From the Syllabus of the !5th International Conference on Human Functioning, September 22, 23, 24, 2000, Wichita, Kansas


Robert F. Cathcart, M.D.

While it is not PC to use one antioxidant today, let us not forget that it is possible to cure acute self-limiting viral diseases such as colds, flu, mononucleosis, acute hepatitis A, B, C, etc., polio, meningitis, etc. with massive doses of ascorbate. Klenner's paper (Klenner FR. The treatment of poliomyelitis and other virus diseases with vitamin C. J. South. Med. and Surg., 111:210-214, 1949.) on curing 60 cases of polio in the epidemic of 1948 should have changed the way infectious diseases were treated but it did not. (See the entire paper at

Irwin Stone stimulated Linus Pauling's interest in vitamin C. (Stone, I. The Healing Factor: Vitamin C Against Disease. Grosset and Dunlap, New York, 1972.)

Linus Pauling (Pauling, L. Vitamin C and the Common Cold. W.H. Freeman and Company, San Francisco, 1970.) wrote of vitamin C helping to prevent or ameliorate the common cold and the flu (Pauling, L. Vitamin C, the Common Cold, and the Flu. W.H. Freeman and Company, San Francisco, 1976.) This advocacy generated intense interest in the subject by the public.

Klenner, Stone and Pauling all stimulated my interest in vitamin C. In 1959, I discovered that the sicker a person was the more ascorbic acid he could take orally without it producing diarrhea. Subsequently, it became apparent that as ascorbate destroyed free radicals, the free radicals destroyed the ascorbate, and of the ascorbate what did not reach the rectum did not cause diarrhea. I called the process whereby the threshold dose necessary for a dramatic effect on these infections diseases, "titrating to bowel tolerance." (See I call a cold, bad enough to allow the patient to take 100 grams of ascorbic acid without the ascorbic acid causing diarrhea I call a 100 gram cold. This process put the ability to cure some more serious infectious diseases in the hands of many patients.

More serious infections such as acute infectious hepatitis were more reliably treated with intravenous sodium ascorbate (See, these treatments required finding someone who was willing to use intravenous sodium ascorbate. Orthomolecular physicians in general provided these services. Intravenous ascorbate does not cause diarrhea. The oral administration of ascorbic acid did not require professional help so knowledge of the curing powers of massive doses of ascorbic acid quietly spread among the public especially with those interested in health foods.

It is possible to cure or ameliorate a disease with massive doses of ascorbate depending upon how important free radicals are in the perpetuation of the disease of its symptoms. It seems that free radicals are absolutely necessary for the perpetuation of acute viral diseases but only necessary for the symptoms due to allergies. Therefore massive doses of ascorbate will cure acute viral diseases but only block symptoms of allergies.

Use of massive doses of ascorbate will broaden the spectrum of activity of antibiotics against bacterial infections and prevent allergic reactions to the antibiotics. Anaphylaxis is a manifestation of acute induced scurvy and can be prevented by massive doses of ascorbate. Bee stings, some snake bites and spider bites can be treated with ascorbate. The strep toxin causing scarlet fever and rheumatic fever seems neutralized by ascorbate and these diseases can be resolved in a few hours if treatment with ascorbate is initiated within the first few hours before damage has been done.

Certain drugs such as the barbiturates are neutralized by massive doses of ascorbate. Anesthesiologist should study ascorbate to determine whether ascorbate could be used to support patients during surgery when some anesthetic substances are used. Certainly, patients should be wakened with ascorbate and it should be used post operatively. Pain is minimized and recovery rate is amazingly augmented.

Acute exacerbations of autoimmune diseases can be reversed with massive doses of intravenous sodium ascorbate over a few days. Some remissions will be prolonged. The use of ascorbate in these cases should be only part of a search for food and chemical sensitivities, parasites and other abnormal or sensitizing bowel flora.

I found that AIDS patients given intravenous sodium ascorbate over weeks and especially if they were able to take massive doses of oral ascorbic acid orally along with an all over nutrition program could go into prolonged remissions. I did not cure them however. One very useful finding is that this ascorbate plus nutrition program will prevent the deleterious effects of other medical treatments while seeming to augment them.

Archie Kalokerinos describes in his book with Glen Dettman, Every Second Child, Keats Publishing, Inc., New Canaan, 1981, that sudden infant death syndrome is due to acute induced scurvy.

Cameron and Pauling stimulated interest in vitamin C when he stated that it was helpful in the treatment of cancer. (Cameron E, Pauling L. Cancer and Vitamin C. The Linus Pauling Institute for Science and Medicine, Menlo Park, 1979.) However, Cameron's protocol of 10 grams of ascorbate a day, while it prolonged the life of many cancer patients, with rare exception did not cure it.

Hugh Riordan has now discovered that massive doses of sodium ascorbate intravenously over many consecutive days will probably cure many cancers. It is certainly putting most in remarkable remissions.


I think it will be useful to go over how massive doses of ascorbate can cure the common cold.

Almost everyone has had the experience of going to bed some evening thinking that they were catching a cold but wake up the next morning well. What has happened in that case is that the cold virus has been primarily destroyed by the white cells. However, if you wake up the next morning and realize that you are going to be sick a week to ten days, what has happened is that the virus has damaged enough mitochondria in the nose and throat which caused the damaged mitochondria to produce many free radicals. This is like going into the basement of a home and poking a hole in the furnace and the furnace rather than producing useful heat, belches out fire and burns down the house and then the neighbor's house.

Parenthetically, it is necessary to understand that white cells require a little vitamin C to fight. So as the generated free radicals destroy all the vitamin C in the nose an throat, a state of "acute induced scurvy" comes to exist in the nose and throat and the white cells can no longer kill the viruses. Vitamin C, when it has all its electrons is very stable but when it gives up two electrons to neutralize two free radicals, it becomes dehydroascorbate and has a half-life of only a few minutes in the body unless the mitochondria give it back those two electrons.

The number of electrons in the free radical scavengers that exist in the body at any time are not enough to last but for a few minutes unless the scavengers are refueled with electrons by the mitochondria. With the cold, the state of "acute induced scurvy" may spread down the bronchial tubes, or up into the sinuses or ears where other infections may take advantage of the deficient situation.

What finally saves us from a cold if extra vitamin C is not taken is that the antibodies are turned on by free radicals. Without the antibodies, even a cold would kill us finally.

One can see that it is marginal whether the virus can damage enough mitochondria to produce enough free radicals to cause the "acute induced scurvy" state in the nose and throat. Therefore, small doses of vitamin C may prevent many colds. Even after the cold has started and the "acute induced scurvy" begins to spread, moderate doses of ascorbate will prevent the complications if used early.

What is important to understand is that even after a severe cold has established itself, massive doses of ascorbate sufficient to force electrons into the nose and throat will again allow the white cells to kill the viruses.

What we are doing with the massive doses of ascorbate is throwing away the vitamin C for the electrons carried.

All this explains why previously it was thought that vitamin C might prevent a certain percentage of colds but not cure them. Then later it was thought that it might cure a cold only if it was treated enough. All this is just a matter of dose. If you use enough ascorbate you can take out a developed cold, flu, or whatever.

Massive doses of ascorbate turn on the white cells or allow them to continue fighting while turning off antibodies. Ascorbate turns off antibodies by neutralizing the free radicals that turn them on. Steroids turn off both the white cells and the antibodies thereby increasing the possibility of secondary infection while ascorbate, while turning off the antibodies, augments the attack of white cells against pathogens.


Finally, I would like to say that in a world where it might be possible for a disease like Lassa fever, Ebola virus, or Marburg virus to take out large percentages of the population, it is tragic that physicians do not know how to use ascorbate properly. While I have never seen cases of theses diseases I believe that all these hemorrhagic fevers involve "acute induced scurvy." They are probably what I would call a 300 to 500 gram disease. Massive doses of ascorbate would undoubtedly cure a high percentage of cases if use properly.

It is obvious that massive doses of ascorbate could be a critical weapon against biologic warfare. In fact, one of the most important reason some terrorist or other enemy does not use bacterial warfare is that there is an almost certainty that it would backfire. Ascorbate used properly would prevent that backfire. It therefore behooves us to learn to use ascorbate properly even if we do not care about the thousands that die every day of potentially curable infectious diseases.