by Martin Zuker
(OMNS June 26, 2020) As a long-time health writer with great respect for the significant (but alas, largely overlooked) value of large doses of vitamin C, it has been interesting to me to see this foundational nutrient mentioned, studied, and even used therapeutically in the current battle against the COVID-19.
It has been well said that vitamin C is the ultimate immune-boosting supplement, equally vital for protecting against diabetes, cardiovascular disease, skin conditions, and much more.
Much more, indeed.
Beginning more than 40 years ago, I had the good fortune to interview a doctor in the U.S. who applied large doses of vitamin C in his preventive and therapeutic protocols. And with great results. I became a devoted mega-user of vitamin C, a habit that continues to this day.
In 1978, I spoke in detail with Frederick Klenner, M.D., of Reidsville, NC. I am sharing my original notes with the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service because I believe the information is still very valid all these years later, and may be particularly informative for doctors today who practice integrative and preventive medicine.
Conversation with Dr. Fred Klenner on Pregnancy and Childbirth Assisted by Vitamin C, June 1978.
Summary transcription of Dr. Klenner’s comments:
For a consecutive series of 322 pregnancies we gave vitamin C in similar doses to those recommended by Irwin Stone in his book, “The Healing Factor”.  We advised 4 grams per day in the first trimester, 6 gm/d in the second and 10 gm/d in the last trimester. I’ve been involved with 2,500 pregnancies during my career… that gave me the basis for comparisons. All deliveries were at one hospital, the Annie Penn Memorial Hospital in Reidsville, NC.
We always observed the vitamin C to be a helping factor — very definitely! The first thing I started to notice, 30 years ago (1948), that when I was giving vitamin C to some of the women, their blood counts remained better than those who weren’t receiving it. That was the first thing we found that turned us on to giving high doses of vitamin C. We found that vitamin C, given over the course of the pregnancy, generally makes labor shorter and less painful. That’s where the elasticity of the perineum comes in. Though ordinarily we saw labor take 24 hours, labor with vitamin C was reduced to down to not more than six hours and most of the time they were in labor only three or four hours. When you reduce the time, you reduce the pain. Delivery was easy because the perineum would stretch so much more easily than in women who didn’t receive the vitamin C.
Another thing you may sometimes get after the child is born is hemorrhaging. We had no hemorrhaging or excess bleeding in this series. Two thirds of the non-vitamin C patients had some type of bleeding, but with vitamin C we had none whatsoever. So vitamin C, in the program of 4 to 10 grams daily, improved the elasticity of not only the perineum, but also the blood vessels themselves.
“We never had a single stretch mark after we started on this regime of high dose vitamin C.”
We seldom saw abdominal wrinkles — the “striae.” We never had a single stretch mark after we started on this regime of high dose vitamin C. Previously, we hit a quota which was about one out of three pretty bad, and another third would show some degree of striae. The abdomen stretches when the uterus enlarges rapidly, and the skin is damaged when it cannot expand fast enough. We noted this in the ones we delivered. We had one lady who delivered several babies in our program. Before she started in our program, she had a few striae from her first two pregnancies and labors. After that we had her on this protocol of vitamin C and she actually improved her abdominal skin. We found that in this program the perineum recovered quickly and completely.
Did we have any toxic manifestations? Hardly, in this group — we only had toxic manifestations in about one per cent of the cases. I found that on average the right amount was 10,000 mg/day. It’s important to find and maintain the right level. Szent-Györgyi too in his recent experiments has proved that dose to be correct. That’s just to keep the body normal. If you got the sniffles or something more serious (and you could get that even taking 10 grams), for example if you got a really potent virus, you would have to double that dose or more to compensate.
Any miscarriages? Not a single one.
“The children were called ‘Vitamin C Babies’ because they were so outstandingly healthy.”
The children were called “Vitamin C Babies” because they were so outstandingly healthy as compared to the other babies delivered in the hospital. They were strong babies. No resuscitation was necessary with any of them. As they were taken out of the delivery room in the so called “rolling bassinets,” they were grabbing onto the sides. Some of them were even turning over.
The Fultz quadruplets were in this group. They are identical twins, coming from one egg. They are the only quads in the southeast USA that survive until this very day. Born in1946, they are still doing very well.
Why are the mothers doing better with vitamin C? Because of its health-producing features. It’s the number one anti-fatigue vitamin. We didn’t have a single tooth cavity in a mother during this series, and that to me was very unusual. Vitamin C also helps in the metabolism of protein in the baby and the mother, allowing her to maintain her strength. It is a prime factor in the building of collagen, the connective tissue in our bodies, and that is important in making the baby.
The key to the quicker childbirth with vitamin C is that it makes the perineum more elastic. Although no formal studies have yet documented that, we do know that the perineum does flex much more easily and more safely if the patient has been on high doses of vitamin C. That’s the key.
The Fultz babies: 2 lbs each except for one, who weighed 3. We gave them 50 mg of vitamin C. They were born at midnight, and they got 50 mg the next morning. We gave that much although most people gave 25 mg. There were just no problems with sleeping.
If you ask most Ob-Gyns what they give: most don’t give anything except a pregnancy tablet that has a little iron and minerals in it. We’d go with 50 mg/day of vitamin C for a while and raise it gradually so that by six months the babies were getting 500 mg/day, and by a year getting 1000 mg/day. We were giving it in the form of drops on the tongue.
We found that healing time after delivery was 50 per cent faster than those who didn’t get vitamin C. (Dr. Ringsdorf confirms this ), and most of the time those who weren’t getting vitamin C just didn’t heal. Vitamin C is the best pregnancy vitamin. No question about it. Of course they need iron and the vitamin C tends to oxidize the iron, so it’s important not to give too much iron. We gave our mothers on vitamin C, a good iron preparation and a quart of milk every day.
“My wife took vitamin C and didn’t have more than an hour of labor with any of our three daughters.”
I began to realize that they were healing better because of the vitamin C. Evidently the collagen metabolism is much enhanced over the other women who were having lots of problems. My wife took vitamin C and didn’t have more than an hour of labor with any of our three daughters. She was quick and she was up and around in a day or so. A lot of procedures that doctors do are developed in clinics — in their offices, with personal attention — not in medical schools or in big studies. This is the one-on-one situation.
So, we advised the women to take vitamin C starting at 3,000 mg/day, in divided doses. I suggest using ascorbic acid granules or crystals, which can be mixed in their orange juice or sprinkled on their cereal. Much less hassle than with tablets. Then we had them increase their dose slowly.
There are many problems associated with infants born in this country and we don’t know why. We are beginning to think now that maybe nutrition, after all, has a great deal to do with it. Our life style and diets may be a big factor here. We are a rich country, but unwittingly some have developed poor dietary habits and even malnutrition. So I put all my patients on a well-balanced diet with supplements of essential vitamins and minerals. And I think further that adequate dosage of vitamin C has a lot to do with it.
“Most doctors run like ostriches when you mention the word “vitamin” . . . There is no injurious effect of taking ascorbic acid — there is only beneficial effect.”
Most doctors run like ostriches when you mention the word “vitamin.” It seems to me they can’t get it into their heads that these chemicals are very safe. “Vitamin” is just a name. There is no injurious effect of taking ascorbic acid — there is only beneficial effect. In pregnancy it is important for the mothers’ own good health and the baby’s good health that they take it.
The actual process of pregnancy drains ascorbic acid from the mother. It’s a stress on the body. A rat normally makes 3.8 grams (3800 mg) of ascorbic acid a day (in a 154-pound human body equivalent amount). If you put the rat under stress it will automatically start making 15,000 mg. Now, pregnancy is a major stress factor on the body and so therefore the requirements of vitamin care multiplied by many times. That’s why it is so necessary.
To go into these details of metabolism, since humans do not produce their own ascorbate, we must go out and get it. Mothers should follow up with ascorbic acid. That’s just good medicine. Any good doctor will prescribe a vitamin preparation for the baby, and most of them contain some small amount of vitamin C; 6.25 mgs or a similar amount. But we have determined that you should give a child 1000 mg/day of vitamin C per year of life up to 10 years. We always recommend this. And we get a tremendous feedback; the babies who take it are so much healthier than those who don’t take it. They eat better, they sleep well, no problems.
Dr. Irwin Stone, a biochemist who has researched vitamin C for decades, says the work of other doctors, going back 40 years, shows that vitamin C “is the best thing for pregnancy.”  It also reduces the risk of hemorrhaging and miscarriages. Anyone who tends to lose babies after getting pregnant should be on these high levels of ascorbate to prevent the hemorrhages. The first symptom of scurvy is hemorrhaging, and vitamin C prevents that.
There were over a thousand patients on our vitamin C is program, with no adverse reactions, and never a deformed baby when the mother was on this program. In post-natal consultation, I urged my patients to continue on high doses of vitamin C. When they began to notice the good effects like better healing and fewer colds, little by little they became convinced.
(Martin Zucker, a former Associated Press newsman, has written on alternative medicine for more than 40 years. He has co-authored or ghostwritten more than a dozen books, plus articles for such diverse publications as Smithsonian Magazine, Readers Digest, Los Angeles Times, Cook’s Magazine, Vegetarian Times, and The National Enquirer..)
Author’s note: I have interviewed several other doctors with practices contemporaneous with Dr. Klenner’s practice, including Dr. Archie Kalokerinos,  Dr. W. Marshall Ringsdorf,  Dr. Robert Scott, and Dr. William J. Saccoman. All have recommended Dr. Klenner’s high-dose vitamin C protocol.
To learn more about Dr. Klenner:
Saul AW. (2007) Hidden in plain sight: The Pioneering Work of Frederick Robert Klenner, MD. J Orthomolecular Med, Vol 22, No 1, p 31-38. http://www.doctoryourself.com/klennerbio.html
Klenner FR (1991) Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C. The Clinical Experiences of Frederick R. Klenner, M.D. Edited by Lendon H. Smith, MD. Life Sciences Press, ISBN-13: 978-0943685137 https://www.seanet.com/~alexs/ascorbate/198x/smith-lh-clinical_guide_1988.htm or http://vitaminc.co.nz/pdf/CLINICAL-GUIDE-TO-THE-USE-OF-VITAMIN-C-FREDERICK-KLENNER-MD.pdf
1. Stone I (1972) The Healing Factor – Vitamin C Against Disease: How to live longer and better. Grosset & Dunlap (1972), ISBN-13: 978-0448021300; Books on Demand (2017), ISBN-13: 978-3743173910 https://vitamincfoundation.org/stone/
2. Cheraskin E, Ringsdorf WM, Sisley ED (1983) The Vitamin C Connection. Harper Collins, ISBN-13: 978-0060380243.
3. Kalokerinos A (1981) Every Second Child. Keats Pub. ISBN-13: 978-0879832506.