Vitamin C - are you getting enough?

Vitamin C  - are you getting enough?

A complete review of the many health benefits 

Its only natural

Vitamin C protects against scurvy and heart disease, it is involved in the synthesis of collagen and is vital in the repair and healing of tissues, it increases cholesterol metabolism and can reduce blood levels of saturated fats, it helps gut bacteria work in your favour, reduces aflatoxin B levels in the body, stimulates the production of neurotransmitters, and is essential to the immune system - helping to prevent cancer and other illnesses and in high dose, it can increase cancer survival.

Considering so much detailed research was conducted with this vitamin 70 years ago, it is today one of the most mis-represented, mis-quoted vitamins of all.

A summary on vitamin C and cancer 

Let’s clear up a few of the most common myths with a summary right up front:

  1. There is little evidence that Vitamin C alone can ’cure’ cancer, although there is interesting work in progress from the University of Kansas and the University of Iowa. Go To: The Truth about IVC
  2. High dose Vitamin C used intravenously (IVC) does seem to increase survival times in cancer patients. Go To: A practical Guide to IVC 
  3. Laboratory research from Salford, Manchester has shown that vitamin C has the ability to inhibit and kill cancer stem cells, which lie at the heart of all cancers and currently no drug kills. Go To: Vitamin C inhibits cancer stem cell growth
  4. In research, comparing matched samples of people taking natural orange juice, with others taking synthetic standard vitamin C supplements, the blood of the former showed significant antioxidant power after 4 hours, the latter, nothing.
  5. The main reason for this is that in mass market Vitamin C and multivitamin supplements, the majority use synthetically produced ascorbic acid. It is deficient when compared to the real thing which comes with co-factors such as vitamin P and bioflavonoids like Hesperidin., and also only about 7 per cent of this is actually absorbed into the blood stream. The rest passes straight through you. Vitamin C should always be taken with fat or oil, to increase absorption across the gut wall from 7% to about 85%. Liposomal vitamin C works that way. Go To: Liposomal Vitamin C
  6. Unless you are ill or have your intestinal bacteria levels impaired, you should rarely need to supplement with vitamin C. Fruits and vegetables contain so much. A Rainbow Diet is full of vitamin C containing foods.   Top of the list for vitamin C levels are not oranges but red peppers and berries. Despite this abundance, US research indicates over half the population is deficient. Perhaps most people need to supplement after all.
  7. The daily dose for health recommended by health practitioners is 2-4 gm. Linus Pauling suggested 4 gm. The official RDA is one hundredth of this!
  8. If you are ill, especially with cancer, Pauling believed you needed 10 gm daily
  9. In research, high doses of vitamin C have been shown to work on their own or enhancing chemotherapy. Go to: High dose vitamin C works on its own or with chemo
  10. Smoking, environmental toxins, aspirin, diabetes, HRT, the pill, age and alcohol are all linked to decreased blood levels.

The importance of Vitamin C in health 

Vitamin C, L-ascorbic acid, is so important to your health that a human will die within a few months without it. 

We cannot make it - humans, chimpanzees, fruit bats and guinea pigs are the only mammals that cannot synthesise it. If sufficient of the vitamin is not included in the diet, the feet, hands and gums swell, then the rest of the body. In 1589 these symptoms were defined as ’Skurvie’ and by 1593 Sir Richard Hawkins, desperate because he’d lost 10,000 men, noted that oranges and lemons reversed the disease.

 A human will die within a few months without Vitamin C

His ’oranges and lemons’ cure, though, fell out of favour (costing many more lives) until revived in the mid 1700’s when a surgeon Dr. Lind realised that if men ate two oranges and one lemon a day, within a week they had fully recovered. In 1804 the British Navy ordered lime juice for all its sailors and the nickname "limeys" was born.

By 1911 it was recognised that scurvy was a vitamin deficiency although it was not recognized as vitamin C deficiency until 1928 by the Nobel Prize winner Dr Szent-Gyorgyi.

Vitamin C is water soluble which means you use it or lose it. It has a half life in the body of just two hours, and thus you need to keep taking in supplies. But then, it is all around us in our fruits and vegetables.

Vitamin C for heart health, wound repair and fat control

     * Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and neutralises free-radicals, which damage DNA and cause aging.

     * Vitamin C is important in repair, wound damage and healing. 

     * Vitamin C is important to teeth and bones

     * Vitamin C helps the absorption of iron.

     * Vitamin C is important in the production of collagen, adrenal hormones and carnitine which aids the body burn energy efficiently.

     * Vitamin C is important in heart health and protecting the heart. It makes blood vessels relax, avoiding constrictions, especially in the overweight and obese.

     * Vitamin D inhibits oxidation of LDL (bad) fat and reduces atherosclerosis.

     * Vitamin C improves blood lipid profiles, helping to reduce LDL in favour of HDL.

     * Vitamin C has the ability to control pathogens in the gut.


Synthetic ascorbic acid is not the real thing

Synthetic ascorbic acid is made in laboratories. It is used in products from health foods to fruit juices to KILL bacteria. Unfortunately, it doesn’t discriminate the good from the bad.

Natural vitamin C is L-ascorbic acid, and also contains vitamin P, or bioflavonoids, as we now call them, the one coming in citrus fruits being Hesperidin. This fights inflammation, reduces bad fat levels and reduces insulin resistance by lowering blood glucose levels. 

Other important compounds found in natural vitamin C are Rutin, Factor K, Factor J, Tyrosinase and ascorbinogen.

So synthetic vitamin C is not real vitamin C. Ascorbic acid is just the outer shell of the antioxidant.

RDA of vitamin C

The League of the United Nations recommended that everybody should take 30 mgs per day, the threshold level to prevent scurvy. By 1974 The National Research Council amended this slightly to:

Infants: 35mgs,
Children: 40mgs,
Adults: 45mgs.

However, research shows this is woefully inadequate for sustained good health.

So, how much vitamin C is enough?

Linus Pauling, 2-time Nobel Prize winner, first developed an interest in vitamin C in the 1960’s after meeting Irwin Stone, a biochemist who had been studying the vitamin since the 1930s.

Stone had a view that, since humans were one of only four groups of mammals unable to synthesise vitamin C for themselves, this problem had arisen through genetic deficiency and it was up to us to correct it ourselves! Using studies on rats and extrapolating the results Stone concluded that humans normally needed 1.4 to 4.0gm per day (Hager).

Stone concluded that humans needed 1.4 to 4.0gm per day

Pauling took this work forward with a number of different scientists and doctors.  He noted that animals that do make their own vitamin C make it constantly out of dextrose in the liver or kidney. 

Aspirin and the antibiotic tetracycline increase the rate of destruction of vitamin C in the body. Oestrogen, especially from HRT or the pill, increases excretion in the urine. People with diabetes, people who are stressed, smokers and people who drink lots of alcohol all have lower vitamin C levels. Environmental pollutants can also cause the breakdown of vitamin C in the body.

But the real problem is the recommended level required. The RDA has been set at the level required simply to avoid scurvy. There is a plethora of evidence that this is way too low to avoid everyday diseases. Worse, when Pauling studied the subject back in 1976 he concluded one third of those people studied were not even getting the RDA of 45mg!

In 1976 Pauling said that the desired daily level was between 250mg and 10gm. 4gm if you were healthy and 10 gm if you were fighting an illness like cancer.

There are claims that too much can cause liver damage, and even one that it causes cancer. Neither has been substantiated.

How is vitamin C linked to the cancer process?

  1. L-Ascorbic acid is required for the synthesis of collagen and connective tissue.
    Collagen strengthens tendons, cartilage, bones, arteries and veins. However, in 1933 Ewan Cameron, a surgeon at the Vale of Leven Hospital, Scotland, presented a theory about how vitamin C might therefore act to prevent tumour development in a paper ’Hyaluronidase and Cancer’. All malignant tumours probably produce two enzymes, hyaluroldase and collagenase which weaken the connective tissues and the "glue" between cells around the tumour, thus allowing the rogue cells to spread. The theory ran that vitamin C was an inhibitor of these enzymes and a possible treatment to restrict tumours and stop their growth might be vitamin C megadoses of 10gms and above. (For more, click this link ).

  2. L-Ascorbic acid strengthens the immune system. 
    Early studies showed that vitamin C increased the body’s resistance to a cold; in stressful situations like surgery, burns or wounds the levels of vitamin C in the blood fall; and in 1943 Cottingham and Mills show that phagocytosis actually uses vitamin C to ingest and eradicate bacteria. The most crucial study was probably in 1973 by Hume and Weyers. It showed that 250mgs was not enough to support the phagocytes activity and that 1gm was suggested, rising to 6gms at the first sign of a cold. Vitamin C is also known to stimulate the production of interferon which helps protect cells against viral and cancer attack.

  3. L-Ascorbic acid, consumed orally, is a powerful antioxidant. A number of studies (Ginter 1970, 73, 75; Spittle 1971) have shown that natural vitamin C can counteract saturated fats being converted by oxidation into dangerous peroxides. Meydani et al 1995 and Pike and Chandra 1995 both showed that antioxidant diets based on vitamin C produced less illness overall.

    Ascorbic acid is a weak acid, a little stronger than vinegar (acetic acid) and a reducing agent - it donates electrons and hydrogen atoms. It seems to protect cells from oxidative damage, and it interferes with the production and activity of free radicals.

  4. L-Ascorbic acid can inactivate bacteria and viruses.
    The action against free radicals seems to parallel ascorbic acid’s action against bacteria and viruses. Phagocytosis seems to actually use ascorbate to deactivate bacteria.

    Ascorbate can inactivate many of the viruses that attack bacteria. Akira Murata showed that ascorbate can inactivate many of the viruses that attack bacteria. Intravenous injections of 20gms of sodium ascorbate inactivated many types of virus within 20 minutes. Murata, Kitagawa and Suromo, 1971, showed that ascorbate needs free oxygen present. Ascorbate reduces the oxygen to a free radical which destroys the nucleic acid of the virus (Pauling 1976).

  5. L-Ascorbic acid can minimise allergic reactions
    It interferes with the production of histamines, released by the immune system in response to an allergen, thus reducing allergic reaction.

Cancer patients have low vitamin C levels

Neil Riordan at the Riordan Clinic, Arizona has noted that 46 per cent of breast cancer sufferers are vitamin C deficient, some even to the point of scurvy (British Journal of Cancer Vol 84, II).

 46 per cent of breast cancer sufferers are Vitamin C deficient

There are a great number of studies which show that cancer sufferers have lowered vitamin C levels in their blood. And studies that show higher levels of blood vitamin C reduce cancer risk for breast, cervix, colon, rectum, mouth, lung, prostate, stomach and oesophagus is very well documented (e.g. Levin: Nat Ac Sciences Vol 93, 8 1996; Block Nutrition Review 50, 7 7992; Frei: AMJ Vol 97, 1994; Uddin Comprehensive Therapy Vol 2.1, 1995 ).

There are also studies that show adequate natural vitamin C levels reduce stomach cancer risk. This may be an indirect effect. Beneficial bacteria in the gut reduce the levels of microbes, their by-products (which can be toxic) and toxins from oestrogen to heavy metals to nitrosamines. Natural vitamin C blocks the formation of nitrosamines from food, and also seems to stimulate the action of some beneficial bacteria.

Sources of Natural vitamin C?

As we said earlier, if you are eating lots of fruit and vegetables you should not need to supplement. If you do feel the need to ensure you have adequate levels in your body, make sure it is a quality, natural supplement . You may think it beneficial to include bioflavonoids. The latest developments, however, are in the use of liposomes. Liposomes and like balloons where the wall is fat based and can bind to and cross membranes, taking the inside contents across too. Liposomes are how the body packages food compounds naturally. Liposomal vitamin C has been shown to deliver 10 to 15 times the dose of vitamin C to the target tissues, whilst snthetic vitamin C is almost ineffective.

"If you are already thinking of buying natural Vitamin C, or liposomal vitamin C, you might like to look at the Natural Selection Products of Choice. You can do this by clicking here."

Research in the British Journal of Nutrition (2007, 96; 639-643) backs up the need for the vitamin C to be natural and deliverable. Matched samples of adults were given either 150 mgs of vitamin C in fresh orange juice, or the same dose from a synthetic tablet. Blood samples were taken between 3 and 24 hours. Oxidative damage was significantly reduced in people who had taken the natural vitamin with its associated flavones, carotenoids and cyanadin-3 glucoside found in the oranges. The synthetic vitamin was concluded to be almost worthless. Researchers concluded the co-factors exerted an important synergistic effect. And it was also possible that the natural sugars in the fruit also had this effect.

Foods for Vitamin C



blackcurrants 1 cup 200
guava half cup 150
red pepper half cup 140
fresh orange juice (8 oz) 120
cooked brussels 1 cup 100
papaya 1 cup 90
strawberries 1 cup 75
raw brussels 1 cup 75
pineapple 1 cup 70
grapefruit (8 oz) 70
green snap peas per serving 70
tomato juice (8 oz) 50
raw broccoli per serving 40


Cooking reduces vitamin C content by half. Vitamin C is also destroyed by poor storage. A potato will lose 70 per cent of its vitamin C five days after being dug up.

Vitamin C important against infections

Well now you come to mention it, vitamin C has been shown to neutralise the action of alfatoxin B, the toxin of some parasites that can infect us all. This might explain some of the benefit of vitamin C in some terminal cancer cases. After all, the WHO believes at least 15-20 per cent of all cancers are caused by infection.

And finally, vitamin C is highly influential as part of an anti-ageing programme. The National Institute of Ageing showed that people who took vitamin C and E supplements had a 50 per cent lower risk of dying prematurely. This was backed up by a Californian study which showed that a supplement of 75Omgs a day reduced the risk of dying prematurely by 60 per cent.

If you are thinking of buying natural or liposomal Vitamin C, you might like to look at the Natural Selection Product of Choice. You can do this by clicking here


 Rainbow diet          At last, the definitive, research-based book on how to build a diet to help beat cancer. 

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Please be clear: At CANCERactive we do not consider the above compound to be a cure for cancer, despite what the research says or experts doing the research may claim. The above, is an article on the compound from published research and expert opinion in the public domain. At CANCERactive we do not believe that any single compound (drug, vitamin, whatever) is a cure for cancer. We believe that people can significantly increase their personal odds of survival by building an Integrated Programme of treatments. Equally, cancer prevention is best practiced through a width of measures.

The Truth about Intravenous Vitamin C and cancer
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