Increasingly, researchers are discovering the role played by cancer stem cells in the growth and spread of the disease. In groundbreaking new research, vitamin C showed its ability to target cancer stem cells and stop their growth – preventing the recurrence of tumors. Although mainstream medicine has been slow to accept the cancer-fighting properties of vitamin C, the exciting results of this study could help to change that.
It’s official: Vitamin C interferes with cancer stem cell metabolism
In a newly-published study conducted at the University of Salford in Manchester, vitamin C demonstrated its power to stop tumors in their tracks by interfering with cancer stem cell metabolism – suppressing their ability to process energy for survival and growth. Cancer stem cells are responsible for triggering tumor recurrence, and promoting their growth and metastasis. Researchers believe that cancer stem cells give cancer its ability to resist chemotherapy and radiation – the reason for treatment failure in advanced cancer patients. The study, helmed by researchers Michael P. Lisanti and Gloria Bonucelli, was published last month in Oncotarget, a peer-reviewed journal. Peer-reviewed studies are considered the gold standard of scientific research. The study was the first to explore the effects of vitamin C on cancer stem cells – and provided the first evidence that vitamin C, in the form of ascorbic acid, can target and kill them. In a side-by-side comparison of seven different substances, vitamin C even outperformed an experimental cancer drug.
Vitamin C works ten times better than the experimental cancer drug 2-DG
The team investigated the impact on cancer stem cells of seven different substances. Three were natural substances, three were experimental drugs, and one was an FDA-approved clinical drug that is widely used. The natural products studied, along with vitamin C, were silibinin – derived from milk thistle seeds – and caffeic acid phenyl ester – or CAPE – derived from honeybee propolis. The experimental drugs were actinonin, FK866 and 2-DG, and the clinical drug was stiripentol.
Researchers noted that vitamin C destroyed cancer stem cells by inducing oxidative stress. And, the vitamin performed this process ten times more effectively than 2-DG. Vitamin C used two different mechanisms of action to attack cancer stem cells. It worked as a pro-oxidant in cancer cells, depleting them of the antioxidant glutathione and causing oxidative stress and apoptosis – or cell death. It also inhibited glycolysis, which is the process that creates energy production in cell mitochondria.
By inhibiting glycolysis, vitamin C inhibited mitrochondrial protein synthesis in cancer stem cells – while leaving healthy cells unaffected.
Non-toxic vitamin C lacks the serious side effects of many pharmaceutical drugs
Both experimental and approved cancer drugs can feature serious adverse effects, including thrombocytopenia – a deficiency of platelets in the blood that can cause bruising and slow blood clotting. They can also induce lymphopenia – a decrease in the body’s infection-fighting white blood cells – and anemia, or low red blood cells. And the clinically-approved drug used in the study, stiripentol, can cause severe nausea, vomiting and fatigue. On the other hand, the National Cancer Center reports that high-dose vitamin C has caused very few side effects when used in clinical studies.
Scientifically speaking, the future looks bright for vitamin C
All seven of the substances tested inhibited the growth of cancer cells to varying degrees – including the non-toxic natural substances. But researchers said the most “exciting” results were with vitamin C. The research team concluded that vitamin C was a “promising new agent,” and called for more study to explore its use as an adjunct to conventional cancer therapies to prevent tumor recurrence and growth. “Vitamin C is cheap, natural, non-toxic and readily available, so to have it as a potential weapon in the fight against cancer would be a significant step,” observed Dr. Lisanti. As in most of the successful studies showing vitamin C’s cancer-fighting properties, researchers used high doses of vitamin C, administered intravenously. IV vitamin C therapy is available in some alternative and holistic cancer treatment clinics worldwide.
The real reason why vitamin C is ignored by conventional medicine and the mainstream media
Again, vitamin C was 1,000 percent more effective than 2-DG, an experimental pharmaceutical drug – in targeting cancer stem cells. If vitamin C were developed by big pharma, these results would be shouted from the rooftops and featured in newspaper headlines. Yet, as always, “the powers that be” in mainstream medicine respond with…crickets. The reason; say natural health experts, is all too obvious. As a natural nutrient and vitamin, vitamin C can’t be patented, and is inexpensive and easy to obtain. Therefore, there is no incentive for cancer clinics to promote it – when they can instead rake in the profits from chemotherapy.
The indifference of conventional medicine to vitamin C is all the more frustrating because the nutrient has been shown to be an effective and non-toxic anti-cancer agent in previous studies, including many conducted by Nobel prize-winning scientist Linus Pauling. Vitamin C has been shown in a Japanese study to cut mortality in cancer patients by 25 percent. In addition, it has inhibited tumors in animal studies, and been shown to kill cancer cells in a wide variety of cancer cell lines.
How much longer will the potential of this safe and powerful cancer-fighting nutrient be overlooked?
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