4

votes

Vitamin C and the paleo diet

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 06, 2011 at 7:44 PM

For all the people who eat a paleo diet but don't eat fruit, how much vitamin C do you get per day and from what sources (supplements don't count since our ancestors didn't take them)? Do you agree with Linus Pauling's recommendation of 6-18g of vitamin C per day and if not why not? What is the most important nutrient(s) or hormone(s) for having a strong immune system in your opinion?

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on March 19, 2012
at 03:34 PM

Man I miss majkinetor! He made me feel okay supplementing. I always said to myself : *pff, only 2 pills? pussy! majkinetor takes 107 pills!*.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on March 19, 2012
at 06:01 AM

which was like 15-18, not like today, when you see sugardaddies hooking up with lolitas. These are modern inventions, made possible by the Neolithic age. Unfortunately, there is a conflict between living long and ensuring procreation, between shooting your wad and slowly fading away like an old soldier.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on March 19, 2012
at 05:57 AM

Not really. Feeding your children for 15 years probably sufficed among hunter-gatherers but probably no more. 10 more years to teach them the intricacies of hunting? First, if men lived that long, they would have had to compete directly with their sons. Fratricides happen very frequently among hunter-gatherers, who must compete for prey, just like they do in carnivores. The longevity you're talking about is more appropriate in a Neolithic setting, with clear divisions of labor and roles ... Even then, most people produced offspring as soon as they reached sexual maturity

Medium avatar

on November 08, 2011
at 09:16 PM

I agree Matt, I think we evolved not to produce it ourselves cause it was in our food supply but also maybe because we evolved other molecules later on that aided the functions of vitamin C (immunity, antioxidant capacity, etc), making vitamin C less crucial for our survival and thus being less of a risk of not producing it.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 08, 2011
at 01:31 PM

@Namby, we (humans) survived and thrived for quite some time without mega-dosing vitamin C, without endogenous vitamin C biosynthetic pathways, etc... What we've learned by studying hunter-gatherer cultures is that these lifestyles have minimal aging, CVD, diabetes, etc... Obviously, it's totally possible to be essentially free of these conditions without vitamin C megadosing. Surprisingly, we need a paltry amount of vitamin C compared to other animals, easily accessible by what's available in our diet.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on November 08, 2011
at 04:13 AM

If you just stuck to whatever your ancestors did, there will be no progress. Thankfully, some of our ancestors took chances, blazed new trails and set off for new frontiers. If high dose Vit C therapy is shown to reset the accidental mutation which eliminated man's ability to generate Vit C, then why not take it?

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on November 08, 2011
at 04:10 AM

This may be one case going against the grain (doing Paleo) may actually benefit mankind. We're going up against chronic and degenerative conditions here: aging, atherosclerosis, insulin resistance, etc. If ensuring a high level of Vit C (fill the tank) promotes cardiovascular health, why not supplement with high dose Vit C? One example is stem cell therapy: does anyone doubt that this is effective? Is stem cell therapy Paleo? Heck, no. How about bone graft surgery to fix compound fractures? Is that Paleo? No, no medicine man ever performed such surgery before?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 07, 2011
at 10:02 PM

But is mega-dosing Vitamin C paleo, Travis? What would Grok do? ;)

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 07, 2011
at 08:55 PM

@Matt, I agree many people probably aren't getting enough C today. I just meant that back when genes were being selected we must have had enough in the diet for us to reproduce if we gave up our ability to manufacture it.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 07, 2011
at 08:54 PM

@Matt, I agree most humans aren't getting enough C today. I just meant that back when genes were being selected we must have had enough in the diet for us to reproduce if we gave up our ability to manufacture it.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on November 07, 2011
at 08:53 PM

A deficiency in any essential antioxidant (C, E, glutathione etc.) could of course predispose one to atherosclerotic plaques, since they arise as a result of lipid peroxidation. Shorting yourself on C seems misguided at best.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on November 07, 2011
at 08:01 PM

The only real consequences of overshooting with C are that uric acid is excreted and bowel tolerance is approached. Because so much of aging is thought to be due to the deleterious effects of ROS/free radicals etc., it seems wise to not skimp on any essential, exogenous antioxidant or precursor.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on November 07, 2011
at 07:58 PM

Evolution is a constant series of compromises. We should never assume that the present state of an organism is in all ways optimal, simply that it is better suited to its current environment than previous iterations. Our current environment differs massively from that encountered by the first anatomically modern humans some 40-something thousand years ago. We have fairly recent evidence of the consequences of ascorbate avoidance, so we know that there hasn't been a species-wide loss of its requirement.

Medium avatar

on November 07, 2011
at 07:50 PM

Yea I mixed up the vitamin C foundation's recommendation (3000mg/day) with Pauling's which you correctly stated. Don't know where I got the 2500 from. However, there's a debate about how much vit C in supplement form is absorbed . . .http://www.vitamincfoundation.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=9112

Medium avatar

on November 07, 2011
at 07:31 PM

True, but natural selection decided that there was enough vitamin C to be found in the diet otherwise we would have either gone extinct or evolved another molecule to replace it and we've done neither. So vitamin C is important, but as you said, having more resources for our brain to use was more important, but vitamin C must have been abundant in the food supply of our ancestors in order for those with the initial mutation lacking the ability to produce vitamin C to survive.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on November 07, 2011
at 04:29 PM

Chris: Do you really think that we humans are having a hard time finding enough energy? The amount of glucose needed to create vitamin C is miniscule. We likely lost the ability to preserve that glucose for our fairly large brains, but it's clearly no longer a concern.

Medium avatar

on November 07, 2011
at 04:19 PM

I would say that mutation is still beneficial today in the sense that evolution is all about using the least amount of genes necessary to survive since genes=energy. So we still have energy freed up from not making our own vit C. However, it's also not as beneficial as it once was because we have much more stress and C is depleted under high stress. Makes me wonder what it'll take for us to reach the tipping point needed to mutate back to producing it, our evolution seems to have stopped since we no longer need to adapt to our environment.

Medium avatar

on November 07, 2011
at 04:06 PM

I agree, we gotta do both. Maybe one can make the case that because we have a lot more stress than our ancestors every day we need to supplement with vit C to make up for the amount that's lost from that stress. I recently debated a friend of mine who's a 3rd year med student about how much vitamin C we need (he just thinks it's the rda value) so that's why I wanted to get people's opinions about what the ideal amount is and thus whether supplementation is needed to reach it. The healthiest cultures around the world don't supplement with C so they must be doing something right.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 07, 2011
at 09:48 AM

People are missing the point here. One **should eat vitamin rich food**. Taking vitamins doesn't mean you should eat junk. You combine best of both worlds. So eat the best food and take the best vitamins, thats win win combination. You really, really have to be blind to ignore thousands and thousands of positive studies.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 07, 2011
at 09:45 AM

*so it is best to overshoot than undershoot* Agree. *However there is some reason to believe that very large doses impair the adaptation to exercise*: Not agree. If that was the case animals would suck at exercise. I already posted a lot about it and that negative paper was recently repeated and rebuted. See here for exercise papers http://paleohacks.com/questions/70745/vitamin-c-supplementation/70842#70842. Eating **bunch of foods with C" isn't going to help a lot, because **plants don't need vitamin C in such amounts and that is the reason all animals produce it**.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 07, 2011
at 09:42 AM

** so it is best to overshoot than undershoot** Agree. ** However there is some reason to believe that very large doses impair the adaptation to exercise**: Not agree. If that was the case animals would suck at exercise. I already posted a lot about it and that negative paper was recently repeated and rebuted. See here for exercise papers: http://paleohacks.com/questions/70745/vitamin-c-supplementation/70842#70842

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 07, 2011
at 09:39 AM

@Matt: You constantly keeps ignoring one simple thing - mutation is bind to context. They can't be observed apart. When we lost C ability, that was beneficial *in that space-time point*. Its not beneficial today. Plus, several species lost *and returned back* vitamin C synthesis. Convergent evolution is the key here - there are various ways to promote detoxification in animal world and C is definitely the best way.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 07, 2011
at 09:36 AM

*Take dogs, for example* : dogs are not the best example because they are lowest producing C animals. They still get scurvy if stressed enough even while producing C. I recently found amazing research pointing out that fructose inhibits vitamin C synthesis so junky dogy food might be a problem. Amazingly, there is fructose in commercial dog food. BTW, egyptians binged on honey - i.e. fructose. BTW2, great answer.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 07, 2011
at 09:33 AM

*Take dogs, for example*: dogs are not the best example because they are lowest producing C animals. They still get scurvy if stressed enough even while producing C. I recently found amazing research pointing out that fructose inhibits vitamin C synthesis so junky dogy food might be a problem. Amazingly, there is fructose in commercial dog food. BTW, egyptians binged on honey - i.e. fructose.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 07, 2011
at 09:30 AM

Amazing, isn't it ?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 07, 2011
at 09:29 AM

Ofc it does Stabby. This is how your arthery looks like when you not supplement like GULO-/- mices. Notice the breaks in the vehicles and where actually LP(a) goes: http://www.pnas.org/content/97/2/841/F5.expansion.html

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 07, 2011
at 09:27 AM

*Do you agree with Linus Pauling's recommendation of 2500mg of vitamin C per day and if not why not?* No, I not agree with that recommendation. I agree with Paluing's recommendation of 6-18g per day.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on November 07, 2011
at 06:10 AM

Well, we specifically lost uricase as well so that serum uric acid could work in vitamin C's absence. When you take vitamin C, you excrete uric acid so that there isn't too much antioxidant capacity, which would create a reductive stress (that lowers endothelial nitric oxide concentrations), as happens with fructose-induced hyperuricemia. That all being said, we still obviously need vitamin C. Just ask Captain Scallop Falsify of the HMS Scorbutica. Hopefully that dude is still alive after his scallop/rice dietary fiasco.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on November 07, 2011
at 06:02 AM

Good points, I think it is beyond doubt that getting enough vitamin c is important. Whether or not that means supplementation is another case.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on November 07, 2011
at 04:40 AM

I currently take 1g in divided doses but I'll be upping that in the next few weeks. Bring it up to about 3g and see how it feels. Supposedly, divided doses throughout the answer, if you're a Pauling follower: keep the tank continously filled.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on November 07, 2011
at 04:26 AM

Many of his follower claim to have warded off cancer and heart disease, which is intimately connected to Vit C deficiency, according to Pauling.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on November 07, 2011
at 04:25 AM

I can Pauling's argument being valid. There are many anecdotal evicence of people living healthy and disease-free after taking mega Vit C doses. Pauling lived to 93 and took 18g per day.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on November 07, 2011
at 04:23 AM

It's true, longevity and procreation diverge and often follow separate paths. You only need to look at sockeyed salmon to see that.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on November 07, 2011
at 04:20 AM

Who's recommending 2500mg? Most PCP will have a heart attack (I wish they did) if you told them you're taking 2500mg.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 07, 2011
at 12:33 AM

Waits for majkinetor to weigh in...

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 07, 2011
at 12:31 AM

@Nance, we're not getting the daily 2500 mg as is being recommended by diet. Very few paleolithic humans likely did. Because we lack the vitamin C biosynthetic pathway, it makes sense that our needs for vitamin C are likely rather low, low enough to be met by paltry amounts in our diet. That said, we probably should have more than the tiny 100 mg daily to prevent scurvy.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 07, 2011
at 12:29 AM

@Travis, longevity leads to reproduction. Countless other mutations over time have lead to fatal defects, however vitamin C deficiency is not a fatal defect. If anything, there was an evolutionary advantage correlated with it.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on November 06, 2011
at 08:56 PM

Longevity can contribute to the success of your offspring, and your offspring's offspring. I think it is a mistake to ignore contributions subsequent to fertilization.

Medium avatar

on November 06, 2011
at 08:52 PM

I agree that we should try to get as much of our nutrients from food as possible, that's why in the case of vitamin C I'm just wondering what people think the ideal amount is and if it's realistic to get that amount on a paleo diet without supplementation.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 06, 2011
at 08:51 PM

I make the opposite interpretation, Matt. We evolved without the pathway because there was already plenty of vitamin C in our diet, aka fruit.

Medium avatar

on November 06, 2011
at 08:44 PM

Good point. However, if it was abundant in the food supply and we didn't evolve other molecules to take its place then that indicates it's important. Some estimates say we lost the ability to produce vitamin C about 25 mya, but before that we were able to do it. It was more advantageous to get it from the diet than to produce it since this freed up energy that was used in that process.

5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on November 06, 2011
at 08:35 PM

Point being, in some specific applications it makes sense to supplement but the standard should be getting health from food... and food alone. That is my opinion anyhow.

5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on November 06, 2011
at 08:34 PM

My default is no vitamins... but, I use vitamins, supplements, and herbs when the benefits and outweigh the risk/cost and some times its when I have goals beyond optimal health/longevity. However, I always gravitate using food as your medicine and try to find other ways in the long term.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on November 06, 2011
at 08:22 PM

Evolution selects for those traits that result in the production of viable offspring, not that which leads to greatest longevity.

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6 Answers

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4
3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

on November 07, 2011
at 05:54 AM

I've read some analysis of Pauling's argument re megadosing with Vitamin C. My understanding is that there have been much distortions; the medical-pharmaceutical complex will browbeat anyone (even a two-time Nobel prize winner) claiming good health and longevity can be had from supplementing with "mere" Vitamin C. Sold as a supplement, Vitamin C is a non-proprietary form of medication that can potentially siphon off billions of health care spending from statin medications designed to lower LDL.

The issue here is the connection between Vitamin C and heart disease, which many people are missing. Pauling claimed that Vit C deficiency increases the level of LP(a) in blood. LP(a) gets going when there isn't enough Vit C by stiffening up blood vessels and forming plaques that often break off when inflammation is present. Since Vit C strengthens blood vessels and connective tissues without causing atherosclerosis, this "surrogate" function played by LP(a) is quite lethal.

LP(a) is thought to represent the genetic portion of CVD risk -- this shows up as part of your VAP test and is probably more important than the particle size of your LDL. Genetic because it doesn't seem to respond to treatment with statins and lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise. There are no drugs that will lower Lp(a), though some believe that diet and exercise, and supplements such as Niacin and fish oil, can reduce Lp(a).

If you examine animals that produce Vit C endogenously, they generally do not suffer from heart disease. Take dogs, for example. They may be fed a terrible, Neolithic diet full of refined carbs (Mighty Dog) but they usually do not have heart attacks. Why is that? Perhaps because their Lp(a) is never elevated because of the constant flow of sufficient Vit C in their blood vessels, warding off atherosclerosis?

This is the Pauling argument. He died in 1994. Lp(a) didn't become part of a standard blood test regimen until much later. Well, heck, even now, you can only get this if you order VAP. And most PCPs still don't know how to interpret it or even what to do when it's dangerously elevated. They just scratch their heads when someone who is young, thin, looks healthy with excellent lifestyle and eating habits fall prey to CVD. Chances are, such people also had family members that unexpectedly had heart attacks. Presumably, such people have hyper-sensitive LP(a) triggers that respond quickly to Vit C deficiency.

Pauling may indeed be right if you realize that CVD is a degenerative disease, just like diabetes. If it's Vit C deficiency that causes atherosclerosis, then it's perfectly understandable that we would see plaques more or less in all people regardless of their diet. (Except in those who consistently ate a Vit C rich diet or supplemented with plenty of Vit C. Is this perhaps the reason why we didn't see plaques in someone like Pritikin who ate a plant-heavy diet?) Well, we have accounts of atherosclerosis among Inuits who ate nothing but marine mammals. Also, we have confirmed cases of atherosclerosis in Egyptian mummies, 2,000 years ago. These people didn't eat refined carbohydrates like Twinkies or modern versions of wheat. If you see that atherosclerosis is a painfully slow process that takes shape well after sexual maturity, you can see why evolution wasn't too concerned about phasing it out: evolution had a bigger fish to fry in ensuring successful procreation. All the more, if the loss of endogenous Vit C generation was an environmental adaptation, as Pualing points out -- a quid pro quo.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on November 07, 2011
at 08:53 PM

A deficiency in any essential antioxidant (C, E, glutathione etc.) could of course predispose one to atherosclerotic plaques, since they arise as a result of lipid peroxidation. Shorting yourself on C seems misguided at best.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on November 07, 2011
at 06:02 AM

Good points, I think it is beyond doubt that getting enough vitamin c is important. Whether or not that means supplementation is another case.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 07, 2011
at 09:36 AM

*Take dogs, for example* : dogs are not the best example because they are lowest producing C animals. They still get scurvy if stressed enough even while producing C. I recently found amazing research pointing out that fructose inhibits vitamin C synthesis so junky dogy food might be a problem. Amazingly, there is fructose in commercial dog food. BTW, egyptians binged on honey - i.e. fructose. BTW2, great answer.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 07, 2011
at 09:29 AM

Ofc it does Stabby. This is how your arthery looks like when you not supplement like GULO-/- mices. Notice the breaks in the vehicles and where actually LP(a) goes: http://www.pnas.org/content/97/2/841/F5.expansion.html

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 07, 2011
at 09:30 AM

Amazing, isn't it ?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 07, 2011
at 09:33 AM

*Take dogs, for example*: dogs are not the best example because they are lowest producing C animals. They still get scurvy if stressed enough even while producing C. I recently found amazing research pointing out that fructose inhibits vitamin C synthesis so junky dogy food might be a problem. Amazingly, there is fructose in commercial dog food. BTW, egyptians binged on honey - i.e. fructose.

3
Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on November 07, 2011
at 06:08 AM

Vitamin c undeniably improves health when consumed in sufficient amounts, but it is hard to know how much is necessary for the best effect. So you can easily make an argument for vitamin c, but vitamin c supplementation might be a bit harder.

Luckily we have Wellness Resources. All I have to do is search for vitamin c and I get plenty of research studies, not all of them helpful, but many are. http://www.wellnessresources.com/tag/Vitamin_C

One that makes me happy is this: http://www.wellnessresources.com/health/articles/vitamin_c_boosts_mood/

Now you could say that they didn't really need 1g of the stuff, just some vegetables and fruits a few times a day, but the case remains that vitamin c is important so it is best to overshoot than undershoot, and perhaps supplementation could assist you in that. However there is some reason to believe that very large doses impair the adaptation to exercise. Now whether that is if you take the vitamin c near the time of exercise or any time, I don't know, but we need to acknowledge the possibility of side-effects in unnatural doses (I use unnatural in a descriptive sense here, unnatural might be good, who knows?)

I just try to eat a bunch of foods with vitamin c. I might take vitamin c supplements some time to test them.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 07, 2011
at 09:42 AM

** so it is best to overshoot than undershoot** Agree. ** However there is some reason to believe that very large doses impair the adaptation to exercise**: Not agree. If that was the case animals would suck at exercise. I already posted a lot about it and that negative paper was recently repeated and rebuted. See here for exercise papers: http://paleohacks.com/questions/70745/vitamin-c-supplementation/70842#70842

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 07, 2011
at 09:45 AM

*so it is best to overshoot than undershoot* Agree. *However there is some reason to believe that very large doses impair the adaptation to exercise*: Not agree. If that was the case animals would suck at exercise. I already posted a lot about it and that negative paper was recently repeated and rebuted. See here for exercise papers http://paleohacks.com/questions/70745/vitamin-c-supplementation/70842#70842. Eating **bunch of foods with C" isn't going to help a lot, because **plants don't need vitamin C in such amounts and that is the reason all animals produce it**.

3
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 06, 2011
at 07:56 PM

Given that humans evolved without the necessary pathways to biosynthesize our own vitamin C, it makes little sense that we'd need to consume an incredibly high amount daily.

"Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." -Theodosius Dobzhansky

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 07, 2011
at 12:31 AM

@Nance, we're not getting the daily 2500 mg as is being recommended by diet. Very few paleolithic humans likely did. Because we lack the vitamin C biosynthetic pathway, it makes sense that our needs for vitamin C are likely rather low, low enough to be met by paltry amounts in our diet. That said, we probably should have more than the tiny 100 mg daily to prevent scurvy.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on November 07, 2011
at 04:20 AM

Who's recommending 2500mg? Most PCP will have a heart attack (I wish they did) if you told them you're taking 2500mg.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on November 07, 2011
at 04:23 AM

It's true, longevity and procreation diverge and often follow separate paths. You only need to look at sockeyed salmon to see that.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on November 06, 2011
at 08:56 PM

Longevity can contribute to the success of your offspring, and your offspring's offspring. I think it is a mistake to ignore contributions subsequent to fertilization.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 07, 2011
at 12:29 AM

@Travis, longevity leads to reproduction. Countless other mutations over time have lead to fatal defects, however vitamin C deficiency is not a fatal defect. If anything, there was an evolutionary advantage correlated with it.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on November 06, 2011
at 08:22 PM

Evolution selects for those traits that result in the production of viable offspring, not that which leads to greatest longevity.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 06, 2011
at 08:51 PM

I make the opposite interpretation, Matt. We evolved without the pathway because there was already plenty of vitamin C in our diet, aka fruit.

Medium avatar

on November 06, 2011
at 08:44 PM

Good point. However, if it was abundant in the food supply and we didn't evolve other molecules to take its place then that indicates it's important. Some estimates say we lost the ability to produce vitamin C about 25 mya, but before that we were able to do it. It was more advantageous to get it from the diet than to produce it since this freed up energy that was used in that process.

Medium avatar

on November 07, 2011
at 07:31 PM

True, but natural selection decided that there was enough vitamin C to be found in the diet otherwise we would have either gone extinct or evolved another molecule to replace it and we've done neither. So vitamin C is important, but as you said, having more resources for our brain to use was more important, but vitamin C must have been abundant in the food supply of our ancestors in order for those with the initial mutation lacking the ability to produce vitamin C to survive.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 07, 2011
at 10:02 PM

But is mega-dosing Vitamin C paleo, Travis? What would Grok do? ;)

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on November 08, 2011
at 04:13 AM

If you just stuck to whatever your ancestors did, there will be no progress. Thankfully, some of our ancestors took chances, blazed new trails and set off for new frontiers. If high dose Vit C therapy is shown to reset the accidental mutation which eliminated man's ability to generate Vit C, then why not take it?

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 07, 2011
at 08:55 PM

@Matt, I agree many people probably aren't getting enough C today. I just meant that back when genes were being selected we must have had enough in the diet for us to reproduce if we gave up our ability to manufacture it.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 07, 2011
at 08:54 PM

@Matt, I agree most humans aren't getting enough C today. I just meant that back when genes were being selected we must have had enough in the diet for us to reproduce if we gave up our ability to manufacture it.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on November 07, 2011
at 04:29 PM

Chris: Do you really think that we humans are having a hard time finding enough energy? The amount of glucose needed to create vitamin C is miniscule. We likely lost the ability to preserve that glucose for our fairly large brains, but it's clearly no longer a concern.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on November 07, 2011
at 07:58 PM

Evolution is a constant series of compromises. We should never assume that the present state of an organism is in all ways optimal, simply that it is better suited to its current environment than previous iterations. Our current environment differs massively from that encountered by the first anatomically modern humans some 40-something thousand years ago. We have fairly recent evidence of the consequences of ascorbate avoidance, so we know that there hasn't been a species-wide loss of its requirement.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 07, 2011
at 09:39 AM

@Matt: You constantly keeps ignoring one simple thing - mutation is bind to context. They can't be observed apart. When we lost C ability, that was beneficial *in that space-time point*. Its not beneficial today. Plus, several species lost *and returned back* vitamin C synthesis. Convergent evolution is the key here - there are various ways to promote detoxification in animal world and C is definitely the best way.

Medium avatar

on November 07, 2011
at 04:19 PM

I would say that mutation is still beneficial today in the sense that evolution is all about using the least amount of genes necessary to survive since genes=energy. So we still have energy freed up from not making our own vit C. However, it's also not as beneficial as it once was because we have much more stress and C is depleted under high stress. Makes me wonder what it'll take for us to reach the tipping point needed to mutate back to producing it, our evolution seems to have stopped since we no longer need to adapt to our environment.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on November 08, 2011
at 04:10 AM

This may be one case going against the grain (doing Paleo) may actually benefit mankind. We're going up against chronic and degenerative conditions here: aging, atherosclerosis, insulin resistance, etc. If ensuring a high level of Vit C (fill the tank) promotes cardiovascular health, why not supplement with high dose Vit C? One example is stem cell therapy: does anyone doubt that this is effective? Is stem cell therapy Paleo? Heck, no. How about bone graft surgery to fix compound fractures? Is that Paleo? No, no medicine man ever performed such surgery before?

Medium avatar

(39821)

on November 07, 2011
at 06:10 AM

Well, we specifically lost uricase as well so that serum uric acid could work in vitamin C's absence. When you take vitamin C, you excrete uric acid so that there isn't too much antioxidant capacity, which would create a reductive stress (that lowers endothelial nitric oxide concentrations), as happens with fructose-induced hyperuricemia. That all being said, we still obviously need vitamin C. Just ask Captain Scallop Falsify of the HMS Scorbutica. Hopefully that dude is still alive after his scallop/rice dietary fiasco.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 08, 2011
at 01:31 PM

@Namby, we (humans) survived and thrived for quite some time without mega-dosing vitamin C, without endogenous vitamin C biosynthetic pathways, etc... What we've learned by studying hunter-gatherer cultures is that these lifestyles have minimal aging, CVD, diabetes, etc... Obviously, it's totally possible to be essentially free of these conditions without vitamin C megadosing. Surprisingly, we need a paltry amount of vitamin C compared to other animals, easily accessible by what's available in our diet.

Medium avatar

on November 08, 2011
at 09:16 PM

I agree Matt, I think we evolved not to produce it ourselves cause it was in our food supply but also maybe because we evolved other molecules later on that aided the functions of vitamin C (immunity, antioxidant capacity, etc), making vitamin C less crucial for our survival and thus being less of a risk of not producing it.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on November 07, 2011
at 08:01 PM

The only real consequences of overshooting with C are that uric acid is excreted and bowel tolerance is approached. Because so much of aging is thought to be due to the deleterious effects of ROS/free radicals etc., it seems wise to not skimp on any essential, exogenous antioxidant or precursor.

2
Bdede2dbc411f2533a7e6f13674ade51

(804)

on November 06, 2011
at 08:25 PM

A lot has changed since Mr. Pauling's days. Even though he went to the greatest school on the planet (Oregon State), I still don't know if I'd use his recommendations as any kind of basis for my nutrition today. I just can't get on this vitamin mega-dose bandwagon that some seem to be on. It just doesn't seem.....natural.

5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on November 06, 2011
at 08:35 PM

Point being, in some specific applications it makes sense to supplement but the standard should be getting health from food... and food alone. That is my opinion anyhow.

Medium avatar

on November 06, 2011
at 08:52 PM

I agree that we should try to get as much of our nutrients from food as possible, that's why in the case of vitamin C I'm just wondering what people think the ideal amount is and if it's realistic to get that amount on a paleo diet without supplementation.

5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on November 06, 2011
at 08:34 PM

My default is no vitamins... but, I use vitamins, supplements, and herbs when the benefits and outweigh the risk/cost and some times its when I have goals beyond optimal health/longevity. However, I always gravitate using food as your medicine and try to find other ways in the long term.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on November 07, 2011
at 04:26 AM

Many of his follower claim to have warded off cancer and heart disease, which is intimately connected to Vit C deficiency, according to Pauling.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on November 07, 2011
at 04:25 AM

I can Pauling's argument being valid. There are many anecdotal evicence of people living healthy and disease-free after taking mega Vit C doses. Pauling lived to 93 and took 18g per day.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 07, 2011
at 09:48 AM

People are missing the point here. One **should eat vitamin rich food**. Taking vitamins doesn't mean you should eat junk. You combine best of both worlds. So eat the best food and take the best vitamins, thats win win combination. You really, really have to be blind to ignore thousands and thousands of positive studies.

Medium avatar

on November 07, 2011
at 04:06 PM

I agree, we gotta do both. Maybe one can make the case that because we have a lot more stress than our ancestors every day we need to supplement with vit C to make up for the amount that's lost from that stress. I recently debated a friend of mine who's a 3rd year med student about how much vitamin C we need (he just thinks it's the rda value) so that's why I wanted to get people's opinions about what the ideal amount is and thus whether supplementation is needed to reach it. The healthiest cultures around the world don't supplement with C so they must be doing something right.

0
852955ab40e0451456f0e84103a576f5

on March 19, 2012
at 05:20 AM

The vision of evolution advocated by people here is oversimplified. Living longer is an asset to get your offspring to survive. Besides because of the high mortality among children in certain time it is an asset to live longer and be able to reproduce at old age. It takes decenia for a man to learn advanced techniques of hunting and bushcraft before he has a good chance to feed properly his oofspring, then he feeds them for 15 years which means he is 40 ansd then he has to teaach them 10 more years so he needs to reach 50, and there is little doubt that we have been shaped to live long in optimal conditions.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on March 19, 2012
at 06:01 AM

which was like 15-18, not like today, when you see sugardaddies hooking up with lolitas. These are modern inventions, made possible by the Neolithic age. Unfortunately, there is a conflict between living long and ensuring procreation, between shooting your wad and slowly fading away like an old soldier.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on March 19, 2012
at 05:57 AM

Not really. Feeding your children for 15 years probably sufficed among hunter-gatherers but probably no more. 10 more years to teach them the intricacies of hunting? First, if men lived that long, they would have had to compete directly with their sons. Fratricides happen very frequently among hunter-gatherers, who must compete for prey, just like they do in carnivores. The longevity you're talking about is more appropriate in a Neolithic setting, with clear divisions of labor and roles ... Even then, most people produced offspring as soon as they reached sexual maturity

0
5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on November 06, 2011
at 08:20 PM

I supplement for injury repair not for immune effect.

I have been using a 500mg time release capsule each meal to try to ensure that my body can efficiently produce all the collagen it needs. I don't feel that C supplementation is necessary, I am just hoping to make the healing process a little quicker by making sure I am never lacking any when my body wants it.

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