OxyFile #125


[This is a very detailed description of vitamin C and free radical 
interaction.  It is interesting to note that H2O2 can act as a 
reductant and supply 2 high energy electrons, as ascorbate can, 
under the right conditions.  This makes for some interesting 
ramifications.  Under the right redox potential H202 could recycle 
dehydroascorbate back to ascorbate.]


Medical Hypotheses
May 1991: 35:32-37


Robert F. Cathcart, III.  

127 Second Street, 
Los Altos, California 94022, 

Telephone 415-949-2822


Vitamin C is a reducing substance, an electron donor.  When 
vitamin C donates its two high-energy electrons to scavenge free 
radicals, much of the resulting dehydroascorbate is rereduced to 
vitamin C and therefore used repeatedly.  Conventional wisdom is 
correct in that only small amounts of vitamin C are necessary for 
this function because of its repeated use.  The point missed is 
that the limiting part in nonenzymatic free radical scavenging is 
the rate at which extra high-energy electrons are provided through 
NADH to rereduce the vitamin C and other free radical scavengers. 
When ill, free radicals are formed at a rate faster than the high-
energy electrons are made available.  Doses of vitamin C as large 
as 1 to 10 grams per 24 hours do only limited good.  However, when 
ascorbate is used in massive amounts, such as 30 to 200+ grams per 
24 hours, these amounts directly provide the electrons necessary 
to quench the free radicals of almost any inflammation.  
Additionally, in high concentrations ascorbate reduces NAD(P)H and 
therefore can provide the high-energy electrons necessary to 
reduce the molecular oxygen used in the respiratory burst of 
phagocytes.  In these functions, the ascorbate part is mostly 
wasted but the necessary high-energy electrons are provided in 
large amounts.