Vitamin C Supplementation Helps Slow Growth of Cancer Cells

August 16, 2010

If there are two people who got a wholly unjustified bad press from the medical profession then for my money Linus Pauling runs Dr John Lee a close second. Over fifty years ago Linus Pauling began his pioneering research into how vitamin C impacts health and his findings have been debated and challenged ever since. Pauling, who died in 1994, was an American chemist, peace activist, author, and educator and winner of two Nobel prizes. He was also one of the most influential figures in putting nutrition and supplementation to the forefront of the health debate.

He was revered in his lifetime by those who saw the benefits of his work on vitamin C, although he was always controversial. His best known quote on cancer research for example certainly made him plenty of enemies when he said “Everyone should know that most cancer research is largely a fraud, and that the major cancer research organizations are derelict in their duties to the people who support them.” Now, almost 25 years after his death, a new study not only confirms his contention that vitamin C has remarkable healing and protective benefits but has discovered how vitamin C may slow down the growth of cancer cells. Margreet Vissers is associate professor at the University of Otago’s Free Radical Research Group in New Zealand and the results of the study she headed has just been published in the journal Cancer Research. The problem with vitamin C, as with so many other ‘alternative’ treatments is that despite the many anecdotal accounts claiming vitamin C can help in both the prevention and treatment of cancer it has not been clinically proved to the medical establishments satisfaction.

In earlier studies conducted by Dr. Vissers, she demonstrated the vitamin’s importance in keeping cells healthy and results indicated that vitamin C might be able to limit diseases such as cancer as that involve cells that have unregulated growth.

Her research team decided to investigate whether vitamin C levels were lower in patients with endometrial tumors and also looked to see whether these low vitamin C levels correlated with the aggressiveness of a malignancy and the resistance of a tumor to medical therapy.

The results were impressive. Tumors were less able to accumulate vitamin C when compared with normal healthy tissue and a lack of vitamin C allowed tumors to survive and grow more easily. Tumors with low vitamin C levels were found to contain more of a protein dubbed HIF-1 which helps cancer thrive and spread, even under conditions of stress. The findings are important because they provide evidence for the first time of a relationship between HIF-1 and levels of vitamin C levels in cancerous tumours.

What is even more important, in my view, is this completely vindicates Linus Pauling as the research shows that treating cancer patients with adequate amounts of vitamin C might well reduce HIF-1, help limit the rate of tumor growth and increase the responsiveness to tumors to therapy. Dr. Vissers went even further in stating her belief that Vitamin C might even prevent the formation of solid tumors in the first place, and that is the best argument I know for ensuring adequate amounts in your diet and personally I supplement daily for its protective role in heart disease, as well as possible cancer prevention.


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