How Things Work

By Lendon H. Smith, MD
Three years ago I had a book privately published entitled Vitamin C As Fundamental Medicine. It is the compressed and edited version of the late Dr. Frederick Klenner's many (27) published articles on the therapeutic uses of vitamin C. I jumped at the chance of doing this review of Dr. Klenner's pioneering work because it was all based on published articles in journals subject to peer review. I have trouble justifying my use of megadoses of vitamins -- especially C -- because my MD peers say, "Look, Smith, if you can get some of your weird therapies published in journals that are peer-reviewed, then I would believe you and maybe even try them." Hence, this book, now going through a second printing.

I'm sure you doctors know the reason why we have to get some vitamin C in our diet. Somewhere along the evolutionary chain our ancient ancestors lost the ability to make ascorbic acid from glucose. Some feel that because our bodies had so many things to do, and since we had such an abundance of ascorbic acid in our diets when we were hunters and gatherers, the loss of this enzyme responsible for the conversion was no big deal. We just have to be smart enough to remember to take some fresh fruits and vegetables almost daily. Just a little bit will keep us from developing scurvy (20 to 30 mg a day) and death (less than that for 6 months), but remember this: Dr. Cheraskin found that those who were taking about 400 mg a day had the fewest symptoms, and seemed to be the healthiest. Dr. Pauling, himself, analyzed the diets of the ancients and discovered that they were getting about 600 mg a day in their diets.

So why do some therapists recommend such big doses, and why does Linus continue to take 18 grams of C daily? If the world had accepted Dr. Pauling's findings related to cancer, maybe he would have less stress and could then get by with just a fraction of that amount. In any event, some people need big doses, and some people do not. Why the difference?

Since I have been working with this chemist/researcher, I have a new slant on the workings of the body. Many of us get sick because we have nutrient deficiencies as the result of avoiding foods to which we think we are sensitive. In addition, 70 to 80 percent of us in North American are to some degree alkaline. If the pH of the blood and tissues is not at the optimum level, 7.42, then the minerals which seem to be the most important part of the trigger for enzyme activity are not soluble enough to do the best job for us. Do you remember your basic chemical rule you learned in school? "The greater the concentration, the faster the rate of reaction." That's the nice thing about chemistry and gravity; the rules are immutable.

When I was doing "clinical research" ten years ago, I used to give megadoses of C intravenously, along with calcium, magnesium, and all the B-complex vitamins to add color and completeness to the solution in the syringe. These people quickly recovered from their virus pneumonia, hepatitis, mono, or whatever. I assumed the vitamin C was doing its magic. I then began to wonder why these people got sick in the first place. They were eating good, nourishing food. What was the problem?

One lady said she hoped that there really was such a condition as PMS, as she did not think she was genetically bitchy. She was so relieved when I gave her the vitamin C, magnesium (2 grams), the B6 (100 mg). "Hurray, I am a chemical cripple!" She is better when she takes the proper supplements in the proper amounts, but the most important thing she has found to help her is the correction of the acid/base balance. I'll bet if I had asked the right questions and had done a blood test, I would have found these people were alkaline. The vitamin C is an oxidizer, a reducing agent, an antihistamine, an anti-viral, but it is also an acid, and allows the minerals we ingest to be soluble. (Too much vitamin C will wash out the serum iron from the blood; so watch it.)

Look to it in your patients, and you will be rewarded by their gratitude. They might even pay you because they recognize that you are a scientist, and not just a therapeutic guesser.

Lendon H. Smith, M.D.
Portland, Oregon

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