Vitamin C can impede the growth of some types of tumors according to new research published in the journal Cancer Cell. The researchers generated encouraging results when giving vitamin C to mice that had been implanted with human cancer cells -- either the blood cancer lymphoma or prostate cancer. Another antioxidant, N-acetylcysteine, also limited tumor growth in the mice, the researchers said. Researchers led by Dr. Chi Dang, a professor of medicine and oncology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, found that antioxidants appear to be working in a different way -- undermining a tumor's ability to grow under certain conditions. Figuring out how antioxidants impede tumors should help scientists figure out how they might be harnessed to fight cancer, Dang said. In addition to the cancer types involved in this study, others that might be vulnerable to vitamin C include colon cancer and cervical cancer, he said.
Linus Pauling argued in the 1970s that vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, could ward off cancer, but the notion has proved contentious. Pauling, who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry as well as the Nobel Peace Prize, died in 1994. "Pauling actually had some good evidence that under certain situations vitamin C can prevent tumor formation. It's just the mechanism was really not that clear then," Dang said. "Now that, I think, we provide relatively compelling evidence of how this works, maybe Pauling is partly right. We shouldn't dismiss him so quickly." Dang added.
Bonnie - this is a mouse study, and the results must be viewed cautiously. We posted it because of Dr. Dang's comments with regard to further pinpointing the mechanism of how antioxidants may prevent cancer. The discovery is monumental because it cements the principal we preach every day...prevention! Vitamin C's action in undermining the tumor's ability to grow mirrors what professionals like myself have said about nutrients...they work best as preventatives and until they are addressed as such in research studies, results will be mixed and in many cases ineffective.