Vitamin C has long been thought to have cancer-fighting abilities when properly used in conjunction with other treatments. However, questions still remain concerning how effective vitamin C is in destroying cancer cells, and if it damages healthy cells. A new study has shown that the way in which vitamin C is administered to a cancer patient, and the type of cancer it is administered to, greatly determines effectiveness.
A new study by researchers at the University of Iowa has shown that when vitamin C is administered intravenously, it is much stronger and more powerful than when administered orally. The research showed that the blood concentration of vitamin C was 100 to 500 times higher when it was given to a patient intravenously, than when it was given orally. Proponents of vitamin C therapy claim that high concentration in the blood is critical to the vitamin C’s ability to aid in the fight against cancer.
Another concern about vitamin C therapy is that it produces hydrogen peroxide, which can damage DNA and tissues. Fortunately, cells have ways of naturally fighting off hydrogen peroxide using an enzyme called “catalase”.
These new studies have found that cancer cells with a lower level of catalase enzymes are more susceptible to damage from the hydrogen peroxide than are cells with a higher level of catalase. Therefore, the findings suggest that high-dose vitamin C therapy may be more effective on cancers with low levels of catalase, and it may be less effective on cancers with high levels of catalase. So the less catalase protection cancer cells have, the more effective the high dosages of vitamin C. This finding can help doctors pinpoint the cancers that will likely respond to vitamin C therapy, and those that likely will not.
The medical community is currently experimenting with vitamin C in conjunction with radiation or chemotherapy, depending on the type of cancer. Professor Buettner’s team from the University of Iowa aims to develop methods to measure the catalase levels in tumors, so that high-dose vitamin C therapy can be prescribed for the correct types of cancers.