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 Nutritional Medicine: Linus Pauling and Vitamin C Therapy for Breast Cancer  
 
Steve Austin ND, Cathy Hitchcock ©

Normally, scientists work together in an environment of collegiality Typically, those working in the same field are in close touch and usually know how colleagues' efforts are proceeding even before work is published. To purposely keep a scientist of the caliber of Linus Pauling in the dark is both unusual and very poor form, to say the least; yet this is apparently what the Mayo Clinic did. In a press release, Pauling

expressed his concern about the behaviour of the Mayo Clinic physicians in taking positive steps to prevent him and Dr. Cameron from learning about the nature of the Mayo Clinic work until it had been published. The principal investigator in the Mayo Clinic work had promised Dr. Pauling that he would provide a copy of the paper to Dr. Pauling and Dr. Cameron before the date of publication, but then he did not do so.58

Frequently unmentioned in the ongoing debate between Linus Pauling and the Mayo Clinic is the fact that Pauling's work has already been independently verified by Japanese researchers. Murata and Morishige's high doses of vitamin C (five grams or more per day) extended patients' lives from an average of 43 to 246 days, 59 a change remarkably similar to that reported by Cameron and Pauling.

While the issue has not been resolved (the Japanese study also lacked a placebo control), the characterization that "vitamin C goes down for the count" that appeared in the medical press 60 is more wish than fact.

If we focus on what effect vitamin C had on breast cancer patients in the Pauling study, we find survival times of more than 487 days versus 52 days.61 Keep in mind that these patients were terminal. These figures tell us very little about using vitamin C to treat early-stage disease. Although we may speculate that a substance that extends life in late-stage cancer patients might do better at an earlier point in time, especially because there is much evidence that vitamin C prevents cancer,62 we have no facts to bask up this assumption. A study exploring this possibility would take years and require considerable funding--money that's currently unavailable for this kind of research.

As you might expect, Cathy takes 12 grams of vitamin every day "just in case." The only common side effect, diarrhea can be controlled by simply lowering the dose. Possible links between large doses of vitamin C and kidney stones have been suggested; but in the absence of a history of such stones, vitamin C appears to be relatively safe. Avoid the chewable form of vitamin C. It usually contains sugar, and the combination of the acid in the vitamin and the added sugar can cause tooth decay. If you're considering taking vitamin C and have had problems with diarrhea or a history of kidney stones, it's particularly important to talk with a nutrition-oriented doctor. Graduates of some Chiropractic colleges (such as Western States or Los Angeles Chiropractic College) or any licensed naturopathic physician should be well-versed in vitamin C supplementation.

(Excerpted from Breast Cancer: What You Should Know (But My Not be Told) About Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment ISBN: 1559583622)
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