Is atherosclerosis really a symptom of scurvy?

Part 3: Supporting evidence

It wasn't long, however, before supporting evidence began to surface.

In 1992, a major study of over 11,000 Americans showed that those with the highest intakes of vitamin C had only about half the rate of heart disease.[1] Although some subsequent studies failed to find any benefit from vitamin C, on balance, the latest evidence appears to vindicate Pauling's thesis. Most recently, data from nearly 300,000 people show conclusively that an intake of 700 mg/day or more of vitamin C reduces the risk of heart disease by 25 per cent.[2]

However, according to Pauling's theory, no one taking enough vitamin C should get heart disease at all. So, why should the risk be reduced by only a quarter with 700 mg/day of the vitamin — a massive 10 times the RDA? Could it be that even this huge dose is not enough?

Possibly. If we consider other animals, we find that they synthesize and use far more vitamin C than that. A 70 kg goat, for example, makes about 13,000 mg (13 g) of vitamin C every day; and a large dog makes some 2,500 mg/day. Out of the thousands of different animals existing in Nature only three — humans, monkeys and guinea pigs — are known to need vitamin C in their foods. The Committee on Animal Nutrition in the USA has also shown that monkeys need around 55 mg of vitamin C per kilogram of body weight per day in their feed for optimal health. In human terms, this means an average 70-kg (154 lb) person needs to eat nearly 4,000 mg per day.


1. Enstrom JE, Kanim LE, Klein MA.Vitamin C intake and mortality among a sample of the United States population.Epidemiology. 1992; 3: 194-202.
2. Knekt P, Ritz J, Pereira MA, et al. Antioxidant vitamins and coronary heart disease risk: a pooled analysis of 9 cohorts. Am J Clin Nutr 2004; 80: 1508-20.

Part 1: Introduction | Part 2: Rath & Pauling | Part 3: Supporting evidence | Part 4: Reversing CHD | Part 5: Better than statins

Bookmark and Share
Last updated: December 9, 2011