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Vitamin C is Not Just About Treating Your Cold

I just finished reading Dr. Thomas Levy’s book entitled “Stop America’s #1 Killer” which is about vitamin C deficiency. Perhaps you know it better than scurvy. Almost all animals can make their own vitamin C, but we humans, bats, and guinea pigs cannot. We must get it from the environment. It’s said that scurvy killed more British sailors than warfare did but this is not a story about historical malnutrition. It’s about you and your risk of vitamin C deficiency. 40% of patients with septic shock had vitamin C deficiency.

The Nutrition Journal reported that up to 87% of critically ill patients with Covid-19 had vitamin C deficiency. Of course, vitamin C deficiency is not limited to seriously ill individuals. As reported in the American Journal of Public Health in May 2004 “vitamin C deficiency and depletion were common (occurring among 5%–17% and 13%–23% of respondents, respectively).’’ Based on my experience it’s actually more common than that. Doctors don’t routinely assess for vitamin C deficiency but we probably should give your SAD diet. That’s standard American diet…full of food depleted of nutrients, loaded with trans fats, extra sugars, exotic chemicals, and seed oils.

Vitamin C is a potent natural antioxidant and is concentrated in white blood cells 80 times more than in the serum. Vitamin C deficiency at the cellular level has been shown to be a cause if not the cause for the changes at the arterial level that cause hardening of the arteries…ie heart disease. The literature supporting vitamin C deficiency as a cause of heart disease is much stronger than the literature that high cholesterol causes heart disease. Dr. Levy cites studies that show people with higher levels of vitamin C have a lower incidence of heart disease. Vitamin C facilitates lecithin’s ability to add esters to the cholesterol in your arteries thereby making it more soluble and allowing HDL to bind it and remove it from the artery wall and transport it to the liver. Lower levels of vItamin C are associated with higher levels of fibrinogen. High fibrinogen levels are associated with an increased risk for heart disease and blood clots.

Dr. Levy also reports that patients with the highest levels of vitamin C have lower risks for cancer. So, vitamin C deficiency has been linked to both heart disease and cancer. Do you need more impetus to supplement than that? No article about vitamin C would be complete without a mention of its prior champion, (preceding Dr. Levy) Linus Pauling.

His belief that vitamin C would treat the common cold has been much debated and he further postulated that it would prevent cancer. It’s true he died of prostate cancer but not until the age of 93! Dr. Levy’s book is very heavily and meticulously referenced but it’s an easy and informative read. I highly recommend his prior book entitled Death by Calcium and have just ordered his book on Magnesium so expect more to come.

Until then…get well and stay well.

Dr. Barry