X-Message-Number: 12312
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 1999 19:39:34 EDT
Subject: Vitamin C

(Based on Reuters and other reports)

  Vitamin C may be able to prevent diseases ranging from colds to cancer by 
reducing the effects of stress on the body, researchers said Sunday. Tests on 
rats suggested that megadoses of vitamin C could reduce the levels of stress 
hormones in the blood -- which can damp down the immune system. 

Samuel Campbell and colleagues at the University of Alabama stressed 
laboratory rats and gave huge doses of vitamin C--the human equivalent of 
several grams (several thousand milligrams) daily. This was in a report to a 
meeting of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans.

Then they killed the rats and looked at their adrenal glands, which produce 
stress hormones, and other organs. The vitamin C significantly reduced the 
levels of stress hormones in the rats' blood. ``The vitamin C treatment also 
reduced the other typical indicators of physical and emotional stress,'' they 
added -- which include losing weight, enlarged adrenal glands and changes in 
the thymus and spleen, which help produce immune cells. 

Currently recommended doses of Vitamin C are based on the small amount needed 
to avoid scurvy. The efficacy of larger doses against the common cold, and 
other diseases, is still controversial. (I am convinced it works for me.) But 
Campbell's team noted that early humans probably ate a lot more fruit than 
modern humans do -- fruit that is high in vitamin C. They say perhaps human 
beings have a high intrinsic need for vitamin C. 

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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