The Vitamins in Medicine, Part 2 (Vitamins C, D, E, K and More)

By Franklin Bicknell, MD, and Frederick Prescott, MD

Summary: Nutrition and medicine have seldom seen eye to eye. Though the discovery of the vitamins in the early twentieth century did cause some physicians to grasp the profound connection between vitamin deficiencies and degenerative disease, medicine as an institution never truly embraced this idea. Ultimately, the American Medical Association declared—in concert with the industrial food industry and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration—that most Americans do not suffer vitamin deficiencies of any consequence. This position, however, contradicts decades of scientific study, as famed natural nutritionist Dr. Royal Lee argued throughout his career. One of the books Dr. Lee cited most often in making his case was the text here, The Vitamins in Medicine, by British physicians Drs. Franklin Bicknell and Frederick Prescott. Backed by over 4500 scientific references, the text sums the totality of scientific knowledge about the vitamins at the time of its publication in the mid-twentieth century. While the book does take some typically medical views of vitamins, e.g., that they are single chemical substances and not synergistic biochemical complexes, as Dr. Lee taught, it nevertheless supports strongly the notion that many, if not most, of our modern ailments stem from partial (or “subclinical”) vitamin deficiencies. “This book not only tells of the ravages caused by ignoring nature’s ways,” Dr. Lee said, “but it also shows us the way to prevent these bodily damages.” In this second part of the book, Bicknell and Franklin discuss vitamins C, D, E, and K (along with a few other vital, if lesser known, nutrients). In Part 1, the authors examine vitamin A as well as the various B vitamins. Though the information in this book is over seven decades old, it is still incredibly valuable today, when so few health practitioners actually know what the vitamins do—or what a lack of them can cause. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, 1953. Original publisher William Heinemann, London.

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Table of Contents: The Vitamins in Medicine, Part 2  (Vitamins C, D, E, K and More)

CHAPTER VI: ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C)

History 390
Chemistry of Ascorbic Acid 391
Estimation of Ascorbic Acid 392
Units of Vitamin Ascorbic Acid 393
Distribution of Ascorbic Acid in Foods 393
—Effect of Cooking 394
—Effect of Storing, Cold Storage, Canning, Dehydration, Preserving, etc. 395
—Ascorbic Acid Content of Foods 396
Ascorbic Acid Content of Foods [Table] 396–405
Physiology and Functions of Ascorbic Acid 405
—Collagen Formation 405
—Structure of Teeth 406
—Bone Formation and Repair 406
—Wound Repair 410
—Capillary Resistance 415
—Ascorbic Acid and the Hematopoietic System 416
Ascorbic Acid, Infection, and Immunity 418
—Blood Levels and Excretion in Infection 418
—Ascorbic Acid and Immunity 418
—Ascorbic Acid and Bactericidal and Antitoxic Action 419
—Ascorbic Acid and Complement 419
—Ascorbic Acid and Leucocytosis 420
—Ascorbic Acid as a Detoxicating Agent 421
—Role of Ascorbic Acid in Cellular Oxidations 426
—Ascorbic Acid and Amino-Acid Metabolism
 427
—Ascorbic Acid and Hormones: The Adrenals 428
—Ascorbic Acid and Hormones: Pituitary 432
—Ascorbic Acid and Hormones: Thyroid 432
—Ascorbic Acid and Carbohydrate Metabolism 433
—Interrelationship with Other Vitamins 434
—Absorption of Ascorbic Acid 434
—Utilization of Synthetic Ascorbic Acid 435
—Storage and Distribution in the Body 435
—Excretion of Ascorbic Acid 437
Human Requirements of Ascorbic Acid 439
—Requirements based on Dietary Studies 439
—Requirements based on a Study of Capillary Fragility 441
—Requirements based on Examination of Urinary Excretion of Ascorbic Acid 441
—Requirements calculated from Blood Levels 442
—Correlation of Ascorbic Acid Levels in Blood and Urine 443
Requirements Under Various Conditions 444
—Infancy 444
—Requirements of Children and Adolescents 445
—Requirements of Adults 445
—National Research Council (U.S.A.) Recommendations 447
—Requirements and Age 447
—Requirements in Pregnancy and Lactation 447
—Requirements and Exercise 447
—Faulty Absorption 448
—Effect of Drugs 448
—Requirements and Infections 448
—Requirements and Raised Metabolism 448
—Requirements and Climate 448
Diseases Associated with Ascorbic Acid Deficiency Scurvy 448
—Etiology and Incidence 448
—Clinical Manifestations of Scurvy 449
—Infantile Scurvy 455
—Morbid Anatomy and Pathology of Scurvy 459
—Diagnosis of Scurvy 460
—Special Tests for Scurvy 462
—Treatment of Scurvy 462
Subclinical Scurvy, The Prescorbutic State, Subvitaminosis C, A Vitaminosis C (Hypovitaminosis C, Paravitaminosis C, Asymptomatic Scurvy) 462
—Gingival Manifestations 463
Laboratory Methods Used for Detecting Ascorbic Acid Deficiency 464
—Capillary Fragility Tests 464
—The Intradermal Test 465
—Urinary Excretion of Ascorbic Acid 466
—Saturation Tests (Test Dose) 467
—Oral Test Dose 467
—Parenteral Test Dose 468
—Criticism of Test Dose Studies 469
—Estimation of Ascorbic Acid in the Blood 469
Ascorbic Acid in Therapeutics 472
—Ascorbic Acid in Infections 473
—Diphtheria 473
—Pneumonia 473
—Tuberculosis 474
—Pertussis 475
—Respiratory Infections 475
—Rheumatic Fever 475
—Rheumatoid Arthritis 476
—Dental and Oral Conditions 476
—Hematology 479
—Ascorbic Acid in Dermatology 480
—Ophthalmology 481
—Allergic Conditions 482
—Gastro-Intestinal Diseases 483
—Obstetrics 484
—Surgery, Wound Healing, Burns 484
—Shock 489
—Anesthesia 489
—Psychiatry 490
—Diuretic Action, Cardiovascular Disease 490

REFERENCES (Vitamin C) 491–516 [1036 citations]

CHAPTER VII: VITAMIN D—THE ANTIRACHITIC OR CALCIFYING VITAMIN

History 517
Chemistry of Vitamin D 519
Units of Vitamin D 522
Estimation of Vitamin D 523
—The “Line Test” 523
—The X-ray Method 524
—The Bone Ash Method 524
—Olsson’s Radiographic Technique 524
Physiology of Vitamin D 524
—The Origin of Vitamin D of Animals 524
—The Origin of the Vitamin D of Fish 525
—Assimilation of Vitamin D 525
—Storage of Vitamin D 526
—Excretion and Destruction of Vitamin D 526
—Rachitic Diets, apart from Lack of Vitamin D 527
—Effect of Vitamin D on Calcification: Rickets 529
—The Relation of Vitamin D to Growth 532
—The Relation of Vitamin D to the Endocrine Glands 532
—The Relation of Vitamin D to the Blood 533
—The Relation of Vitamin D to Infection 533
—Effects of Excessive Vitamin D 534
—Fundamental Nature of the Action of Vitamin D 535
Sources of Vitamin D Available to Man 536
—Sunlight and Ultraviolet Light 536
—Food 537
—Effects of Cookery, Storage, Canning, Freezing and Drying on Vitamin D 540
Amount Of Vitamin D In Foods 540
—Vitamin D Content of Foods [Table] 541–542
Human Requirements of Vitamin D 542
Diseases Due to Deficiency of Vitamin D Rickets 548
—Contributory Causes of Rickets 550
—The General Symptoms of Rickets 552
—The Bony Changes of Rickets 553
—Spasmophilia 555
—Aids to Clinical Diagnosis of Rickets 557
—Differential Diagnosis of Rickets 560
—Treatment of Rickets 560
—Treatment of Rachitic Deformities 561
—Treatment of Spasmophilia 562
—Rickets Due to Deficient Renal Tubular Reabsorption of Phosphorus 562
Osteomalacia (Mollities Ossium) 564
—Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Osteomalacia 566
Dental Decay 569
—Refined Foods 569
—Heated Milk 570
—Immune Saliva 570
—Vitamin D 570
—Dental Decay and Pregnancy 572
Tuberculosis 572
—Lupus Vulgaris 572
—Other Forms of Tuberculosis 575
Further Clinical Uses Of Vitamin 575
—Endocrine Disorders 575
—The Bleeding Tendency in Jaundice and Hepatic Insufficiency 576
—Lead, Cadmium and Radium Poisoning 576
—The Healing of Fractures 577
—Arthritis 577
—Skin Diseases 577
Vitamin D Poisoning 578
—Indications for Using Large Doses of Vitamin D with Caution 579
—Symptoms of Poisoning 579
—Biochemical and Pathological Changes in Poisoning 582
—Treatment 583
—Prognosis 583

REFERENCES (Vitamin D) 584–591 [344 citations]

CHAPTER VIII: VITAMIN E (ALPHA-, BETA-, GAMMA- OR DELTA-TOCOPHEROL)—THE ANTISTERILITY OR ANTIDYSTROPHIC VITAMIN

History 592
Chemistry of Vitamin E 593
Units of Vitamin E 594
Fundamental or Biochemical Action of Vitamin E 594
—The Living Animal 595
—Isolated Tissues 596
—Isolated Enzyme Systems 596
Estimation of Vitamin E 597
—Biological Estimation 597
—Physicochemical Estimations 598
Physiology of Vitamin E 599
—Absorption 599
—Plasma Levels 600
—Storage 602
—Excretion 604
—Destruction 604
—Requirements 604
The Functions of Vitamin E 605
—The Relation of Vitamin E to Reproduction 606
—The Relation of Vitamin E to the Endocrine Glands 610
—The Relation of Vitamin E to Growth 612
—The Relation of Vitamin E to Muscular Dystrophy 612
—The Relation of Vitamin E to Nervous Degenerations 617
—Vitamin E Deficiency in Chicks 619
—The Relation of Vitamin E to Hepatic Necrosis and to Protein Metabolism 620
—The Relation of Vitamin E to Fat Metabolism 620
—The Relation of Vitamin E to Pigmentation 621
—Dental Depigmentation 622
—The Relation of Vitamin E to the Blood and Blood Vessels 622
—The Relation of Vitamin E to other Tissues: Neoplasms: Resistance to Infection and Poisons 623
Vitamin E in Foods 625
—Effect of Rancidity, Staleness, Storage and Cooking 627
—Preparations of Vitamin E Available for Medical Use 627
Amounts of Vitamin E in Foods 628
—Vitamin E Content of Foods [Table] 629–631
Human Requirements of Vitamin E 631
Diseases Due to a Deficiency of Vitamin E Abortion and Other Sexual Disorders 632
—Recurrent Abortion 632
—Threatened Abortion and Toxemias of Pregnancy 633
—Primary Sterility 635
—The Menopause 635
Muscular Dystrophy (Pseudohypertrophic Muscular Dystrophy: Progressive Muscular Dystrophy: Primary Myopathy) 635
—History 636
—Pseudohypertrophic Muscular Dystrophy 636
—Facio-Scapulo-Humeral Type of Landollzy and Dejerine 642
—The Scapulo-Humeral or Juvenile Type of Erb 643
—Treatment of All Forms of Muscular Dystrophy 643
—Treatment of Contractures, Massage and Exercise 645
—Glycine in the Treatment of Muscular Dystrophy 646
—Other Diseases of Muscle 647
Vitamin E in the Treatment of Neurological Conditions 647
—Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Progressive Muscular Atrophy 650
—Disseminated Sclerosis and Other Conditions 657
Further Clinical Uses of Vitamin E 657
—Cardiac Diseases 657
—Peripheral Vascular Diseases, etc. 658
—Thrombosis, Capillary Permeability, etc. 658
—Dupuytren’s Contracture, Penile Fibroses and the Collagenoses 660
—Miscellaneous Conditions 660

REFERENCES (Vitamin E) 661–671 [420+ citations (page 671 omitted in original)]

CHAPTER IX: ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS (VITAMIN F) AND OTHER MINOR FAT-SOLUBLE VITAMINS

History 672 (Page 672 omitted in original)
Essential Fatty Acids (Vitamin F)
Activity of Fatty Acids 673
—Symptoms of the Fat Deficiency Disease 673
—Distribution in Foods and the Effects of Storage and Hydrogenation 675
—Essential Fatty Acid Content of Foods [Table] 676
—Human Requirements of the Essential Unsaturated Fatty Acids
 676
—Essential Unsaturated Fatty Acids in Medicine 677
Other Minor Fat-Soluble Vitamins 680
—Butter Growth Factor 680
—Anti-Stiffness Factor 681
—Vitamin U or Anti-Peptic Ulcer Factor 682

REFERENCES (Essential Fatty Acids) 683–685 [112 citations]

CHAPTER X: VITAMIN K

History 686
Chemistry of Vitamin K 687
—Synthetic Analogues of Vitamin K 688
Units of Vitamin K 690
Distribution of Vitamin K in Foods 690
—Vitamin K Content of Foods [Table] 691
Physiology of Vitamin 691
—Absorption of Vitamin K 693
—Storage of Vitamin K 694
—Excretion of Vitamin K 694
—Pharmacology 694
Requirements of Vitamin K 694
Vitamin K Deficiency 695
—Inadequate Supply of Vitamin K 695
—Inadequate Intestinal Absorption 696
—Injury to the Liver 697
—Infection, Particularly of the Respiratory Tract 698
—Hemorrhage 698
Tests for Vitamin K Deficiency 698
—Prothrombin Determination: One-Stage Method 699
—Plasma Prothrombin Time 699
— Prothrombin Determination: Two-Stage Method 701
Clinical Manifestations of Hypoprothrombinemia 702
Vitamin K Therapy 703
Clinical Uses of Vitamin K 704
—In Conditions Not Associated with Jaundice or Liver Disease 704
—In Jaundice and Liver Disease 705
—Liver Function Test using Vitamin K 707
—Hypoprothrombinemia in the Newborn 708
—Hemorrhagic Disease of the Newborn—Clinical 711
—Intracranial Hemorrhage 712
—Treatment of Hemorrhage of the Newborn 712
—Gastro-Intestinal Diseases of Infancy and Childhood 713
—Pseudohemophilia Hepatica and Hereditary Pseudohemophilia 713
—Retinal Hemorrhage 714
—Effect of Vitamin K on Thrombosi 714
—Hemoptysis 714
—Abortion 714
—Drug Hypoprothrombinemia 715
Other Uses of Vitamin K 715
Vitamin K Antagonists 715
— Dicoumarol 716
—Mode of Action 716
—Pharmacology 716
—Clinical Uses and Indications 717
—Dicoumarol Therapy 718

REFERENCES (Vitamin K) 719–730 [435 citations]

CHAPTER XI: VITAMIN P

History 731
Chemistry 731
Estimation and Units of Vitamin P 733
Distribution of Vitamin P in Foodstuffs 733
—Vitamin P Content of Fruits and Vegetables [Table] 734
Human Requirement of Vitamin P 735
Theory of Action of Vitamin P 735
Physiology and Pharmacology of Vitamin P 737
Human Vitamin P Deficiency 738
Clinical Uses of Vitamin P 739
—Vascular Purpura 740
—Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia 741
—Nephritis and Hematuria 741
—Hypertension 741
—Glaucoma and Retinal Hemorrhage 742
—Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatoid Arthritis 742
—Skin Diseases 742
—Irradiation Sickness 743
—Frostbite 743
—Allergic and Vasomotor Rhinitis 743

REFERENCES (Vitamin P) 743–747 [148 citations]

INDEX 748–784

Patrick Earvolino, CN

Patrick Earvolino is a Certified Nutritionist and Special Projects Editor for Selene River Press, Inc.

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