects with initial levels of plasma ascorbate of 67.2 +/- 23.3 micromol/l were randomly assigned to and cycled through one of three supplementation regimes: placebo, 260 mg/d ascorbate, 260 mg/d ascorbate plus 14 mg/d iron for 6 weeks separated by 8-week washout periods. Supplementation did not cause a rise in total oxidative DNA damage measured by GC-MS. However, a significant decrease occurred in levels of 8-oxo-7,8-dihydroguanine by ascorbate supplementation and 5-hydroxymethyl uracil by both ascorbate and ascorbate plus iron supplementation, relative to the pre-supplemental levels but not to the placebo group. In addition, levels of 5-hydroxymethyl hydantoin and 5-hydroxy cytosine increased significantly, only relative to pre-supplementation, by ascorbate plus iron treatment. No compelling evidence for a pro-oxidant effect of ascorbate supplementation, in the presence or absence of iron, on DNA base damage was observed. Copyright 2000 Academic Press.
Br J Nutr 2000 Aug;84(2):195-202
The effect of vitamin C or vitamin E supplementation on basal and H2O2-induced DNA damage in human lymphocytes.
Brennan LA, Morris GM, Wasson GR, Hannigan BM, Barnett YA.
Cancer and Ageing Research Group, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland.
There is a wealth of epidemiological information on antioxidants and their possible prevention of disease progression but very little of the research on antioxidants has involved intervention studies. In this study, the potential protective effect of vitamin C or E supplementation in vivo against endogenous and H2O2-induced DNA damage levels in lymphocytes was assessed. The supplementation involved fourteen healthy male and female non-smokers mean age 25-53 (SD 1.82) years, who were asked to supplement an otherwise unchanged diet with 1000 mg vitamin C daily for 42 d or 800 mg vitamin E daily for 42 d. DNA damage in H2O2-treated peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) and untreated PBL before and after supplementation, and during a 6-week washout period was assessed using an ELISA. At each sampling time-point, the red cell concentrate activities of superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase were also determined. Supplementation with vitamin C or vitamin E decreased significantly H2O2-induced DNA damage in PBL, but had no effect on endogenous levels of DNA damage. The activities of the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase were suppressed during the supplementation period. These supplementation regimens may be used to limit the possible adverse effects of reactive oxygen species (including those produced during the course of an immune response) on lymphocytes in vivo, and so help to maintain their functional capacity.
Numerous studies over the past 30 years have demonstrated a preponderance of scientific evidence about vitamin C's positive effects, including its cancer-preventing properties. A report published yesterday in the journal Science suggests vitamin C may have carcinogenic properties - a claim that has been presented in media reports as fact. This is a dangerous and questionable leap based on a single survey compared with substantial amounts of scientific literature that indicates otherwise.
"The vast majority of all published studies on vitamin C supplementation show an overwhelmingly positive effect on health," said Phil Harvey, Ph.D., NNFA's director of science and quality assurance. "Yet this study, which was performed in a test tube - not on humans, is being represented as evidence that vitamin C is potentially harmful. Even the study's lead researcher is quoted as saying, 'Absolutely, for God's sake, don't say vitamin C causes cancer.' Yet that is exactly what is occurring."
"We are extremely concerned that consumers may hear only a portion of these reports and change their vitamin C supplementation, a change that may put their health at risk because of all the demonstrable benefits of this vitamin," Harvey said.
The study, conducted at the University of Pennsylvania, involved adding vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, to test tubes containing solutions of fatty acids found in the blood. According to researchers, adding vitamin C triggered mutation-causing agents identified with the development of cancer.
According to the NNFA, mutations continually occur in cells and to conclude that high doses of vitamin C cause this to happen is pure speculation and reckless.
The researchers tested lipid peroxidation (lipid hydroperoxide) from dietary fat. While it is possible that these lipids may be converted to genotoxins, which in turn may damage DNA, it is far from conclusive that this is a cancer-causing mechanism. Humans have complex biochemical mechanisms to deal with lipid peroxidations and other nutrients. For instance, vitamin E protects and augments the effect of vitamin C. Because other antioxidants were not present in the laboratory tests, the synergistic effect that would normally occur in the human body was prevented.
Many previous studies and recommendations by government agencies contradict the findings of this study, including:
Research by the National Cancer Institute that supports vitamin C's beneficial effects on reducing the risk of cancer. A health claim authorized by the Food and Drug Administration that fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C can reduce the risks of some cancers. The recent recommendation by the Institute of Medicine that daily vitamin intake be increased because of its disease-prevention properties.
Evidence that vitamin C enhances the effects of certain chemotherapy drugs, reduces toxicity of chemotherapeutic agents, and may actually prevent cancer NNFA recommends that consumers eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and other natural sources of vitamin C and other antioxidants. In addition, NNFA recommends supplementation with vitamin C to further realize the benefits of vitamin C contained in food.
"People should not stop taking vitamin C based on the premature conclusions from a single, contradictory study," said Harvey. "The real danger here is not from vitamin C, but from sensationalized reports that will cause consumers to stop using a supplement that is clearly beneficial to their health." NNFA also recommends that members write letters to the editor of their local newspapers when stories about the study are printed. Members are free to use the text of this alert or access the press release online at www.nnfa.org/news/press_releases/index.htm.
For an in depth look at this study and research on vitamin C, please look in the April 2000 issue of NNFA Today.
Date: Mon 25 Jun 2001
Re: "Effects of Vite C are still causing a healthy debate" L.A.Times article Mon 25 June 2001
Somehow the title of your article was lost on me... did I miss something? Where exactly was the debate. You failed to interview or quote even one of the many proponents of ascorbate who advocate ascorbates in generous amounts. Where are the Ph.d.'s or M.D.'s who have been at the fore front of Vitamin C (ascorbate is the correct term) research and orthomolecular medicine's mega-dose ascorbate treatments.
Also mysteriously absent from the article was the reason humans require "C" in the first place. Where was the overview of the topic. Most folks do not realize that a genetic fault is responsible for the ascorbate deficiency in humans. Almost every mammal makes copious amounts of ascorbate in their livers, and understress and toxic environmental conditions they produce far more yet. We are talking about 5-20 grams par day.
The L.A. Times article was simply wrong about far too many things and was lacking in a baseline of knowledge as to how and why ascorbates effect human physiology. The fact that this article by Benedict Carey was missing the word "ascorbate" tells us a lot about the writer and pathetically little about the real story of ascorbate and human physiology. May I suggestto Benedict Carey (before further embarrassment) that the following sites be reviewed and understood before more articles aboutascorbates are published.
Sascha Sarnoff, Health Advocate/Writer
Santa Barbara, Ca.