Most readers will not recall ever hearing about the inherited illness, Hypoascorbemia; but don’t feel too badly about that because most doctors have never heard of it either, even though I described it in 1966 papers published by the Gregor Mendel Institute for Medical Genetics.
Hypoascorbemia is a genetic liver enzyme disease caused by humans carrying a defective gene for the synthesis of the liver enzyme protein, I gluonolactone oxidase. It is this defective gene which prevents us from making our own ascorbic acid (also commonly known as vitamin C) in our liver.
Ascorbic acid is such a basic vital substance for the living process that all living things, plants and animals must make it within their bodies or get it in their foods or they perish. It is as simple as that. Nearly all the mammals are able to manufacture ascorbic acid in their livers and they produce it in rather large daily amounts. Its main function is to maintain normalcy in the face of biochemical stresses. The more stresses an animal undergoes, the more ascorbic acid it produces and pours into its bloodstream.
The few mammals that are known to be unable to make their own ascorbic acid are the guinea pig, an Indian fruit eating bat and members of the Primate Suborder, Anthropoidea. The members of this Suborder comprise Man, the Apes, the Old World Monkeys and the New World Monkeys, and they all cam the same defective gene. I have been able to trace the origin of this defective gene to a mutation occurring in an ancestor of the Primate Suborder, Anthropoidea, about 60 million years ago. Not all Primates are so afflicted as the members of the other Suborder of the Primates, the Prosimii, the very primitive monkeys, have the intact gene and can make their own ascorbic acid.
What is the significance of all this for our health and well-being? The presence of this defective gene in the human gene pool, in the course of prehistory and history, has killed more individuals, caused more misery and in recorded times has changed the course of history more than any other single factor.
In animals unable to make their own ascorbic acid, total deprivation of this vital material will cause a horrible death from scurry. In humans death occurs in a few months but in guinea pigs it only takes two or three weeks. The body disintegrates and wastes away in this time.
For thousands of years witch doctors and folk medicine practitioners knew there was something in fresh foods which would prevent this daily plague.
The knowledge was put on a more reasonable basis by the experiments on scorbutic seamen of Dr. James Lind in 1740 resulting in the publication of his book, “Treatise on the Scurvy” in 1753. He showed that one ounce of lemon juice would prevent the appearance of the symptoms of frank clinical scurvy.
159 years later, in 1912, and not knowing very much more about scurvy than was published in 1753, Casimir Funk correctly theorized that certain diseases can be caused by the absence of certain trace substances in the diet, which he termed “vitamins.” However, he erred when he applied his “vitamin” theory to scurvy, at this time twenty years before the discovery of ascorbic acid. He suggested that scurvy was a simple dietary disturbance and that the unknown missing substance in food stuffs which caused frank clinical scurvy was “vitamin C.” Later work has shown that frank clinical scurvy is the fatal end result of a genetic liver enzyme disease and Funk’s unknown antiscorbutic substances (vitamin C) is a liver metabolite instead of a vitamin.
The reader may well ask, at this point, if we are not just getting into an argument in medical semantics and what essential and practical differences are there if we call scurvy a “simple dietary disturbance” or a “genetic liver-enzyme disease” and whether ascorbic acid is a “vitamin” or a “liver metabolite.”
The answer to this question is that it is much more than semantics and is a matter of life or death and sickness or health and these are the reasons why: In the “dietary disturbance-vitamin C” hypothesis the full effect of their dogma is to prevent the appearance of or the cure of the classical symptoms of frank clinical scurvy. This objective can be accomplished with a few milligrams of abscorbic acid a day that can be obtained in fresh foods. 55 to 60 milligrams a day is their present recommended daily adult allowance for abscorbic acid. However, this mere prevention of frank clinical scurvy does not fully correct the genetic liver-enzyme disease, Hypoascorbemia. Full correction of this human genetic disease requires the intakes of ascorbic acid at a different order of magnitude grams per day instead of milligrams (1 gram = 1,000 milligrams).
What has happened in the past 60 years during which medicine has unquestionably accepted and utilized the dogma of this inadequate dietary theory is that it haseliminated the threat of frank clinical scurvy, but has left a population suffering from varying degrees of the more insidious inadequately corrected hypoascorbemia (chronic subclinical scurvy), and a false sense of health security. Chronic sub clinical scurvy is presently our most widespread disease and yet it is rarely spoken of and does not appear in recorded disease statistics. Chronic sub clinical scurvy is the root of many of our most pressing medical problems. If chronic sub clinical scurvy were eliminated by the simple proper use of ascorbic acid, it is believed that many of these medical problems would clear up and disappear and health, well being and longevity would improve to an unimagined degree.
It is only in the last few years that the flaws in the vitamin theory have been recognized and the dogmatic orientation to low trace daily dosages has been challenged. The first definite approach was the author’s genetic disease concepts published in 1965-67. Recently Dr. Leon E. Rosenberg of Yale University Medical School working with the B vitamins and vitamin D distinguishes between “vitamin deficiency” diseases (the true a vitaminoses) and the “vitamin dependent” diseases. Successful treatment of the “vitamin dependent” diseases requires dosages 10 to 1,000 times more than is needed in the “vitamin deficiency” diseases. In the case of abscorbic acid, Dr. Linus Pauling’s recent calculations indicate that humans should be getting 2.3 grams to 9.0 grams a day. The author’s figures based on the amount of ascorbic acid normally synthesized by the rat suggests 3 to 5 grams per day, increasing to 15 grams or more a day under stress.
For the past quarter century, Dr. Frederick R. Klenner has pioneered the megascorbic theory of a wide variety of diseases. He has obtained fantastically successful clinical results using up to 100 grams or more of ascorbate a day both orally and intravenously. He recommends to his adult patients the continuous daily intake of 10 grams. For children he prescribes 1 gram of ascorbic acid a day to age 10 and then 10 grams daily thereafter.
He reports unusual continuous good health and freedom from disease in his patients. He has published widely but the medical fraternity has chosen to ignore his work. As pointed out earlier, these amounts arc greatly in excess of the daily 55 to 60 milligrams of ascorbic acid recommended as adequate by the Vitamin C theorists.
Coverage of the above topics has, by necessity, been brief. More detailed treatment of the history of abscorbic acid, the new genetic concepts of scurvy, research protocols for the mega ascorbic treatment of many diseases and many incredible facts about ascorbic acid will be found by reference to the author’s new book, THE HEALING FACTOR. “VITAMIN C” AGAINST DISEASE, published by Grosset & Dunlap, New York City, 1972. Since these new genetic concepts provide the rationale for the use of massive daily doses of ascorbic acid (megascorgic therapy), completely new and unexplored fields of medicine and therapy are opened. The book contains many chapters devoted to megascorbic prophylaxis, megascorbic therapy and research protocols designed to obtain clinical data in many of our most serious medical problems. The discussions are fully documented by a large bibliography of citations from the medical literature of the past 40 years, since the discovery of ascorbic acid. Among the topics discussed and recommended for further clinical research are heart and vascular diseases, arthritis and rheumatism, the infectious diseases, diabetes and hypoglycemia, kidney diseases, cancer, mental illness, ulcers, allergies, smoking and others.
The versatile therapeutic properties of ascorbic acid have been long neglected by medical research because they have considered it as a nutrient rather than a therapeutic metabolite. An organization such as the National Health Federation and its membership can do much, by the power of public opinion, to bring these neglected facts on ascorbic acid to the attention of Congress and the proper government agencies in an attempt to utilize their medical research facilities to explore the potential therapeutic properties of ascorbic acid and conduct the long neglected clinical research on the megascorbic therapy of a wide variety of diseases.
Another critical area that requires change is in the education of the doctors in the medical schools. The substitution of these new genetic concepts on frank clinical scurvy and chronic sub clinical scurvy should be made in the present curriculum that now teaches the outdated “vitamin G nutritional disease” theory. This would provide a new crop of doctors who could think more clearly in terms of medical genetics rather than nutrition and thus provide more enlightened care for their patients.
If properly conducted, the clinical research on megascorbic prophylaxis and megascorbic therapy could be one of the major therapeutic breakthroughs of the latter quarter of the 20th Century.Hypoascorbemia – Our Most Widespread Disease