Censoring Evidence on Vitamin C

Part One: Low-risk treatment offers potential even as it stirs controversy

Vitamin C has collected a long list of studies looking into its effects on a range of conditions and biological processes, from immune response to neurodegenerative disease. (leonori/Shutterstock)
BY CONAN MILNER

Many of us reach for vitamin C for any cold or flu. But doctors who administer, or even promote, this nutrient to treat COVID-19 risk intimidation and censorship.

On April 23, FBI agents raided the Allure Medical Clinic in Shelby Township, Michigan. The visit came soon after Allure announced that it was treating COVID-19 patients using intravenous vitamin C therapy, “with great results.”

In a press release, the clinic’s founder, osteopath Dr. Charles Mok, offered free, high-dose vitamin C treatments to anyone working closely with the public: hospital staff, police, first responders, and grocery store workers. Anyone else who had been exposed to the virus or exhibiting symptoms was also welcome to try the treatment. Mok said his aim was to support people’s immune systems and help those with the COVID-19 virus recover quicker.

“We want to provide this treatment to those who need it, regardless of their ability to pay,” he said.

Mok was charged with health care fraud and conspiracy to commit health care fraud. A 47-page complaint alleges that Mok was engaged in a scheme prior to and during the coronavirus pandemic to submit false and fraudulent claims to Medicare. An FBI spokeswoman said the task force operation was part of an investigation with the Department of Health and Human Services into unproven treatments expressly used for COVID-19.

But she couldn’t confirm whether Mok’s promotion of the vitamin C treatment initiated the investigation.

Dr. Andrew W. Saul says he’s taken heat for suggesting that vitamin C may help treat and protect people from COVID-19, and he knows doctors across the country who are facing similar examples of intimidation and censorship for stating that vitamin C can help patients suffering from COVID-19, and protect others from getting sick.

Saul is the founder and editor of the Orthomolecular News Service (ONS)—an organization that promotes the use of substances natural to the body to address illness. Since January, Saul has sent out several press releases to share studies and clinical evidence demonstrating the success of treating COVID-19 with Vitamin C. But he says his message is repeatedly censored.

Vitamin C has collected a long list of studies looking into its effects on a range of conditions and biological processes, from immune response to neurodegenerative disease. While the vitamin doesn’t always prove effective, it often shows promising results across several conditions largely thanks to its antioxidant status.

ONS was the first to report the use of vitamin C to treat COVID in China, thanks to Dr. Richard Cheng—Chinese editor for the ONS and a physician at the Cheng Integrative Health Center of South Carolina.

Cheng was visiting family in Shanghai during the Chinese New Year and met with Dr. Enqian Mao, chief of an emergency medicine department at a major hospital in Shanghai. Mao had spent over a decade successfully treating patients with acute pancreatitis, sepsis, as well as surgical and other medical conditions with high doses of vitamin C.

Mao’s team began treating COVID-19 patients with the same high-dose regimen (about 10,000 mg to 20,000 mg of intravenous vitamin C). In 50 patients, who ranged from moderate to severe, all recovered. One particularly severe case received 50,000 mg over a period of four hours and improved rapidly. No side effects were reported.

The findings were published in the Chinese Journal of Infectious Diseases, and as a result, the government of Shanghai officially recommended intravenous vitamin C for COVID-19 patients. In March, doctors from all over the world joined Mao in a video conference to discuss his protocol. But Saul says the report was blocked by Facebook as fake news.

“This is highly significant in a world that is locked down through fear of a virus,” Saul said. This information was deleted from YouTube again, and again, and again for violating their community standards. Facebook took it down, saying that it was a violation of their standards because it could cause physical harm.”

In March, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned governments of all nations not to promote any unproven and potentially dangerous remedies in regard to COVID-19. Several health officials have identified vitamin C as a prime offender, stating that there is no scientific evidence that taking this nutrient will help prevent or treat COVID-19.

On CNN, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki declared that her company would ban any content containing medical advice that contradicts WHO’s coronavirus recommendations.

“So people saying, ‘Take vitamin C, take turmeric, we’ll cure you,’ those are the examples of things that would be a violation of our policy,” she said.

Saul says that silencing those who recommend or use vitamin C protects nobody, and only hurts public health. He says doctors have been successfully using high doses of vitamin C against viruses of all forms for decades, with the support of several studies.

“Nothing is proven to work against COVID-19, because it is a new virus,” Saul said. “We have a situation where we have an illness for which there is no vaccine and there is no specific drug, but medical doctors have already shown the way. The only moral and ethically acceptable move is to make the very best use of the information we already have.”

Everyone agrees that a modest daily dose of vitamin C is essential to good health. Some medical experts suggest that mega doses might be harmful but the National Institutes of Health (NIH) claims vitamin C “is not believed to cause serious adverse effects at high intakes. The most common complaints are diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramps, and other gastrointestinal disturbances due to the osmotic effect of unabsorbed vitamin C in the gastrointestinal tract.”

Saul is frustrated by the censorship, but not surprised. He says the medical establishment has long been dismissive of vitamin C treatments.  The Epoch Times spoke with Saul about the history of this battle, past research that supports the use of vitamin C in treating and preventing illness, and the impact that censorship has on public health.

Epoch Times: Why would a doctor even consider vitamin C as a treatment for COVID-19?

Dr. Andrew Saul: Vitamin C has been used by physicians to treat viral illnesses since the 1930s. Dr. Claus W. Jungeblut, professor of bacteriology at Columbia University, showed that vitamin C can prevent and reverse polio. Jungeblut published in a peer-reviewed journal in 1935, with a few more papers in the following years.

There is a whole series of papers on using vitamin C as an antiviral in the 1940s. Some came from Dr. Frederick Robert Klenner, a board-certified chest physician in North Carolina. Klenner was treating polio successfully using higher doses of vitamin C and got even better results than Jungeblut. 

Then, in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, we had the work of Robert Fulton Cathcart, an orthopedic surgeon in California. Cathcart used even higher doses of vitamin C, up to 200,000 milligrams a day, for acute, very serious viral illness.

People are being told that there is a safety issue, but there isn’t. The safety of vitamin C is fabulous. Klenner said it’s the safest substance available to the physician. The American Association of Poison Control Centers keeps an eye every year on who dies from what since at least 1985, and there are no deaths from vitamin C.

The U.S. government has set a tolerable upper level for vitamin C at 2,000 milligrams a day. But that’s been misconstrued, misquoted, and miscast as a safe upper limit. It isn’t. It’s a tolerable upper level. There’s a significant difference here.

The reason this limit exists at all is that some people don’t need as much vitamin C, and they will have loose stool or gastric distress if they take more than 2,000 mg a day. I know some people that take only 500 milligrams a day and they’re very healthy. They just can’t take anymore. They don’t need it.  I know a lot of other people who take 18,000 milligrams of vitamin C a day, and that would include me— and that’s the amount that keeps them well.

So it varies from person to person. The bottom line is, the tolerable upper level has been misconstrued as the safe upper limit and therefore, you can’t give any more, but it’s being done anyway.

There’s so much research on vitamin C every year that you would have to have a lot of extra time to follow it. Vitamin C is one of the most studied substances on the planet. Vitamin C is being used right now to treat COVID in hospitals in China, Turkey, Italy, and, of course, the United States.

For example, the New York Post ran an article on the Northwell Health System in Long Island. They have over 20 hospitals. They’re the largest health care provider in New York State. They’re using vitamin C intravenously. They’re not giving a lot—1,500 mg a day. For some, they would bring it up to 3000 or 6000 mg a day. I talked to a staff member who said they can’t get enough right now to give more.

Based on what I said, you might think that’s really not very much vitamin C. But if it’s given intravenously, even 3,000 milligrams of C is very, very powerful, because the absorption is absolute.

Epoch Times: Besides absorption, what are some other advantages of taking vitamin C intravenously?

Dr. Saul: Not everybody is going to want to take a lot of tablets or powder orally, and when a person is in the hospital they already have an IV running anyway. It’s just easy to give it by vein.

Oral dosing for prevention is sensible because you don’t need as much to prevent. In the same way, you don’t need a whole lot of water to put out a tiny fire in a wastebasket, but you need an awful lot of water to put out a four-story commercial building.

Epoch Times: The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C is less than 100 mg a day. Why would we ever want more than that?

Dr. Saul: With the exception of humans, gorillas, orangutans, guinea pigs, and a few others, most animals make their own vitamin C in their livers. The key here is that they make a lot of it.

Now, the U.S. RDA for an adult is only 90 milligrams a day—in Britain, it’s a preposterous 49 mg. But animals per human body weight equivalent manufacture between 2,000 and 10,000 milligrams of vitamin C a day.

A monkey in the wild that weighs about 20 to 25 pounds is known to consume about 600 milligrams of vitamin C in its diet. So if you extrapolate that for a human, that would be about 4,500 milligrams a day, and that happens to be the amount that gorillas consume. Geoffrey Bourne found that out back in 1949, when he studied gorillas and vitamin C consumption.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant. So it goes after free radicals. We’ve all heard about that. When somebody is seriously ill with a disease like COVID, their need for vitamin C skyrockets. If you test people with pneumonia, influenza, or COVID-19, you can measure and see that their vitamin C levels are low. So the body is actually consuming it in this battle to recover.

Another thing that vitamin C does is it strengthens the bond among the cells of the body. The substance that cements all our cells together is made out of collagen. It’s what keeps your joints and skin together. It’s what keeps your blood vessels intact. When you don’t have enough vitamin C, you don’t make collagen. The connective tissue becomes weak and you get scurvy. In the old days, wherever you touched a sailor with scurvy, they would instantly have a bruise because the little blood vessels would all break.

Vitamin C enables the manufacture of collagen so that you don’t bleed into yourself. Well, the lungs are just full of blood. All your blood is sent through tiny blood vessels in your lungs which go to millions of tiny air sacs called alveoli. This is how oxygen comes into the body. It’s absorbed into the blood vessels.

If you don’t have enough vitamin C, those blood vessels are going to rupture, so the person will fill with blood and die. And, in COVID, that’s one of the things they worry about.

Vitamin C also enables white blood cells—the army of the body that fights invaders. White blood cells require vitamin C to function. And in high enough doses, vitamin C is actually an antiviral. This goes back to the ridiculously-sounding high doses that I mentioned earlier with Dr. Klenner and Dr. Cathcart. Klenner was reversing viral pneumonia in 52 hours.

In every nutrition textbook ever written, it says that vitamin C is essential for a properly functioning immune system. Well, if you have COVID, the one thing you want more than anything else is a properly functioning immune system.

Too little vitamin C will cause the immune system to be weak or cause the immune system to work wrong.

Pneumonia and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) is what kills COVID patients. You can also get pneumonia from a cold that just gets worse. It happened to me many years ago. I had a severe cold, I didn’t take care of myself and I got double viral pneumonia. So I decided to do what Dr. Cathcart did— I took 2,000 mg of vitamin C every six minutes I was awake. I had a high fever and I was coughing.

In three hours, my temperature came down three degrees and my cough stopped. This is exactly what Klenner and Cathcart reported in their medical papers.

All of this makes it a plausible therapy for COVID. What people are being told is that this is being looked into, but there’s no evidence or proof, so don’t do it because we’re not going to have the results until November. Well, we can’t wait until November. So we’re going to the doctors who are getting the results now.

The doctors who are using vitamin C for COVID all over the world are doing what is best for the patient. And this is the Hippocratic Oath.

Doctors are morally and ethically bound to do everything they can for the good of the patient. If they don’t know about vitamin C, we can understand why they might not use it. But now, the cat is out of the bag. Doctors know other doctors who are using vitamin C. And now, it’s a political battle to tell them to not do it.

I think we should save the lives of these patients first and work out the politics later. Doctors need to save the lives of their patients, and physicians who are using vitamin C are reporting that this is working. Unfortunately, the media is putting out stuff that is scary because that is what the media does.

Follow Conan on Twitter: @ConanMilner

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The Epoch Times is nonpartisan and values-based. We believe true journalism is based on moral principles. We focus on important issues and on policies and their impact, not partisanship. We don’t follow the unethical trend of agenda-driven journalism, but instead use our principles of Truth and Tradition as our guiding light to report honestly.

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