Interview with STEVE STONE

Steve Stone



Andrew W. Saul Interviews
Son of Vitamin C Advocate IRWIN STONE


IT WAS IRWIN STONE who first put Linus Pauling onto vitamin C. Stone said that we humans have inherited a genetic trait to need but not manufacture the

vitamin. More important to most readers, he told how many diseases have

responded very well to high-dose vitamin C treatment. His classic book, The

Healing Factor: Vitamin C Against Disease contains over fifty pages of

scientific references, making it required reading for anybody's doctor. It is

doubtful that many skeptics have been as thorough as Stone has in checking

vitamin C literature. His book summarizes documented the successful vitamin C treatment of infections, (bacterial and viral), allergies, asthma, eye diseases,

ulcers, poisoning, and the effects of smoking. Vitamin C's role in treating

cancer, heart disease, diabetes, fractures, shock, wounds and pregnancy

complications is also included. The information on tetanus and glaucoma is

especially interesting. Stone's work is unique and incredibly valuable. The complete text of The Healing Factor, previously a hard-to-find book, is now posted for free reading at .


Whom do we have to thank for this? Dr. Stone's son, Steve. Let's meet him now.


DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWS: Mr. Stone, what do you most want to accomplish by releasing your father's book for free reading on the Internet?


STEVE STONE: I simply believe that the information in the book can make people's lives better.


DY NEWS: Two Nobel prize winners wrote forewords to The Healing Factor: Dr.

Linus Pauling, and Dr. Albert Szent-Gyorgyi. Did you personally meet them?


STONE: I met Linus Pauling but didn't spend much face-to-face time with him. He was a gracious, gentle man who always treated my parents with respect.


DY NEWS: Your dad was not a physician; what brought him to vitamin C research in the first place?


STONE: My father had studied either chemistry or chemical engineering at CCNY, worked briefly at Pease Laboratories and then spent the balance of his career at Wallerstein Laboratories which was ultimately acquired by Baxter. Most of his work was in fermentation technologies, especially beer making.


When vitamin C first became commercially available at reasonable prices (late

1930's I think) he appreciated that its redox properties and lack of toxicity had the potential to deal with stability issues in beer and bread making. He ultimately was granted patents for the use of ascorbate in these processes. He started supplementing his diet with relatively large amounts of vitamin C shortly after he started this work and became convinced that this contributed significantly to his health. I remember that in the summers during WWII my mother suffered from allergies and we would have to take weekly ferry boat rides from Staten Island to Manhattan for her shots. I also remember that once she started taking vitamin C her allergies cleared up and she didn't need the shots.


DY NEWS: What are a couple of your favorite personal recollections about your



STONE: A couple of things come to mind. My father was 4-F during WWII because of a heart murmur but he volunteered as an ambulance driver in the USAAC (United States Army Ambulance Corps) and on occasion I got to ride in the ambulance with him. I also remember going to visit his laboratory, which was located in an office building at 34th and Madison Ave (a block from the Empire State Bldg.) where he had set up a miniature brewery used to test the improvements he was developing. My recollection is that it had a capacity of a gallon or two. Finally, I remember that we were always getting cases of beer as gifts from the brewmasters at all the breweries where my father taught seminars. In those days almost every medium sized town had a brewery or two.


DY NEWS: Other memorable events?


STONE: My father was elected President of the American Society of Brewing

Chemists in 1960 and, following the inauguration ceremony, my parents drove from Minneapolis to Rapid City, South Dakota to visit Mt. Rushmore. They never got to see the monument.


On the road to Mt. Rushmore, as they were going over a slight rise, they were hit head on by a drunk driver with such force that every one of my father's limbs, except his right arm, was broken. He also had massive internal injuries. Someone performed an emergency tracheotomy on him by sticking a piece of tubing through the hole in his throat and by the time he reached the hospital he had lost most of the blood in his body. Yet he never went into shock. My mother also sustained significant but not so serious injuries.


They were both in the hospital from May till August. As soon as he could

communicate, he insisted on having vitamin C supplements and convinced those caring for him that that was the reason he survived. They believed him. Subsequently, my father found a research paper that showed that vitamin C

supplementation increased impact shock survival in guinea pigs.


The injuries affected his mobility to some extent, so he cut back on some of his

more strenuous activities and spent the rest of his life researching vitamin C,

the results of which are set forth in The Healing Factor. Along the way, he met

Dr. Pauling and shared his thoughts with him, with the result that Pauling's book, Vitamin C and the Common Cold is dedicated to my father. (And is reviewed at


DY NEWS: What do you think were the biggest professional obstacles to his work, and to his controversial thesis that megadoses of vitamin C are natural and normal for a human?


STONE: The resistance of the medical profession to be open to new ideas, particularly when they come from non-doctors. But that's changing. Most doctors now say that you should be taking vitamin C supplements, whereas 30 years ago that was heresy. Another obstacle is insistence on double blind testing to validate the benefits of vitamin C. Each person has different requirements for C, which vary depending on stress. In order to get the full benefit, a person needs to adjust the amount of C being taken depending on stress levels and need to be able to titrate themselves. ( This is not doable in a controlled double blind situation.


DY NEWS: I recall that the National Health Federation described "The Healing

Factor" as perhaps the most important health book ever written. Many

orthomolecular physicians firmly agree with that assessment. Your comments?


STONE: I agree completely. The role of ascorbate in human health cannot be



DY NEWS: Do you have correspondence preserved between your father and other scientists? If so, what are the chances for an on-line archive of the documents?


STONE: My daughter lives in my dad's old house and his old filing cabinets are

still in the garage. I think that most of it is publications rather than correspondence.


DY NEWS: You may skip this question if it is too personal: What are your most

comforting memories from your father's last days?


STONE: In May 1984, almost 22 years to the day after the South Dakota accident, my parents drove to a meeting of the Orthomolecular Medical Association in Los Angeles. Unbeknownst to my father, he was to receive the Linus Pauling Award for his achievements. He never got the award. He died of a massive heart attack the night before the meeting.


Don't know if this is comforting but my dad wouldn't fly and didn't like to travel. I was visiting him a couple of days before the trip to LA and he was saying how he didn't really want to go. That was my last conversation with him.


DY NEWS: I personally think Dr. Stone deserved a Nobel of his own. Thank you

very much for offering your father's work to the public.


For more information:


Stone I. The Healing Factor: Vitamin C Against Disease. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1972.) The complete text of this previously hard-to-find book is now posted for free reading at .


Additional information on high-dose vitamin C therapy:  or with a search from the top of

the main page at .


Dr. Alan Cott's tribute to Irwin Stone posted at . 




"Five hundred ninety-five patients were enrolled and analyzed, 91% of whom were victims of trauma. Multiple organ failure was significantly less likely to occur in patients receiving antioxidants than in patients receiving standard care . . . The early administration of antioxidant supplementation using alpha-tocopherol and ascorbic acid reduces the incidence of organ failure and shortens ICU length of stay in this cohort of critically ill surgical patients." (Nathens AB et al. Randomized, prospective trial of antioxidant supplementation in critically ill surgical patients. Ann Surg. 2002 Dec;236(6):814-22.) 



Data from 6,624 men and women in the Second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES II) revealed that "Compared with participants with low to marginally low vitamin C levels, there was a 27% decreased prevalence of coronary heart disease and a 26% decreased prevalence of stroke among those in the highest serum vitamin C category. In the NHANES I Epidemiologic Follow-up Study, it was found that the highest intakes of vitamin C had a 25% to 50% reduction in cardiovascular mortality." (Simon, JA et al. Serum ascorbic acid and cardiovascular disease prevalence in U.S. adults. Epidemiology, 1998;9:316-321.)



Arizona State University nutrition professors say that about one in eight of us suffer from vitamin C deficiency. "Normally," they said, "doctors and other health professionals think of scurvy as a disease of the past, but our research has shown that this really isn't true." The study concluded that health professionals "should recommend supplementation for individuals at risk of vitamin C deficiency." (Hampl JS, Taylor CA, Johnston CS. Vitamin C deficiency and depletion in the United States: the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988 to 1994.) Am J Public Health. 2004 May;94(5):870-5.


Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at )

Interview and comments copyright 2004 and prior years by Andrew W. Saul.


Andrew W. Saul


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