(NaturalNews) A recent study published in Cancer Research (2008; 68:8031-8038) warned that high doses of vitamin C could harm cancer patients by making chemotherapy drugs ineffective. But now a detailed report in the current issue of the journal Alternative and Complementary Therapies explains that the anti-vitamin C study was not only flawed but didn't actually use a form of vitamin C used in humans.
In the current Alternative and Complementary Therapies Medical Journal Watch column, nutrition expert Jack Challem has dissected, step by step, the inaccuracies in the Cancer Research study which concluded vitamin C given to mice or cultured cells treated with common anti-cancer chemotherapy agents hampered those drugs' anti-tumor effects. In a statement to the media, Challem pointed to two main problems with the study. First, the researchers did not use vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid. Instead, they used an oxidized form of vitamin C known as dehydroascorbic acid -- a compound that is not used as a dietary supplement in people.
What's more, in the experiments with laboratory rodents, the mice were given toxic doses of dehydroascorbic acid. "This study and the subsequent headlines [it generated] were a grievous disservice to physicians and patients with cancer," Challem said in the press statement, adding 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. The ideal therapeutic approach would be to tailor individual treatment, including IV vitamin C, from a menu of options."
High-dose intravenous vitamin C is frequently used as an alternative and complementary therapy for cancer patients going through chemotherapy. According to Challem, the vitamin is believed to help treat cancer by spurring on the death of tumor cells. Another possible advantage of giving cancer patients vitamin C is that the supplement is known to enhance collagen formation, so it may aid in post-surgical healing and it may also increase the resistance of tissues to metastases.
According to the Linus Pauling Institute web site, pioneer vitamin C researcher Dr. Pauling and his medical collaborator, Dr. Ewan Cameron, former Chief of Surgery at Vale of Leven Hospital in Scotland, published several studies on the beneficial response of cancer patients to large doses of supplemental vitamin C as an adjunct treatment to conventional cancer therapies. They found repeatedly that benefits ranged from an increased sense of well-being and an increased survival time for terminal patients to rare complete regressions of malignancies.
Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA's "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine's "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic's "Men's Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.