Thursday, August 7, 2008

Vitamin C to Shrink Tumour

Vitamin C, or we call it ascorbic acid is an essential nutrient commonly regarded as an antioxidant, protecting cells from the damaging effects of free radicals.


There's a new study showed that vitamin C can slowed tumour growth by half. Maybe, you want to start relate to the antioxidant effect again, the protecting from free radicals, and so on.

Well, I must tell you: This time, the legendary vitamin C, acts as pro-oxidant!

It's a research from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA, showing that vitamin C at pharmacologic concentrations was a pro-oxidant, generating hydrogen-peroxide-dependent cytotoxicity toward a variety of cancer cells in vitro without adversely affecting normal cells.

While in vivo, the researchers injected immune-deficient mice with cells from three aggressive human cancers – ovarian and pancreatic tumours, plus a form of brain cancer called glioblastoma – and found that vitamin C injections slowed tumour growth by up to 53%.

The untreated and ascorbate treated mice showing effects of injected vitamin C

The injections were important, when we take vitamin C supplements or eat foods containing vitamin C, natural physical controls regulate the amount of vitamin C our bodies are able to absorb. Means, we can never achieve pharmacologic plasma concentration of vitamin C through orally.

When you eat foods containing more than 200 milligrams of vitamin C per day day (for examples, lots of oranges), your body will prevent the plasma concentration of vitamin C from exceeding a narrow range.



The dose they use in the study, was up to 4g/kg of bodyweight, which can be achieve only by bypassing the normal controls, through injecting vitamin C into the veins or abdominal cavities of the body.

The researchers discovered that vitamin C's anti-cancer effect is due to the formation of hydrogen peroxide (a common disinfectant) in the fluid surrounding cells in the tumours. However, normal cells were unaffected.

A reminder: The study was done on MICE. So, to apply it on human, it needs more time.


For desperate patients, DO NOT start taking large doses of the vitamin C after reading this article. That may be dangerous, because vitamin C when taken orally, is acting as anti-oxidant, and it could undermine the effectiveness of standard cancer drugs and radiation therapy.

The anti-cancer effect of vitamin C in this study is using pharmacological dose of vitamin C, intravenously!

Reference:
  1. Qi Chen et al. Pharmacologic doses of ascorbate act as a prooxidant and decrease growth of aggressive tumor xenografts in mice. PNAS 2008; doi: 10.1073/pnas.0804226105

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