For all the people who eat a paleo diet but don't eat fruit, how much vitamin C do you get per day and from what sources (supplements don't count since our ancestors didn't take them)? Do you agree with Linus Pauling's recommendation of 6-18g of vitamin C per day and if not why not? What is the most important nutrient(s) or hormone(s) for having a strong immune system in your opinion?
I've read some analysis of Pauling's argument re megadosing with Vitamin C. My understanding is that there have been much distortions; the medical-pharmaceutical complex will browbeat anyone (even a two-time Nobel prize winner) claiming good health and longevity can be had from supplementing with "mere" Vitamin C. Sold as a supplement, Vitamin C is a non-proprietary form of medication that can potentially siphon off billions of health care spending from statin medications designed to lower LDL.
The issue here is the connection between Vitamin C and heart disease, which many people are missing. Pauling claimed that Vit C deficiency increases the level of LP(a) in blood. LP(a) gets going when there isn't enough Vit C by stiffening up blood vessels and forming plaques that often break off when inflammation is present. Since Vit C strengthens blood vessels and connective tissues without causing atherosclerosis, this "surrogate" function played by LP(a) is quite lethal.
LP(a) is thought to represent the genetic portion of CVD risk -- this shows up as part of your VAP test and is probably more important than the particle size of your LDL. Genetic because it doesn't seem to respond to treatment with statins and lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise. There are no drugs that will lower Lp(a), though some believe that diet and exercise, and supplements such as Niacin and fish oil, can reduce Lp(a).
If you examine animals that produce Vit C endogenously, they generally do not suffer from heart disease. Take dogs, for example. They may be fed a terrible, Neolithic diet full of refined carbs (Mighty Dog) but they usually do not have heart attacks. Why is that? Perhaps because their Lp(a) is never elevated because of the constant flow of sufficient Vit C in their blood vessels, warding off atherosclerosis?
This is the Pauling argument. He died in 1994. Lp(a) didn't become part of a standard blood test regimen until much later. Well, heck, even now, you can only get this if you order VAP. And most PCPs still don't know how to interpret it or even what to do when it's dangerously elevated. They just scratch their heads when someone who is young, thin, looks healthy with excellent lifestyle and eating habits fall prey to CVD. Chances are, such people also had family members that unexpectedly had heart attacks. Presumably, such people have hyper-sensitive LP(a) triggers that respond quickly to Vit C deficiency.
Pauling may indeed be right if you realize that CVD is a degenerative disease, just like diabetes. If it's Vit C deficiency that causes atherosclerosis, then it's perfectly understandable that we would see plaques more or less in all people regardless of their diet. (Except in those who consistently ate a Vit C rich diet or supplemented with plenty of Vit C. Is this perhaps the reason why we didn't see plaques in someone like Pritikin who ate a plant-heavy diet?) Well, we have accounts of atherosclerosis among Inuits who ate nothing but marine mammals. Also, we have confirmed cases of atherosclerosis in Egyptian mummies, 2,000 years ago. These people didn't eat refined carbohydrates like Twinkies or modern versions of wheat. If you see that atherosclerosis is a painfully slow process that takes shape well after sexual maturity, you can see why evolution wasn't too concerned about phasing it out: evolution had a bigger fish to fry in ensuring successful procreation. All the more, if the loss of endogenous Vit C generation was an environmental adaptation, as Pualing points out -- a quid pro quo.
Given that humans evolved without the necessary pathways to biosynthesize our own vitamin C, it makes little sense that we'd need to consume an incredibly high amount daily.
"Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." -Theodosius Dobzhansky
Vitamin c undeniably improves health when consumed in sufficient amounts, but it is hard to know how much is necessary for the best effect. So you can easily make an argument for vitamin c, but vitamin c supplementation might be a bit harder.
Luckily we have Wellness Resources. All I have to do is search for vitamin c and I get plenty of research studies, not all of them helpful, but many are. http://www.wellnessresources.com/tag/Vitamin_C
One that makes me happy is this: http://www.wellnessresources.com/health/articles/vitamin_c_boosts_mood/
Now you could say that they didn't really need 1g of the stuff, just some vegetables and fruits a few times a day, but the case remains that vitamin c is important so it is best to overshoot than undershoot, and perhaps supplementation could assist you in that. However there is some reason to believe that very large doses impair the adaptation to exercise. Now whether that is if you take the vitamin c near the time of exercise or any time, I don't know, but we need to acknowledge the possibility of side-effects in unnatural doses (I use unnatural in a descriptive sense here, unnatural might be good, who knows?)
I just try to eat a bunch of foods with vitamin c. I might take vitamin c supplements some time to test them.
A lot has changed since Mr. Pauling's days. Even though he went to the greatest school on the planet (Oregon State), I still don't know if I'd use his recommendations as any kind of basis for my nutrition today. I just can't get on this vitamin mega-dose bandwagon that some seem to be on. It just doesn't seem.....natural.
I supplement for injury repair not for immune effect.
I have been using a 500mg time release capsule each meal to try to ensure that my body can efficiently produce all the collagen it needs. I don't feel that C supplementation is necessary, I am just hoping to make the healing process a little quicker by making sure I am never lacking any when my body wants it.
The vision of evolution advocated by people here is oversimplified. Living longer is an asset to get your offspring to survive. Besides because of the high mortality among children in certain time it is an asset to live longer and be able to reproduce at old age. It takes decenia for a man to learn advanced techniques of hunting and bushcraft before he has a good chance to feed properly his oofspring, then he feeds them for 15 years which means he is 40 ansd then he has to teaach them 10 more years so he needs to reach 50, and there is little doubt that we have been shaped to live long in optimal conditions.