This is the last interview on record with Dr Linus Pauling, twice Novel prize winner and recipient of 48 PhDs, who is considered to be the greatest influence on modern chemistry and also on the emerging science of nutritional medicine. “Optimum Nutrition is the medicine of tomorrow.” He said. Here, Patrick Holford interviews him on his research on vitamin C.
Q When you published ‘Vitamin C and the Common Cold’ what did you expect that to do to medical thinking?
When my book was published near the end of 1970, I thought the medical profession and ordinary people would be pleased. They would be pleased that they no longer were suffering the miseries of the common cold and related diseases and the physicians would be pleased in that they were no longer bothered by patients with the common cold for which they didn’t have any very good treatment anyway, but could concentrate on more serious illnesses. So I was astonished at the reception that I got when the Professor of Medicine at Mount Sinai College of Medicine wrote to me complaining about my statement that vitamin C, three grams a day would provide considerable protection against the common cold.
I checked the medical literature to find what evidence there was at that time. I found four controlled trials, recently well-conducted trials, involving what I would describe now as rather small amounts of vitamin C per day of between 200mg and a 1,000mg per day. I think that the best one of these four early trials was done by Dr Ritzel, the physician for the school system in Basle, Switzerland. He gave 270 schoolboys at a winter ski camp either a gram of vitamin C per day, in a capsule or a placebo. It was a randomised double-blind, controlled trial and with each boy the nurse made sure that the boys swallowed the capsule so that he didn’t have the trouble that other investigators have of the boys, boys especially, not swallowing the capsule but instead, trading them back and forth so that you, the investigators, didn’t know which one had received the vitamin C and which the placebo. The result was 63 per cent less illness with the common cold for the boys who received the vitamin C compared to those who received the placebo. Well, this was a very good trial.
Vitamin C and the Common Cold continued
High doses of Vitamin C
Orthomolecular medicine and conventional medicine
Work of Dr Jariwalla on HIV
Vitamin C and lysine for the treatment of cardiovascular disease
Reversing the atherosclerotic process
Recommended dosage of Vitamin C
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