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As I understand it after winning two (un-shared) Nobel prizes Linus Pauling began work which eventually had him recommending large amounts of vitamin C to all and sundry.

When another scientist was unable to repeat the results a scandal began. Linus Pauling and/or his people made savage professional attacks on the poor researcher who just wanted to know how to get the same results in an experiment. Once the smoke settled it became clear that Pauling's conclusions were wrong after all and he should be ashamed of himself for treating another scientist so shabbily. Much was made about how far the mighty have fallen, a lesson to us all etc.

What I never hear about was What was Pauling's original claim in this regard and how did he reach it? By what error or series of errors did he make such mistakes. I can imagine based on the severity of his defense he might have been long passed the rational portion of his life. But what was the primary claim, and for that matter, why do we seem to still act as if it were all true, that vitamin C is the answer; scurvy notwithstanding.

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Among other things (I was present at one of Pauling's lectures), Pauling used examples of Vitamin C levels in various mammals as evidence that humans should use more.
FWIW, it was the opinion of most of his peers and colleagues that he had simply lost the power of rational investigation, using slim evidence of vitamin C's ability to strengthen cell walls and/or antioxidant capability as proof of the need for massive doses. Obviously he never investigated the excretion levels of vitamin C in overdosed test subjects.

If you were asking about what diseases Pauling claimed it helped fight, no surprise that cancer was on the list.

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    $\begingroup$ The following paper, in which Pauling suggests a daily dose of 5g of vitamin C for humans, seems relevant: Linus Pauling, "Are Recommended Daily Allowances for Vitamin C Adequate?". Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, Vol. 71, No. 11, pp. 4442-4446, November 1974 (online) "There is evidence that viruses are involved in some human cancers. Vitamin C might provide some protection against these cancers, through its antiviral activity. Moreover, an increased intake of the vitamin increases the strength of the intercellular cement [...]." $\endgroup$ – njuffa May 23 '18 at 14:50
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks very much. That is just the answer I needed. And from a guy who was there, no less. Sad that human limitations often afflict people before they know it. $\endgroup$ – user2863749 May 23 '18 at 22:44

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