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There is no denying the heated debate generated by Professor Linus Pauling with the appearance of his paper on orthomolecular psychiatry,1 followed by his book, Vitamin C and the Common Cold,2 and his most recent release, Orthomolecular Psychiatry.3 One of the controversies stemming from his work is the dosage of vitamin C which should be consumed under health and disease conditions.
Interestingly enough, just a matter of a few weeks ago, the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council4 suggested that the daily vitamin C requirement be reduced from 60 mg to 45 mg per day.
We here attempt to cast additional light on the daily vitamin C requirement through a study of the reported daily vitamin C intake versus the reported total number of clinical symptoms and signs in a presumably healthy group of doctors and their wives.
Each subject completed the Cornell Medical Index Health Questionnaire and the total number of positive responses was noted. Each subject also completed a seven-day dietary survey and the number of milligrams of vitamin C consumed each day was calculated.
The 1071 observations were divided into three groups based on reported daily vitamin C intake. The 347 subjects consuming less than 100 mg of vitamin C daily showed a total clinical score of 17.76 ± 12. 61. In contrast, the 525 subjects consuming 100 to 199 mg per day revealed a total clinical score of 15.76 ± 12.64. The difference is statistically significant (t = 2.287, P< 0.025). The 199 subjects consunling 200+ mg of vitamin C per day showed a clinical score of 14.58 ± 12.56 which was not statistically significantly different from the group consuming 100 to 199 mg per day (t = 1.128, P> 0.200). However, the group consuming the least and the group consuming the greatest amount of vitamin C were very significant (t = 2.843, P< 0.005).
If one grants that the lower the clinical score (the fewer the number of symptoms and signs) the healthier the group, then it is obvious that those consuming 200+ mg of vitamin C per day represent the healthiest group. This means then that the daily vitamin C intake is approximately four or more fold greater than that recommended by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council.
- Pauling, L. (1968) Science, 160, 26 5.
- Pauling, L. (1970) Vitamin C and the Common Cold. W.H. Freeman and Company, San Francisco
- Hawkins, D. and Pauling, L. (1973) Orthomolecular psychiatry; treatment of schizophrenia. W.H. Freeman and Company, San Francisco
- Food and Nutrition Board, National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council (1973) Recommended daily dietary allowances. (Revised)