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Vitamin C Cancer Use Attacked

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A study published in the journal Cancer Research concluded that vitamin C given to mice or cultured cells treated with common anti-cancer drugs reduces the benefits of the chemotherapy.

However, in the latest issue of Medical Journal Watch, Jack Challem challenges the findings, and points out two main problems with the study: the researchers did not use actual vitamin C (ascorbic acid) but rather the oxidized form of vitamin C (dehydroascorbic acid, a compound that is not used as a dietary supplement in humans); and in the mouse experiments, the animals were given toxically high dosages of the compound.

“This study and the subsequent headlines [it generated] were a grievous disservice to physicians and patients with cancer,” says Challem. He adds that “considerable positive research . . . has shown striking benefits from high-dose vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in cancer cells and animals—and in actual human beings.”

High-dose intravenous vitamin C is a common form of alternative and complementary therapy for cancer patients. For those receiving chemotherapeutic drugs, it is used to protect healthy cells from damage. But the C may also be used alone, and in high intravenous doses it is believed to help bring about tumor cell death. In addition, it may promote postsurgical healing by enhancing collagen formation, and increase tissue resistance to tumor spread.
Challem suggests that “The ideal therapeutic approach would be to tailor individual treatment, including IV vitamin C, from a menu of options.”

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