Dr. Linus Pauling—the two-time Nobel Prize winning PhD—was harshly criticized for claiming that the practice of orthomolecular therapy (‘megadosing’) with certain nutrients held the power to cure common ailments (such as lots of vitamin C to kick a cold or flu in the matter of a few hours) and more significant illnesses, such as cancer, without the use of aggressive radiation or chemotherapy.
High doses of certain vitamins, like C, pose virtually no health risk and a myriad of benefits, claimed Pauling, yet doctors rarely suggest patients take more than a few thousand milligrams per day. Pauling suggested that our baseline recommended daily intake of vitamin C was only the minimal amount necessary for preventing the disease scurvy, but not significant enough for true health and vitality. So convinced of this theory, he and his wife adhered to megadose levels on a daily basis, ingesting thousands of milligrams daily.
In the mid-1970s, Pauling published findings from trials he conducted on 100 cancer patients taking vitamin C injections (as high as hundreds of thousands of milligrams daily), which he concluded significantly extended the lifespan of the patients. But skeptics have continued to suggest Pauling’s findings were flawed. It may be why there aren’t more physicians recommending megadosing (the risks are low and gains seemingly worthwhile to the patient, but not necessarily for the multinational pharmaceutical companies who can’t make nearly as much money from the sale of vitamins as they can with prescription drug programs). They’ve certainly funded clinical trials to disprove Pauling and others’ theories on the effects of megadosing. Two recent studies even suggest that vitamin supplements could actually have harmful health effects. Published in the journal of the American Medical Association, one study found that vitamin E supplements significantly increased the risk of prostate cancer among men, and the other study concluded that older women who took a multivitamin and certain other vitamin supplements were at a greater risk of dying than women who did not.
Pauling’s theory that because the human body cannot produce vitamin C on its own (your dogs and cats do though), we need to increase vitamin C levels when dealing with an illness, was based on the fact that animals who produce their own vitamin C increase production when they’re sick. Pauling thought it would be effective in the fight against cancer because vitamin C works like a glue. As you increase the levels to a baseline of several thousand milligrams daily, it creates a more impenetrable cellular barrier, preventing intruders and repairing damage.
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