This group, like many other holistic health groups, only recommends Vitamin C made from whole foods (meaning food, not the store!) We do not recommend ascorbic acid. Unfortunately, many…including your physician…may not realize that ascorbic acid is not Vitamin C but only one part of the whole Vitamin C molecule. This information maybe new for many because we have grown accustomed to thinking that ascorbic acid is Vitamin C.
Below is a sampling of resources from experts in this area. We hope it will help you to understand our position regarding the recommendation that Vitamin C should come from whole food sources.
Excerpt from Whole Food Vitamins: Ascorbic Acid is Not Vitamin C
by Dr. Tim O’Shea
OK, natural vs. synthetic. Let's start with Vitamin C. Most sources equate vitamin C with ascorbic acid, as though they were the same thing. They're not. Ascorbic acid is an isolate, a fraction, a distillate of naturally occurring vitamin C. In addition to ascorbic acid, vitamin C must include rutin, bioflavonoids, Factor K, Factor J, Factor P, Tyrosinase, Ascorbinogen, and other components. (FB does not permit us to place the vitamin C molecule photo here. It can be found in the comment section below. It’s a very helpful illustration of the whole molecule and where ascorbic acid is located on the molecule so we encourage you to look at the photo.)
Over 90% of ascorbic acid in this country is manufactured at a facility in Nutley, New Jersey, owned by Hoffman-LaRoche, one of the world's biggest drug manufacturers. Here ascorbic acid is made from a process involving cornstarch and volatile acids. Most U.S. vitamin companies then buy the bulk ascorbic acid from this single facility. After that, marketing takes over. Each company makes its own labels, its own claims, and its own formulations, each one claiming to have the superior form of vitamin C, even though it all came from the same place, and it's really not vitamin C at all.
FRACTIONATED = SYNTHETIC = CRYSTALLINE = FAKE
The word synthetic means two things:
- manmade - occurs nowhere in nature
From the outset, it is crucial to understand the difference between vitamins and vitamin activity. The vitamin is the biochemical complex. Vitamin activity means the actual biological and cellular changes that take place when the stage is set for the vitamin complex to act.
Think of it like gas and a car. Pumping the gas into the tank doesn't necessarily mean the car is going anywhere. Other conditions and factors must be also present, in order for Activity to occur. The gas line to the carburetor must be clear, the carburetor jets must be set, there must be an exact mixture of air flow, the ignition must be turned on, the spark plugs must be clean, the exact amount of gas must reach each spark plug right before it fires, no gas must be left over in the cylinder after the plug fires. Getting the idea? If any of this stuff is missing, there's no Activity: the car doesn't run, or at least not very well.
Amazing as it may sound if you're hearing this for the first time, vitamins are more than the synthetic fractions we are commonly taught they are. The ascorbic acid you buy at the grocery store every few weeks, thinking you are buying Vitamin C, is just a chemical copy of naturally occurring ascorbic acid, which itself is still only a fraction of the actual Vitamin C. Real vitamin C is part of something living, and as such, can impart life. Your synthetic, fractionated chemical ascorbic acid never grew in the ground, never saw the light of day, never was alive or part of anything alive. It's a chemical, a cornstarch derivative, a sulfuric acid by-product. In your body it's just another drug. Synthetic vitamins have toxic effects from mega-doses and actually can increase the white blood cell count. Vitamins are only necessary in minute quantities on a daily basis. Whole food vitamins, by contrast, are not toxic since the vitamin is complexed in its integral working form, and requires nothing from the body, and triggers no immune response.
Scurvy is a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency. Scurvy is characterized by bleeding gums, slow wound healing, softening bones, loose teeth, ulcerations of the mouth and digestive tract, general weight loss and fatigue. From 1650 to 1850 half of all seamen on transoceanic voyages died of scurvy. It was discovered by ship surgeon Thomas Lind in the early 1800s that British sailors were spared the disease altogether simply by a diet rich in citrus fruits. Since limes traveled well, they were the common choice during the early years, and thus the expression "limeys" was coined to describe British sailors. It was later found both at sea and in prison fare that potatoes were equally successful in preventing scurvy, and much cheaper to obtain. (Lancet. 1842)
We find that there is less than 20 mg of ascorbic acid in a potato. Yet this small amount, since it is complexed in a food source, is all the body needs not only to prevent scurvy, but also to cure it, even in its advanced state. Such a remedy is described in detail in Richard Dana's amazing journal Two Years Before the Mast, written in 1840.
Whole food vitamin C as found in potatoes, onions, and citrus fruits is able to quickly cure any case of scurvy. By contrast, the fractionated chemical ascorbic acid has been shown to be insufficient in resolving a scurvy condition, simply because it does not act as a nutrient. (Lancet 1842)
Ascorbic acid simply cannot confer vitamin activity, as taught by the discoverer of vitamin C himself, another Nobel Prize laureate, Dr. Albert Szent-Georgi.
Szent-Georgi discovered vitamin C in 1937. In all his research however, Szent-Georgi found that he could never cure scurvy with the isolated ascorbic acid itself. Realizing that he could always cure scurvy with the "impure" vitamin C found in simple foods, Szent-Georgi
discovered that other factors had to be at work in order for vitamin activity to take place. So he returned to the laboratory and eventually made the discovery of another member of the vitamin C complex, as shown in the diagram above: rutin. All the factors in the complex, as Royal Lee and Dr. Szent-Georgi both came to understand, ascorbic acid, rutin, and the other factors, were synergists: co-factors which together sparked the "functional interdependence of biologically related nutrient factors." (Empty Harvest p120) The term "wheels within wheels" was used to describe the interplay of co-factors.
Each of the other synergists in the C complex has a separate function:
- P factors for blood vessel strength, - J factors for oxygen-carrying capacity of red cells, - tyrosinase as an essential enzyme for enhancing white blood cell effectiveness.
Ascorbic acid is just the antioxidant outer shell - the protector of all these other synergists so that they will be able to perform their individual functions.
Dr. Royal Lee's phrase "biological wheels within wheels" always comes up in any discussion of whole food C vitamins. Essentially it means that individual synergists cannot function as a vitamin in a chemically isolated form, like ascorbic acid. Vitamin C is a living complex which contributes to other higher living complexes - like cell repair, collagen manufacture, and maintenance of blood circulation. Ascorbic acid is not a living complex. It is a copy of a part of a living complex known as vitamin C. Ascorbic acid is a fractionated, crystalline isolate of vitamin C.
Why are you...a high school graduate...or a college graduate...or a doctor, and you don't know this? Because drug manufacturers like things clean and simple and cheap to produce. To this simple fact add the politics which always comes into play when anyone mentions the word "billions," and you are beginning to get the idea about where to begin your investigation.
Excerpt from The Calcium Lie II
by Dr Robert Thompson and Kathleen Barnes
You know I’m really passionate about the importance of real vitamin C—whole food vitamin C, not the garbage that is made form ascorbic acid alone. Here’s a rundown of what happens when you are deficient in this vital nutrient.
1. Elevated cholesterol: Our bodies cannot metabolize cholesterol without the real C molecule, which is required for copper utilization. It is logical to conclude that all persons with elevated cholesterol are vitamin C deficient. Having elevated cholesterol is more likely a vitamin C molecule deficiency problem, not a statin drug deficiency problem.
2. Chronic anemia: Our bodies cannot make hemoglobin without the C molecule and the mineral copper, which cannot be utilized in the body without the real Vitamin C. It is pretty amazing how fast a lifelong anemia corrects wi