While the search for possible cures for cancer continue in laboratories around the world, exciting new research turns our attention to a commonly available, inexpensive vitamin. That’s because a humble vitamin has been found to seek out and destroy cancer stem cells, which are cells that are believed to drive the creation of new cancer cells and cancer tumors.
The study, published in the medical journal Oncotarget, found that vitamin C can actually seek out and destroy cancer stem cells, thereby preventing the spread of the disease. Vitamin C was found by researchers to be up to 10 times more effective at killing cancer stem cells than experimental drugs. That’s good news considering the toll that cancer is currently taking. Cancer is currently the second leading cause of death and killed almost 9 million people in 2015 alone.
Lead study author Dr. Michael P. Lisanti, professor of translational medicine at the University of Salford said in an interview with Medical News Today: “We have been looking at how to target cancer stem cells with a range of natural substances…but by far the most exciting are the results with vitamin C. Vitamin C is cheap, natural, nontoxic and readily available, so to have it as a potential weapon in the fight against cancer would be a significant step.”
Vitamin C is found in most fruits and vegetables, but especially in red bell peppers, strawberries, oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, pomegranates, black currants, spinach, beet greens, tomatoes and sprouts. Eating a plant-based or largely plant-based diet high in vitamin C-rich foods may be helpful in preventing or treating cancer, but supplementation may be necessary to achieve the study results. Vitamin C is available in a variety of forms, with ascorbic acid being the primary one, along with other buffered options such as calcium ascorbate. The Oncotarget study found that ascorbic acid effectively sought out and destroyed cancer stem cells.
It is not clear how much vitamin C is necessary to create the anti-cancer results. More research may help to determine the ideal dosage. The recommended dietary intake is 90 milligrams of vitamin C, but many natural health experts believe that this amount is extremely low and doesn’t take stress or diseases like cancer into account. Stress causes the rapid depletion of vitamin C. Our stress glands, the adrenal glands, which are two small, triangular-shaped glands that sit atop the kidneys in the abdominal region, use high amounts of vitamin C, particularly when they are dealing with acute or chronic stress. Many natural health experts recommend 2000 milligrams of vitamin C daily, and sometimes even more than that if it is part of a therapeutic protocol.
Nobel Prize winner Dr. Linus Pauling first discovered vitamin C and its role in fighting cancer. This new Oncotarget study builds on Dr. Pauling’s research, showing that vitamin C also targets cancer stem cells, an important advancement in our knowledge of cancer and vitamin C. Other research published in the medical journal Science found that high doses of vitamin C may help in the treatment of colorectal cancer. It is a good idea to work with a naturally-minded health professional if you intend to take high doses of vitamin C, divided throughout the day.
Because vitamin C is water soluble, it is not stored in our body and must therefore be ingested on a daily basis to avoid a deficiency. Some of the symptoms of a vitamin C deficiency include: excessive hair loss, becoming exhausted easily, fragile bones, frequent nosebleeds, gums that bleed easily, skin that bruises easily, and sores or wounds that heal slowly.
Vitamin C is also crucial to the formation of bones and teeth, digestion, blood cell formation, wound healing and the production of collagen, which is involved in maintaining the skin’s youthful elasticity.