by David Gutierrez, Natural News:
One of the greatest controversies in oncology may have been resolved: Researchers may have discovered the reason that research into the effectiveness of high-dose vitamin C as a cancer treatment has been so mixed.
When taken orally, massive quantities of vitamin C are either broken down or excreted unused by the body. In contrast, intravenous administration of vitamin C produces blood levels 100 to 500 times higher than oral administration.
This could explain why many clinical trials on vitamin C and cancer — most of which have used oral administration — failed to support the results seen in laboratory studies using cancer cells.
Surprisingly, the most recent study on the topic from researchers at the University of Iowa (UI), published in the journal Redox Biology, suggests that vitamin C’s cancer-fighting potential might come not from its antioxidant capabilities, as previously assumed. On the contrary, vitamin C appears to generate free radicals that tear apart cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed. (RELATED: Learn more about the benefits of nutritional supplements at SupplementsReport.com)
Targeting a weakness of cancer cells
In prior research, the same scientists found that high-dose vitamin C selectively killed cancer cells in the laboratory, and had the same effect in mice … if the vitamin C was administered intravenously. In the new study, researchers sought to discover the causes behind this effect.
They found that in the body, vitamin C quickly breaks down, generating the free radical hydrogen peroxide as a byproduct. This is a paradoxical effect, because free radicals are the very cell- and DNA-damaging chemicals that antioxidants such as vitamin C remove from the body.
But the researchers further found that healthy cells seemed to have defensive mechanisms that easily allowed them to resist the oxidizing effects of hydrogen peroxide (hydrogen peroxide is, in fact, used as a defense mechanism by the body’s own immune system). Tumor cells, however, were much more likely to be damaged and destroyed by the chemical.
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