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Jeff Sutherland

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Megavitamin Therapy: Leading researcher in carcinogenesis describes impact


Bruce Ames on megavitamin therapy: “I suspect that the big impact is going to be in aging”

A review article coauthored by researcher Bruce Ames PhD of the University of California, Berkeley, published in the April 2002 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition featured the assertion that over fifty genetic diseases are successfully treated with high doses of vitamins, particularly those of the B complex, and that the vitamins may slow the effects of aging. Dr Ames suggests that there may be many more diseases treatable with megadoses of vitamins, and that the similar biochemical deficiencies of aging may be responsive to megavitamin therapies as well. Young people as well, may find vitamin supplementation useful to tune up their metabolism.

Dr Ames believes that the effectiveness of megavitamins are due to their role as coenzymes, which work with enzymes to perform metabolic functions. Certain genetic mutations reduce the ability of an enzyme to bind to its coenzyme, therefore decreasing the rate of the enzyme to catalyze a reaction. High levels of the right vitamins will raise the amount of coenzymes to a level sufficient to overcome the defect, reversing the effect of the mutations. Dr Ames and his coauthors have estimated that up to one-third of all genetic mutations result in the corresponding enzyme having a decreased binding affinity for a coenzyme. Examples of diseases that can in some instances be caused by mutations and which are responsive to high doses of vitamins cardiovascular disease, migraine, some cancers, alcohol intolerance, blindness, kidney disease, mental retardation, hemolytic anemia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr Ames commented, “These 50 diseases are just the tip of the iceberg. Individual doctors have noticed this, but nobody put it all together. Now, doctors are going to try high-dose vitamin therapy the minute they know a coenzyme is involved in a disease or there is a problem with the substrate. It makes sense, since many of the vitamins are generally recognized as safe in large doses. I think this kind of thing will turn up all over once people start looking.”

Dr Ames notes that B vitamins are sold in dosages hundred times the recommended daily allowances and are considered safe for most people. The review’s authors write, “There is potentially much benefit and possibly little harm in trying high-dose nutrient therapy because of the nominal cost, ease of application and low level of risk.”