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High Doses of Vitamin C Cut Cancer Growth

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, August 05, 2008 12:57 PM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Cancer, Vitamin C, Living Well, FDA and Prescription Drugs

Vitamin c injected in high doses reversed some cancerous cells in mice.


IMAGE SOURCE: Wikimedia Commons/ orange full of vitamin C/ author: Claudius Tesch 


The late scientist, Dr. Linus Pauling may have had it right.

The late Nobel Prize winning scientist proposed in the 1970s that Vitamin C could be used to treat cancer.  In fact, Dr. Pauling wrote about in “Vitamin C and the Common Cold” which he discussed in this last interview.

Today, science is showing a renewed interest in the work of the early pioneer. 

In this study, published in the August 4 to 8 Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, researchers injected ascorbate (vitamin C) into the veins or abdominal cavities of rodents with aggressive brain, ovarian, and pancreatic tumours", the report says, delivering "up to four grams per kilogram of body weight daily".

The IV doses produced hydrogen peroxide which acted against cancerous tumor cells, reducing them by 43 to 51 percent.  The peroxide did not kill normal cells, but researchers do not know why. 

The study co-author, Dr. Mark Levine, chief of the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s Molecular and Clinical Nutrition Section, says researchers used an IV to load up the body with vitamin C.

"When you eat foods containing more than 200 milligrams of vitamin C a day — for example, 2 oranges and a serving of broccoli — your body prevents blood levels of ascorbate from exceeding a narrow range," says Mark Levine, M.D.

In humans, what the body doesn’t use of the vitamin it will excrete in the urine, making it impossible to overdose on the vitamin.   The IV approach allows the body to bypass the digestive system and loosens the body’s tight control over vitamin C levels.

In mice it is unclear why some of the tumors reacted and some appear to be immune.

"The key finding here is that this is ascorbic acid used as a drug and it appears to have some promise in treating some cancers," says Levine.

Dr. Levine cautions there is a long way to go from research on mice to a practical application to humans.

"Should patients with any kind of tumor go out and get IV ascorbate [vitamin C]? That's not the message here," he tells the Washington Post.   But testing will begin next on humans.

Vitamin C, an antioxidant, was touted by the late scientist Dr. Linus Pauling as a powerful healing tool to treat many ills from colds to heart disease.  It works by protecting cells from free radicals.  A prolonged deficiency can lead to scurvy and death. Dr. Pauling also encouraged it as a cancer treatment.

Over 35 years ago, Dr. Ewan Cameron, a Scottish surgeon, collaborated with Dr. Pauling. They gave 10 grams/day of vitamin C intravenously to terminal cancer patients for about 10 days, followed by an equivalent oral dosage continued indefinitely. Cameron and Pauling reported that patients given high-dose vitamin C reported an increased sense of well-being and lived longer than matched patients who were not supplemented with vitamin C.

The Mayo Clinic then conducted studies that failed to show any benefit from vitamin C in cancer treatment.  But according to Drs. Pauling and Cameron, the Mayo Clinic studies were seriously flawed because the Mayo Clinic only gave oral vitamin C, which produces plasma concentrations of vitamin C much lower than intravenous vitamin C.

Today the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University studies the function of vitamins and minerals in promoting optimum health.  #

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