Paavo Airola - Nutrition Forum - Let's Live - March 1976 Index

Vitamin C and Heart Attacks

Q. A recent article in my paper quoted medical researcher, Dr. Leslie M. Klevay, of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Human Nutrition Laboratory, as saying that taking vitamin C raises your cholesterol level and increases your chances of suffering a heart attack. This is so upsetting to me since I take 1500 mg. daily. I am very confused! How does one know what is true? Please answer. B.E., Colorado

A. It is very confusing, indeed. As I stated in my book, Are You Confused?, there is virtually no independent nutrition research in the United States. The giant, multibillion dollar food processing, chemical, and drug industries finance most nutrition research, both in private and government research centers and in the form of grants to universities. And, "He who pays the piper calls the tune." George Bernard Shaw said about the Bible: "It's a wonderful book you can prove anything you want with it." The same can be said about so called scientific research. With the almighty dollar you can buy "scientific" evidence and actual research to prove anything you wish whatever your commercial or other interests dictate. I don't know who paid for the research Dr. Klevay refers to, but there are several flaws in his conclusions. The worst is that according to many investigations and newest medical opinion, it is not high cholesterol, but high triglyceride levels which is a contributing factor in heart attacks - too little exercise and too much fat and sugar in the diet.

I think you can safely continue taking your vitamin C. I know of thousands of people who have been taking large doses of C for decades, with nothing but distinct benefits.

One Hundred Times Better!

Q. Until recently, I ate huge quantities of meat (over one pound a day of sirloin, T-bone steak, roast beef, and hamburger) in addition to a great deal of sweet foods, soda, and potato chips - rarely vegetables.

In the last year (I am now 25) I have been eating cottage cheese, fish, many vegetables, some fruits, nuts, and whole grain breads. I will continue to eat this way, because I feel and look one hundred times better! My skin is clear, and I do not crave junk foods or meat. Yet, I worry that too much harm has already been done because of my past habits.

For example, I have heard of fatty plaques which attach to artery walls. If I reversed my eating habits, as I have, will harm to arteries most likely be reversed, or will there simply be be reversed, or will there simply be no further harm done?

I was terribly constipated for several years (between the ages of 17 and 23), and had painful leg cramps quite often. Now that I eat bran and all good nutritious foods in proper proportions, I have no further problems. However, I would like to know if this means that most prior harm to the colon, small intestine, rectum is naturally corrected, or should I be doing something in addition to adopting good habits in order to undo whatever harm may have been done? E.R., Brightwaters, N.Y.

A. You are extremely fortunate that you saw the light so early in your life and are already reaping the wonderful rewards of your dietary changes. Our bodies have a remarkable capacity to repair and rejuvenate themselves especially at your age! And judging from your description of how you feel and look already, your body has responded so well to the change, that you need not worry about the possible past damage. Just continue with your Optimum Diet of natural foods and don't forget that even at your age you should complement your diet with vitamins and supplements.

Vitamin C and Pernicious Anemia

Q. You and many other nutritionists advocate the taking of large amounts of vitamin C on a daily basis for prevention of colds, for protection against the damaging effects of poisons in air, food, and water, and for many specific illnesses. I have been taking 3,000 - 5,000 mg. of vitamin C daily for several years. Of course, I also take many other supplements, and do follow the optimum diet as outlined in your book, Are You Confused? I am 42 years old, and I feel better than I ever felt before in my life. But, now I'm really worried. I read in the paper today that large doses of vitamin C will cause a deficiency of vitamin B12 with resultant pernicious anemia. This conclusion was reached by a respected scientist on the basis of controlled studies, and was reported in the prestigious was reported in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association - so it isn't just someone's unsubstantiated opinion that can be dismissed lightly. What do you say to this? Should I stop taking large doses of vitamin C? It doesn't seem to make sense trying to prevent colds at the risk of developing pernicious anemia. The possibility of anemia for a woman of my age is a constant threat anyway. What is your advice? Mrs. J.E.C., Anaheim, CA.

A. This "Vitamin C Link to B12 Deficiency" scandal is a glaring example of what happens when test tube oriented scientists play nutritionists. If you have followed my teachings for some time, you must be aware of the emphasis I put on the importance of using empirical evidence (the actual large scale human experience with certain nutritional patterns) in determining whether this or that diet or this or that specific nutrient is beneficial or harmful, conducive or destructive to good health. My idea of a true nutritionist is Dr. Weston Price, who, after his global studies of the eating habits of most people, came to revolutionary conclusions regarding the relationship between the eating patterns of the natives and their health condition, as described in his classic masterpiece, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. Today, in our "instant" culture, we have too many scientists who, without leaving their air conditioned offices, and without any actual human studies, are quick to tell us what we must or must not eat on the basis of nothing more than test tube studies, or at the best, animal experiments. The "scientific" report that you are referring to was published originally in the Journal of the American Medical Association, but the condensed version of the report - the way you read it in the popular press - did not reflect correctly the actual content of the original paper. When I first read this report in my daily paper, being naturally skeptical of everything I read, I immediately reviewed the original research paper by V. Herbert, et al. I have also checked on the consequent feedback that resulted from Herbert's study, and reported in subsequent JAMA issues. Here is what really happened the true facts, and the scare tactic fiction:

  1. The study, which supposedly showed that large amounts of vitamin C lowered the blood level of vitamin B12, wasn't done on human beings at all; not even on animals. It was conducted in the laboratory in test tubes, by the addition of vitamin C to food which contained B12. Needless to say, such an experiment is not at all applicable to the living human organism, where vitamin C is metabolized in a much different fashion than in a test tube.

  2. Herbert's observation that a few human patients taking large doses of vitamin C had low blood levels of vitamin B12 is equally unscientific, since the patients who were studied were all wheelchair confined invalids, not normal, active human beings. Since prolonged immobilization does result in significant changes in body chemistry, such a study cannot be called reliable and relevant to the effect of vitamin C on the body chemistry in normally active people.

  3. The hematologist who made the initial observation and the reported study, is a well known "anti-vitamin" and "anti-health" man, who was heavily involved in the recent FDA anti-vitamin campaign as an FDA witness certainly not an objective or unprejudiced scientist.

  4. After the new research at the St. Louis University Group Hospital contradicted Herbert's conclusions by giving more than 4,000 mg. of vitamin C daily to the patients for almost a year without any adverse effects on their vitamin B12 blood serum levels, Herbert admitted that it is, indeed, possible to take that much vitamin C daily without developing vitamin B12 deficiency. He also admitted that dietary or supplementary iron, and/or taking vitamin C between meals would reduce the damaging effect of vitamin C on vitamin B12.

  5. None of the above feedback material was, of course, reported in the newspapers. After the initial misleading, misrepresented, sensationalist report, the papers forgot the issue, and left millions of confused worried readers. The nationwide consumption of vitamin C dropped markedly and that was apparently the intended purpose of the whole affair.

The moral of this sad story is obvious:

  1. When it comes to nutrition, never trust test tube experiments. They are not very likely to be applicable to living, normal human beings.

  2. The only truly reliable nutritional evidence is actual, large scale human studies. The St. Louis University Study showed that you can take 4,000 mg. of vitamin C daily without adverse effects. Dr. Abram Hoffer, pioneer in using large doses of vitamin C therapeutically, has been giving huge doses of C up to 20 grams, and even as high as 60 grams daily, sometimes for periods of several years and none of his patients have developed pernicious anemia or any other evidence of vitamin B12 deficiency.
On the basis of the above, I suggest that you continue to take your vitamin C without worry. My usual recommendation for prophylactic purposes, and for protection against toxic environmental factors, is 1,000 to 3,000 mg. of vitamin C a day. The therapeutic doses, usually on a short term basis, can be much higher. If you wish to be even more assured, take iron and B12 as supplements (a woman of your age should take them anyway) with meals, and take vitamin C between meals. Brewer's yeast, fortified with B12, in powder or tablet form (available at your health food store), is a good source of both B12 and iron.

Airola Diet for a Dog

Q. I urgently need to know how the loss of calcium, zinc, and iron is to be prevented in the anti-cancer diet you have outlined, since grains, nuts, and seeds are so high in phytate. My dog has a cartilage tumor between the eyes. She is on your diet, along with fruit, peach pits (for B17 content), vitamins, minerals, brewer's yeast, etc. However, I am unable to obtain B15. How then does one acquire 100-150 mg. of B15 from food sources alone? I'm having the same problem in regard to B17 pills or injections. She has shown remarkable improvement, but then again the tumor seems to change every so often. She's full of energy and plays like a puppy. Do you know where I could take her for treatment? She's only 5 years old. Please answer my plea. D.K., Atlantic City, NJ.

A. First, the anti-cancer diet I outlined in the November issue of Let's LIVE was for humans, not dogs. Dogs are naturally carnivorous animals and thrive best on a 100% meat diet, preferably raw, which includes organ meats and bones. Grains, nuts, seeds, and fruits are not natural food for dogs. But if you feed them to your pet anyway, don't worry about phytin-bound minerals. If cereals are cooked, the phytates will be broken down and the minerals effectively utilized by the dog. Brewer's yeast is a good supplement to give to dogs, and so is bone meal. Vitamin B15 is now sold in most health food stores. Regarding B17, write to the Cancer Control Society, 2043 N. Berendo, Los Angeles, CA., for information. But, remember, don't try to feed or medicate your dog the way you do yourself. The dog will have poor health and low resistance to disease if fed a human diet, especially a vegetarian diet. While a meatless diet may be best for you, the dog can never be totally healthy without plenty of meat. It would be unnatural to force a horse, a natural herbivore, to eat meat; it is just as unnatural to force a dog, a natural carnivore, to eat vegetables and fruit.

Knife-Happy Doctors

Q. The first time I went to a doctor, he removed my appendix (the pain remained). The next doctor removed my tonsils. The next removed my female organs. Then a lump was removed from a breast (non-malignant). Comes another doctor who removed my gall bladder. In spite of all this, except for low blood sugar, I seem to be in reasonably good health - due to my introduction to vitamins and better nutrition. However, one of my breasts is seeping at times due to the over-abundance of estrogen I take (pills and injections). After a month of constant hot flashes, I was put back on the smallest dosage of Premarin. The seepage was tested and was not cancerous. However, I'm sure the next step will be surgery. I am a young 58 (for the shape I am in) and have little left to be cut off or out. So, please help me find a doctor or doctors in my area who treat nutritionally. I really appreciate the Nutrition Forum in Let's LIVE, and the help you are giving us all so generously. C. J.M., Bakersfield, CA.

A. You obviously need and deserve a better doctor than the knife-happy ones you have had so far. The International Academy of Biological Medicine, Inc., maintains a Directory of participating doctors who are nutritionally and biologically oriented. They will send the Directory to anyone, free of charge, if a stamped, self-addressed business-size envelope accompanies the request. Write to this address: The International Academy of Biological Medicine, Inc. P.O. Box 31313 Phoenix, Az. 85046 The Directory lists doctors in almost every state in the U.S., as well as in Canada, Mexico, and Europe. Also listed are some clinics and spas endorsed by the Academy. I hope some of the doctors listed in the directory will be of help to you.


Q. In your book on Juice Fasting, you stated that chlorophyll-rich juices are excellent for treating halitosis. I would like to know, is there a way to prevent the retention of toxic waste matter in the tissues, which is the cause of halitosis? I was amazed at how quickly the juices you mentioned worked. S.L.B., Los Angeles, CA.

A. Although bad breath (halitosis) can be caused by many other factors than toxemia - diseased tooth and gum conditions, infected tonsils, anemia, chronic sinusitis, etc. - most cases of halitosis are definitely systemic. The unpleasant odor is caused by an exceptionally large amount of systemic waste matter being expelled through the lungs. The usual cause of excessive systemic waste retention is constipation, internal sluggishness, poor digestion, and intestinal putrefaction.

To prevent the retention of toxic wastes in the tissues and the blood, you must:

  1. Eat a high-residue diet (unprocessed whole foods with extra bran) to prevent constipation.
  2. Avoid overeating.
  3. Drink plenty of liquids, 6-8 glasses a day, including fruit and vegetable juices. Chlorophyll-rich (green) juices are best.
  4. Avoid an excess of animal protein, the putrefaction of which is a common cause of bad breath and unpleasant body odors.
  5. Get plenty of exercise in fresh air.
The following supplements are specific in the correction of this condition, (to be taken in addition to your usual vitamins and supplements): Juice fasting is an excellent way to cleanse your body of the accumulated impurities and toxins due to prolonged constipation or overeating.

Bloodshot Eyes

Q. Over the last year and a half, I have been on your Optimum Diet. The results have been remarkable. I feel in perfect health - no headaches, constipation, colds, or anything. I am 34 years old and very motivated to feel great at all times. I have read everything there is on nutrition and I am convinced that you are the only American writer who has it all put together.

My question is one that may not affect health, but I just wanted your opinion. My eyes have been bloodshot for years. The doctor says I have perfect vision and have no problems. I eat a high natural carbohydrate diet (low animal protein) and take all the natural supplements such as cod liver oil, brewer's yeast, etc. We bake all our own bread. I sleep 8 hours a night, and run two miles a day. If the eyes are the mirror of the state of the whole body, why won't mine clear up? Do some people have bloodshot eyes like others go bald, regardless? Do you think that they will eventually clear up, or will I always have this characteristic? Many of my friends who are junk eaters have very clear eyes. Any advice would be appreciated. G. G., Bountiful, Utah

A. As you suggested, some people have a predisposition for one thing, some for another. Although you are in good health generally, your eyes may be your weak area, so that even a "normal" amount of stress may affect them. If you have read "everything there is" on nutrition, you must have been doing a tremendous amount of reading and reading is a big stress on the eyes!

Fortunately, I think I have a solution to your problem. Bloodshot eyes usually are symptomatic of a vitamin B2 deficiency. Your letter suggests that you do not take any B-complex vitamins, except in the form of brewer's yeast. Brewer's yeast does contain B2 but not in sufficient amounts to correct a severe deficiency. Try a high-potency B-complex, 100% natural (available at health food stores), 3-4 tablets a day. Also take extra B2, 100 mg. tablet twice a day for two weeks. Then reduce to 50 mg. a day for several more weeks. Also, take 20,000 I.U. of vitamin A, 600 I.U. OF VITAMIN E, 500 mg. of vitamin C, 50 mg. of pantothenic acid, and 50 mg. of vitamin B6 for at least several months. And continue with your usual cod liver oil and brewer's yeast powder (at least 2-3 tablespoons daily). These supplements, in addition to your Optimum Diet (and less reading for a while) will, I am sure, clear your red eyes within a few weeks. If they don't clear up, they must be affected by some stubborn, chronic infectious condition, in which case, you should see a doctor.