That which seems complicated is made simple.
Thank you again, Friends, for your very positive responses. It is very humane of you all to consider my feelings in framing your statements in the most positive way and leaving me little to do by way of retuning toward optimism.
Our mascot, Voltaire, sometimes used a positive statement as a figure of fun so he could illustrate the bankruptcy of a world where one may pursue happiness (it’s a right!) but never attain it. One must be very clever to make an end run around a shrewd critical thinker and I can spot a man of straw at a great distance; he’s wearing my old clothes, making him look very familiar. L. Frank Baum used him to good effect to show how even a brainless field hand can help out a Princess in need. Baum’s prolific use of Jungian-style symbols is his most endearing aptitude.
Today, we have before us a question about vitamin C and what might be the proper form to bring about the best result in the human soma. Irwin Stone wrote a nice piece on that very subject and he treated it as a question in biochemistry. If I paraphrase him it is because his statements are clear and memorable; I am not appropriating his work but incorporate it into my thinking by reference. Here goes:
Vitamin C was named as the cure for scurvy before it was even clear what it was or what it looked like. A was the cure for eye problems, B was the cure for pellagra and the cure for scurvy was next in line. Several people are responsible for the early work in C, especially Casimir Funk who probably owned the first vitamin company on the planet. The hypothesis was that the tiny food fractions just then being discovered at the turn of the 19th Century were important to the maintenance of good health and that faulty food and not germs or evil spirits were to blame for blindness, dementia, loose teeth and beer-battered children. When vitamin A was identified, all kinds of blindnesses were discovered to be due to a simple vitamin A deficiency. When the vitamin was added as an extract or when the diet was adjusted, sight returned rapidly. When B (a galaxy not a star) was discovered to be deficient in the Southern (U.S.) diet, additions of certain cheap and plentiful foods to the menu emptied the insane asylums literally overnight. Sailors already knew that lemons quickly cured scurvy but the subtle energy present in the juice was not identified until the 1930’s. It was also present in oranges and elsewhere (mainly fruits) but the first efficient extracts were made from fresh paprika by (of all people) a Hungarian polymath named Albert Szent-Györgyi de Nagyrápolt. He was puzzled by the form of the molecule and identified it as an essential sugar, naming it god-knose because of his confusion. His lab partner warned him about reckless impiousness so he renamed it ig-nose (because he was ignorant of what kind of sugar it might be) but his partner nixed that too so they settled on hexuronic acid which they obtained in small amounts from Chicago slaughterhouse viscera (the paprika method came a little later). The ‘-ose’ suffix identifies a sugar in the nomenclature of chemistry.
In the end, vitamin C was the moniker selected by the scientific community since it fit right into the existing pattern. Stone said this was a mistake because, first, it is not a vitamin and second, it is required in significantly larger amounts than any vitamin now known to science. If you think of it as if it were just another vitamin, 50mg ought to be about the correct amount to take every day. However, our buddy, Fido, makes 100 times more than that for his everyday operational requirements and, if I may say so, we are not very different from our best friends. One orange or a glass of lemonade will keep frank scurvy at bay but it will not prevent the myriad of symptoms sometimes grouped together as “sub-clinical” or “walking” scurvy. Gingivitis and periodontitis are but two examples of common symptoms of sub-clinical scurvy that are treated as distinct disease entities. The list is a long one.
In the bio-chemical factory called here, Homo sapiens faber, there is a defective supply line that exists ab initio, making it a true birth defect. The missing element is called GULO and it is an enzyme that completes a multi-stage conversion process from glucose (called blood sugar) to ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Without that completion, mankind makes insufficient vitamin C on his own for survival and will surely die within 20 circuits of the moon of a disease called SIDs if precautions are not taken. Fortunately, according to Dr. Kalokerinos, this disease is 100% preventable by the addition of something like 1/4 teaspoonful of Myrciaria dubia or Emblica officinalis powder by mouth each day and forgoing vaccinations of any kind until the immune function is fully established and humming. Lemon water, potato squeezings and a couple of other common food items will also prevent SIDs. The more you weigh, the more you need.
As you might have noticed, vitamin C is recently the subject of much heated debate mainly because it is misnamed. If we were to see it as an essential sugar like galactose, we would consume as much of it as we do table sugar and all the health problems associated with vitamin C deficiency would be resolved in one day. Go ahead, there’s nothing to stop you from keeping a Swanson Diet Diary® (SDD) to record every morsel of food and drop of beverage that enters your mouth for a full week (see Benedict). At the end of the period, you go online to the analysis pages and determine exactly how much table sugar or other non-essential sugars you routinely eat and then begin to take a equal dose of L-ascorbate (the preferred term) in the form of pills, powders or liquids. That is the easiest way to avoid the usual symptoms of human subclinical scurvy. Some people fudge by asserting that apple sugar is not the same thing as beet sugar but that’s a quibble. For that matter, you could say that a thong is not a bathing suit. From the point of view of your Swanson Diary®, all sugars (except essential sugars) are equal. Since bears in the Fall fatten up on fruit sugars, if I wanted to lose some fat (or at least not add any more) I would avoid all sugar-laden fruit especially when it arrives in the form of a pie (sob!). Since dietary fats contain no sugar, are satisfying and poorly absorbed, I would eat all the fat I wanted, just not on a doughnut with ketchup and mayonnaise. Of course, as Budwig has proven six times, one would do well to avoid the processed, heated and hydrogenated fats and stick to the good ones. Meat-eaters should learn to eat the whole animal instead of just the muscle cuts (Mowat). That way the B and C vitamins in the viscera will be available to bio-chemical processes for maintaining both physical and mental health. Grain-fed beef was invented to convert surplus grain into larded steaks, an economic boon to areas where the pastures had been converted into wheaten monocultures and the surpluses were piling up. Besides, steak produces more profits and can move around on its own (for a while). At the same time, grass is cheap and most people throw it away or smoke it so I say, let the cattle have it! That said, it must be added that comparisons between African and European beef indicate that when bovines are fed principally grains and hay, they get fat. The African cattle that are pastured in wooded meadows don’t get fat and their meat is therefore much healthier for human food. As the food processors invade even the barns and feedlots, “civilized” cattle become more and more unhealthy when they are fed abattoir wastes and chicken house droppings and pass their infirmities on to the customers without very many ever realizing what is amiss. Mark Purdey had a good deal to contribute to this subject and should be consulted by prudent omnivores.
Anderson of the U.S.D.A., working with Indian colleagues, discovered that taking capsules of Cinnamomum aromaticum powder reduced blood sugar in Homo sapiens muncher. I looked at that interesting fact and wondered where the sugar went. Did it convert into fat as is normally the case when there’s a surplus in the blood? Nope. The people who took the Chinese cassia capsules actually became slimmer! [Whoa, Nellie!] Research done at Malmo and Rochester (Minn.) returned mixed results but the hypothesis they advanced proposed that cassia powder capsules assist insulin in doing its work. An interesting side-effect was noticed, namely, cholesterol readings went down! My hypothesis is that the cassia used in the study was helping to convert glucose to ascorbic acid, which is decaloric® (my sister’s word). I think Embilica officinalis does the same thing and maybe Myrciaria dubia also. Further study is needed, wouldn’t you say?
Hank Newbold says that he has had the best luck with the dull version of ascorbic acid crystals. They don’t glitter. Lendon Smith says you should buffer your ascorbic acid with sodium hydrogen carbonate and that’s what I do when I use it. Add water and the lemony result is fizzy L-ascorbate, a salt which the body recognizes and puts to use without much further ado. Myrciaria dubia can be very sour or quite tame. If acidic, I will add a bit of Na(HCO3) to adjust the balance. I keep my Na(CHO3) in the icebox so the butter stays sweet. Al Szent-Györgyi discovered that absolutely pure ascorbic acid didn’t work very well against pneumonia and that a contaminated sample worked much better. When he investigated the contamination, it turned out to be a residue from the paprika which he teased out, analyzed, identified as the substance which today we call “the bioflavonoids” and won the Nobel Prize for being such a devout and observant boy. He called it “vitamin P” (guess why). Good sources of this are any chili pepper, buckwheat, and a bottle marked “rutin” (another sugar) or powdered apple peel (AOC, New York) on the shelf of the grocery store. If you add some buckwheat to a pancake recipe, the food value skyrockets! Fresh wheatgerm makes the pancakes go farther and if you drizzle them with cinnamon honey, guess what happens then? The kids may complain that you ruined the pancakes, but the fat ones will eat them anyway. HeHe. Serve scrambled eggs too; hold the ketchup.
There are other sources of L-ascorbate and ascorbic acid but the ones already mentioned are the best for everyday use. Ideally, we would want to convert our blood sugar on demand to make whatever vitamin C is needed but I wouldn’t go messing around with the human genome unless I were J.X. God, any more than I would go messing with the U.S. Constitution unless I were T. Hartmann and, that said, if the cassia does in fact help convert sugar into ascorbic acid, I’d consider that to be a major breakthrough for obese humanity. Keep in mind that we are not super sized because we are eating heartily, but rather because we are eating so badly. We are not getting the nutrients we need from faulty food so we are cribbing on everything that can’t slither away in time. People who used to crave crushed ice have substituted blue freezer pops. ALERT! There is no food that is blue except in Wonkaland® and freezer pops will add inches to your figure just as surely as Buffet adds figures to his ledger. Instead of cribbing on faulty-food items, why not just eat better? I know substantial food is expensive but, if you save the cost of one doctor-visit and one prescription drug by eating well, the bill is paid. N.B. If you cruise the web the way I do, you will soon discover that Chinese cassia contains a fraction that tends to thin the blood. This is a good thing if you have thick blood (thicker that what?) but might cause problems if you are already taking a blood-thinning drug. Fortunately for you, True Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum verum) contains only traces and shouldn’t be a problem. A related effect is the tendency for L-ascorbate to lower insulin requirements in diabetic people. If an insulin-injector takes some L-ascorbate and then injects, the blood sugar might go too low so keep the orange juice handy. To recapitulate, I know it’s like trying to train a pig to dance, and even though it will probably irritate him, you should make some attempt to inform your M.D. of what you are doing in case he wants to monitor the situation. Cassia might be an answer for diabetic people although it must be taken into account that there are two types of the disease: one is caused by a birth defect and the other is degenerative. I have not yet seen a study where the two types are compared using cassia but, stay tuned.
Dr. Rath weighs in by suggesting that millions of years ago, Homo sapiens molestor, or one of his ilk, was affected in some way and a gene was damaged—perhaps it was a stray cosmic particle—with the result that blood sugar could no longer be converted into ascorbic acid in vivo. The damage (see LaMarck) was passed on to his descendants and conferred an advantage of some kind because it has since become ubiquitous. We may surmise that the advantage was that it reduced the energy requirements of the plumbing by eliminating a process requiring the expenditure of energy and the energy could then be focused on activities better to foster survival. I hypothesize as follows:
Given that there are ascorbic acid substitutes in the diet of the afflicted species in certain geographical areas, in this case, citrus and other fruits, vegetables, meat, herbs and plant materials, the loss of endogenous production wouldn’t have been problematical. The surplus blood sugar, amounting to as much as half of the amount eaten and produced by digestion of foods, could be diverted to cerebral functions and structures, namely the brain. Since the brain contains a lot of fats (hence the expression “fathead”, meaning smarter than me) we would see the brain enlarging because the resources were available for it to do so and adaptions geared to a larger brain would be favored. The larger brain would contain more room for synapses and the upsurge in glucose would provide additional fuel to run the thing at an increased speed of conversion. But that wasn’t the half of it! More sugar in the blood allowed for increased locomotion and the new version of Homo could run further and faster than his rivals after toothsome game and move quickly away from dangerous situations. If he couldn’t kill it, he could at least outrun it. A third advantage was the tendency to convert surplus sugar via glycogen into adipose tissue. Since fat storage increases the chances of survival by providing fuel for times when food might be scarce, heavy set Homos would be more likely to make it through a long winter like our friends the bears do. In the Spring, they would be up and att’em, ready to feed the family and teach them what they need to know to beat out the competition. To summarize, we have the advantages of simplified plumbing, adequate exogenous substitutes for the lost endogenous chemical, more fuel for rapid and sustained physical responses, additional raw materials for improved structures, and the capability to store energy for future and prolonged use. So how does it happen that virtually the whole Human species shares this trait? And, shouldn’t we expect to find a remnant population with the old chemistry? More on that later.
But let us address in the meantime the question of how the species Homo sapiens scorbuticus (scurvy-prone man) became not just the dominant form but the only surviving form (as far as we know). Easy; just set off a huge volcano and the ensuing famine and ice age will kill off all but the most fit. Well, we have one that fits the description. It is Danau Toba in North Sumatra and if the geological record can be relied on, the eruption of ca. 70,000 B.P just about killed off the entire human species and a lot of other things too. The eruptions continued for many years and eventually the flora and fauna were nearly extinguished. Among the survivors (a remnant, if you will) were as many as 15,000 Homo sapiens scorbuticus or as few as 15 families. They eked out a living by eating dried fruit, jerky, sea vegetation, fish, shrews, nests, mosses and voles, producing sufficient glucose to survive but existing in a continual state of subclinical scurvy which was not enough to kill them but enough to shorten their lives considerably, to about 40 years. They were sufficiently robust to couple, produce offspring and, with a profound commitment to the welfare of the group, survive to train their children in the ways of the world before they were gathered to their ancestors. Surviving relatives cared for the orphans and success was always dependent on cooperation and a positive attitude. Since it was quite cold, the ability to hang on to fat was a huge advantage. Some hardy animals survived, among them sheep (important for wool), goats (important for meat and milk), cattle (important for milk, meat, fat, bones, hides, mobility and muscle power). Above all what was needed in livestock was a peaceful disposition because Homo was in a state of chronic weakness and would have found it difficult to hunt widely for “wild” animals or control and restrain unruly or disobedient ones. There is no evidence that Neanderthal ever mastered the art of sewing winter garments and the superior tailoring skills of Scorbuticus may have been the edge he needed to survive. Our preoccupation with “fashion” may be a vestige of this vital talent. There is evidence that Scorbuticus could envision future events and prepare for them while Neanderthal lived in the Continuous Now, competent to react to present events but unable to see enough of the future to provide adequately for it. It is likely that Neanderthal or Cro-Magnon had larger cerebral capacity, but the ability of Scorbuticus to burn glucose as well as ketones made him the intellectual fast-burner in the game of Life®. Scorbuticus eggheads also saw the advantages of domesticating animals to keep them nearby and very probably noticed that they would imprint (as Lorenz reported) on their human keepers and not stray far from “mama” if proper procedures and ceremonies were followed at birth or hatching. The plump goose girls of Old Austria merely sat down in the field and no fences or corrals were needed to keep their flocks nibbling in the grasses around them. In short, the numerous, ingenious little tweaks that were invisible to their rivals were obvious to them. Adios muchachos…
Then, as the years passed, the weather warmed and the glaciers receded, hardy Scorbuticus extended his range. In the North, the new foods he depended on for a meagre supply of dietary ascorbic acid were proving inadequate to sustain his life. The resulting die-off went virtually unnoticed because a new kind of Homo was emerging. He was the herder who depended on his cattle for milk, cheese and curds, rich in fats and replete with cholesterol, an important precursor for many of the body’s chemical processes. One effect of subclinical scurvy was reported by Maeda who found that scorbutic (knockout) mice, when kept on a diet poor in ascorbic acid, developed a human-like condition that was not different from atherosclerosis. Ordinary mice were immune. What she observed was a layer of cholesterol and calcium coating the interior of the arterial structures. She related this condition to the fact that collagen is not properly formed in scorbutic mice and arterial walls are weak and subject to leakage. Somatic cues marshal blood-borne fatty substances and calcium to form protective plaques which prevent seeping and prolong normal functioning, sometimes for years. As the damage continues, the plaques accumulate until, eventually, they occlude the vessel and, if a stray clot forms and lodges in a constriction, a heart attack may occur and result in death. In our herdsman, the arteries begin to leak from an L-ascorbate deficiency that can’t be made up in the diet, but the plentiful supply of bovine cholesterol allowed apolipoprotein (A) to combine with calcium in the blood and maintain the vessel in an operating condition for a long time, certainly long enough to raise the kids and see them married off to their cousins. Nature had found a work-around for patching up scorbutic, collagen-compromised vessels. Nowadays, of course, we plan to live forever and the obvious way to do that would be to conquer sub-clinical scurvy at long last and not substitute cardio-vascular disease in it’s place. The problem is that our medics are well trained in emergency response but have absolutely no training in prevention unless you call high blood-pressure medicine and slow-walking “prevention” (they help). You bring the medics a heart attack in acute stage and they leap right in to save your life. You show them a heart burdened with malfunctioning, scorbutic structures and mushy collagen and they haven’t a clue what to do (transplant maybe?). If you don’t mind irritating a medic, ask him if he would recommend L-ascorbate (and niacin) to prevent heart attacks and see what he says. One medic remarked that a passing bus might do just as well as vitamin C (truly a classic Dr. Dictum®). They also advise use of cholesterol-lowering drugs like that’s going to help.
So… now that we have come this far and you have paid your dues, you are to be rewarded with some direct answers. A company called LivOn sells a liposomal form of ascorbic acid that is said to be 8x more effective that plain (buffered?) ascorbic acid. Great in an emergency. They have other liposomal products that will change the face of supplements unless they are driven out of business for emptying the hospitals and wrecking the economy. Levy has written a book on the subject that I recommend to anyone interested in living beyond fourscore and 10. He explains that since cells are formed from fats (Warburg), it makes sense to use a fatty acid vehicle to carry nutrients to the cells. The invention can also protect L-ascorbate from degradation by heating as in bread baking. Lately, Sardi has disclosed the Pdazzler method for making liposomal ascorbic acid in the home for all the Julia Childs fans who like to make their own Egg McMuffins® too. An L-ascorbate product useful in acute cases is Ascor L 500 by McGuff. Riordan has published a complete protocol with cautions. I heard by the grapevine that the company (McGuff) has been warned by the F.D.A. (Fellows in Darling Accessories) that since the IV-type of L-ascorbate is a drug they must stop shipping it or face sanctions since it is used as a cheap substitute for various patented cancer treatment chemicals known to be toxic by the state of California (how can a state know anything?). Dach has written a piece on how a farmer was saved from certain death by H1N1 with Ascor L 500. The vets can use it all they want and Klenner hooked up his patients to a drip whilst awaiting the test results.
DrPangloss. [The eldest legitimate brainchild of Francois Marie Arouet]
El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles
October 14, 2011
(please save this .pdf to disk and read it at your leisure)
There’s a river somewhere (in Austria?) named after us. Actually, it’s more of a ditch and Paine said he could smell it a mile away. —Alois