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Paetechie's Wanderlust:

Fern-C Sodium Ascorbate Alkaline Diet and the Deceptive Sales Presentation

An agent of Fern-C visited the office, invited by a peer of mine to present the wonders of Sodium Ascorbate (Chemical Formula C6H7O6Na), claiming to aid or cure various ailments by urging us to drink megadoses of Vitamin C.

He mentioned our bodies need to take in more alkaline food and less of acid producing ones but never the rationale for the change in diet. Since I'm already fmailiar with it, it's called the Alkaline Diet that aims to maintain the proper acid alkaline balance in the body results to weight loss as claimed. No medical study however proved the effectiveness of the diet.

On with the presentation, the man has some sort of mini-laboratory of Chemistry and Physics with him for maximum impact to all of the people in the room except me.

He mixed Sodium Ascorbate with Iodine to demonstrate how Fern-C cleanses the body allegedly of toxins, in this case, iodine. Iodine, when mixed with Sodium Ascorbate, lost its color, drawing applaud and awe from the audience, but the truth is that even if the mixture is now clear, it doesn't necessarily follow it's now cleansed of toxins. No idea yet of the chemical reaction involved but the clear mixture may not exactly be good-- it looks like water but definitely not water.

On the Physics demonstration, he brought out a black box, with electrodes and incandescent light bulb, that he plugged into the AC mains outlet. He then mixed powdered Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in water then put the electrodes of a black box to it to demonstrate lighting a light bulb.

He repeated the same light bulb experiment using water laced with Fern-C, the bulb lit brighter than with Ascorbic Acid. When immersed in distilled water, the bulb didn't light up. He even plugged an electric fan on the balck box's socket, the fan did rotate although slow and the bulb lit dimly.

Now the deceptive part is when he claimed there's more energy in Fern-C than the Ascorbic Acid solution. This is a fallacy since it only proved that Fern-C is a better conductor of electricity than ascorbic acid and has nothing to do with
energy content of the solution whatsoever. I checked the box after the presentation and noticed it was plugged into the mains socket where it gets the power. The electrodes aren't electrodes at all but merely copper wires with gaps that needed the solution to conduct electricity.

In the end, I didn't buy Fern-C due to their deceptive ways of presenting their products. I can't comment on Fern-C's efficacy but the way he "proved" its efficacy is easily proven to be false. I'm no doctor nor dietitian but I can see the veiled attempts at deception in the chemistry and physics part.

I didn't become an engineer to be fooled so easily by such antics.

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UPDATE:

1. Ascorbic Acid mixed with Iodine also will create the same effect as Sodium Ascorbate, the "proof" is not really proof at all since the highly-complex human body can't be simulated by a cheap trick in a test tube.

2. On the lighting trick, the Fern C solution did not really produce electricity as discussed above. In order to produce electricity as in a simple cell, you need an electrolyte plus two electrodes of different make like nickel and cadmium for NiCd batteries and lead and carbon for lead-acid batteries, the ones used in automobiles.

the following words are not mine but quoted from official websites of Government agencies, scientific experts, dietitians and nutritionists

THE TRUTH ABOUT ACID/ALKALINE DIET


Acid/Alkaline Theory of Disease is Nonsense, Dr. Mirkin, Georgetown University School of Medicine: " Anyone who tells you that certain foods or supplements make your stomach or blood acidic does not understand nutrition.

You should not believe that it matters whether foods are acidic or alkaline, because no foods change the acidity of anything in your body except your urine. Your stomach is so acidic that no food can change its acidity. Citrus fruits, vinegar, and vitamins such as ascorbic acid or folic acid do not change the acidity of your stomach or your bloodstream. An entire bottle of calcium pills or antacids would not change the acidity of your stomach for more than a few minutes.

All foods that leave your stomach are acidic. Then they enter your intestines where secretions from your pancreas neutralize the stomach acids. So no matter what you eat, the food in stomach is acidic and the food in the intestines is alkaline."

Stephanie Vangsness, M.S., R.D., L.D.N, senior clinical nutritionist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital says "You cannot change the acidity of any part of your body except your urine. Your bloodstream and organs control acidity in a very narrow range. Anything that changed acidity in your body would make you very sick and could even kill you. Promoters of these products claim that cancer cells cannot live in an alkaline environment and that is true, but neither can any of the other cells in your body...If you hear someone say that your body is too acidic and you should use their product to make it more alkaline, you would be wise not to believe anything else the person tells you." ( Reviewed by Faculty of Harvard Medical School on October 3, 2008)

Ask the Nutritionist:"...neither the Blood Type Diet nor the Alkaline Diet have scientific evidence to support the purported health benefits made by advocates of these plans. The Blood Type Diet and Acid/Alkaline Diet lack what we refer to as biologic plausibility. In other words, given the medical community's understanding of how the body works, these diets don't make sense. Without well designed, human research studies showing that these diets actually do what they say they can, qualified dietitians, nutritionists and other health care professionals can not recommend either of these diets to their patients."

WHAT AUTHORITIES AND EXPERTS SAY ON VITAMIN C MEGADOSE AND OTHER CLAIMS:

U.S. National Library of Medicine: "Many uses for vitamin C have been proposed, but few have been found to be beneficial in scientific studies. In particular, research in asthma, cancer, and diabetes remains inconclusive, and no benefits have been found in the prevention of cataracts or heart disease."

Vitamin C Requirements: Optimal Health Benefits vs Overdose: "High levels / Overdose / Toxicity / Negative Side Effects - Symptoms and/or Risk Factors:

Diarrhea, abdominal cramps, high stomach acid, increased urination, insomnia, irritability, joint pains, osteoporosis, headaches, hypoglycemia, weakness, anemia, PMS, may increase infections by causing copper deficiency, reduced estrogen, reduced progesterone, reduced prolactin,"

UK Food Standards Agency: Vitamin C: "You should be able to get all the vitamin C you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. But if you decide to take vitamin C supplements it's important not to take too much because this could be harmful."


Vitamin C Cuts Cancer Drug Treatment Effectiveness:"researchers urge that it is vitamin C supplement conflicting with cancer treatment, natural vitamins in fruits and vegetables will never conflict with any treatment. This is why those undergoing chemotherapy should avoid taking supplements, but they (and everyone else) are always encouraged to eat vitamin rich food."

BBC News: The truth about vitamins: '"For most people there's absolutely no benefit in taking high dose vitamin supplements," said Catherine Collins, chief dietician at London's St George Hospital.

"At best they are a waste of money and at worst they could seriously affect your health."'

New York Times: Taking Too Much Vitamin C Can Be Dangerous, Study Finds: '''There should be caution about taking too much vitamin C,'' Dr. Lunec said. ''The normal healthy individual would not need to take supplements of vitamin C.'''

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RECOMMENDATIONS:

In order for the advocates of Sodium Ascorbate to push their agenda beyond using demonstrations that deceive their audience, I recommend conducting a scientific study in a controlled environment and publishing the results in various prestigious and respected scientific publications to validate their claims (claims that's only topped by Quiapo's snake oil). Note that publishing scientific studies and medical journals will be subjected to the required peer-review, intense scrutiny and systematic review. It's in the proper scientific forum where you'll find victory (or defeat) in this debate, not by leaving comments on this post (at times illogical and nasty) that has become some sort of a religious debate one based on faith and anecdotal evidence and not on solid, scientific evidence.

For now, take the word of recognized experts and authority on this matter: Acid/Alkaline Diet is a quackery; megadoses of Vitamin C to cure/prevent illnesses as claimed by advocates doesn't have solid scientific and medical basis and is just a waste of money. Scientists are still debating on this one so better stick to the approved safe level.

Please top wasting my time and your own time to comment on this post. I no longer read them and just ignore them whether for or against. I will only change my stance on this matter IF I find the government authorities and experts I quoted above changed theirs...listen to one of your advocates who left a comment that my mind's already closed, well, not totally since I'm just following the advice of experts on Vitamin C RDA/DRI, the same commenter who falsely believe dragonflies are ephemeral creatures.

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posted by backpacking philippines @ Friday, November 28, 2008,

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