CEO Health: Stay at Your Peak

By: Verne Harnish “Growth Guy”

Sept 21, 2010 1:00:00 AM ET

Dr. Linus Pauling, the two-time Nobel Prize winner who discovered that high dose vitamin C, along with certain nutritional protocols geared to a person’s unique body chemistry, cured most chronic diseases, even cancer.

In the same (simple) way that lemon juice prevents a quartered apple from turning brown, high dose vitamin C prevents harmful oxidation from sapping the life out of today’s busy executive – and now we understand the mechanism

Year after year I’ve watched CEOs come off high stress periods in their businesses and develop chronic illnesses, some severe including cancer and heart disease. I wanted to understand why and how to prevent this.

Similarly, I wanted to understand why I and many of my entrepreneurial friends would come down with the flu around the holidays – almost as if our bodies knew we couldn’t get sick during the busy times, but had permission to “let down” when we had some time to rest.

And this search for answers became very personal when I suffered a chronic illness while building my first venture twenty-five years ago. It was a dear friend and mentor that introduced me to the Center for Human Functioning in Wichita, KS – funded by one of the wealthiest families in the U.S. at the time – the Garvey family – and led by the late Dr. Hugh Riordan.

It was Dr. Riordan who picked up the torch from Dr. Linus Pauling, the two-time Nobel Prize winner who discovered that high dose vitamin C, along with certain nutritional protocols geared to a person’s unique body chemistry, cured most chronic diseases, even cancer


The analogy I like to use is that of stagnant water – without “flow” a body of water will become toxic. The same for the flow of electrons within our bodies.

As we face a daily bombardment of environmental toxins (airplane flights are the worse), degraded food, viruses, bacteria, and stress, the same oxidation process that turns apples brown and rusts metal is happening within our own cells. Where the oxidation does the most damage is dictated by our genetic code which points to our most vulnerable point (the lungs for me).

The trick is getting the electrons to start flowing.

It’s at this weak spot that an inflammation develops (“…itis” means inflammation in i.e. arthritis, tendinitis, laryngitis, etc). What we know medically is that at the inflammation site, the flow of electrons – the energy force – is essentially blocked. This leads to a stagnant situation which becomes further toxic leading to chronic conditions.

The trick is getting the electrons to start flowing. This is where Vitamin C plays a crucial role. If you look at the chemical make-up of vitamin C, it mimics the structure of sugar (which is why cancer cells readily absorb vitamin C, making it nature’s perfect chemo) with an extra oxygen molecule hanging off the side. It’s this extra oxygen molecule that holds the key to health.


I remember my mother liberally using hydrogen peroxide to clean the various cuts I sustained as a child. Chemically structured like water, except with an extra oxygen molecule, it’s a fairly unstable compound which is why it’s stored in a dark brown bottle. Once liberated from the bottle and poured on a cut, the extra oxygen molecule is released (thus the fizz) along with a flow of electrons.

It’s these electrons that kill the infection, almost like laser surgery, and helps restore the flow of electrons that were absorbed by the oxidation process. And it’s this same hydrogen peroxide process that occurs internally when vitamin C faces an infection or cancerous cell. The challenge is getting a high enough plasma level of vitamin C, especially since we’re one of only two mammals unable to manufacture C internally, to knock out these infections.


Vitamin C is crucial to the production of adrenaline. It’s why after pumping so much adrenaline during stressful and busy times, you’ll have drained most of your vitamin C reserves and become ill.

Vitamin C is also key to the production of collagen, the tough, glue-like protein that makes up 30% of your body’s protein. Wrinkles are just one indication of the lack of sufficient vitamin C, which tends to deplete over time as stress, toxins, and pumping adrenaline sucks up your reserves.

Another indication of insufficient vitamin C is bleeding gums, due to the weakening of arterial walls (thinnest at the gum level). It’s why the body produces cholesterol – a way to patch up weakened arterial walls, trading off long term complications in order to prevent the rupture of a blood vessel due to the lack of Vitamin C and other nutrients.


Again, the challenge is getting enough Vitamin C given the toxic environments in which we live and work. Most doctors will tell you that it’s fruitless to take mega-doses since you’ll just pee it out – and to some extent they are right.

However, what Sebastian J. Padayatty, MD and his former chief, Mark A. Levine, MD (Harvard Medical School) discovered in 2004 is that blood plasma levels of Vitamin C, 60 times greater than expected, can be achieved when administered intravenously – levels toxic to cancers and infections, yet helpful to healthy cells.

The challenge is getting enough Vitamin C given the toxic environments in which we live and work.

This is what the Mayo Clinic missed when they attempted to replicate the success of Dr. Pauling’s use of Vitamin C. Decades later the mistake was found.

As such, three to four times a year, to fight the “rust”, I receive 50,000 mg (50 grams) of Vitamin C intravenously along with glutathione which revitalizes the liver. I use the protocol created by Dr. Riordan that is being used by cancer researchers and found a local doctor willing to support this protocol, which he now shares with scores of patients and executives throughout the DC region.

I also have most of my family members and several colleagues within my company following the same protocol – and it is so safe my wife continued the protocol through pregnancy (they are now discovering how important Vitamin C is to the development of the fetal brain along with folic acid).

In addition, I take 8 grams of C orally each day – 800 times the Recommended Daily Allowance. I’ve come to learn this is the right amount for me (different for each person). I’ve learned from research why you have to increase your dosages slowly, why you need this much, how enzymes are produced by the body to aid absorption, and how this impacts you if you skip a day.

There’s an excellent book entitled “Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins” by Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD. It summarizes over 1200 medical and scientific journal articles on Vitamin C spanning the past century.

While waiting for the rest of the traditional medical community to catch up, I’ve followed the advice of Dr. Frederick Klenner, one of the early pioneers in the use of high dose vitamin C, who administered IV Vitamin C whenever a patient first entered the hospital:

Vitamin C should be given to the patient while the doctors ponder the diagnosis.