Ascorbic Acid Mixture
Ascorbic Acid Mixture
An effective immune stimulant which is pharmacologically and therapeutically distinguishable from vitamin C
The history of vitamin C and its relationship to cancer treatment is of critical importance to understanding and appreciating the intriguing potential of this preparation. In the early 1970′s, Linus Pauling, Ph.D., a Nobel Prize winner in chemistry for his insights into the nature of the chemical bond, had a personal health problem. At the age of 68, Pauling, a tall thin individual, was experiencing a noticeable increase in the frequency and severity of viral illnesses.
At an American Chemical Society meeting, Pauling discussed this personal problem with Dr. Irving Stone, a fellow chemist who synthesized vitamin C. Dr. Stone’s advice to Pauling: take lots of vitamin C and see if you don’t get better. Pauling followed Stone’s advice and experienced a sufficiently unequivocal improvement in his health to strongly believe vitamin C could improve immune function. Pauling, after the fashion of the brilliant investigative mentality that he was, studied the world literature on how vitamin C might influence viral illnesses, concluding that it might be able to reduce cancer risk or treat existing cancer. A clinical test using patients was needed.
Pauling was able to develop a collaborative association with Scottish surgeon, Dr. Ewan Cameron. Dr. Cameron, a physician in rural Scotland at the Vale of Leven Hospital, Loch Lomondside, often diagnosed cancer in patients, but his next step in the socialized Scottish system was to schedule the patients for triage to the regional cancer hospital. But delays to acceptance were typically months, and patients historically were untreated during this protracted delay. Cameron decided to place diagnosed cancer patients on vitamin C rather than do nothing. Dr. Cameron is no longer living, but Dr. Smith had long discussions with him while he was still in Scotland and after he became Medical Director of the Linus Pauling Institute, Menlo Park, CA.
Dr. Pauling had suggested to Dr. Cameron that 10 grams of vitamin C daily was a good dose for an initial clinical trial. Dr. Cameron, however, found that patients balked at the 10 large tablets required and often failed to take the recommended dose due to the sheer bulk of medicine. Cameron went to his pharmacist for advice.
The pharmacist suggested a liquid preparation as possibly more acceptable. Conversion of the vitamin C, also known chemically as ascorbic acid, to a non-sour liquid was accomplished by adding baking soda. A form of sugar, sorbitol, was added as a preservative and as a sweetener. A flavor, cherry syrup, was added. Dr. Cameron’s patients in rural Scotland were sent back home with a several week supply of the ascorbic acid mixture which was typically dispensed in two brown one liter bottles. Refrigeration was recommended. The clinical trial was initiated.
Dr. Cameron reported dramatic improvements in median cancer survival. In addition to much longer survival, some patients experienced protracted remissions – there were survival plateaus observed in cancers which had been uniformly fatal. Cameron reported his results in the medical literature to a very skeptical and critical audience. Many physicians believed that an assertion that vitamins could treat cancer was ridiculous, and Cameron and Pauling were both subjected to harsh criticism.
A physician at the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Charles Moertel, then reported a clinical trial in cancer patients which was purportedly designed to confirm or refute Cameron’s claims of cancer patient benefit from vitamin C. Moertel took advanced cancer patients, many with advanced colon cancer who had failed chemotherapy, and subjected them to a randomized clinical trial. Patients either received one gram of vitamin C three times daily in the dry state, or patients received a look-alike placebo to use as a comparison. The results: no improvement in survival. Moertel wrote a prominent paper for the literature which asserted vitamin C was useless in advanced cancer patients.
But no one has ever reported an effort to repeat Dr. Cameron’s methodology. At the Mississipi Baptist Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi, in the late 1970′s and early 80′s Dr. Smith carefully prepared the vitamin C in the fashion described by the Vale of Levan pharmacist. The large median survival increase described by Cameron was not confirmed, but a significantly increased number of late survivors was clearly apparent. Vitamin C in irradiated cancer patients not receiving chemotherapy appeared to be of limited but clear benefit.
We now know now that vitamin C is chemically unstable in water-based (aqueous) solutions and progressively undergoes oxidative change. A theory integrating these facts was created, tested, and confirmed by clinical research at Mississippi Baptist Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi by switching to tablet vitamin C and comparing the survival curves of ascorbic acid mixture and tablet vitamin C. Ascorbic acid mixture was superior.
Vitamin C is the most important antioxidant of the body, and is present in the aqueous phase of body tissues in relatively high concentration. Vitamin C is central in an elaborate physiological defense against dangerous chemical entities known as free radicals. Free radicals are produced normally by the controlled breakdown of food substances to create useful forms of stored energy and in many normal physiological processes at the molecular level. Remember, Linus Pauling’s Nobel Prize was for elucidation of the nature of the chemical bond. Pauling knew intuitively that free radicals must be produced by the molecular machinery of life, and that they must be controlled.
Vitamin C (ascorbate), when it stops a free radical, is oxidized to dehydroascorbate.
Dehydroascorbate, under normal circumstances, is converted back into ascorbate by an active enzymatic process (dehydroascorbate reductase) which is central to normal body preservation (homeostasis). Therefore, the presence of progressively increasing concentrations of vitamin C breakdown products simulates major infection or some other major deterioration of normal homeostatic reduction of oxidized vitamin C, which is the method by which vitamin C is restored after losing its ability to absorb a free radical.
Accordingly, it seems quite possible that a rise in oxidation by-products of vitamin C, such as would arise from the employment of ascorbic acid mixture as the pharmacological preparation used to ingest the vitamin C, may have signaled our ancestors for millennia that a serious attack on the vital integrity of the body was in force, and that an immune activation was the appropriate adaptive response.
Pauling, himself, seems to have suspected this hypothesis as representing an integrating theory. Constance Tsao, a researcher at the Pauling Institute, carried out a substantiating experiment under Pauling’s guidance. Four groups of identical mice were given human breast cancer. The diet of each group was different in that one group was given standard food, a second group was given large amounts of vitamin C in food, a third group was given large amounts of vitamin C in drinking water, and the fourth group received food with vitamin C and copper salts, copper salts being known to markedly accelerate the oxidation of vitamin C. The result: only the aqueous vitamin C was of significant benefit, and the mice receiving copper salt vitamin C lived longer than the rats receiving vitamin C in food, who were not benefitted at all.
In summary, the reports by Cameron may well have been valid, in spite of Moertel’s claims to the contrary. The key to the discrepency lies in the methodology.
But the interpretation of the study’s results may have been wrong. Cameron’s patients may well have benefitted more from the immune stimulating properties of ascorbate breakdown products than from the vitamin C itself.