Conventional wisdom says that increasing your vitamin C intake can help ward off colds, but now scientists believe it could be a powerful tool in a much bigger battle: The fight against cancer.
A study that was recently published in Oncotarget found that a combination of antibiotics and Vitamin C could be as much as 100 times more effective than chemotherapy when it comes to killing cancer cells in a mechanism that is essentially a “one-two punch.”
Scientists at the University of Salford subjected cancer cells to increasing doses of the antibiotic in question, doxycycline, over the course of three months and followed this up with Vitamin C, which restricts the cells’ energy source to only glucose. The Vitamin C inhibits most of the cells’ ability to make energy, leaving them alive but weak. When the glucose is then later taken away, the cells essentially starve to death. Unlike normal cells, cancer stem cells have the ability to produce energy using glucose through several pathways, which is one reason they can grow and replicate more efficiently than normal cells. Taking away the glucose prevents these cells from proliferating.
It is believed that this method could prevent cancer cells from developing resistance to treatment, and the results show how combo therapies can be used to help overcome drug resistance. The team also discovered a handful of other drugs with the potential to be used for the “second punch” after the antibiotics, including relatively non-toxic FDA-approved drugs and natural products like berberine, a salt that is found in several plants species.
In March, the same university found that vitamin C on its own is as much as 10 times more effective when it comes to halting the growth of cancer cells than drugs like 2-DG.
Safer alternative to chemotherapy
Having an effective way to fight cancer is good news under any circumstances, but it’s made even better when
the solution entails something nontoxic like Vitamin C.
While Big Pharma would like you to believe that such treatments are dangerous and you have no choice but to buy their poisonous chemotherapy drugs, recent clinical trials concluded that regularly infusing lung and brain cancer patients with as much as 1,000 times the daily recommended intake of Vitamin C is safe as a strategy for improving the outcomes of standard treatments for cancer.
Contrast this with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and cancer drugs, all of which carry with them their own set of risks. According to the Pharma Death Clock, chemotherapy has killed more than 17 million people in the U.S. since 2000. Moreover, aggressive cancer types do not always respond to these treatments. This means that cancer patients have an uphill battle and must accept a lot of risks when opting for conventional treatments, yet many feel they have little choice. If the efforts of the University of Salford scientists lead to the development of a safer and more effective treatment, it could save countless lives and spare these patients and their families the emotional distress that can accompany cancer.
While the doses of Vitamin C that are used in these treatments are much higher than you could get from your diet, there are still plenty of benefits to upping your intake of this nutrient, even if you don’t have cancer. In fact, it can help reduce the risk of getting certain cancers, like lung cancer, in the first place, and it has also been found to help prevent heart attacks and reduce your risk of stroke. Found naturally in foods like oranges, red peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and kale, Vitamin C is a true powerhouse that could ultimately offer a solution to some of the biggest challenges facing the medical world today.
By Isabelle Z.
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