This May Be The Best Way to Fight Cancer, New Research Says –
While you can embrace the best eating habit to lower your risk of cancer and, at the same time, do your best to avoid foods that have been linked to the disease, there is also a vitamin that can apparently help to boost the body’s ability to fight cancer.
Cancer and supplements
When it comes to cancer of any kind, it’s important to realize that no dietary supplement can fully treat, cure, or prevent cancer. However, there are some supplements that can potentially help prevent cancer or assist in your cancer recovery.
While many vitamins and minerals can benefit your general health, there’s a huge market of unregulated supplements that may provide no added benefit to your health. Certain supplements even have the potential to negatively impact cancer treatments. This is because some supplements can counteract medications or medical therapies.
The best supplements for cancer
Ground flax seed
Most people use fish oil supplements to enhance the amount of omega-3’s in their diet. However, fish oil was shown in one study on miceTrusted Source to possibly reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy, and for that reason ground flax seed is a worthy alternative.
Flax seed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may reduce the risk of certain cancers. When supplementing, try to avoid flaxseed oil because it lacks the nutrients of ground flax seed.
Ground flax seed can be purchased online or found in many larger grocery store chains. Simply sprinkle some ground flax seed on your food and enjoy.
Garlic is a great choice when it comes to giving your body a little extra protection. To reap the benefits of garlic, you should eat one clove per day, or 300 to 1,000 milligrams (mg)Trusted Source of garlic extract.
Protective effects may include:
blocking and halting the activation of cancer-causing substances
enhanced DNA repair
a reduction in cancer cells spreading
Ginger is suggested to play a beneficial role against cancer because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea properties.
When it comes to adding ginger to your diet, ginger supplements can be too concentrated and aren’t recommended. Instead, cut up and add fresh ginger root to a meal or purchase ginger candy for a quick snack.
Avoid excessive amounts of ginger, as it may interact with blood thinners and affect certain people’s blood sugar levels.
Green tea is an excellent antioxidant, and studies showTrusted Source the properties of green tea help protect against metastasis of certain kinds of cancer. Green tea also contains chemicals called polyphenols that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
If you have cancer, consider drinking up to 3 cups of green tea per day to experience the benefits. Green tea pills are also available, but may be too concentrated.
The mineral selenium removes free radicals from the body, making it a potential defense against cancer. Free radicals are the unstable molecules that attack cells and can eventually lead to cancer if they’re not removed.
Too much selenium can be toxic, but doses as high as 300 micrograms (mcg) have been shown to reduce certain kinds of cancer, including cancers of the:
The recommended daily amount of selenium is 55 mcg. You can get your daily dose via supplements, or through foods like cereal, grains, and Brazil nuts.
The Indian spice turmeric can be extremely helpful when it comes to fighting cancer. Studies showTrusted Source that the curcumin in turmeric may kill cancer cells and slow tumor growth.
The benefits of curcumin may include:
blocking cancer cells from multiplying
killing colon, breast, prostate, and melanoma cancer cells
slowing tumor growth
Add some turmeric to your next dish, or take a supplement containing curcumin to experience the benefits of this powerful substance.
Vitamin D can absorb calcium and help the immune, muscle, and nervous systems function properly.
According to BreastCancer.org, research suggests that certain cancers such as breast cancer, can have a higher risk of occurring when the body has low levels of vitamin D.
The recommended daily amount of vitamin D is 15 mcg. Vitamin D can be absorbed through sunlight, or with the following diet:
The controversial history of high-dose vitamin C in cancer treatment
Utilizing high doses of vitamin C as a cancer therapy is no exception to this controversy. Nearly 60 years ago Toronto physician William McCormick observed that cancer patients often presented with severely low levels of vitamin C in their blood and featured scurvy-like symptoms, leading him to postulate that vitamin C might protect against cancer by increasing collagen synthesis. In 1972, extending this theory, Ewan Cameron, a Scottish surgeon, hypothesized that ascorbate could suppress cancer development by inhibiting hyaluronidase, which otherwise weakens the extracellular matrix and enables cancer to metastasize. He began treating terminally ill cancer patients and published a case report of 50 patients in which some of the treated patients benefited from high dose vitamin C.
Encouraged by the result, Cameron teamed up with Linus Pauling to conduct clinical trials involving terminal cancer patients. In 1976, they published a study of 100 patients with terminal cancer treated with ascorbate. Their disease progression and survival rates were compared to 1000 retrospective control patients who were matched with the vitamin C-treated patients regarding age, sex, type of cancer and clinical stage and who were treated by the same physicians in the same hospital, and in the same way except that they did not receive vitamin C. Although the study was not well designed by modern standards, mainly because they lacked the placebo-control group, the results demonstrated that patients treated with vitamin C had improved quality of life and a four-fold increase in their mean survival time. In a follow up study, Cameron and Pauling reported that 22% of vitamin C-treated cancer patients survived for more than one year compared to only 0.4% of control patients. A clinical trial in Japan independently showed a similar result. With these promising outcomes, interest in the potential of vitamin C for cancer therapy grew. However, double-blind randomized clinical trials directed by Charles Moertel of the Mayo Clinic failed to show any positive effects of high dose vitamin C in cancer patients, as reported in two papers in the journal of New England Journal of Medicine. Because the Mayo Clinic’s clinical trials were conducted more rigorously, people trusted the Mayo Clinic’s data and discredited the Cameron-Pauling trials, dampening the enthusiasm for vitamin C as a cancer therapy.
So why did the Pauling and Mayo Clinic trials have different results? There are at least two crucial differences. First, the Mayo Clinic trials abruptly stopped the ascorbate administration, switching to traditional chemotherapy, when the patient developed signs of tumor progression. Thus, the overall median time of vitamin C treatment under the Mayo Clinic trials was only 2.5 months, while the Pauling and Cameron trials treated patients for the duration of the entire study period or as long as 12 years. Secondly, the Mayo Clinic trials administered 10 g of daily ascorbate to patients only orally, while the Cameron and Pauling trials administered their vitamin C both orally and intravenously. This difference in the two dosage routes proved highly consequential.
Rekindling vitamin C cancer therapy: oral vs intravenous administration
Based on studies pioneered by Mark Levine’s group at the NIH in the 2000s, the oral vitamin C doses used in the Mayo Clinic studies would have produced peak plasma concentration of less than 200 μM. In contrast, the same dose given intravenously, as used in the Pauling studies, would produce peak plasma concentrations of nearly 6 mM, more than 25 times higher. When given orally, vitamin C concentration in human plasma is tightly controlled by multiple mechanisms acting together: intestinal absorption, tissue accumulation, renal reabsorption and excretion, and potentially even the rate of utilization. However, when ascorbate is administered intravenously or intraperitoneally the tight controls are bypassed, and pharmacologic millimolar plasma concentrations of vitamin C can easily be achieved. For example, a phase I clinical study revealed that ascorbate concentrations could safely reach 25-30 mM with intravenous infusion of 100 g of vitamin C. In this study, plasma concentrations around 10 mM were sustained for at least 4 hours which, based on preclinical studies, is sufficient to kill cancer cells. Given the fact that cancer patients were only treated with vitamin C orally in the Mayo Clinic studies, the studies do not disprove high dose vitamin C’s efficacy as a cancer treatment.
This new knowledge has rekindled interest and spurred new research into the clinical potential of vitamin C. Consequently, over the past decade, there have been an increased number of phase I/II clinical trials and case reports testing the safety and efficacy of high dose vitamin C as a treatment for various cancer patients as a monotherapy or in combinational therapy. We will not discuss these clinical studies as there are already several reviews on the topic. Virtually all studies show improved quality of life for cancer patients by minimizing pain and protecting normal tissues from toxicity caused by chemotherapy. Additionally, vitamin C showed synergistic effects when combined with radiation and standard chemotherapies. Unfortunately, these studies were not designed as large-scale, randomized controlled trials and thus the efficacy of high dose vitamin C therapy remains to be determined.
Challenges of conducting a randomized controlled trial for vitamin C cancer therapy
There are at least three challenges that have thus far prevented large-scale, randomized controlled trials of vitamin C for cancer therapy. First, vitamin C is not patentable. Therefore, there is no financial incentive for pharmaceutical companies to support vitamin C clinical trials, and those that have been done have largely relied on government grants and small private donations. Second, as discussed above, vitamin C cancer therapy has a long history of controversy. Due to the Mayo clinical studies in the 1980s, many orthodox, mainstream clinicians have a prejudice against vitamin C therapy. Third, although many preclinical studies showed high dose vitamin C could kill cancer cells or retard tumor growth in vivo, vitamin C’s mechanisms of action have not been clear, making it hard to predict the pharmacodynamics, the rational design of combinational therapy, and biomarkers for patient stratification. Fortunately, a growing number of recent and rigorous preclinical studies have begun resolving the third challenge, which may also lead to overcoming the first and second barriers. Mechanistic insights into the action of pharmacological vitamin C will generate more explicit scientific hypotheses and allow clinicians to design better trials to investigate those hypotheses, ultimately leading to a definitive answer to the question: can the pharmacological administration of ascorbate benefit cancer patients? Recently, we discussed the potential mechanisms by which vitamin C may act in cancer patients in Nature Reviews Cancer. Here we will highlight one of the mechanisms discovered by our group that relates to Ras protein.
Fruits & Vegetables that are High in Vitamin C
Fruits and vegetables that contain 12 mg or more vitamin C per reference amount (20% of the Daily Value per reference amount) qualify to carry the label “high in vitamin C.”
Beans, Yellow Snap
Chili Pepper, Hot
Pepper, Le Rouge Royale
Fruits & Vegetables that Provide a Good Source of Vitamin C
Fruits and vegetables that contain 6 mg to less than 12 mg vitamin C per reference amount (10-19% of the Daily Value per reference amount) qualify to carry the label “good source of vitamin C.”
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