The scale of vitamin C benefits on cardiovascular system led several authors to theorize that vitamin C deficiency is the primary cause of cardiovascular diseases. The theory was unified by twice Nobel prize winner Linus Pauling, and Matthias Rath (Rath's promotion of vitamins instead of effective medicines for treatment of serious diseases has been very strongly criticised by many reputable authorities, as discussed in detail elsewhere). They point out that vitamin C is produced by all mammals except mankind and the great apes. This is due to a genetic deficiency that arose with the common ancestor of human and apes. To survive humans and apes must eat sufficient vitamin C each day.
Without vitamin C humans develop scurvy. Vitamin C is an essential element in insuring that the vascular system is strong and flexible. Pauling and Rath suggest that a deficiency causes weakness in the arterial system and the body compensates by trying to stiffen up the artery walls using other common blood elements. This causes the effect known as atherosclerosis. They suggest that clinical manifestations of cardiovascular diseases are merely overshoot of body defense mechanisms that are involved in stabilisation of vascular wall after it is weakened by the vitamin C deficiency and the subsequent collagen degradation. They discuss several metabolic and genetic predispositions (our inability to produce vitamin C at all being the main one) and their pathomechanism.
The Unified Theory of Human Cardiovascular Disease suggests that atherosclerosis may be reversed and cured, but there has been no testing or trial of Pauling's vitamin C theory.