Among his many accomplishments, Linus Pauling developed a theory and treatment for atherosclerosis – the formation of artery plaque.
Pauling believed that cardiovascular disease begins with a vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C makes up an integral part of cell walls, including blood vessels, and a deficiency weakens the walls making them more susceptible to damage. Damaged vessel walls are repaired with deposits of plaque which can build up and eventually impair blood flow to the heart.
Plaque is composed of many substances including fibrinogen, cholesterol, lipoproteins and other fatty molecules. A specific lipoprotein, LPa, acts as the glue to hold the plaque to the artery walls. Receptor sites for the amino acids lysine and proline on the LPa molecules account for its stickiness.
Pauling’s treatment was high doses of vitamin C (he preferred ascorbic acid over ascorbates) and the amino acids lysine and proline. Vitamin C increases the strength of the blood vessel walls, preventing further damage, and also prevents lipid peroxidation and LDL oxidation which contribute to atherosclerosis. The two amino acids fill the LPa’s receptor sites making them less sticky and also help vitamin C with collagen production, necessary for strong blood vessel walls. This protocol not only prevented atherosclerosis from getting worse but after about a year on the program began to reverse it as the amino acids broke up the plaque and the vitamin C repaired the damaged artery walls.
Pauling’s therapeutic protocol used very high doses: 10-18 g daily of ascorbic acid (to bowel tolerance), 5-6 g of lysine and 2 g of proline. Dr. Gifford-Jones’ formula (Medi-C Plus), based on Pauling’s protocol, uses 2-4 g vitamin C and 1.3-2.6 g lysine. This may still seem like a high dosage but it’s not really. I have previously written about vitamin C (#33 Vitamin C & Immunity) – how most animals except humans and apes are able to produce their own C and do so in much higher quantities than we can supplement. A 1993 study from the Research Institute at the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children showed that the daily requirement for lysine – from diet & supplements – is 37 mg per kg body weight (at 90kg I would need 3364 mg or 3.4g lysine).
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.