Reidsville, North Carolina
From The Journal of Applied Nutrition, Volume 6, 1953, pp. 274-278
On the 11th of December 1621 Edward
Winslow, 1 one of the Pilgrim Fathers, writing to a friend in England who
was about to make the trip to the new world gave this advice:—“Bring juice of
lemons; and take it fasting. It is of good use.” Three hundred and eleven years
later, 1932, and also in December, Waugh
and King 2 found that this “important” lemon juice contained
a six carbon chain acid which is now known as vitamin C. Ascorbic acid is related to the
hexuronic acids which in turn are derivatives of the simple sugars (Youmans
1941 3). The value of this vitamin as an essential factor for life is
universally known and accepted. The importance of vitamin C as an antibiotic and as the
pre-cursor of antibody formation lack scientific appreciation because of its simplicity,
and because of the reluctance on the part of the medical profession to employ it in
massive doses administered like other antibiotics—around the clock. Allergy has
become a major problem since the advent of the mold-derived drugs. Hippocrates did declare
that the highest duty of medicine to be to get the patient well. He further declared that,
of several remedies physicians should choose the least sensational.
To understand the antagonistic properties of vitamin C against the virus bodies and
also against the chemical ferments of micro-organisms—the toxins and exotoxins, one
must go beyond its present academic status as a factor essential for life. A striking
phenomena of vitamin C is the similarity of response either to correct pathology due to a
deficiency of this compound, or to correct the pathology caused by the action of the virus
bodies and other similar toxins and ferments. Within a few hours after adequate vitamin C
therapy is instituted by needle one will find in the deficiency syndrome that
fibroblasts are beginning to form normal connective tissue and that capillary buds are
invading blood clots and other types of hemorrhagic areas (Youmans
1941 3). Likewise when employed as an antibiotic definite clinical response
is made evident by a climbing white blood count, drop in fever and general all around
improvement of the patient within the same time schedule.
For many years it has been the accepted thought of the medical world that the forcing
of citrus fruit juice in infections of the chest and upper respiratory areas, particularly
by virus bodies, was valuable in that it produced alkalinity of the body fluids by way of
its residue, the alkaline ash. This premise held that in this alkaline state greater
phagocytic possibilities was allowed the leukocytes in destroying bacteria. This theory,
although correct for the usual bacterial flora, was never too plausible for virus diseases
since a leukopenia rather than a leukocytosis exist in these conditions. In the 1948
poliomyelitis epidemic in North Carolina we observed a greater
response to vitamin C given by mouth when rutin was added. 2 The alkaline
ash here serving as a barrier to the loss of vitamin C by way of the kidneys. Vitamin C is
excreted by glomerular filtration and is resorbed by the tubules. There is a maximum rate
at which the tubules can resorb, so it is real economy to keep the urine alkaline. Hawley
and her associates (1936 4) reported that the quantity of
vitamin C excreted may be varied by merely changing the acid-base balance of the food
(Early Clinical Usage of Vitamin C)
Our interest with vitamin C against the virus organism began ten years ago in a modest
rural home. Here a patient who was receiving symptomatic treatment for virus pneumonia had
suddenly developed cyanosis. He refused hospitalization for supportive oxygen therapy.
X-Ray had been considered because of its dubious value and because the nearest department
equipped to give such treatment was 69 miles distant. Two grams of vitamin C was given
intramuscularly with the hope that the anaerobic condition existing in the tissues would
be relieved by the catalytic action of vitamin C acting as a gas transport aid in cellular
respiration. This was an old idea; the important factor being that it worked. Within 30
minutes after giving the drug (which was carried in my medical bag for the treatment of
diarrhea in children) the characteristic breathing and slate-like color had cleared.
Returning six hours later, at eight in the evening, the patient was found sitting over the
edge of his bed enjoying a late dinner. Strangely enough his fever was three degrees less
than it was at 2 P.M. that same afternoon. This sudden change in the condition of the
patient led us to suspect that vitamin C was playing a role of far greater significance
than that of a simple respiratory catalyst. A second injection of one gram of vitamin C
was administered, by the same route, on this visit and then subsequently at six hour
intervals for the next three days. This patient was clinically well after 36 hours of
chemotherapy. From this casual observation we have been able to assemble sufficient
clinical evidence that prove unequivocally that vitamin C is the antibiotic of choice in
the handling of all types of virus diseases. Furthermore it is a major adjuvant in the
treatment of at other infectious diseases.
This experimental “strike” on vitamin C as an antibiotic opened a new avenue
of approach to the problem of dealing with the virus bodies. With a great deal of
enthusiasm we decided to try its effectiveness with all of the childhood diseases. Measles
was singled out more so than the others because of the knowledge that it was a small virus
like the one causing poliomyelitis. It was reasonable to assume that if measles could be
controlled then Poliomyelitis, too, would have a drug that could prevent as well as cure
the disease. The use of vitamin C in measles proved to be medical curiosity. For the first
time a virus infection could be handled as if it were a dog on a leash. In the Spring of
1948 measles was running in epidemic proportions in this section of the country. Our first
act, then, was to have our own little daughters play with children known to be in the
“contagious phase.” When the syndrome of fever redness of the eyes and throat,
catarrh, spasmodic bronchial cough and Koplik spots had developed and the children were
obviously sick, vitamin C was started.
In this experiment it was found that 1000mg every four hours, by mouth, would modify
the attack. Smaller doses allowed the disease to progress. When 1000mg was given every two
hours all evidence of the infection cleared in 48 hours. If the drug was then discontinued
for a similar period (48 hours) the above syndrome returned. We observed this of and on
picture for thirty days at which time the drug (vitamin C) was given 1000 mg every 2 hours
around the clock for four days. This time the picture cleared and did not return. These
little girls did not develop the measles rash during the above experiment and although
exposed many times since still maintain this “immunity.” Late cases were given
the vitamin by needle. The results proved to be even more dramatic. Given by injection the
same complete control of the measles syndrome was in evidence a 24 and 36 hour periods,
depending entirely on the amount employed and the frequency of the administration.
Aborting of these cases before the development of the rash apparently gives no
interference to the development of immunity. Recent progress on the rapidity of growth (a
development) of the virus bodies by means of the electronic microscope makes intelligent
the failure experienced by earlier workers when employing vitamin C on the virus organism
(or bodies). Unless the virus is completely destroyed, as demonstrated in the experiments
with the virus using measles, the infection will again manifest itself after a short
incubation period. Small, single daily doses do not even modify the course of the
(Review of the Literature)
From a review of the literature one can safely state that in all instances of
experimental work with ascorbic acid on the virus organism, in experimental animals, the
amount of virus used was far beyond the range of the administered dose of this vitamin. It
is timely to note here that all of our research with vitamin C on the virus was done,
using MAN as the experimental animal. This makes an important difference. For example the
signs of acute and chronic vitamin C deficiencies in the monkey are DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT
than in man. This may partially explain the difference observed in experimentally produced
and spontaneous scurvy in man. (Shaw
et al. l945 5). This would seem to disprove the opinion of Thomas M. Rivers
(1941 6) when he writes, “On the other hand, a few investigators
(Heaslip, McCormick, Stern, Tebbutt & Helms) have recorded what might be considered
very poor evidence, obtained by observations on human beings, that vitamin C deficiencies
play a role in susceptibility to poliomyelitis. ” The accuracy of Rivers’
evaluation of these works relating these observations seems questionable when he states (1941 6)
that Sabin (1939 7
) definitely demonstrated that Jungeblut’s
(1937 8, 9)
claim that Vitamin C deficiency increases the susceptibility of the experimental animals
to infantile paralysis is not valid. Jungeblut (1937
9) stated that the parenteral administration of natural vitamin C during
the incubation period of poliomyelitis in monkeys is always followed by a distinct change
in the severity of the disease; that after the fifth day of the disease LARGER doses are
required. He realized, at that early date, that for fast progressing infection such as
results from the R.M. strain, very large doses must be given; for the Aycock virus with
its slower infection potential small amounts of vitamin C would suffice. During the 1948
Polio epidemic North Carolina it was our humble privilege to observe and report (1949 10)
that a “period of septicemia did exist in the first few days of poliomyelitis.”
It was our impression that time that the virus multiplied on a living tissue, the blood,
and that the time to destroy the virus was during this “incubation period” which
varies more with the virus strain, its virulence and power of multiplication than with the
size of the initial dose. Bodian
and Horstmann (1952 11) confirmed our observation of the existence of
a viremia phase in poliomyelitis, demonstrating that the virus was freely present in the
blood of chimpanzees during the preparalytic period of the disease.
One of the most unfortunate mistakes in all of the research on poliomyelitis was Sabin’s
UN-SCIENTIFIC attempt to confirm Jungeblut’s work with
vitamin C against the Polio virus in monkeys. Jungeblut in infecting his rhesus monkeys
used the mild “droplet method” and then administered vitamin C by needle in
varying amounts up 400 mgm/day. Even this method did not give him absolute control over
the degree of infection that would result. However, his antibiotic (vitamin C) remained
relatively constant. With almost infinitesimal amounts, as we at present recognize, he was
able to demonstrate in one series that the non-paralytic survivors was six times as great
as in the controls. On the other hand, Sabin, in infecting his monkeys did not follow the
procedure given by Jungeblut whose experiments he was attempting to repeat, but instead
employed a more forceful method of inoculation which obviously resulted in sickness of
maximum severity. Sabin further refused to follow Jungeblut’s suggestion as to the
dose of vitamin C to be used. By Sabin’s actual report the amount given was rarely
more than 35 per cent of that used by his associate. Sabin makes this significant
statement (1939 7),
“One monkey was given 400 mgm of vitamin C for one day at the suggestion of Jungeblut
who felt that large doses was necessary to effect a change in the course of the disease.”
Yet on the basis of Sabin’s work the negative value of vitamin C in the
treatment of virus diseases has been for years accepted as final.
For some unexplained reason vitamin C has been “tied up” with scurvy to the
exclusion of its many other functions. Those who would have us believe that this vitamin
serves no other purposes argue that there is no evidence to substantiate the claim that
malnutrition plays a definite role in susceptibility to the virus infections. We are
invited to read what Aycock wrote in 1937 concerning “the tendency of poliomyelitis
to occur in children who are large, healthy, and well nourished.” What is important
we are not told. Of course, Polio, like any other childhood disease, is not dependent on
specific personalities or certain constitutional types. The real reason for it developing
and doing so in varying degrees is due to some other cause. Surely measles doesn’t
limit its attack to the frail, unstable child or adult.
The exact incidence of vitamin C deficiency is unknown. No accurate way of determining
whether a deficiency of vitamin C exists in the body tissues has been developed (Thewlis
Clinic 1953 12). There is increasing evidence to indicate
that a relatively large number of persons have hypovitaminosis C (Vitamin C deficiencies)
and that these include individuals whose diets are generally considered satisfactory (Youmans
1953 3). The National Research Council recommends 75 mgm./day as the
minimum requirement (1945). This is only a measure of the amount necessary to prevent
gross disease and is not a measure of the amount needed to maintain good health. Kline
and Eheart (1944 13) reported wide variations in the need for vitamin
C in normal individuals. Jolliffe
(1945 14) suggested that the optimum requirements may actually
be ten or more times the recommended minimum daily requirements. Under certain conditions
1000 mg. to 3000 mg. per day were found by Kyhos
et a1 (1945 15) to be necessary to keep the body saturated.
There is a wide individual variation in the renal threshold for vitamin C. Many patients
receive as much as 1500 mg. of vitamin C per day without significant urinary loss (Shaw
l945 5). All of us have witnessed “nose bleed” in certain
children sick with measles who prior to taking the disease were apparently healthy.
Epitaxis (nose bleed) is one of the signs of scurvy. Is this true scurvy? Crandon
(1940 16) states that scurvy develops slowly in man. He found
the vitamin C level of the blood plasma to be zero for 90 days before there was frank
clinical evidence and that this was as long as 132 days before the first signs appeared.
He reported that 1000 mg. of vitamin C was given daily for two weeks to clear skin
petechiae. I have, many times, stopped nose bleed in children, sick with measles, with one
single dose of 2 gms. Vit. C.
(1945 17) reported that many conditions may be present in the
body that call for a greater supply of vitamin C. He lists fever, infection, physical
stress, gastrointestinal disorders, diarrhea, anorexia, and vomiting along with many
others. It is of more than academic interest to observe that all of the above listed
conditions are usually found in severe cases of poliomyelitis. One wonders whether or not
these are manifestations of vitamin C deficiencies or true findings of the Polio syndrome.
Certainly we do see several, if not all, of these symptoms associated with other childhood
diseases. We have also found that like epitaxis all of the above mentioned conditions can
be relieved with one or two injections of vitamin C, the amount ranging from one to four
grams depending on the age of the patient. These manifestations represent acute vitamin C
loss and is Nature’s way to ask for help. There exists a possible avenue of escape
from this clinical pattern and that is to watch for the sign post that reveal pre-existing
chronic vitamin C deficiencies. Shaw
(1945 5) states that food deposits on our teeth and dental tartar
represents this condition. People who find that they are counted in this group should
supplement their diet with at least two grams of vitamin C each day, or drink not less
than three, 200 c.c. size, glasses of orange juice for the same period.
To support our findings that massive doses of vitamin C is a potent antibiotic several
case histories follow:—
Case I—Measles in a ten-months-old baby. The infant had a fever of 105(R) F,
redness of eyes and throat, catarrh, spasmodic bronchial cough and Koplik spots. 1000 mg.
of vitamin C was given intramuscularly every four hours. After 12 hours the fever was 97.6
(R) F., the conjunctivitis and red throat had cleared, there was no cough. The sudden drop
in the fever curve was thought to be explainable on one of three grounds: 1) Common night
drop. 2) Due to the antibiotic action of vitamin C. 3) Even if the vitamin C injections
had been continued, a moderate rise might have occurred in the late afternoon of the
second day, granting a highly virulent organism and a poorly resisting host. To determine
which of these deductions was valid, vitamin C was discontinued for a period of eight
hours. At this point the rectal temperature reading was 103.4 F. Vitamin C therapy was
resumed and instead of the expected 8 P.M. climb, the fever was down to 99.2 (R) –The
1000 mg. injections were continued as before, the baby made an uneventful recovery and was
discharged 60 hours following hospital admission. No measles rash developed. Four years
have now elapsed and there has been no measles.
Case II—A case of virus pneumonia with typical consolidation of an entire lung
field. Patient colored female, age 28. Relative gave history of chills, fever, head and
chest cold for past 14 days. In stupor when first seen, eye lids closed, a white foam at
the mouth which she periodically tried to spit out. Fever by axilla 106.8 (corrected).
Dehydration was much in evidence, breath sounds diminished to absent, tactile fremitus
increased over the entire right side. The sulfa drugs, penicillin and streptomycin with
supportive treatment had been exhausted by the referring physician. Four grains of vitamin
C was given intravenously along with 1000 c.c. dextrose 5 in saline solution. Temperature
dropped to 100 (Ax.) corrected within eleven hours. Four hours later, vitamin C was
resumed, the dose ranging from 2 to 4 grams every two to three hours depending upon the
response. After 72 hours the patient was awake, sitting up in bed and taking fluids freely
by mouth. There was no fever at this time, nor for the remainder of the, time in hospital.
Vitamin C was continued for two weeks; the frequency was cut to every 12 hours, two grams
at a dose. The rational of this continued use of vitamin C was to assist the body to clear
up the debris in the right lung field. Although the patient was clinically recovered, it
required three months to clear the lung by X-ray. In this Nature was merely duplicating a
stage in the metamorphosis of the frog in getting rid of its tadpole tail.
Case III—A case of encephalitis following measles and mumps. This was a lad of
eight years first seen with a fever of 104 F. He was lethargic, very irritable when
molested as in simple physical examination. His mother said he had gradually developed his
present clinical picture over the preceding four or five days. His first symptom was
anorexia which became complete 36 hours before his first visit. He next complained of a
generalized headache, later he became stuporous. Although very athletic and active, he
voluntarily took to his bed. He was given 2000 mg. of vitamin C intravenously and allowed
to return home because there was no available hospital accommodations. His mother was
asked to make an hourly memorandum of his conduct until his visit set for the following
day. Seen 18 hours after the initial injection of vitamin C, the memorandum revealed a
quick response to the antibiotic — after two hours he asked for food and ate a hearty
supper, then played about the house as usual and then, for several hours, he appeared to
have completely recovered. Six hours following the initial injection, he began to revert
to the condition of his first visit. When seen the second time temperature was 101.6 F, he
was sleepy but he would respond to questions. The rude irritability shown prior to the
first injection of vitamin C was strikingly absent. A second injection of 2000 mg. was
given intravenously and 1000 mg. of “C” prescribed every two hours by
mouth. The next day he was fever- and symptom-free. As a precautionary measure a third
2000 mg. was given with directions to continue the drug by mouth for at least 48 hours He
has experienced no residual cerebral pathology a determined by examination five years
following this episode. (Similar cases seen in the interim have shown more dramatic
response when the drug was given by needle every two to four hours.)
Case IV—POLIOMYELITIS. A boy of eight years was brought to my office with a
history of having had “flu” for a period of one week. Four days before this
office visit he developed photophobia, conjunctivitis, sore throat back-of-the-eyes type
headache, nausea and vomiting. The headache was of such intensity that adult doses of
aspirin given by his mother had no effect. While on the examining table the boy was either
rubbing his neck or the left side or holding his head between his hands, begging for
something to relieve his pain. The fever was 104.x (Ax.) F. He was tender in the lumbar
region and he has a drawing sensation referred to the hamstring attachment at the left
knee. Two grams (2000 mg.) of vitamin C was given intravenously while in the office. He
was sent to the local hospital where he received, promptly, a second injection of 2 grams
of the vitamin, after which it was given every four hours. Six hours after commencing
therapy the neck pain was gone, the headache completely relieved (he did not receive pain
relieving medication), he could tolerate the ceiling light, his eyes were dry and the
redness was definitely clearing. Nausea and vomiting had disappeared, the fever was down
to 100.6 (Ax.) F., and he was sitting up in “a straight positioned bed” in a
jovial mood while he drank a glass of limeade. He was discharged from the hospital after
receiving 26 grams of vitamin C in 48-hour period, clinically well. Vitamin C was
continued by mouth, 1500 mg. every two hours taken with citrus fruit juice. This schedule
was followed for one week after which time a change was made to Vitamin B1, 25
mg. before meals and bed hour. Vitamin B1 was given in view of McCormick’s
(1938-1939 18) theory that inflammatory and degenerative
diseases of the nervous system [are] due to an avitaminosis of this particular vitamin.
Vitamin B1 in these cases should be continued for a period of at least three
months as nerve tissue is slow in recovering from even mild damage.
(Taking Vitamin C)
The amount of vitamin C for optimum effect will vary greatly with the individual. The
type of the disease and the degree of toxemia (or viremia) are important guides in
determining the dosage. Although the usual dose of vitamin C is calculated on the basis of
65 mg. per Kg. of body weight, and given every two to four hours by needle, under certain
conditions larger single injections can be use to good advantage. In using “C”
as an adjuvant in the treatment of infections caused by the more common bacteria the
single 250 mgm. per Kg. of body weight injection behaves like other synergistic drug
combinations. Likewise when treating an upper respiratory infection, this one single
massive “shot” will precipitate the pathology. A report from the Thewlis
Clinic (1953 12) is interesting in this respect:—“Upper
respiratory tract infections may severely tax the vitamin C reserve. It is usually during
or following a cold that patients have epitaxis or cough up blood streaked sputum. Local
inflammation and depletion of vitamin C may be responsible for this hemorrhagic
tendency. On numerous occasions, we have observed a dramatic alleviation of symptoms of a
upper respiratory tract infection after an injection of 500 mgm. of ascorbic acid (vitamin
Vitamin C response when taken by mouth is not predictable. Wright
and Lilienfeld (1936 19) reported that the scorbutic state
could develop even though the patient was taking large doses of vitamin C by mouth. In the
opinion of Musser
(1945 20) poor absorption and equally poor storage are cardinal
factors in leading to vitamin C deficiencies. It was our privilege to observe this
mechanism in one of our daughters several years ago. She had contracted chicken-pox.
Vitamin C was started on this child when the macules first put in their appearance. In
spite of the fact that she was given 24 grams every 24 hours there was no interruption in
the progress of the disease. Itching was intense. One gram administered intravenously
stopped the itch within 30 minutes and she went on to peaceful sleep for the next eight
hours. Although feeling fine, a second injection was given at this time, following which
there were no new macules and recovery was fast and uneventful. In the past few years we
have noted that in chicken-pox when massive injections are employed there [are] no
repeating waves of macules, and the usual seven to nine days required for crusting is
reduced to less than twenty-four hours. Large doses parenterally are effective when oral
administration fails (Youmans
It is not uncommon to find a patient sick with a virus disease that is also being
subjected to the effects of the toxins of a “secondary invader.” This problem of
mixed infection is usually found in virus pneumonia and infectious mumps. The mouth, nose
and naso-pharynx represent “living space” for many micro-organisms. Therefore it
is possible to have parotitis secondary to buccal surgery without virus contamination, but
it is never possible to have infectious parotitis (mumps caused by the virus organism)
without secondary invading pathogenic organisms. In treating virus pneumonia and “Virus”
mumps it is necessary either to give one or two injections of penicillin long with the
vitamin C or comparable sulfa therapy. In one case of mumps it would seem from an academic
point of view that Aureomycin would serve this purpose better since it does have
antibiotic possibilities with the large virus organisms. The antibiotic power of
vitamin C can also be augmented by other biochemical fractions. One of these is a
colloidal solution of denatured proteolytic enzyme called “PROTAMIDE.”
In Herpes Simplex and Herpes zoster this “enzyme” proved to be of definite
value, and in Herpes Zoster (Shingles) did influence the dorsal nerve root pain. Of course
it is common knowledge that vitamin C, especially when injected intramuscularly,
possesses these same anti-neuritic properties. Vitamin C, itself, can also called a “cousin”
of the proteolytic enzymes. This suggested that vitamin C and protamide should be used at
he same time. The clinical results justified this assumption. Cures were obtained in from
one to three days. Vitamin C was given as usual, but protamide was limited to one ampoule
per day. The same “improved” results were obtained in influenza and definite
synergistic action was seen in one case of poliomyelitis in a boy of ten years. Calcium,
too, is a good adjuvant especially in treating influenza. In vivo calcium duplicates the
chemical behavior of vitamin C in many respects. Whether the virus has some destructive
influence over the calcium ions is a mater of debate. From our experience it would seem
that he inclusion of at least one 10 c.c. vial of calcium gluconate or calcium levulinate
in the treating of a virus infection is good therapeutics. Levulinate must be injected at
a slower rate than Gluconate. Calcium gluconate can be injected intramuscularly, in
adults, if veins are at a premium, but it must be placed deep in the gluteal muscle.
Vitamin C and D.C.A. 2 mg. to 5 mg. (the latter once/day) proved to have definite value
against the influenza virus in recent tests.
We reported in 1951 and 1952 that a constant laboratory finding in virus infections was
a positive, qualitative Benedict’s reaction. It is necessary to make a correction of
that finding. This Benedict’s reaction was based on the admission urine specimen of
patients admitted to our local hospital. About six months ago it came to my attention that
this particular urine specimen is collected anytime from the admission of the patient to
the hospital until some 18 hours thereafter. This, obviously, nullifies the laboratory
report since medication given to the patient in the interim could alter the chemical
findings. Vitamin C being a powerful reducing agent could account for some of the Benedict
urine reports. It, therefore, makes void the contention that this laboratory test is an
index when to discontinue the use of vitamin C. The deduction, however, is correct. We
have ascertained during the past six months that this glycosuria ranges from a
quantitative increase over the patient’s normal range, to a qualitative 2 plus. The
majority of severe virus infections will show a strong trace Benedict’s qualitative
reaction. Individual kidney threshold for sugar and/or vitamin C is probably a factor in
the higher readings.
Pathologic changes due to excessive amounts of vitamin C are unknown. Plasma
concentrations twenty times normal have been obtained without any ill effects (Youmans
1941 3). Occasionally there may be a sensitivity to common foods
rich in vitamin C and constitutional idiosyncrasies to ascorbic acid due exist. These
minor complications are Diarrhea, Induration (only when intramuscular injections are given
too close to the surface), Endothelial irritation, Venous thrombosis (only when the
concentration of the solution is 500 mg. per c.c. or greater), Syncope (only in patients
over 50 years of age if the injection is made too rapid), Rash and vulvitis and puritis.
This last factor was seen in ½ of 1% of children given massive therapy of the vitamin by
mouth over a long period of time. Derma medicone ointment will control these symptoms. The
vitamin should be discontinued by mouth, if this occurs, and given by needle. We have
found that a No. 23 G needle Â¾ inch long is ideal for intravenous use and a No. 22 G
needle one inch long for the intramuscular routes. A needle 1½ inches long if the latter
route is employed in adults.
(Dietary Considerations With Vitamin C)
Fortunately vitamin C is a vitamin supplied by Nature in a variety of foods. Foods rich
in vitamin C are citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit), tomatoes,
pineapples, currants, raspberries, strawberries, green vegetables such as peas, beans,
lettuce, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, young cabbage, cauliflower, chard,
collards, kale, parsley, kohlrabi, peppers, squash, turnips, and greens of various kinds.
Milk is only a fair source of vitamin C. Vegetables should be eaten raw when possible;
when this is not feasible they should be cooked in as short a time as possible and in a
small amount of water, which should be boiling before foods are added. Raw cabbage is an
excellent source, but if allowed to stand will rapidly lose its vitamin content. Storage,
processing, cooking and the variability of different samples of fruits are factors of
importance. Storage and handling have relatively little effect on such fruits and
vegetables as oranges and tomatoes if the protective rind and the cell membranes are not
ruptured. Storage, bruising, handling, and crushing of many of the vegetables and fruits
greatly reduce their vitamin C content. This trauma causes the liberation of enzymes
(oxidases) which in the presence of air catalyze the oxidation of ascorbic acid (Kertesz
et al 1936 21; Johnson
et a1 1937 22). This is a rapid reaction and may lead
to complete inactivation of the injured tissue in a few minutes.
Modern cold storage and canning, if properly performed, affect the vitamin C content
relatively little. Even if kept at ice box temperatures, canned foods if allowed to stand
after opening will result in considerable destruction of the vitamin C content. Long
stewing or boiling, cooking in open containers or containers made of copper (the presence
of air and the merest traces of copper lead to complete inactivation often in a few
minutes), over salting and the use of soda all tend to increase the loss of this important
vitamin. The addition of soda to cooking vegetables may produce a better color but will
lead to increased loss of vitamin C. In general, vitamin C is less subject to oxidation in
those fruits and vegetables which are acid. Baked and boiled potatoes are reported (Wood
1935 23) to show only small losses unless overcooked. Fruit jellies
and jams are usually low in vitamin C. Warmed over foods are practically free from this
vitamin. There is a growing tendency to omit foods which have a high ascorbic acid
content. An analysis of the diet of 50 patients was made at the Thewlis
Clinic at Wakefield 12, R. I. Their report showed that 18 per cent
were taking over 500 mg. of vitamin C per week. 10 per cent of the diets contained no
vitamin C. 34 per cent were taking less than 200 mg. per week. Since this vitamin cannot
be supplied from within, and since there is no appreciable store in the body it is little
wonder that we are easy “prey” for the virus and other bacteria.
The requirements of vitamin C depend not only on weight but also on metabolic activity
in which growth plays a large part. Poor hygiene, overcrowding, dampness. cold and
physical work (which includes play) favor the development of a shortage. The relatively
small store of ascorbic acid maintained by the body even under good conditions, the
relatively narrow margin between health and pathological changes and the evidence of a
considerable incidence of hypovitaminosis C combine to emphasize the importance of
prevention by an adequate dietary. Parents must learn that commercial orange drinks which
do not contain freshly prepared orange juice are practically free from ascorbic acid. The
trend must be away from the carbonated soft drinks and back to the “old fashion”
days of citrus fruit juices. If parents will make their children drink as many glasses of
citrus fruit juice each day as they now allow them bottle’s of carbonated drinks,
Polio and disease in general will rapidly assume a less important role in our lives.
Vitamin C possesses abilities which are characterized by its capacity to antagonize
many of the pharmacological effects of histamine. It should be employed with the
antihistamine drugs in all allergic states. It is because of this factor that it serves so
well in the treatment of acute rheumatic fever. Aside from this and the virus diseases it
is of tremendous value in all diseases in which an exotoxin is produced. It also has a
specificity for SNAKE BITE except for the cobra and the coral. It neutralizes all
exotoxins. It is directly concerned with antibody formation and this in turn leads to an
increase in gamma globulin of the blood serum. It joins with the virus to form a new
compound which is destroyed by oxidation. It makes all body cells more permeable which
allows entrance of immune factors otherwise denied. It prevents or lessens tissue damage.
It serves as a hydrogen transport in cellular respiration. It functions as a dehydrator
and diuretic. It is the KEY to good health. Don’t lose THIS key for it might lock or
unlock your life.
Paper presented at AAN Convention, May 1953, Pasadena, California.
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IMPORTANT: Information provided is intended for educational purposes and is not intended to be medical advice nor offered as a prescription, diagnosis or treatment for any disease, illness, infirmity or physical condition. Always consult your own medical provider about your health and medical questions before making any health related decision. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration.