(Investigator 183, 2019 January)

Linus Pauling Ph.D., is the name of a Nobel Prize winner who advocated megadoses of Vitamin C for the prevention and cure of the common cold and for the treatment of cancer. In 1970, Pauling published a book called Vitamin C and the Common Cold, in which he suggested that vitamin C daily would reduce the incidence of colds, and that most people needed a daily intake of 2,300 mg for optimum health and to ward off infections.


Although megadoses may slightly shorten the duration of a cold, carefully designed studies have shown other claims associated with megadoses of vitamin C, such the prevention and cure of cancer, to be unsubstantiated.

One double-blind study was undertaken of 123 patients with advanced cancer by the Mayo Clinic in 1979. Half the patients received 10,000 mg of vitamin C daily while others received a placebo. No differences were found between the two groups in survival time, appetite, weight loss, severity of pain, or amount of nausea and vomiting.

Another almost identical result was obtained in a study by the North Central Cancer Treatment Group composed of physicians in seven American states and Canada.

On August 22, 1983, The Medical World News, reported that the survival times for 71 patients receiving 10,000 mg of vitamin C and 73 patients receiving a placebo essentially overlapped and median survival time for the placebo group was actually one week longer.

The largest corporate donor (over $500,000) to the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine in Palo Alto, California, has been Hoffmann-La Roche, the pharmaceutical giant dominant in the world-wide production of vitamin C.

It is sometimes said that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Despite taking huge daily amounts of vitamin C for many years, both Linus Pauling and his wife Ava died of cancer in 1995 and 1981 respectively.


American Cancer Society. 1993. Questionable methods of cancer management: "Nutritional Therapies."  CA-Cancer J Clinic. 43:309-319.

Creagan, E.T. 1985. (Eds. Stalker & Glymour) Examining Holistic Medicine. p.297-310.

Los Angeles Times, (Dye) 1985. The deeply personal war of Linus Pauling. June 2.

Lowell, James. 1985. Some Notes on Linus Pauling. Nutrition Forum, May, Vol.2, No.5.

New Scientist. (Rivers) 1986. Whoops! Here comes a whiz¬bang. Oct. 2. u.53.