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From the Townsend Letter
May 2017

Stop Fixing the Adaptive Response:
Why Cardiovascular Disease Should Be Named Chronic Scurvy

by Daniel Cobb, OMD
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Medical Writers and Medical Researchers Make This Same Mistake
One might think that what a disease is named would have almost no effect on how it is researched and treated; but in the case of heart disease, a quick examination of information shows otherwise.
Medical writers and medical researchers tend to focus on plaque deposits. This author has reviewed many peer-reviewed journal articles on topics such as tracking and evaluating the "calcium score," using vitamin K2 to reduce calcium levels in plaque deposits, raising HDL and lowering LDL and total blood cholesterol, analyzing the ratios of HDL to LDL cholesterol, examining the dangers of oxidized cholesterol, tracking and lowering blood lipoprotein(a) levels, lowering blood triglycerides, and lowering the consumption of saturated fat. All of these approaches to treatment of CVD share the same problem. They address the problem of plaque deposits, thereby attacking the body's adaptive response to the underlying problem.
Unfortunately, no amount of treatment of an adaptive response is going to cure a major disease. Simultaneously, the real pathology of the damage to the artery walls is being ignored. It is as if people got lost in the desert of the "lipid hypothesis" of Ancel Keys in the 1950s and then, for the past six-plus decades, haven't been able to find their way back out.

The Prescription
Thus far, this article has discussed the vitamin C treatment for chronic scurvy in general terms. The actual formula is not so simple. The basic formula for Pauling Therapy includes vitamins C and E, zinc, copper, sulfur, and a couple of amino acids. Other optional nutrients can be added. Also, dietary improvements always help but are difficult to describe in a short article.
What follows is a common prescription used by the author's clinic for a chronic scurvy patient. Other doctors are likely to use similar nutritional prescriptions. As long as they contain an abundance of vitamin C, full-spectrum vitamin E, sulfur, and L-lysine, and also address the copper-zinc status of the patient, the treatment should work well.
In general, recommending specific brand names for vitamins and nutrients is best avoided; but when there are dramatic differences in the benefits received between brands, recommending the best and highest-quality products available is obligatory. Such is the case in the recommendations to follow.

ProTheraNutritional Supplement Recommendations for Treating Chronic Scurvy
Vitamin C (pure ascorbic acid, not mineral ascorbates) – six or more grams per day, taken in small doses throughout the day. Vitamin C is required for the production of collagen and elastin fibers. It is also an important antioxidant that prevents free-radical damage.

Small doses of vitamin C in the form of mineral ascorbates might be safe to take; but at the recommended high doses here, the minerals used to make the ascorbate may develop into an overdose of minerals or create mineral imbalances. Purified L-ascorbic acid (the active isomer) is important because if the vitamin C is not purified L-ascorbic acid, then only half the indicated dose of vitamin C is actually obtained. The other half is D-ascorbic acid, which is not true vitamin C.7
Not all vitamin C is equally useful to the body. It is worthwhile to spend a little more money for the highest-quality product to get the most effective result, especially when treating an advanced case of chronic scurvy. There are three characteristics that are problematic with inexpensive vitamin C: 1) The product is not purified for the l-isomer; 2) the vitamin C is derived from corn starch; and 3) the product is manufactured in China. It is important to note that almost all high-dose vitamin C that does not specifically state to the contrary has all three of these problems.8
The vitamin C from the Vitamin C Foundation9 is recommended. They sell only purified L-ascorbic acid, their vitamin C is never derived from corn, and it is never manufactured in China.

L-lysine – 6 grams per day; L-lysine is used in the production of collagen fibers and causes the release of plaques in very small pieces, which avoids embolisms.10

L-proline – 1 gram per day; L-proline is similar in function and effect to L-lysine.11

Vitamin E – Between 400 and 800 mg per day; like vitamin C, vitamin E is an important antioxidant. Including vitamin E in a treatment formula relieves the vitamin C of much of its antioxidant responsibilities so that more vitamin C can be used to produce collagen fibers. Vitamin E is also a mild anticoagulant.
Be sure to take Vitamin E products that provide all four tocopherols and all four tocotrienols. The best result for treating coronary artery disease (CAD) is obtained by taking a full-spectrum vitamin E that is highest in d-gamma tocopherol, because the gamma form of tocopherol is known to be the most effective form of vitamin E for the prevention and treatment of heart disease.12 Some studies for CVD are designed to fail by using only d-alpha tocopherol, which does not do much to treat CVD and will actually suppress the levels of all the other types of vitamin E, including the gamma tocopherol.13
The company A. C. Grace makes a product called "Unique E,"14 which provides both tocopherols and tocotrienols (in two different bottles). These high-quality products are recommended for best results.

Organic Sulfur – For best results, take one teaspoon of organic sulfur in chlorine-free water on an empty stomach upon waking in the morning. Wait 30 minutes before eating or drinking anything.
Organic sulfur delivers oxygen to cells, is excellent at removing a wide variety of toxins, and is required to form disulfide bonds in the creation of collagen fibers.15 Organic sulfur is also known as MSM, but look for products that are described as "organic sulfur" because they tend to be more pure and therefore more effective. The only downside to organic sulfur is that it also "sulfates out" some beneficial minerals. Consequently, some users may develop mineral-deficiency problems after some months of use. To prevent long-term mineral deficiencies, increase the dose of magnesium and add a multi-mineral supplement.

Magnesium (citrate or chelated) – 400 mg per day; magnesium helps to keep energy levels up and helps to maintain a good heart rhythm.16 Magnesium is also a mild anticoagulant.

Co-Enzyme Q10 – 100 mg or more per day.
The heart uses more Co-Q10 than any other tissue in the body because Co-Q10 enables the use of higher amounts of energy. This nutrient is critical to CVD patients, where hypertension is common. Hypertension (high blood pressure) means that when the heart pumps blood, it has to pump against a higher pressure; thus, the heart has to work harder and requires more energy. Statin drugs suppress the body's normal creation of Co-Q10, so many CVD patients are weakening their hearts by taking statins.17

Vitamin K – 100 micrograms (mcg) per day; vitamin K is a natural blood coagulant.18
Blood clots and the effects of blood-thinning drugs are sensitive topics for CAD patients. Vitamin K is included in this list to neutralize the anticoagulant effects of magnesium and vitamin E. This results in an overall formula that is roughly neutral in its coagulant/anticoagulant effects.

Copper – 2 mg per day               
Zinc – 20 to 30 mg per day
Copper and zinc work in opposition. High copper levels depress zinc, and high zinc levels depress copper. Copper is necessary for the production of collagen fibers and is an essential part of artery wall repairs.19 An overdose of copper usually results in nausea, digestive problems, and occasionally mania.
Zinc is useful for the immune system and for tissue repair (such as for the artery wall).20 An overdose of zinc depresses the immune system.
Consider buying copper in a copper/zinc combination supplement so the two minerals do not get out of balance.
Vegetarians are likely to be deficient in zinc and are much more prone to copper overdose, so consider supplementing the zinc and relying on diet alone for copper.
People who have copper water pipes probably do not need to supplement copper because they get enough copper from drinking and cooking with their tap water.

B Complex – Use dosage recommended on the label; vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid, the vitamins found in B Complex formulas, dramatically reduce high homocysteine levels that damage artery walls.21

Rutin – 500 mg per day; rutin is a bioflavonoid that assists vitamin C in its functions.22

Omega-3 Fats (fish oil or flaxseed oil) – Between one teaspoon and one tablespoon per day.
Many studies have indicated that fish oil can be quite valuable in keeping the heart healthy.23 However, these highly volatile unsaturated fatty acids are prone to rancidity. If a spoonful tastes bad, the product has turned rancid to the point that it is doing more harm than good. Throw it away and get a fresh bottle. Buy a small bottle so it can be used up while it is still fresh. Fish oil gel caps can also go rancid, but the gel caps conceal the taste. Once a week, bite one open and taste it to see if it is rancid.
It is important to take high-quality vitamin E while taking omega-3s; vitamin E protects omega-3s from oxidation after they are absorbed.

The pathology in heart disease is damaged artery walls. Plaque deposits are an adaptive response, like a Band-Aid over a damaged area, to prevent breakthrough bleeding. Treating an adaptive response does not heal the underlying problem. Treating plaque deposits with cholesterol reduction, manipulation of the HDL/LDL ratio, and other standard treatments are the logical equivalent to treating a skin abrasion by picking at the scab. On the other hand, providing an abundant supply of the nutrients required to repair arterial damage works almost every time, and it is less expensive. This approach uses normal body processes to heal naturally.
In order for the Pauling Therapy to become a mainstream practice, professionals need to realize that cardiovascular disease should be properly named "chronic scurvy," a bleeding disease brought on by damage to the artery walls. Treatment should start much as one would treat scurvy: with high and frequent doses of vitamin C along with a few additional, related nutrients. The focus should be almost exclusively on the efficient repair of the artery walls. Plaque deposits are not the pathology but are, instead, an adaptive and protective response to the damaged artery walls. Once the artery walls are repaired, the "dreaded" plaque deposits will disappear on their own.

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References .pdf

Daniel Cobb is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine who practices in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He focuses on nutrition, detoxification, and control of the environment to treat chronic conditions and degenerative diseases. He can be reached at or by calling 505-424-9527. Visit his website at

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