31 Conversation with History
32 Interview The Common Cold – The Beginning
36 Nutrition in Cancer – How RDA came about – No Toxicity – Perspectives by Linus Pauling
1963 Friedensnobelpreis – 1954 Chemie Nobelpreis
Der Vertrag über das Verbot von Kernwaffenversuchen in der Atmosphäre trat am 10. Oktober 1963 in Kraft. Unmittelbar danach wurde Prof. Pauling für 1962 rückwirkend der Nobelpreis für den Frieden für seine Anstrengungen, Kernwaffentests zu beenden, verliehen.
1966 – Irwin Stone Letter
Pauling’s life and work took another dramatic shift in 1966 when he made the acquaintance of Irwin Stone, initially through correspondence. Stone met Pauling in 1966, after an acceptance speech for the Carl Neuberg Medal, awarded for Pauling’s assessment of sickle cell anemia as a molecular disease. At the talk on “Science and World Problems” delivered in New York, Pauling had made mention of a desire to live another fifteen years, so that he might be able to witness some of the major advances that he foresaw as being on the close horizon. Stone was in the audience and sent Pauling a hugely influential letter that detailed a “High Level Ascorbic Acid Regimen” that could “help you achieve this goal and possibly tack on a few extra decades.”
Harvard Mecical School – Take 3 Grams against the Common Cold
Bias of Prof. Victor Herbert
In late 1969, however, convinced by the theoretical arguments of Irwin Stone and impressed by his own success in preventing colds, Pauling began expanding his comments to include the subject of ascorbate and general health, noting in a speech he gave to physicians at the Mt. Sinai Medical School his success with the use of vitamin C as a cold preventive. His comments were reported in the newspapers.
That is how it began. Then, two things happened. First, he received a “very strongly worded” letter from Dr. Victor Herbert, a leading clinical nutritionist and a man who helped set the U.S. recommended daily allowances (RDAs) for vitamins, who assailed Pauling for giving aid and comfort to the quacks who were bleeding the American public with unsupported claims about the benefits of vitamins. Where, Herbert asked, were the carefully controlled clinical studies to prove that ascorbic acid had a real effect on colds?
Pauling was taken aback. He had not, in fact, carefully reviewed the literature on vitamin C, limiting his reading to a few of the citations in Irwin Stone’s original papers. But now, “sufficiently irritated by this fellow Herbert,” he began a typically comprehensive tour of the scientific journals.
Second, a writer for Mademoiselle magazine contacted Pauling to get his comments on vitamin C for an article on its health benefits. Pauling offered the reporter the general observation that “optimal amounts of vitamin C will increase health and intelligence” and referred readers to his paper on orthomolecular psychiatry. When the article appeared in November 1969, he found his statement rebutted by Frederick Stare, a professor of nutrition at Harvard, who said Pauling “is not an authority on nutrition” and that there was no evidence that increased C helped prevent the common cold; in fact, just the opposite was true. A large-scale study done with five thousand students in Minnesota twenty years earlier, Stare said, had proven definitively that vitamin C had no effect on colds.
Stung, Pauling quickly tracked down the study and decided that Stare had gotten his facts wrong. The 1942 University of Minnesota study involved 363 student subjects who had been given either a placebo or some extra ascorbic acid over a period of twenty-eight weeks. It was true that the authors had concluded in their summary that there was no “important effect” of vitamin C on infections of the upper respiratory tract. But when Pauling took a closer look at their data, he decided they were wrong. Despite what Pauling considered the very low dose of vitamin C given the students – an average of 180 mg per day compared to the 3,000 mg Pauling was now taking – the researchers had in fact seen an effect: Subjects receiving the extra vitamin had 15 percent fewer colds, and the colds they got were 30 percent less severe than those receiving the placebo. Vitamin C was not a preventive or cure, but the results were, Pauling estimated, statistically significant.
It was confusing, especially when Pauling saw the same thing happening in other reports he found on vitamin C and colds: Partial effects were discounted. The physicians who ran the studies seemed to be looking for total cures, not an indication of an effect. The doses they used were low (150-250 mg was common in these early studies – several times the current RDA but many times lower than what Pauling and Stone considered a protective dose), and the effects they looked for were too strong.
The problem, Pauling decided, was that the researchers were looking for vitamin C to act like a drug. In traditional drug testing, small differences in dosage could have tremendous effects, and overdoses were deadly. The tendency was to use relatively small amounts and look for big effects.
But to Pauling, vitamin C was a nutrient, not a drug. When the medical researchers saw a small effect, he thought the logical next step should have been to follow up with larger doses. His literature search uncovered at least one study that showed what might happen if they did. In 1961 a Swiss researcher named Gunther Ritzel had given half of a group of 279 skiers 1,000 mg per day of vitamin C – more than five times the Minnesota dose – and the other half a placebo. Ritzel found that those skiers receiving ascorbic acid had 61 percent fewer days of illness from upper respiratory tract infections and a 65 percent decrease in the severity of their symptoms compared to the placebo group.
This, Pauling thought, was very strong evidence in favor of his ideas. Plot the dose of vitamin C along the bottom of a graph and the effects on colds up the side and you could draw a straight line from the Minnesota results (a small effect with small dose) to the Swiss findings (a larger effect with larger dose). He found a few other papers in which the results fit the pattern. True, some of the research he looked at showed no effect at all – most of these studies, Pauling estimated, were flawed because they used too low doses, too short duration, shoddy oversight, or improper blinding – but the important thing was that a small group of careful clinical studies existed that supported Pauling and Stone’s general theory of vitamin C and health: The more C you took, approaching megadose levels, the lower your chances of getting sick, and the less sick you got.
Novemberv 1970 Vitamin C and the Common Cold
Vitamin C and the Common Cold: Pauling vs. the Physicians
As a double Nobel laureate, Linus Pauling’s recommendation that everyone ingest 1 to 4 grams of vitamin C daily developed into a media frenzy. And with time, the debate took on a distinctly political flavor, with the battle over vitamin C argued on talk shows and in press releases, rather than vindicated in the lab.
Pauling’s accusations that the medical establishment was ignoring the potentially profound benefits of vitamin C in part because of a mutually beneficial relationship with Big Pharma did not, as one might expect, go over well with many medical professionals. Indeed, his work with vitamin C was written off by many as a passing craze, and Pauling was increasingly referred to as a “kook” and a medical “quack.”
As Pauling and the physicians went back and forth, the two sides sometimes found themselves citing the same data and producing opposite conclusions. Often Pauling argued that the studies under consideration – discarded by dissenting physicians for apparently showing negligible effects – actually suggested a real value to the use of vitamin C that would be amplified if only larger doses were used.
One study in particular, authored in 1942 by A.J. Glazebrook and Scott Thomson, found vitamin C to only slightly decrease the occurrence of colds and their symptoms in a sample of college students. For proponents, the work was heralded nonetheless as significant evidence in vitamin C’s favor. The problem, Pauling believed, was that physicians expected vitamin C to act like a drug, with a concomitant “tendency…to use relatively small amounts and look for big effects.” But vitamin C wasn’t a drug, it was a nutrient, and Pauling thought its effects would not be easily observed in a typical physician’s research paradigm.
In an effort to put the issue to rest, a University of Maryland study in which eleven prisoners were given 3 grams of vitamin C a day for two weeks found that, when inoculated with cold viruses, each subject became ill. While many considered this proof that Pauling was wrong, he dismissed this study as well. For one, it lacked a placebo control group and did not take the severity of symptoms into account. Pauling likewise suspected that the prisoners were infected with a cold virus potent enough to have overwhelmed any protective effect from vitamin C.
On and on the debate raged and, by the time of Pauling’s death in 1994, little consensus had been reached: Pauling stood firm in his beliefs and the physicians hadn’t from their position………….
Had Pauling invested in proving his point in the lab after the publication of Vitamin C and Common Cold, perhaps we would have a better understanding of the immune function of this nutrient today. But Pauling felt vitamin C’s protective effects against the cold were not seriously debatable and that, for him, it was time to move on. The physicians, he believed, were set in their ways – a description he often used during the long argument over vitamin C – and it was pointless for him to spend too much of his time and energy trying to disprove them.
Indeed, in Pauling’s mind, there were more important issues to take into the lab than the common cold. Because Pauling wasn’t just busy arguing that vitamin C could cure the common cold. He believed that it might cure cancer, too.
Hoffer / Osmond Booklet 1965 on High Dose B 3 with Schizophrenic-Patients mit 1000-fach and 10.000-fach the RDA –
The Minimum is clear (RDA) for ordinary poor health – But what is the Optimum-Intake? – 12 Grams? – 75 Kg Ziege = 13 Grams
The central Question of Orthomolecular Medicine.
1970 – 1992 – 32 RCT with 1.000 mg or more with pos. Results.
Die Schulmedizin geht bis kurz unterhalb der Grenze der „Toxicity“ zur maximalen Wirksamkeit des schulmedizinischen Präparats.