In early 1990 Dr. Linus Pauling was having dinner with William Decker, a friend of Dr. Pauling and a financial contributor to the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine. During dinner Dr. Pauling said:
“If the ongoing experiments at The Institute pan out, we will be able to eradicate heart disease by simply administering the proper nutrients, in the proper combination, at the proper dosage.”
Mr. Decker was not shocked by Dr. Pauling’s statement because he had followed Dr. Pauling research into the cause of atherosclerosis over the previous years.
In 1966, at the age of 65, Linus Pauling gave a speech wherein he mentioned that he hoped to live another fifteen years or so. Soon after, he received a letter from Irwin Stone who had been in the audience. Stone told Pauling that he could live another fifty years if he would start taking massive doses of vitamin C.
The health food movement was becoming popular, but few established scientists had investigated the many claims promised by organic foods and vitamin supplements. Given the early deaths of both his parents, and his personal recovery from Bright’s disease through nutrition, the promise of good health through vitamins intrigued Pauling. So, he and his wife, Ava Helen, started taking large doses of vitamin C.
In 1967 Pauling started his research on Vitamin C at his lab at the University of California at San Diego. While at U C San Diego Pauling proposed a new biomedical field he called Orthomolecular Medicine. He explained that the right molecules in the right amounts will result in optimal health. He said it was better to treat disease by means of substances occurring normally in the body than to resort to powerful synthetic substances that generally produce toxic side effects. By orthomolecular medicine he meant therapy entailing varying concentrations of such low-toxicity substances as vitamin C and other vitamins which are normally found in the body and which are necessary to good health.
In 1970, Pauling’s book, Vitamin C and the Common Cold, was published. It quickly became a best seller and helped to energize the “health-food” movement.
It was becoming increasing more difficult for Pauling to continue his nutritional research in University settings, so Pauling founded the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine (LPI) in 1973.
Pauling’s research led him to the conclusion that maintaining the optimum level of vitamins and minerals in the body results in the prevention of disease and can even provide therapeutic benefits. The LPI investigated the role of vitamin C in cancer, longevity, AIDS, and even mental disorders.
In 1986 Pauling published the book, How to Live Longer and Feel Better, which – once again – sung the praises of vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals.
In the late 80’s and early 90’s, Pauling began studying the effect of vitamin C and other nutrients on heart disease. He knew from animal studies that when the dietary intake of vitamin C is low, blood vessels tend to become weak. He also knew that large human population studies showed that higher vitamin C intake resulted in a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease and lower death rates. Pauling also knew that the protein collagen was necessary to keep blood vessels healthy. The body needs vitamin C in order to make collagen. If a person does not get enough vitamin C in their diet, they will not be able to make enough collagen to keep their arteries and veins strong and flexible.
Pauling theorized that the plaque that builds up on the inside of arteries was an attempt by the body to repair the weakened blood vessel with whatever substance happened to be available (cholesterol, fibrinogen, calcium, etc.).
Pauling came to the conclusion that cardiovascular disease is not caused by plaque accumulating on the inside of arteries. Plaque was just a symptom of another disease, i.e. Chronic Scurvy – an ongoing lack of sufficient vitamin C and other nutrients in the diet.
The medical profession reacted with skepticism. So, Pauling charged his team of medical researchers at the LPI to find out the exact chemistry involved in the deposition of plaque. The research was headed by Dr. Rath, a German researcher who had done previous research on a sticky form of cholesterol called Lipoprotein A – Lp(a) for short.
They found that when blood vessels are weakened by suboptimal levels of vitamin C and other nutrients in the diet, Lp(a) binding sites on the inside of arteries are exposed. This allows Lp(a) to accumulate at these sites. The Linus Pauling Institute documented the exact chemistry involved in this reaction.
Armed with the knowledge of how and why Lp(a) binds to our arteries, Pauling set out to reverse the process – to find a way to unbind the Lp(a). And in 1991, Pauling and Rath received a patent for their Lp(a) binding inhibitors. The agents act chemically to prevent the deposition of plaque. The binding inhibitors also attacked the root cause of heart disease by stimulating the production of elastin (an elastic form of collagen), the protein necessary for maintaining healthy blood vessels.
In a paper published in 1992, Dr. Rath explained that the amino acids L-lysine and L-proline competitively interfere with the binding of Lp(a) to constituents of the vascular wall and atherosclerotic lesions. Rath said the therapeutic use of these amino acids could prevent further accumulation of lipoprotein(a) in the vascular wall. More importantly, optimum concentrations of L-lysine and L-proline could release deposited lipoprotein(a) and other atherogenic lipoproteins from the vascular wall. Rath said he was defining a new therapeutic goal: The pharmaceutical, non-invasive reversal of existing CVD with nutritional supplements. [Rath, M. (1992) Reducing the Risk for Cardiovascular Disease with Nutritional Supplements, Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, 7: 153-162.]
In a 1993 paper entitled, A New Era in Medicine, Dr. Rath claimed that the heart patients in his nutritional studies were experiencing:
• Cessation of angina pectoris within one or two weeks
• Cessation of irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) within days
• Cessation of shortness of breath
• Increase in physical and mental strength
Rath explained that the nutritional supplements were reversing impaired blood flow to the heart muscle as well as improving the metabolism of millions of heart cells. The most important among these nutrients were vitamin C, vitamin E, niacin, lysine, proline, coenzyme Q10, carnitine as well as certain minerals. Rath called this a comprehensive nutritional resupplementation for optimum cardiovascular health. Rath also said that his nutritional protocol could stand any comparison with prescription drugs in the therapy of angina pectoris, arrhythmia, hypertension, heart failure as well as for the prevention of diabetic vascular disease and other forms of cardiovascular disease. [Rath M. (1993). A New Era in Medicine, Journal of Orthomolecular Med, 8: 134-135.]
On July 27, 1993 Drs. Pauling and Rath were granted their second U. S. Patent (No. 5230996) entitled, Use of Ascorbate and Tranexamic Acid Solution for Organ and Blood Vessel Treatment Prior to Transplantation. The patent described 3 uses of this invention:
1) The treatment of occlusive cardiovascular disease with the use of Vitamin C covalently linked with binding inhibitors which inhibit the binding of Lp(a) to blood vessel walls,
2) The prevention of atherosclerosis by the same method, and
3) Reducing the plaque on (or in) organs or blood vessels prior to transplantation.
The third use involves an aqueous solution of Vitamin C, binding inhibitors, and antioxidants. The organ or blood vessel is dipped into this solution and the atherosclerotic plaque deposits simply melt away leaving a clean and healthy organ or vessel for transplantation. The use of this solution is standard procedure in bypass operations because it ensures that the grafted blood vessel is free of plaque.
Linus Pauling died of prostate cancer on August 19, 1994 at the age of 93. Not long after his death, the Linus Pauling Institute was moved to Oregon State University. After the move, the LPI dismissed Dr. Rath and decided not to continued Dr. Pauling’s research into heart disease or formulate a product based on his and Dr. Rath’s patents.
Mainstream medicine continues to refuse to acknowledge that diet and dietary supplements can not only help prevent heart disease but, in Dr. Pauling’s words, “can even cure it.”
Copyright 2010 Ray Ellis