Smile And Say "C"

At 90 years old, Jay Patrick is on a mission to spread the word about the wonders of vitamin C. A chemist by training, Patrick was in his late 50s when severe jaw pain sidelined him from his work. He came upon research on vitamin C and decided to see if it could help where conventional medical treatment hadn't. After six weeks of megadoses of the vitamin, Patrick's pain was gone, and his life was transformed.

"At age 60 I found my life's purpose," he says. And that purpose was to found Alacer Corp., in Foothills Ranch, California, to produce supplements that use mineral ascorbates, a form of vitamin C that is less acidic and easier on the stomach than ascorbic acid. "I feel lucky because some people never find work that fulfills them," says Patrick.

After taking 10 grams a day for decades, Patrick is a testament to the restorative power of vitamin C. He has a hippocampus—the part of the brain that controls memory—of a man in his prime, according to an MRI he proudly shares. "I haven't had a cold in 30 years, I am free of arterial plaque, and I have 20-20 vision," he says. "I am going to live to 100."

Those intervening years will, no doubt, be spent in continued devotion to the vitamin that he loves. Why the passion? Because, according to Patrick, we all need C—lots of it—and most of us are not getting nearly enough. He believes C can prevent and treat myriad illnesses, from Alzheimer's to schizophrenia, and that is what drives his work.

In collaboration with the big names in vitamin C science—from Irwin Stone to Nobel laureates Linus Pauling and Albert von Szent-Gyorgyi—Patrick developed a line of products. His original supplement was a time-release vitamin C, now known as Super Gram III, containing all seven mineral ascorbates: potassium, calcium, manganese, molybdenum, zinc, magnesium and chromium. Emer'gen-C was introduced in 1978 and is Alacer's most ubiquitous product.

"I feel joy every day because I have a wonderful occupation and I create products that can benefit many," says Patrick. "I am living a useful life."

—Barbara Hey