All our body's systems are chemical. The raw materials these systems use for our health and well-being are derived almost exclusively from our diet. Most of the discussions in the various popular media concerning diet focus on what we shouldn't eat. While there are certain foods, primarily sugar, where restricted consumption is important, the lack of adequate amounts of individual nutrients is a much more serious situation, leaving our systems crippled and unable to fight disease and promote an optimum state of being. It is the opinion of the authors of this site that the nutrient most lacking in our diets is Vitamin C. Indeed, if the cornerstone of natural selection is the ability to pass on one's genes, then an organism would maintain this ability at all costs, else it would perish in an evolutionary sense. Our new section on the role of Vitamin C and infertility would support the very fundamental requirement for this nutrient in larger doses than is commonly held. Also, please see Our Need to Supplement and How Much to Take.
The late biochemist Irwin Stone studied ascorbic acid (vitamin C) for over forty years and is credited with the discovery that man's somewhat unique inability to synthesize our own vitamin C from glucose is due to a genetic liver-enzyme disorder he called hypoascorbemia (too little ascorbate). In his book The Healing Factor: "Vitamin C" Against Disease, Stone says:
"...the lack of this molecule [vitamin C] in humans has contributed to more deaths, sickness, and just plain misery than any other single factor in man's long history".
It is somewhat of a disservice to discuss only one nutrient. Many times you will hear someone tell you that eating (or NOT eating) "X" will help with a certain problem. While there is usually some basis for these recommendations, it is important to remember that our body's systems are very complicated and that these symptoms are rarely fixed by a single element when our systems are so generally deficient. The prime example of this is the link between dietary fat and cholesterol and heart disease. Please see the side bar on the Heart Disease page for a discussion of this.
Also, please read the vitamin C overview from a lecture by Dr. Pauling, Linus Pauling lectures on Vitamin C and Heart Disease. Dr. Frederick Klenner was probably the leading authority on the clinical use of vitamin C. A compendeum of his published work with vitamin C is available here. On the question of when C is appropriate Dr. Klenner said "Vitamin C should be given to the patient while the doctors ponder the diagnosis."
For more information about why vitamin C is important and why we need to supplement, check out Learning About C. For a good, detailed overview please visit the Gary Null page The Antioxidant Vitamin - Vitamin C
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