Linus Pauling: I gave a talk twelve or thirteen years ago in New York, and when I got home I had
a letter from Irwin Stone, whom I had met in New York, and who wrote saying that I
had said that I would like to live for another twenty-five years in order to be able
to enjoy and appreciate the new discoveries that would be made during this period
about the nature of the world. He sent me reprints of four papers that he had published
and said that if I were to take three grams a day of vitamin C, it would keep me from
having colds and improve my health generally. In 1972, a number of years later, he
had his book published, The Healing Factor: Vitamin C Against Disease.
I started taking vitamin C, three grams a day, my wife did too, and we observed that
we no longer suffered from colds in the way that I especially had before. And I mentioned
this when I was speaking in New York at the dedication of the new medical school at
Mt. Sinai. One of the professors of medicine there wrote a scathing letter to me
about bolstering up the vitamin quacks who were bleeding the American public of $500
million per year, by my presenting this silly idea that large doses of vitamin C could
protect you against the common cold. And said could I point out a single double-blind
study that would show that vitamin C had any more value than a placebo?
Well I found when I looked in the literature that a half a dozen such studies had
been published and all of them gave a positive result, that vitamin C did have some
protective power against the common cold. I had a considerable correspondence with
him, Victor Herbert is his name. He refused to look at the evidence. First he said
he was too busy. I sent him a reprint of Ritzel's work, and he said that he wasn't
impressed by it. And I wrote saying "it's not enough to say you're not impressed
by it, you have to have some reason. " And so on.
Well by this time I began to realize that there was a lack of knowledge of what was
in the medical literature on the part of the physicians and the nutritionists. They
were just ignoring the evidence. So I wrote my book Vitamin C and the Common Cold. A little later, as I continued to read the literature, I found that there was more
and more evidence about vitamin C in relation to various diseases, including cancer.
Viral diseases, bacterial diseases and cancer. And so I realized that one could understand
why vitamin C should be involved for these many diseases.