Vitamin C as an Illustration of the Orthomolecular Approach

Tuesday, April 26, 2011
“Vitamin C was popularized by the double Nobel-prize winner Linus Pauling.
"For example, the wild mountain gorilla (weighing from 120 to 160 kg) ingests on a daily basis between 2000 and 4000 mg of ascorbates (vitamin C) and sometimes even more. Average people in Western countries who do not take supplements consume a few dozen milligrams, while the daily recommended intake of vitamin C is 60 mg.
“It should be noted that the majority of mammals synthesize their own vitamin C; when they are under the stress of disease or injury, the quantities they produce are equal to 10,000-20,000 mg per day for an adult human of average body size (taking into account body mass).
“All simians, including humans, have a genetic error that prevents them from synthesizing the enzyme L-gulonolactone oxidase. This enzyme is involved in the last stage of a chain of reactions that allow glucose to be converted into ascorbic acid. This genetic mutation is thought to have occurred approximately 25 million years ago.
“Among the other mammals that cannot synthesize vitamin C are guinea pigs and a species of Indian fruit bat (Pteropus medius).
“Orthomolecular medicine aims to correct this vitamin C deficit through the intake of quantities comparable to those synthesized by other mammals, meaning many grams per day (standardized amount according to body mass). Extracting such high amounts of ascorbic acid from natural sources would be very expensive. Adopting a diet similar to that of primates is not very compatible with modern civilization. We must therefore resort to synthetic ascorbic acid.
“It should be noted that some people believe that synthetic vitamin C is harmful or ineffective.
“Vitamin C tablets made from acerola cherries are sold in stores. This kind of vitamin C is a lot more expensive per kilo than the ascorbic acid in crystalline powder form that is obtained from other sources.”
This example can be applied to all nutrients, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, probiotics and other molecules that are biocompatible with and beneficial for health.
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