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Irwin Stone

Irwin Stone
Fieldbiochemistry , chemical engineering
InstitutionsPease Laboratories 1924-1934,
Wallerstein Company 1934- 1971
Alma materCollege of the City of New York
InfluencesAlbert Szent-Györgyi
InfluencedLinus Pauling

Dr. Irwin Stone (1907-1984) was an American biochemist , chemical engineer and author. He was the first to use ascorbic acid in the food processsing industry as a preservative and originated and published the hypothesis that humans require much larger amounts of Vitamin C than is currently believed to be necessary just to prevent scurvy.


Food preservative work

In 1934, Stone, while director of the enzyme and fermentation research laboratory for the Wallerstein Company, worked on the antioxidant properties of ascorbate (also known as Vitamin C), which had then recently been described by Albert Szent-Györgyi only two years earlier.

He discovered he could use ascorbate to keep foodstuffs fresh for longer, limiting the effects of exposure to air and oxidation. Stone obtained the first patents on an industrial application of ascorbic acid with three patent applications filed in 1935 and granted in 1939 and 1940. [1]

Hypoascorbemia hypothesis

Dr. Stone’s research in ascorbic acid continued and led to his interest in the disease, scurvy. By the late 1950’s, Stone had formulated his hypothesis that scurvy was not a dietary disturbance, but a potentially fatal flaw in human genetics that had suppressed an essential part of the mammalian biochemistry and had been misunderstood by nutritionists. He proposed the name hypoascorbemia for the effects of this genetic defect. He proposed that ascorbate was not a vitamin required only in trace amounts, but was required by humans in relatively large daily quantities. He produced four papers, between 1965 and 1967, describing what he considered the true human requirement for ascorbate . [2]

Stone experienced great difficulty in getting his ideas published. However, following his retirement from his position as chemist from the Wallerstein company, in 1971, he worked full time on ascorbate. He published numerous papers and a book, The Healing Factor, in 1972. Irwin Stone introduced Linus Pauling to Vitamin C and is recognised within orthomolecular medicine as one of its founders. [3] His research provided additional scientific background for the clinical results of megadose ascorbate treatments claimed by his contemporary, Dr Fred R. Klenner. [4]

Both Linus Pauling and Albert Szent-Györgyi wrote forwards to The Healing Factor endorsing his ideas. [5]

See also


  • Stone, Irwin : Studies of a Mammalian Enzyme System for Producing Evolutionary Evidence on Man. Amer. J. Phys. Anthrop. 15, 83-85, 1965.
  • Stone, Irwin : On the Genetic Etiology of Scurvy. Acts Genet. Med. Gemellol. 15, 345-350,1966.
  • Stone, Irwin : Hypoascorbemia, the Genetic Disease Causing the Human Requirement for Exogenous Ascorbic Acid, Perspectives Bio. Med. 10, 133-134, 1966.
  • Stone, Irwin : The Genetic Disease, Hyposacorbemia: A Fresh Approach to an Ancient Disease and Some of its Medical Implications, Acta Genet Med. Gemellol. 16, 52-62. 1967.
  • Stone, Irwin : The Natural History of Ascorbic Acid in the Evolution of the Mammals and Primates and its Significance for Present Day Man. J. Orthomolecular Psychiatry 1: Nos. 2 & 3, 82-89, 1972.


  • Irwin Stone (1972). The Healing Factor: Vitamin C Against Disease. Grosset and Dunlap. ISBN 0-448-11693-6. 


  1. ^ Dr. Irwin Stone- A Tribute Allan Cott, M.D, given at the symposium of the Academy of Orthomolecular Psychiatry just after Dr. Stone’s death. From Orthomolecular Psychiatry, 1984, Volume ??, Number ?, p. 150
  2. ^ A History of Medicine By Lois N. Magner, (1992) CRC Press. On page 238 in a chapter on vitamins, gives Stone a key role in their recent popularity and backs up the claims that he was behind the "humans have a genetic lack..." theory.
  3. ^ Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of fame - Irwin Stone, Ph.D. Retrieved October 2007
  4. ^ Saul AW, "Hidden in Plain Sight: The Pioneering Work of Frederick Robert Klenner, M.D." online reprint from J Orthomolecular Med, 2007. Vol 22, No 1, p 31-38, Accessed October 2007.
  5. ^ Forewords by Linus Pauling and Albert Szent-Gyorgyi to Irwin Stone's* "The Healing Factor" published 1972


  • Papers by Irwin Stone and others
  • Dr. Irwin Stone: A Tribute--Allan Cott, M.D.
  • Forewords by Linus Pauling and Albert Szent-Gyorgyi to Irwin Stone's* "The Healing Factor"
  • Megascorbic Prophylaxis and Megascorbic Therapy:A New Orthomolecular Modality in Veterinary Medicine Wendell 0. Belfield, D.V.M. and Irwin Stone, P.C.A. from Journal of the International Academy of Preventive Medicine Volume 2, Number 3, 1975, pp.10-26
  • Results of Search in US Patent Collection for "irwin stone". Showing 11 patents. October 2007
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Irwin_Stone". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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