Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Interesting Critter Category

Interesting critter category:
Guinea pigs, apes, fruit bats and humans

What do guinea pigs, apes, some fruit bats and humans have in common? They all share the inability to produce their own ascorbic acid (vitamin C). All other animals produce vitamin C endogenously, or inside their own bodies.

Scientists believe they have evidence suggesting that humans used to produce their own ascorbic acid from an enzyme produced in the liver. But something happened and humans now depend on dietary sources of vitamin C.

Guinea pigs, apes, some fruit bats and humans share another trait: The tendency to develop coronary heart disease. The development of heart disease only occurs in animals and humans that lack adequate intake of ascorbates through dietary sources.

It has also been observed that zoo animals, such as gorillas fed processed "gorilla chow" readily develop heart disease unless they are supplied with adequate amounts of ascorbates.

By comparing the amount of vitamin C produced endogenously in animals that do not develop heart disease, we can get a good idea of how much vitamin C is essential to maintain cardiovascular health in humans.
Goats, cows, dogs, cats, squirrels and rabbits manufacture ascorbic acid at a rate of about 10 g per 70 kg (154 pounds) of body weight. In other words, to achieve the levels of ascorbic acid produced by animals that do not develop coronary heart disease, a 154-pound human would need to ingest 10 g of dietary or supplemental vitamin C daily.

Noting that 1,000 mg = 1 g, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has established the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C at 35 mg for infants; 45-50 mg for children and 60 mg for adults.
According to the FDA, humans require about 200 times less vitamin C than animals to maintain optimal health.

The late Dr. Fred Klenner was one of the world's foremost authorities on vitamin C. He believed that the government's concept of daily minimal intakes should be abolished because, "The physiological requirements [for ascorbic acid] in man are no different than other mammals capable of carrying out this synthesis."

Judging from the numbers of people being stricken by and succumbing to heart disease in the U.S., it would appear that Dr. Klenner (and doctors Pauling, Irwin Stone, Glenn Dettman and Archie Kalokerinos) are correct about the levels of ascorbic acid necessary to maintain optimal cardiovascular health.

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