Letters ” Vitamin C research is not bad science”

January 20th, 2005 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | 3 Comments »

Vitamin C research is not bad science

Ben Goldacre describes one of my papers of a research study evaluating the anti-HIV action of vitamin C, and labels it as “bad science” as it was a laboratory study and it had nothing to do with AZT (Bad science, January 6). That is an unfortunate categorisation.

Laboratory studies are necessary prior to treating HIV in humans as they provide a rationale for clinical evaluation. It seems that the author was looking for a study comparing vitamin C with AZT and found an incorrect reference that evaluated only vitamin C. I should like to point out that subsequent to that first report, we published two successive papers that compared the anti-HIV effects of vitamin C to AZT. Both studies showed that whereas vitamin C suppressed HIV activation in latently or chronically-infected cells, AZT had no significant anti-HIV effect.

Our results on AZT were consistent with an independent report from another laboratory that also showed AZT to be ineffective in suppressing HIV expression in chronically-infected cells.

Simply because vitamin C has not been tested in humans, does not make vitamin C research a bad science. In fact, the reasons one would perform a clinical study are apparent in the above laboratory studies which have provided a compelling rationale for such testing. However, since vitamin C is a simple, inexpensive nutrient and not a drug with profit-generating potential, there has been little interest in testing it clinically. This is unfortunate as it keeps a potential non-toxic treatment from being further evaluated against a deadly life-threatening disease.
Raxit Jariwalla
California Institute for Medical Research, San Jose

[ Ben Goldacre responds here. ] or here


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  3. Patrick Holford On Cell Studies and Antioxidants « Stuff And Nonsense said,

    August 19, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    […] HIV-infected T-lymphocytic cell lines. This has been covered by¬† Ben Goldacre here (with follow-up here and […]