Homo sapiens ascorbicus, a biochemically corrected robust human mutant

Med Hypotheses. 1979 Jun;5(6):711-21. doi: 10.1016/0306-9877(79)90093-8.


Homo sapiens' gene pool contains a defective gene for the synthesis of the active enzyme protein, L-gulonolactone oxidase(GLO). The absence of GLO in the human liver blocks the normal mammalian conversion of blood sugar into ascorbate, leading to the potentially-fatal "inborn error of carbohydrate metabolism", the genetic disease, Hypoascorbemia (in the older nomenclature- scurvy). To survive, humans need exogenous sources of daily ascorbate. Most mammals have the intact gene for GLO synthesis and produce generous daily amounts of the liver metabolite, ascorbate; for instance, an unstressed 70 Kg goat is capable of producing over 13 grams of ascorbate daily and much more under stress. The recommended dietary allowance of 45 milligrams of ascorbate a day for human adults, now proposed and used by nutritionists, is grossly inadequate to restore Homo sapiens to a normal mammalian ascorbate physiology. To correct fully this human genetic defect and banish epidemic chronic subclinical scurvy requires daily intakes of ascorbate equivalent to, at least, the amounts synthesized by the other mammals. Humans kept on a long term regime of full correction of this birth defect show great salutary benefits in health maintenance, disease therapy and slowing of the aging process. This can be regarded as the creation of a new and more robust, longer-living, tough human sub-species, Homo sapiens ascorbicus, by the biochemical reversal of a primate mutation occurring some 60 million years ago. Some of the practical benefits and pathways of future clinical research are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases / genetics
  • Ascorbic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Ascorbic Acid Deficiency / drug therapy*
  • Ascorbic Acid Deficiency / genetics
  • Genes
  • Heart Diseases / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Substance-Related Disorders / drug therapy
  • Sudden Infant Death / etiology
  • Sudden Infant Death / prevention & control
  • Virus Diseases / drug therapy


  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases
  • Ascorbic Acid