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Letters to the Editor Issue 176

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 176 - November 2010

Subject: Cancer and Vitamin C: Evidence-Based Censorship

Source: Orthomolecular Medicine News Service 

The very first paper in the Puerto Rico Health Sciences Journal's special issue on cancer condemns vitamin C therapy for cancer.[1] Furthermore, that Journal has refused publication of a letter correcting the article's numerous errors. We have therefore decided to provide OMNS readers with that rebuttal letter, below:

It is entirely false to assert that we do not know how much vitamin C is effective against cancer. Indeed, the opposite is true: we do know, and we are failing our duty to patients when we fail to recommend vitamin C as adjunctive cancer therapy.

There are many controlled studies that demonstrate that vitamin C is indeed effective against cancer, improving length of life and quality of life. Positive studies have typically used between 10,000 and 100,000 mg/day intravenously. As Dr Fernando Cabanillas correctly noted, success with 10,000 mg/day by IV was initially reported back in the 1970s by Cameron and Pauling. But Dr Cabanillas has then omitted some key information. It is important to note that the negative, much-touted Moertel-Mayo studies were not true replications of Cameron and Pauling's work, as A) they used oral doses only, and B) vitamin C was discontinued at the first sign of disease progression. Would we administer injectable chemotherapy orally, and then discontinue chemotherapy if the patient worsened? No, we would administer it properly, and stay with it.

Dr Cabanillas also neglects to mention that Pauling and Cameron's work was promptly confirmed, first at Japan's Saga University by Murata et al. Dr Murata employed over 30,000 mg per day and had even better results with terminally ill cancer patients.[2] In the words of Dr Louis Lasagna of the University of Rochester Medical School, "It seems indefensible not to at least try substantial doses of vitamin C in these patients."[3]

And again contrary to Dr Cabanillas' statements, many clinical reports from orthomolecular (nutritional) physicians including Dr Hugh Riordan and colleagues do in fact indicate that IV vitamin C is effective. Says Dr James A Jackson, "Dr Riordan's IV protocol [4] starts out at 15,000 mg intravenous ascorbate and slowly goes up. It is given twice a week. The IVs are continued until the post-IV vitamin C levels reach what our research established as the killing level of 350 to 400 mg/dL. This has been verified.[5] Once this level is reached, the frequency of the IV may be reduced to once a week, or to one or two times a month."

There is no absolutely reliable cure for cancer. Conventional chemotherapy contributes only 2.1% to five year cancer survival in the USA.[6] But with vitamin C, we are on the right track. It has been reported since McCormick in the 1950s [7,8,9] that cancer patients invariably have abnormally low levels of the vitamin. Vitamin C is vital to a cancer patient. What is dangerous is vitamin deficiency. What is even more dangerous is warning people off the very therapy that may help them, and frequently has been shown to make a significant difference.

Precisely how significant remains to be seen. But there are intriguing indications. Linus Pauling took 18,000 mg/day of vitamin C. Pauling died from cancer in 1994. Dr Charles Moertel of the Mayo Clinic, critic of vitamin C, died of cancer the same year. Moertel was 66. Pauling was 93. Did vitamin C fail to cure Pauling's cancer? If so, then not taking vitamin C failed to cure Moertel's. Pauling lived 27 years longer with ascorbate than Moertel lived without it.
Andrew W Saul
Editor, OMNS

Vitamin C does not Interfere with Conventional Cancer Treatment

Victor Marcial MD, an oncologist in Puerto Rico, says:
"We studied patients with advanced cancer (stage 4). 40 patients received 40,000-75,000 mg intravenously several times a week. These are patients that have not responded to other treatments. The initial tumour response rate was achieved in 75% of patients, defined as a 50% reduction or more in tumour size. . . As a radiation oncologist, I also give radiation therapy. Vitamin C has two effects. It increases the beneficial effects of radiation and chemotherapy and decreases the adverse effects. But this is not a subtle effect, is not 15-20%. It's a dramatic effect. Once you start using IV vitamin C, the effect is so dramatic that it is difficult to go back to not using it."

Ralph Campbell, M.D., a Montana paediatrician, writes:
"More and more oncologists are admitting that a course of chemo disrupts the immune system to the point of allowing more cancer down the pike. It would seem reasonable for post-chemo patients to enter a regimen of high antioxidants intake as soon as they can."

Abram Hoffer MD PhD explains why vitamin C does not interfere with chemotherapy at  

Taking Action

More and more medical doctors support adjunctive vitamin C therapy for cancer. The PRHSJ needs to publish both sides of the story. If you would like encourage them to do so, you may write directly to:
Luis M Vil  MD
Editor-in-Chief, Puerto Rico Health Sciences Journal
Zoila Figueroa
PO Box 365067, San Juan PR 00936-5067

More Information about Vitamin C Cancer Therapy

You can watch an excerpt from the movie FOODMATTERS discussing vitamin C therapy for cancer at  

Free download of the Riordan protocol at  
La medicina ortomolecular en español
1. Presentan primera guía ortomolecular para el manejo del cáncer:   
2. Video de los comentarios del Dr Victor Marcial  


1. PRHSJ, Vol 29, No 3, Sept, 2010. Read the paper, or the entire issue, at The direct download link for the paper in question is
2. Murata A, Morishige F. and Yamaguchi, H. Prolongation of survival times of terminal cancer patients by administration of large doses of ascorbate. International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research Suppl., 23, 1982, p. 103-113. Also in Hanck, A., ed. (1982) Vitamin C: New Clinical Applications. Bern: Huber, 103-113. 1982.
5. Padayatty SJ, Sun H, Wang Y, Riordan HD, Hewitt SM, Katz A, Wesley RA, Levine M. Vitamin C pharmacokinetics: implications for oral and intravenous use. Ann Intern Med. 2004 Apr 6;140(7):533-7. Free full-text article at   or as a pdf download at  
See also: Padayatty SJ, Riordan HD, Hewitt SM, Katz A, Hoffer LJ, and Levine M. Intravenously administered vitamin C as cancer therapy: three cases. CMAJ. 174(7): 937-942. Free full-text article at March 28 2006.
6. Morgan G, Ward R, Barton M. The contribution of cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adult malignancies. Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). 16(8):549-60. Dec 2004.
7. McCormick WJ. Cancer: the preconditioning factor in pathogenesis; a new etiologic approach. Arch Pediatr.71(10):313-22. Oct 1954. Also: McCormick WJ. [Cancer: predisposition as pathogenesis; new data on its etiology.] Union Med Can. 84(3):272-7. French. Mar 1955.
8. McCormick WJ. Cancer: a collagen disease, secondary to a nutritional deficiency. Arch Pediatr.76(4):166-71. Apr 1959. Also: McCormick WJ. [Is cancer a collagen disease attributable to vitamin C deficiency.] Union Med Can.88(6):700-4. French. Jun 1959.
9. McCormick WJ. Have we forgotten the lesson of scurvy? J Applied Nutrition 15(1,2) p 4-12. 1962.

Further Information

Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine. Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness.
For more information:  
Andrew W. Saul PhD (USA), Editor and contact person.  
To Subscribe at no charge:
OMNS archive link  

"Objections" to Vitamin C Therapy

Source: Orthomolecular Medicine News Service

In massive doses, vitamin C (ascorbic acid) stops a cold within hours, stops influenza in a day or two, and stops viral pneumonia (pain, fever, cough) in two or three days.[1] It is a highly effective antihistamine, antiviral and antitoxin. It reduces inflammation and lowers fever. Administered intravenously, ascorbate kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. Many people therefore wonder, in the face of statements like these, why the medical professions have not embraced vitamin C therapy with open and grateful arms.

Probably the main roadblock to widespread examination and utilization of this all-too-simple technology is the equally widespread belief that there must be unknown dangers to tens of thousands of milligrams of ascorbic acid. Yet, since the time megascorbate therapy was introduced in the late 1940s by Fred R Klenner MD[2], there has been an especially safe, and extremely effective track record to follow.

Still, for some, questions remain. Here is a sample of what readers have asked OMNS about vitamin C:

Is 2,000 mg/day of vitamin C a megadose?

No. Decades ago, Linus Pauling and Irwin Stone showed that most animals make at least that much (or more) per human body weight per day.[3,4]

Then why has the government set the "Safe Upper Limit" for vitamin C at 2,000 mg/day?

Perhaps the reason is ignorance. According to nationwide data compiled by the American Association of Poison Control Centers, vitamin C (and the use of any other dietary supplement) does not kill anyone.[5]

Does vitamin C damage DNA?

No. If vitamin C harmed DNA, why do most animals make (not eat, but make) between 2,000 and 10,000 milligrams of vitamin C per human equivalent body weight per day? Evolution would never so favour anything that harms vital genetic material. White blood cells and male reproductive fluids contain unusually high quantities of ascorbate. Living, reproducing systems love vitamin C.

Does vitamin C cause low blood sugar, B-12 deficiency, birth defects, or infertility?

Vitamin C does not cause birth defects, nor infertility, nor miscarriage. "Harmful effects have been mistakenly attributed to vitamin C, including hypoglycemia, rebound scurvy, infertility, mutagenesis, and destruction of vitamin B-12. Health professionals should recognize that vitamin C does not produce these effects."[6]

Does vitamin C . . .

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled 14 day trial of 3,000 mg per day of vitamin C reported greater frequency of sexual intercourse. The vitamin C group (but not the placebo group) also experienced a quantifiable decrease in depression. This is probably due to the fact that vitamin C "modulates catecholaminergic activity, decreases stress reactivity, approach anxiety and prolactin release, improves vascular function, and increases oxytocin release. These processes are relevant to sexual behaviour and mood." [7]

Does vitamin C cause kidney stones?

No. The myth of the vitamin C-caused kidney stone is rivalled in popularity only by the Loch Ness Monster. A factoid-crazy medical media often overlooks the fact that William J McCormick MD demonstrated that vitamin C actually prevents the formation of kidney stones. He did so in 1946, when he published a paper on the subject.[8] His work was confirmed by University of Alabama professor of medicine Emanuel Cheraskin MD.. Dr Cheraskin showed that vitamin C inhibits the formation of oxalate stones.[9]

Other research reports that: "Even though a certain part of oxalate in the urine derives from metabolized ascorbic acid, the intake of high doses of vitamin C does not increase the risk of calcium oxalate kidney stones. . . In the large- scale Harvard Prospective Health Professional Follow-Up Study, those groups in the highest quintile of vitamin C intake (greater than 1,500 mg/day) had a lower risk of kidney stones than the groups in the lowest quintiles."[10]

Dr Robert F Cathcart said, "I started using vitamin C in massive doses in patients in 1969. By the time I read that ascorbate should cause kidney stones, I had clinical evidence that it did not cause kidney stones, so I continued prescribing massive doses to patients. Up to 2006, I estimate that I have put 25,000 patients on massive doses of vitamin C and none have developed kidney stones. Two patients who had dropped their doses to 500 mg a day developed calcium oxalate kidney stones. I raised their doses back up to the more massive doses and added magnesium and B-6 to their program and no more kidney stones. I think they developed the kidney stones because they were not taking enough vitamin C."

Why did Linus Pauling die from cancer if he took all that vitamin C?

Linus Pauling PhD megadose vitamin C advocate, died in 1994 from prostate cancer. Mayo Clinic cancer researcher Charles G Moertel MD critic of Pauling and vitamin C, also died in 1994, and also from cancer (lymphoma). Dr Moertel was 66 years old. Dr Pauling was 93 years old. One needs to make up one's own mind as to whether this does or does not indicate benefit from vitamin C.

A review of the subject indicates that "Vitamin C deficiency is common in patients with advanced cancer . . . Patients with low plasma concentrations of vitamin C have a shorter survival."[11]

Does vitamin C narrow arteries or cause atherosclerosis?

Abram Hoffer MD has said: "I have used vitamin C in megadoses with my patients since 1952 and have not seen any cases of heart disease develop even after decades of use. Dr Robert Cathcart with experience on over 25,000 patients since 1969 has seen no cases of heart disease developing in patients who did not have any when first seen. He added that the thickening of the vessel walls, if true, indicates that the thinning that occurs with age is reversed. . . The fact is that vitamin C decreases plaque formation according to many clinical studies. Some critics ignore the knowledge that thickened arterial walls in the absence of plaque formation indicate that the walls are becoming stronger and therefore less apt to rupture. . . Gokce, Keaney, Frei et al gave patients supplemental vitamin C daily for thirty days and measured blood flow through the arteries. Blood flow increased nearly fifty percent after the single dose and this was sustained after the monthly treatment.[12]."

What about blood pressure?

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed that hypertensive patients taking supplemental vitamin C had lower blood pressure. [13]

So why the flurry of anti-vitamin-C reporting in the mass media? Negative news gets attention. Negative news sells newspapers, and magazines, and pulls in lots of television viewers. Positive drug studies do get headlines, of course. Positive vitamin studies do not. Is this a conspiracy? You mean with unscrupulous people all sitting around a shaded table in a darkened back room? Of course not. It is nevertheless an enormous public health problem with enormous consequences.

150 million Americans take supplemental vitamin C every day. This is as much a political issue as a scientific issue. What would happen if everybody took vitamins? Perhaps doctors, hospital administrators and pharmaceutical salespeople would all be lining up for their unemployment cheques.

A sceptic might conclude that there is at least some evidence that the politicians are on the wrong side of this. After all, the US RDA for vitamin C for humans is only 10% of the government's USDA vitamin C standards for Guinea pigs.[14] But conspiracy against nutritional medicine? Certainly not. Couldn't be.

References and Additional Reading:

1. Cathcart RF. Vitamin C, titration to bowel tolerance, anascorbemia, and acute induced scurvy." Medical Hypothesis 7:1359-1376, 1981. l
See also:  and  
2. Saul AW. Hidden in plain sight: the pioneering work of Frederick Robert Klenner MD J Orthomolecular Med Vol 22, No 1, p 31-38.  and 2007.
Dr FR Klenner's Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C is posted in its entirety at  
3. Pauling L. How to Live Longer and Feel Better. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Press, 2006. Reviewed at Linus Pauling's complete vitamin and nutrition bibliography is posted at  
4. The complete text of Irwin Stone's book The Healing Factor is posted for free reading at  
6. Levine M et al. JAMA Vol 281, No 15, p 1419. April 21, 1999.
7. High-dose ascorbic acid increases intercourse frequency and improves mood: a randomized controlled clinical trial. Brody S. Biol Psychiatry 52(4):371-4. Aug 15 2002.
8. McCormick WJ. Lithogenesis and hypovitaminosis. Medical Record, 159:7, July, p 410-413. 1946.
9. Cheraskin E, Ringsdorf, Jr. M and Sisley E. The Vitamin C Connection: Getting Well and Staying Well with Vitamin C. New York: Harper and Row, 1983. Also paperback, 1984: New York, Bantam Books. "Vitamin C in the urine tends to bind calcium and decrease its free form. This means less chance of calcium's separating out as calcium oxalate (stones)." [page 213] See also: Ringsdorf WM Jr, Cheraskin E. Nutritional aspects of urolithiasis. South Med J.74(1):41-3, 46. Jan 1981.
10. Gerster H. No contribution of ascorbic acid to renal calcium oxalate stones. Ann Nutr Metab. 41(5):269-82. 1997. See also:  
11. Mayland CR, Bennett MI, Allan K. Vitamin C deficiency in cancer patients. Palliat Med. 19(1):17-20. Jan 2005. See also:   and  
12. Free full text paper at   
See also:   and  
13. Duffy SJ, Gokce N, Holbrook M, Huang A, Frei B, Keaney JF Jr, Vita JA. Treatment of hypertension with ascorbic acid. Lancet. 11;354(9195):2048-9. Dec 1999.

Further Information

Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine. Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness.
For more information:  
Andrew W. Saul PhD (USA), Editor and contact person.  
To Subscribe at no charge:
OMNS archive link  


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