Table of Contents
The Thing You Should Know About Vitamin C
Human Genetic Defect
All humans are born with a genetic defect. Our livers are missing a key enzyme; xl-gulono-§-lactone oxidase that is required to synthesize ascorbic acid from glucose. The loss of a single working gene prevents you from making your own vitamin C. The negative mutation of the so-called GULO gene has been well studied in both human and primate genomes. If this negative mutation could be corrected, most people wouldn't need to supplement vitamin C.
Like any genetic disease, our inability to produce the GULO enzyme has many negative consequences. Unlike most vitamins, we cannot get enough vitamin C in foods to replace what we would have with a working GULO gene.
Thanks to modern science, it is easy and inexpensive for you to correct for this damaged gene: supplement your diet with vitamin C – ascorbic acid or one of its salts.
What you may not know is that few other species have this genetic deficiency and all others make their own vitamin C. The well known exceptions that cannot make their own vitamin C are guinea pigs, fruit eating bats, the red vented bulbul bird and some higher primates (e.g. gorillas and we humans). With a working gene, humans would make their own vitamin C in “fantastic” amounts by today's standards.
In the 1930s, Dr. Claus W. Jungblut, an early pioneer of vitamin C therapy. discovered that only primates and guinea pigs were susceptible to scurvy as well as anaphylactic shock, pulmonary tuberculosis, diptheritic intoxication, a poliomyelitis-like viral infection and a viral form of leukemia. None of the vitamin C synthesizing laboratory animals had susceptibility to these diseases.
Gorillas in captivity are susceptible to the same set of diseases and we share other conditions with these primates that are not common in other species (e.g., cardiovscular disease *). Linus Pauling elucidated in his Unified Theory of Cardiovascular Disease paper, and in a video-taped lecture, that a large consequence of our genetic deficiency is our tendency to develop cardiovascular disease; a primary cause of death. (See: PaulingTherapy.com)
Correcting the Defect
Correcting the GULO mutation requires more vitamin C than is commonly recommended by medical and governmental authorities. Animals produce much more vitamin C in their bodies than what we can obtain from the meager dosages often recommended for humans. Adjusted for body weight and under ordinary conditions, animals have been found to produce between 3,000 mg and 13,000 mg of ascorbic acid daily. A goat under stress may produce over 100,000 mg of ascorbic acid daily. As these animals make their own ascorbic acid, the molecule enters the blood stream intact (directly from the liver or kidney).
Ascorbate (another term now used for vitamin C) is volatile and reacts easily with other substances. This means we lose some vitamin C when we eat it during digestion. Scientists have estimated that 50% or more of the vitamin C taken by mouth may not reach the blood stream intact (is not bio-available). The loss increases as the dosage by mouth increases. (Note: The new truly encapsulated liposomal vitamin C increases bio-availability and may even be 100% absorbed at the recommended dosagesj See Foundation Approved Liposomal Vitamin C)
Linus Pauling according to a biography * did not begin taking vitamin C until his sixth decade of life. At the age when most of us retire, Pauling instead became a champion of vitamin C. Pauling wrote that his daily intake of ascorbic acid was 18,000 mg. Pauling's reasoning behind his dosage is interesting. He tells us during a 1980s video-taped lecture on Vitamin C and Cancer that his personal dosage was based on his body weight and the expected loss of ascorbate taken by mouth.
Pauling knew that on average, mammals of his body weight have evolved to make 9,000 mg of vitamin C throughout a typical day. Pauling experimentally determined that at this dosage, he lost approximately 50% of the vitamin C during digestion. For this reason he doubled the dosage an animal would produce and he consumed 18,000 mg daily in two divided dosages (i.e., 2 dosages of 9,000 mg twice daily). He said this 18 gram daily dosage would account for the loss, and approximate the blood and tissue concentrations of species that make their own ascorbate.
Linus Pauling pointed out that vitamin C has no known toxicity, so there is little risk from this dosage. Pauling lived to the age of 93, and as his last video lecture on heart disease proves (given without notes), his mind at age 92 was still sharp and exceptional.
Take Home Message
We may be at the precipice of creating human life spans longer than 125 years. Linus Pauling anticipated that anti-aging science would discover significant longevity benefits from taking high amounts of vitamin C. He stated this belief in his still authoritative book How To Live Longer and Feel Better. Pauling wrote that although he couldn't prove it at the time, he believed that by taking his recommended high anti-oxidant regimen, especially vitamin C, human beings could extend their period of healthy life, perhaps 20 or 30 years.
As more people become interested in the new anti-aging nutrient science and technologies, including and especially telomerase activation medicine, they may not consider vitamin C all that important. We beg to differ. In our opinion, there is no other nutritional supplement more important for its anti-aging properties. It makes little sense to attempt to extend life while ignoring this easily correctable genetic defect.
Any anti-aging and life span extending technology, in our opinion, begins with Vitamin C replacement to account for the damaged GULO gene.