Did you know that Vitamin C is actually produced in most mammals with the exception of Guinea pigs, Monkeys and Humans?
Some interesting facts:
With the extensive research in to the human genome, scientists have identified the defective gene for the synthesis of the active enzyme protein, L-gulonolactone oxidase or GLO (Stone 1979). This mutation is suspected to have occurred some 60 million years ago. The absence of GLO in the human liver blocks the conversion of glucose into ascorbic acid. This mutation has left us with the need of obtaining Vitamin C through our diet. Scurvy was found to be rectified through consuming citrus fruits by James Lind, a Scottish physician in 1747. He had no idea at the time what actual component of the fruit alleviated the symptoms of Scurvy.
As a biological defense mechanism during times of stress, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) in animals making their own, would be created in massive amounts. The beneficial effect of ascorbic acid in stress is now a well-established fact. When facing significant health stresses, Vitamin C producing animals can dramatically increase ascorbic acid production by as much as 13 times normal levels. This could explain why wild animals tend to remain relatively healthy until they succumb to old age. (Levy 2011)
The research behind what is considered to be high dose Vitamin C consumption has been fraught with undying hopes for a cure for cancer, the common cold, or relief from drug abuse withdrawal. Two time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling was a chemical engineer and researcher who was a strong supporter of high dose Vitamin C in his years after winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1963. He was also a cofounder of the field of Molecular biology and worked with various think tanks and in a field he called “orthomolecular medicine” which espoused the concept that optimal health could result from ensuring that the right molecules were present in the right amount in the body. He viewed Vitamin C as one of the most important of these molecules, oversaw a number of investigations into its effects on diseases, and encouraged the ingestion of daily amounts many times greater than the accepted minimum daily requirement. Many physicians attacked his approach; the medical community criticized his decision to publish a popular book on the subject without prior peer-reviewed scientific publication, and many thought his claims unsubstantiated. Pauling fought back with typical determination. In 1973 he co-founded a California research institute devoted to the study of the health effects of Vitamin C and other nutrients. (NIH)
However, in more recent years, re-evaluations of Pauling's work have shown that dietary supplementation with antioxidants such as Vitamin C can have significant beneficial effects on health and chronic illnesses. Pauling's ideas and work regarding molecular balance and health are being revisited today.