But it ain't their opinion. Before putting my own copy and paste from their site, I think that the volume of data favorable for ascorbic acid and ascorbates is just too voluminous to discard. I don't deny that a “natural source” would be better. But I ask you, what is a natural source if is extracted from a vegetable anyway? Is it still really in its natural state?
The official Vitamin C Foundation response to the "Natural Vitamin C" and "C-complex" arguments that are widely distributed across the Internet. The claim that Ascorbic Acid isn't the real vitamin C is false.
"This was the first proof that ascorbic acid was identical with vitamin C, and that the substance's activity was not due to an impurity." - Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, Nobel Lecture, Oxidation, Energy Transfer, and Vitamins, December 11, 1937.
Mainly because of the words "natural" and "vitamin complex," adherents to the naturalist view have gained many followers, and their views are often repeated by respected nutritional authorities. It is understandable why naturalists distrust modern medical science with its orientation towards potentially dangerous prescription drugs, but this is no reason to ignore science altogether.
There is no scientific debate whether there is such a thing as a vitamin C-complex. Such a thing as a matter of human nutrition does not exist. The argument for ascorbic acid as vitamin C carries as much weight as any argument in any field of science. Its sugar-like molecular structure was first isolated by Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, and the chemical shorthand is C6H8O6. Dr. Szent-Gyorgyi received the Nobel prize for this discovery.
No one who is engaged in conventional medical research believes there is a C-complex, nor are there any peer-reviewed papers accessible in the Medline medical database that support the idea that there is a C-complex, much less that it is the real vitamin C.
It is known that animals generally do not require vitamin C in their diets. Almost all mammals, and virtually all animals, synthesize ascorbic acid in the liver or kidney. While most animals synthesize ascorbic acid, there is no scientific evidence that any animal synthesizes the ill-defined C-complex within its body.
The previously mentioned book entitled Fourfold Path to Healing (2004), by Thomas Cowan, MD, with Sally Fallon and Jaimen McMillan, is remarkable for the number of false or unsupported assertions these authors make concerning vitamin C. Every sentence in the vitamin C section on pages 20 and 21 is either unsupported, or contains misleading or false information which they present as fact. The message these authors are trying to convey is that the natural vitamin C-Complex not only exists, but it is required, lest consumers risk clogged arteries and DNA damage.
Cowan et. al. begin their Vitamin C section on page 20 with the intriguing sentence, "Several recent studies have shown that taking synthetic vitamins can actually be harmful, thus challenging a practice suggested in virtually all other books written about health and nutrition over the past 40 years." (page 20) Unfortunately, one reason for their different advice is that they are wrong. The two studies cited made headlines, but both "studies" have been debunked scientifically by the Vitamin C Foundation. (See the Vitamin C Foundation on-line forum for our rebuttal to these two media reports, and for the complete description of the errors about vitamin C that have been published on pages 20 and 21 of The FourFold Path to Healing.)
The Real Vitamin C is the Ascorbate Ion (commonly Ascorbic Acid)
Any review of the scientific literature that spans 80 years and includes more than 100,000 published studies and reports, concludes that what is commonly called vitamin C, the ascorbate ion, or simply ascorbic acid, is the real vitamin C. Humanity is fortunate that Linus Pauling became interested, for such a review of the literature requires reading the equivalent of 400 bound books just to hold the abstracts. The genius Linus Pauling was probably the only person who could possibly digest and assimilate and then disseminate this much scientific research over the course of his 30-year study. It was his practice to read the body of every study paper, not merely the abstract, draw conclusions and test whether his conclusions matched the author of the study.
Linus Pauling made the vitamin C science understandable to the rest of us with his books for the lay public. His 1986 book How To Live Longer and Feel Better is an updated and expanded version of his earlier landmark Vitamin C and the Common Cold (1970) and is still one of the best references on the true nature of vitamin C.
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I have been made aware recently of the Linus Pauling Therapy for Heart Disease (1994).
It seems very simple and inexpensive. It maybe worth investigating.