by Lynn Hinderliter CN, LDN

Most of us are familiar with Vitamin C, because of the work done on it originally by Dr. Linus Pauling: he was convinced of its value both as a suppressor of the common cold, and a defense against cancer. Certainly much modern research tends to support his position: G. Block reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1991, that there have been about 90 epidemiologic studies , and the vast majority of them have found statistically significant protective effects, particularly in cancers of the esophagus, mouth, stomach, and pancreas, also in cancers of the lung, breast, cervix and rectum. Those of us who use vitamin C regularly to protect ourselves against the onset of cold season hardly need to read any studies about it – we KNOW!

Just recently a study was published that seemed more to be a scare tactic than anything else: in fact, the Council for Responsible Nutrition is quoted as saying that the language of the press release is calculated to cause concern and yet the amount of information provided does not clearly justify that concern. Other researchers object that this is only a preliminary study, the first ever report of any negative effects from Vitamin C, flying in the face of years of significant positive results in every variety of study.  It was a very small study, and only 30% of the participants took Vitamin C, in unknown amounts ranging from 30 to 1000mg. No information was forthcoming about the number of participants who actually were taking 500mg or more, nor any measurements of the variability in the rates of any artery hardening.  I personally think this will turn out to be a no-show, and it certainly hasn’t affected the amount of Vitamin C I take each day! Another riveting fact about this study is that it is in direct opposition to a study published in  Circulation (the American Heart Association’s own journal) which found there to be a significant reduction in carotid artery thickness/hardening  in people 55 or older who took 1,000 mg of Vitamin C a day.  Go figure, as they say!

The Vitamin C foundation points out that this may very well be GOOD news!  None of the information in the study purported to show any obstruction or occlusion in the arteries, just a thickening of the walls.  Elderly people tend to suffer inappropriate thinning of the blood vessel walls as they age, and what this study may in fact be showing is a PROTECTIVE effect from Vitamin C due to its influence on collagen production.  

Check out the entire story at

An interesting fact about vitamin C is that almost all other living things have the ability to manufacture it in their bodies: man has lost the capability, leading chemist Irwin Stone, who has studied Vitamin C since 1934, to refer to this as a genetic flaw. He felt that where other creatures have the ability to create the vitamin when the onset of illness makes it necessary,  (goats, who weigh about the same as some humans, produce between 2.2 and 13.3 grams per day) humans have to supplement extra quantities sometimes in doses as high as 10 grams – in fact, in acute cases, holistic practitioners advocate giving vitamin C intravenously and I have heard of amounts as high as 75 grams being used with success. Obviously, this can only be done under the care of a physician, since while the ease of excretion makes Vitamin C toxicity unlikely, very high amounts can cause some problems – mostly diarrhea. Some people use this symptom as a guide to how much vitamin C their body needs, referring to it as “bowel tolerance”, and cutting back a little on their dose when they reach that point. Interestingly, a James Enstrom, PhD, recently published a paper in Epidemiology showing a link between Vitamin C supplementation and increased life span.

A new book in 2004 by leading Vitamin C experts, pharmacologists Drs. Hickey and Roberts, is bringing new light to bear on the reprehensible behaviour and flawed science attached to the Government’s Vitamin C recommendations – and attacks, I would add!

Hickey and Roberts point out that the original study setting Vitamin C levels was performed on a mere 15 subjects, and healthy ones under no health or psychic stress, at that.  It absolutely  does not take into consideration the vastly higher levels of C required by the millions with special considerations, such as smokers, diabetics, hormone users (birth control, HRT) .  It is merely the level which would prevent scurvy in the majority of subjects! 

Drs. Hickey and Roberts also take issue with the manner in which the NIH determines tissue levels of C:

Some of the functions of vitamin C are:  the promotion of healing, formation of collagen, which makes it important in periodontal disease, resistance to infection and enhancement of the immune system, strengthening of blood vessels, tissue growth and repair, the proper functioning of the adrenal glands, protection against the effects of pollution. These are very basic and essential things it does, and an inadequate supply can be costly. A recent study (Jan 00) published in the Lancet and performed by the Boston Univ. School of Medicine, and the Linus Pauling Inst., showed that a dose of 500 mg per day can drop blood pressure in those with mild to moderate hypertension by 9.1 percent, a figure comparable to prescription drugs. Unfortunately, many common things we encounter in this day and age deplete Vitamin C: these include alcohol consumption and smoking, antibiotic use, use of antihistamines and aspirin, also barbiturates, cortisone , the use of oral contraceptives and estrogen, and sulfonamides and prednisone. Stress is another things that can deplete vitamin C levels, and very few of us are not subject to that!

Recently, some very interesting research has been done that suggests a symbiotic link between Vitamin C & Vitamin E;  i.e. that when they are both present together in sufficient quantities, they do a more thorough job of scavenging the damaging free radicals, as well as supporting each other’s revival cycles, whereby E & C are not destroyed by their activity, but return to fight again.

I sometimes have parents ask me what they can do nutritionally to help with high levels of lead in the blood, and am happy to be able to tell them that studies at the San Francisco Vet Affairs Med Center and the University of California San Francisco show that not only are low levels of Vitamin C in the blood linked to high levels of lead, but that increasing Vitamin C intake can help control even dangerously high levels of lead.

I personally do not doubt at all that supplementing with extra vitamin C may be one of the most important steps an individual can take towards protecting their health, and certainly never fail to take it myself.


Dr Mercola weighs in on the latest Vitamin C Attack!

More On the Concern Over Vitamin C

“High doses of Vitamin C could increase the risk of cancer, scientists warn today….”

So begins the June 15th 2001 UK Daily Mail front-page report, outlining the work of Dr Ian Blair, resident researcher at the University of Pennsylvania Pharmacology Unit. The Mail headline appears to be in direct conflict with Dr Blair’s own statement: “Absolutely, for God’s sake, don’t say Vitamin C causes cancer.” (Yahoo News, Thursday June 14th, 2001)

But of course, The Mail and others have shamelessly done exactly that. To the less discerning reader, the story raises worrisome questions as to the wisdom of high-level Vitamin C supplementation. If these worldwide headlines have served any useful purpose at all, it has been to confirm the moral/intellectual void currently reigning in today’s mass media ‘news’ departments.

At a more fundamental level, why is Dr Blair conducting tests on the efficacy of Vitamin C at all?

We are about to discover that certain parties have a very definite interest in casting aspersions upon Vitamin C.

Yet again, we are being taught what to think about a certain subject, but not how. To our knowledge, the information you are about to read has not been included in any of the latest, and now worldwide ‘Vitamin C Cancer Scare’ headlines generated by Dr Blair’s findings.

A golden rule Dr Blair postulates that high consumption of Vitamin C (a most beneficial adjunct in non-toxic cancer recovery treatment) might actually cause human tissue degeneration, which in turn could lead to a heightened risk of contracting cancer.

And it is here that we arrive at our first golden rule: when it comes to assessing the veracity of any scientific claim, we must always read between the lines ­ we must search for what the report does not say. We must especially be on the look-out for those hoary old chestnuts, otherwise known as vested interests. A University of Manchester research methodology handbook contains the following valuable advice:

“Science and research must be studied in the context of all the interested parties involved. The questions center on determining the relative weight of the various allies in the ‘fact-creating’ process – e.g. funding bodies, businesses, departments of state, professions and other scientists.

In analyzing scientific debates, one should always ask what social, institutional, political and philosophical interests lie behind often apparently ‘neutral’ and ‘technical’ knowledge claims.” (University of Manchester Institute of Science & Technology (UMIST) research methodology course handout, 1994) (emphasis mine)

On the matter of the ‘fact creation’ process, renowned author John Le Carre recently stated:

“Big Pharma [the industry in general] is engaged in the deliberate seduction of the medical profession, country by country, worldwide. It is spending a fortune on influencing, hiring and purchasing academic judgment to a point where, in a few years’ time, if Big Pharma continues unchecked on its present happy path, unbought medical opinion will be hard to find.” (The Nation, New York, Interview with John Le Carre, 9th April 2001)


With the above in mind, lets put Dr Blair’s University of Pennsylvania under the spotlight and see what encouragement Dr Blair might have had in taking his extraordinary position and apparently misquoted position against Vitamin C. We must ask the following questions: what Big Pharma influences might there be supporting the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center (UPCC) and its mother ship, the University of Pennsylvania Health Service?

What is the relative weight of the funding bodies? If industry sponsorship is taking place, are UPHS personnel free to exercise unbiased critical thinking? Or are there grounds to suspect that UPHS been ‘bought’ – that somewhere along the line, vested interests have ‘purchased academic judgment’?

Before tackling the Vitamin C issue itself, the following UPHS general statistics are very revealing.

Certain Alliances

In May 2000, Dr Ian Blair’s employers at UPCC received a $26 million, five year Core Grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) – the largest and most influential conventional cancer treatment institution in the world. In fact, UPCC has been continuously funded by the NCI Core Grant mechanism since the grant was created by the National Cancer Act in the early 1970’s.

Currently, UPCC is awash with more than $100 million in cancer research funding: $37 million is from the National Cancer Institute; $43 million from closely affiliated organizations, such as the National Institutes of Health, the organization which actually funded Dr Blair’s Vitamin C research; another $12 million from foundational support such as the American Cancer Society and the Leukemia Society; and between $8 and $10 million from various pharmaceutical companies.

Earlier, in June of 1999, UPCC received a $4.5 million gift from the William H. Gates Foundation to research conventional treatments for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Aside from the Bill and Melinda Gates connection, OncoLink, the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center,[28] is sponsored very generously by the following corporations: Amgen, the world’s largest independent biotechnology company; Aventis, Ortho Biotech, Inc., Varian, Inc., Janssen Pharmaceutica, AstraZeneca, Pharmacia Upjohn and Pfizer. These corporations are very big indeed, and their names represent no mean sponsorship committee.

More Alliances

In March 2001, UPHS announced a strategic alliance with Siemens Medical Systems, Inc. Under the terms of the purchasing agreement, UPHS will make an initial discounted purchase of cardiology, radiology and radiation oncology equipment from Siemens, who will also service and maintain the biomedical equipment already in place at designated UPHS sites over the life of the agreement.

In the year 2000, Siemens Medical Solutions, based in Iselin, New Jersey, reported new orders of $5.65 billion, sales of $5.44 billion and employs 27,000 worldwide. “This is the kind of alliance that will be critical in our continuing financial recovery and to assure our position as a leading national health system,” said Robert D. Martin, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of UPHS.

A good relationship with Siemens may well be critical to UPHS’ financial recovery, but does this kind of dependent alliance foster the aforementioned necessary climate for critical thinking?

What if there are privately held UPHS reservations over the Siemens equipment, methodology or ethos? Who will break rank first? Will anyone? What kind of commercially gagged framework are the UPHS staff now locked into with Siemens?

Yet More Corporate Alliances

On April 26, 2001, UPCC announced a business partnership with Integral PET Associates, the nation’s leading operator of fixed-site Positron Emission Tomography (PET) cancer scanners. A patient receiving a PET scan today is injected with a radiopharmaceutical, such as flurodeoxyglucose (FDG), about 45 minutes before the scan, which takes about two hours.

The radiopharmaceutical tracer emits signals which are then picked up by the PET scanner. A computer reassembles the signals into recognizable images to determine if a cancer has spread, if a particular treatment is effective, or if a patient is disease-free. IPA will now be seeking to supply major hospitals throughout Pennsylvania with this very expensive equipment. Installing and operating a PET scanner typically costs around $1,600,000 in up-front capital costs, plus an additional $800,000 in yearly staff and operational costs.

A short visit to the UPHS website at will not only confirm all of the above information, but will also confirm that these alliances represent only a small percentage of the long-standing conventional ‘friendships’ UPHS has fostered with Big Pharma over the years. Given the strictly conventional source of sponsorship monies received at UPHS, what chance will the following statements have of being ‘allowed’ to feature on the UPHS cancer information page?

“…as a chemist trained to interpret data, it is incomprehensible to me that physicians can ignore the clear evidence that chemotherapy does much, much more harm than good.” – Alan C Nixon, PhD, former president of the American Chemical Society

“Doctors are too busy to dig into the statistics of cancer treatments, they assume that what they are taught at school or what is demonstrated in the pages of briefing journals is the best treatment. They cannot afford to suspect that these treatments are only the best for the pharmaceutical companies that influence their ‘institutions of higher learning’.” Paul Winter, The Cancell Home Page.

“To the cancer establishment, a cancer patient is a profit center. The actual clinical and scientific evidence does not support the claims of the cancer industry. Conventional cancer treatments are in place as the law of the land because they pay, not heal, the best. Decades of the politics-of-cancer-as-usual have kept you from knowing this, and will continue to do so unless you wake up to this reality.” – Lee Cowden MD

“Almost every patient treated with IL2 (a current conventional cancer treatment) suffered fever, malaise, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, sharp drops in blood pressure, skin rashes, breathing difficulties, liver abnormalities and irregularities in blood chemistry.

Rosenberg himself details a number of horrifying case histories, and one in particular where the administration of IL2 had precipitated amongst other things, vomiting, swollen joints, lung fluid and ‘vascular leak syndrome’ where blood would ooze through the vessel walls and collect under the skin.” Steven Rosenberg, The Transformed Cell, 1992. (IL2 is still used today.)

“Dr Linus Pauling, often known as the ‘Father of Vitamin C’ and twice awarded the Nobel Prize, declared that large intakes of up to 10g of the vitamin each day aids anti-cancer activity within the body. Pauling was largely derided for making these declarations, but today, large doses of Vitamin C are used by many practitioners for cancer patients in nutritional therapy, who believe Pauling was right and that the popular nutrient is indispensable to the body in its fight to regain health from cancer.” Phillip Day, Cancer, Why We’re Still Dying to Know The Truth, Credence Publications, 2001.

“Do not let either the medical authorities or the politicians mislead you. Find out what the facts are, and make your own decisions about how to live a happy life and how to work for a better world.” Linus Pauling

The above remarks are representative of a vast library of well-sourced contrary information which sensibly questions the validity and efficacy of conventional cancer treatments based on a huge amount of clinical research and data. Naturally, with all these expensive and patented treatments available to fight cancer, the cancer rates should be going down. They are not. They are increasing.

Staggering Amounts

UPHS is totally locked into the conventional cancer framework – a framework which today, rightly stands accused of achieving no measurable success at all in its approach to the treatment of cancer, immense success in causing widespread, unnecessary death through its application of lethal and highly toxic pharma-radiation treatments, and even greater success in rewarding itself absolutely staggering amounts of money in the whole grisly process.

That these cancer corporations have become incredibly wealthy through their ‘chemo ’til we drop’ approach is a fact which Messrs Siemens, Zeneca, Upjohn, Glaxo, Rhone Poulenc cannot deny.

Common Sense

Pauling was right. We have been seriously misled. Taking the Siemens $multi-million technology as an example, it may well detect certain forms of cancer, but upon detecting it, what happens? Quite simply, a bewildered, obedient, grateful and unsuspecting cancer sufferer is then immediately directed towards the door marked ‘iatrogenic (doctor-induced) illness and probable death.’

Closer examination clearly reveals that the conventional path is fraught with toxic danger. But the CEO of UPHS has made it quite clear that ‘the Siemens alliance [one of so many] is critical to the financial security of UPHS’. Glad someone has their priorities straight.

This is why we will hear no publicly dissenting voices from UPHS as to the horrific realities associated with 20th and 21st Century conventional cancer treatments. The corporate big boys’ riches must continue to flow.. and a handsome proportion of it into the coffers of the very dependent UPHS, of course, ‘to assist in their financial recovery’.

So Why the Slur on Vitamin C?

As has already been stated, conventional cancer treatment represents a $multi-billion a year industry. These vast profits are fiercely protected by the industry giants. But their treatments in no way address the underlying causes of cancer.

Cancer is a nutritional/toxic/environmental condition, which, in a great number of instances, can be successfully reversed through the application of a sound nutritional approach and common-sense lifestyle changes. Linus Pauling, dubbed the father of Vitamin C, sensibly promoted the benefits of consuming high doses Vitamin C in the prevention of and battle against cancer.

Half-Truths and Lies

So why aren’t we hearing about these natural treatment successes? Why aren’t they being heralded across the world? The answer is money.

Despite the multitudinous successes in cancer regression through nutrition, and through extensive application of vital elements such as Vitamin C, Vitamin B17, pancreatic enzymes and other co-factors, Big Pharma is doing all it can to silence these success stories. To have it become widely known that cancer can be successfully treated without toxic and profitable pharmaceuticals would be catastrophic for its business.

Who would continue to purchase these products? What would the Siemens, Glaxo and Upjohn shareholders have to say about that? To their shame, vested interests are keeping well-proven, non-toxic cancer treatments from the public domain. This is why, under ‘cancer treatments’ the UPHS website says this of vitamin B17:

“Several patients displayed symptoms of cyanide poisoning, including muscle weakness and impaired reflexes, or had life-threatening levels of cyanide in their blood. (Laetrile can release cyanide, which is a highly toxic chemical.) The researchers concluded that Laetrile is not effective as a cancer treatment and is harmful in some cases.”

But now read this contrary extract from a radio talk show, featured in Phillip Day’s Cancer, Why We Are Still Dying To Know The Truth:

Radio host Laurie Lee: “So this is verified, that laetrile [B17] can have this positive effect?” Dr Ralph Moss: “We were finding this and yet, we in Public Affairs were told to issue statements to the exact opposite of what we were finding scientifically.”

At the time, Ralph Moss was former Assistant Director of Public Relations at Memorial Sloan Kettering, NY, a leading American conventional cancer research facility.

Of course Laetrile, or Vitamin B17, is not approved by the FDA, but not because it isn’t beneficial ­ it is, as the links provided at the bottom of this report will demonstrate. No, Vitamin B17 has not approved by the FDA simply because the FDA have been leaned on.

That’s the way it goes in the self-preserving, self-serving, conventional cancer business. To put it bluntly, biddable FDA officials are only a phone call and a golfing lunch away from the NCI and the NIH. A classic example of these conflicts of interests and double standards can be appreciated when one learns that sodium fluoride is also not approved by the FDA due to its toxicity, and yet drug giant Proctor and Gamble and others can market the stuff in their toothpastes with complete impunity.

The UPHS statement on Laetrile is a fabrication. Such is the wealth of evidence overturning the conventional stance on Laetrile and Vitamin C, that one can only assume the UPHS statement falls into the following category:

False Scientific Research Endangering the Public

Doctors are fabricating research results to win grants and advance their careers, but the medical establishment is failing to protect the public from the menace of these scientific frauds, a committee of medical editors said yesterday. Eighty cases of fraudulent research have been detected in the past four years, and 30 have been investigated in the past year. In some cases, institutions have covered up wrongdoing to protect reputations..

The Nub of It

In an effort to subvert this mass-awakening to the horrors of conventional cancer treatments, a devious attack on all genuinely beneficial, natural (and therefore un-patentable) anti-cancer products is now being waged by a rather worried conventional cancer establishment The ever-so-gentle slur on our most vital of vitamins, namely Vitamin C, will soon be extended to a wide range of essential minerals and vitamins.

This is just the beginning of the subtle, but concerted attack. The latest conventional legislation surrounding the codifying and banning of efficacious natural treatments is being instituted, purely because there is no money in it for Big Pharma. It is profit before human health, but couched in respectable-looking, ‘sciency’ reports. And this veneer of respectability is fooling the unsuspecting minions lower down the UPHS research chain.


The two UPHS officials I spoke to regarding Dr Blair’s Vitamin C report were extremely pleasant, open and helpful and displayed no intention to supply misleading information. But both persons were entirely locked into their superiors’ way of thinking.

Media Relations officer Olivia Fermano was curious as to my interest into who funded the Vitamin C report. When I pointed out that if Dr Blair’s funding could be traced to a pharmaceutical company producing conventional cancer treatments, then the results would have to be very seriously questioned, Ms Fermano was genuinely supportive.

“My goodness! That is a good question. I will be right back to you.” Her word-for-word courteous reply, some two minutes later was as follows: “You had me genuinely worried for a few minutes there, sir. But I am pleased to tell you that our funding came directly from the National Institutes for Health itself. I am so relieved.” Ho Hum.

Similarly, Dr Garret Fitzgerald, chair of UPHS Center for Cancer Pharmacy Department stated: “The evidence supporting Vitamin C as a useful adjunct in cancer treatment ranges from scant to non-existent. Linus Pauling’s work was framed around a tenuous hypothesis only.”

Whilst the courtesy displayed by Ms Fermano and Dr Fitzgerald is commendable, their naivety is the result of them both working in a commercially cocooned workplace, purposefully insulated from the many success stories attributed to non-toxic, metabolic cancer treatments, and from the amazing health benefits accrued from consuming a lot more Vitamin C than the FDA’s recommended daily intake of a miserable 60 mg ­ barely enough to keep one out of rags and scurvy.

Long live Vitamin C and let’s have even more of it! For a more in-depth study of the conventional cancer industry, and of the very good news concerning alternative cancer treatments, readers are encouraged to visit and take the cancer tour.

The above was extracted form the following health letter:


This is a terrific followup to the article that I posted on vitamin C a few weeks ago. It reviews some of the politics involved with this issue.

It was written by Phillip Day, who has written a number of interesting books. Phillip was kind enough to send me a few of his books
Cancer, Why We are Still Dying to Know the Truth
World Without AIDS
Health Wars

My schedule has not provided time to read these yet, but I have been quite impressed with his content and I am looking forward to reviewing them as we both seem to be on the same page.

Phillip was even kind enough to mention me a few times in his last book.

©Copyright 1997-2001 by Joseph M. Mercola, DO.

Before my article, here is a response to the Univ. of Pennsylvania attack on Vitamin C:  it comes from the Vitamin C Foundation.  (


Let us remember that this study is a test tube experiment. The study does not describe biochemistry or biology, and its relevance to reactions occurring in cells and tissues of the human body is unknown. Many reactions of vitamin C occur in vitro (in the test tube) that will not and cannot occur in vivo (in the living organism).


Because the physiological environment of the cell and the body contains thousands of substances that also react with vitamin C and rancid fats thus derailing the chemistry observed in a test tube system.

Rancid fats don’t just wait around in vivo to bump into a vitamin C molecule, but instead are very rapidly reduced to harmless “alcohols” by a number of enzymes.

Thus, the reaction rate of rancid fats with these enzymes compared to the reaction rate of the rancid fats with vitamin C is of crucial importance and this was not measured in the Science study.

From what we know from the study, incubations were done for two hours, an eternity in biochemical terms. Enzymatic reactions as those indicated above to reduce rancid fats to harmless alcohols that do not react with vitamin C usually take a fraction of a second, not two hours!

It is interesting to note that vitamin C effectively inhibits the formation of rancid fats in the first place. Thus, when your blood is exposed to oxidizing conditions, vitamin C forms the first line of antioxidant defense, and no lipid rancid fats are formed.

Rancid fats begin to form only after vitamin C has been exhausted. Thus, in these experiments rancid fats and vitamin C did not exist simultaneously in blood, and thus never had the opportunity to react with each other.

What’s more, the Science study used a concentration of rancid fats which in biochemical terms was “a ton.” Studies have shown that, in blood, rancid fats exist in concentrations which are 10,000-fold lower than what was used in the Science experiment. Again, this casts serious doubt on the relevance of these results for living organisms.

To conclude from this study that vitamin C causes cancer would be as preposterous as to say that we have found a cure for cancer based on a simple test tube experiment.

In fact, many animal studies and cell culture experiments have demonstrated anticancer effects of vitamin C, and the vitamin has been used therapeutically in human cancer patients with some apparent benefit.

Abstracted from Linus Pauling Institute Release

Vitamin C Attacks Continue

Who is behind these attacks
Linus Pauling Institute Attacks Vitamin C!
Again we are faced with a major media attack before any paper is published. According to Ralph Moss in his book Antioxidants Against Cancer, the authors of the last “Vitamin C Causes DNA Damage” paper retracted their findings. This retraction was never reported.

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.

If you doubt the impact of vitamin C on medical 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. This was an enormous economic loss for the segments of our society that make money from heart disease.

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.

Jon Campbell

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.

Knowledge of Health, Inc.
457 West Allen Avenue #117 San Dimas, California 91773
Telephone: 909.861.3454 Fax: 909.861.3442 Email:

For Immediate Release 6.16.2001 Contact: Bill Sardi 909.861.3454


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

FROM: Bill Sardi
Knowledge of Health, Inc.
Independent health journalist
Diamond Bar, California

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]

Any cub reporter could have found these reports in just 30 minutes on Medline. Why weren’t reports like these incorporated into your report? In light of these scientific studies, would you call your report fair and balanced?
Shame on the Linus Pauling Institute

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.


“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 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:
For 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

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

FROM: Bill Sardi
Health reporters, Nutrition Science News
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, 2×2 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.

Vitamin C Saved 250,000 lives last year

Find the recommended supplements here

The Vitamin C Foundation. (

 Vitamin C content of Fruits (

A Vitamin C Flush  – calibrating your level (

Related articles you may find interesting: