Stephen Levine, PhD, on How Vitamin C, Buffered with Magnesium and Calcium, Can Resolve Allergy, Cravings, and Addiction
As early as the 1980s, Allergy Research Group was looking at how the combination of antioxidant therapies and alkalisation support healing from a variety of conditions including allergies, addiction, and food cravings. This piece includes some of the original writing by Dr. Levine about his work with a buffered form of vitamin C, with excerpts taken from “Food Addiction, Food Allergy and Overweight,” originally published in Let’s Live magazine; “The Origins & Benefits of Buffered Vitamin C Powder,” found in the December 2001 issue of FOCUS; “Buffered Vitamin C to the Rescue,” found in the Fall 2000 issue of FOCUS; and “Efficacy of Buffered Ascorbate Compound (BAC) in the Detoxification and Aftercare of Clients Involved in Opiate and Stimulant Abuse,” published in 1983 by the Haight-Ashbury Free Medical Clinic.
From “Food Addiction, Food Allergy and Overweight”:
Have you ever eaten something—a bowl of ice cream, a piece of cheese, an orange—and felt hungrier than before? Do you have urges for a particular food and find it hard to satisfy your craving unless you eat that particular food? If the answer is “yes” to either of these questions, then you may have a food ‘allergy’ (sensitivity).
Food sensitivities may cause ‘allergic’ people to crave those foods to which they are ‘allergic’. Just as a drug addict suffers withdrawal symptoms when the drug is withdrawn, ‘allergic’ people experience discomfort when they lose access to a particular food. This phenomenon of simultaneous ‘allergy’ and addiction to both foods and chemicals is now well accepted by doctors specialising in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies.
The same food may cause different reactions among different people. Water retention, or oedema, is particularly common among allergic individuals and is an important contributing factor to obesity. The removal of an offending food will often result in a rapid water loss of five to 10 pounds within a week’s time, all without the use of a diuretic.
Michael Rosenbaum, MD, who practices preventive medicine in Mill Valley, California, has observed this water retention phenomenon frequently among patients in his allergy clinic. He found that, following the initial water loss, the person tends to lose fat more easily, even without dieting.
Dr. Rosenbaum believes that food sensitivity exerts its most profound effect on the limbic portion of the brain. This section of the brain houses the control centers of our emotions as well as memory and vegetative functions, including body temperature, sexuality, blood pressure, sleep, hunger, and thirst. Food allergies seem to affect most of these vital functions.
To understand both allergic and associated addictive phenomenon, we can look at the two conditions as aspects of food intolerance. In allergy-addiction, there are three principle stages. The first stage is characterised by an acute allergic reaction to a toxic substance. The allergic reaction itself can result in a drastic reduction in blood sugar with the accompanying symptomatology: weakness, hunger, and irritability.
After consuming something becomes a habit, the symptoms are no longer noticeable. The body gets used to the substance and whatever symptoms accompany its consumption are said to be “masked,” or hidden.
Eventually, the adaptation is so strong that the body and mind become dependent on the substance, or, in other words, “hooked.” You must consume it at regular intervals to avoid withdrawal symptoms. When you try to quit, your body craves it: you are addicted in the truest sense of the word, and you will experience the addictive aspect of the “allergy-addiction syndrome.” The final stage occurs when the body fails to maintain adaptation and experiences the allergic and addicted symptomatology simultaneously.
It is significant that, in this regard, all addictions are similar—whether they are to cigarettes, coffee, heroin, wheat, or milk products. People who are ‘allergic’ to sugar experience a craving for sweets, no differently than one might crave a cigarette. ‘Allergic hunger’ is pathological in that it does not respond to the normal satiety control center in the brain – when food is consumed both the addictive and ‘allergic’ responses to it can cause uncontrollable eating behavior.
Dr. Rosenbaum, as well as other nutritionally oriented allergists, rely on other methods besides avoidance of the allergenic foods. Vitamin C and mineral bicarbonates are used extensively in allergy clinics throughout the country. The mineral buffers should not include sodium, which is a hypertensive agent and can make a person more prone to oedema, but instead the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium. These buffers will neutralise the acidity caused by the ‘allergic’ reaction and alleviate stress, thereby inducing symptomatic relief.
As little as one teaspoon of this combination of nutrients can totally knock out hunger cravings caused by food ‘allergies’ as well as eliminate the withdrawal symptoms caused by exclusion of the addictive foods. This works dramatically for relief from symptoms and also gives a clear indication that the “hunger” was caused by ‘allergic’ phenomenon.
Through readjustment of the normal pH balance in the body, you can eliminate many of the symptoms of food ‘allergy’, especially hunger. This simple test, using a highly buffered vitamin C solution and observing whether it controls your appetite, is an excellent diagnostic procedure for the determination of such food sensitivities.
From “The Origins & Benefits of Buffered Vitamin C Powder”:
The discovery of acidosis as accompanying allergic hypersensitivity can be attributed to Dr. Harry G. Clark, a patient of the world-famous Dr. Theron Randolph in 1950. Based upon the observation that the pathology of allergy-sensitivity is characterised by oedema, and his knowledge that single-cell forms of life swell when acidified, he concluded that intracellular oedema developed in acute ‘allergic’ reactions more rapidly than could be neutralised by available buffering systems.
He began giving himself bicarbonate salts of sodium and potassium in the proportions that exist in the body (2/3 NaHCO3 and 1/3 KHCO3) to treat his reactions. He found that alternate ratios were not as effective. Randolph and Clark then constructed the acid-anoxia-endocrine theory of allergy, which was published in 1950.[i] The high effectivity of alkali salts of sodium and potassium bicarbonates in alleviating ‘allergic’ reactions is well appreciated and has become a major tool for offsetting acute allergic reactions since 1950. However, the buffers must be diluted in a considerable amount of water.
A buffered form of vitamin C is an improved alternative to the sodium and potassium bicarbonate combination, free of sodium and with a neutral taste. It also contains large quantities of calcium and magnesium, which have anti-allergy effects of their own.
The vitamin C content is also very valuable because it raises tissue levels of the protective antioxidant ascorbate, offsetting free-radical damage both in the GI tract and systemically. It protects the gut mucosal layer (as do other antioxidants), which is known to become hyperpermeable as a result of food allergy / hypersensitivity reactions. In fact, such food reactions are some of the major reasons for gut hyperpermeability problems in the first place. The buffered vitamin C powder also produces a beneficial laxative effect as a result of the vitamin C and magnesium content. I believe that this is a more desirable way to purge the gastrointestinal tract physiologically.
From “Buffered Vitamin C to the Rescue”:
I believe that a buffered form of vitamin C, which also provides elemental calcium and magnesium, is a valuable tool for weight control due to its anti-addictive properties and high calcium levels. I have thought about weight problems and obesity and related these in part to food ‘allergy’, chemical allergy (hypersensitivity), inability to stop eating, craving for specific foods, and other diverse symptoms that are often related to “food and chemical hypersensitivity” and “addictive hypersensitivity.”
From what I knew about addictive chemistry, I developed a buffered form of vitamin C, which I used to offset my own such symptoms due to food reactions and/or emotionally induced pathology. This buffered form of vitamin C has been used clinically for offsetting acute hypersensitivity reactions and the addictive craving for foods, cigarettes, and other withdrawal states from stimulants and alcohol.
A study at the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic in San Francisco demonstrated that the buffered ascorbate compound could offset withdrawal symptoms for stimulants and opiates and reduce withdrawal symptoms by 90% in outpatients.[ii] They took a teaspoon of this mineral-buffered vitamin C product whenever they felt a craving.
Why is vitamin C, buffered by these essential minerals, so effective at relieving these diverse symptoms?
- It has strong buffering actions to offset hyperacidity associated with cell pathology.
- Vitamin C alone has some mild anti-addictive properties.
- High levels of calcium with additional magnesium and potassium provide a balancing and alkalizing effect.
From “Efficacy of Buffered Ascorbate Compound (BAC) in the Detoxification and Aftercare of Clients Involved in Opiate and Stimulant Abuse”:
In view of the feasibility of detoxifying opiate and stimulant abusers using a nonpharmacological approach, and because of the simplicity of the technique used, it was suggested that the buffered ascorbate compound (BAC) could be given orally as an out-client treatment modality. This first pilot study of the application of BAC to outpatient treatment regime in detoxification of opiate and stimulant addiction was therefore established in June 1983 at the Haight-Ashbury Free Medical Clinic’s Drug Detoxification, Rehabilitation & Aftercare Project in San Francisco, California.
The objectives of the pilot program were to examine:
- If clients would use the BAC for detoxification, and if it would contribute to the existing program in discouraging subsequent abuse.
- If the BAC by itself, and as an adjunct to other medication given at the clinic, would alleviate withdrawal symptoms and stop further craving for these substances.
Adult male and female clients at the Haight-Ashbury Free Medical Clinic’s Drug Detoxification, Rehabilitation & Aftercare Project were eligible for the testing program. A questionnaire was used on a daily basis to evaluate the effect of BAC in relieving detoxification symptoms and preventing further use after detoxing. All clients using BAC were shown how to use it and were given a two- or three-day supply. Refills were available at any time when the clinic was open. There were 61 persons in the study: 21 women and 40 men.
One-third of the clients (20) reported that 70% or more of the acute withdrawal symptoms were relieved when taking BAC in the active detox phase of the program. Half (30) reported at least 60% relief. One-fifth (12) reported symptom relief of 30% or less.
Active-detox clients were compared with clients in aftercare in regard to reported benefits from BAC. It was found that the aftercare clients reported significantly greater benefit from the use of BAC (Chi sq. = 2.71). The median symptom relief reported by the aftercare group was 90%.
The dosage of BAC was considered in relation to the reported benefit. When considering the dosage range used by the clients at a single treatment (ranging from ½ to 1½ teaspoons of BAC in water or juice [providing roughly 1,000 mg of ascorbic acid, 200 mg of calcium, 100 mg of magnesium, and 45 mg of potassium]) the dosage was found to be insignificant in regard to the benefits reported by the clients (Chi sq. = 1.0006). This finding suggests that clients could benefit substantially from a relatively small dose of BAC.
This pilot study suggests that a significant benefit was obtained from the clients participating in the study when using BAC in their detox and aftercare programs. This benefit was seen in the rapid relief of acute withdrawal symptoms, as well as the effect of discouraging resumption of drug abuse. We believe that these findings are very encouraging and that further study of the use of BAC in drug treatment programs is warranted.
[i] Clark HG, Randolph TG. The acid-anoxia-endocrine theory of allergy. J Lab Clin Med. 1950 Nov;36(5):811-2.
[ii] Newmeyer J, et al. Efficacy of Buffered Ascorbate Compound (BAC) in the Detoxification and Aftercare of Clients Involved in Opiate and Stimulant Abuse. From the Haight-Ashbury Free Medical Clinic. 1983 Jul:1-5.