The Problem with Vitamin C for Alternative Cancer Treatment
Chances are you are aware that vitamin C is good for you. The health benefits of this vitamin are many, from fighting the common cold, to helping speed trauma recovery by strengthening connective tissues, to this vitamins ability to stabilize mast cells and prevent allergy. Most famously, lets not forget that vitamin C in the form of eating limes helped the British prevent scurvy while crossing the Atlantic, and thus earned them the Limey nickname.
In fact, vitamin C enjoys an almost celebrity status in the vitamin world. Very few vitamins reach the height of popularity that vitamin C has. Nearly all other vitamins have ongoing debates regarding either their safety pro-life or their usefulness. In some instances the concerns fueling these debates are valid, in others the concerns are more fairy tale than reality. However, with vitamin C, such debates over safety or efficacy largely do not exist. Nobody is arguing the fact that taking large oral doses of vitamin C may require some people to keep a close proximity to the porcelain throne. However, this action can also make vitamin C useful in situations where things become backed-up and it becomes difficult to move things along. Likewise, nobody is debating the fact that vitamin C is essential to human health and may even help prevent the common cold.
One very interesting action of vitamin C is its ability to selectively damage and destroy cancer cells. This cancer-destroying action of vitamin C has an equally interesting mechanism of action. As it turns out, this action of vitamin C is due to the fact that it is absorbed into our cells by the same receptors that absorb sugar. This is important because the most basic definition of cancer is uncontrolled cellular division. This means that cancer cells keep making new cancer cells despite the bodys attempts to stop the process. All this increased cellular reproduction requires energy, and one of the ways in which cancer cells produce energy is by metabolizing sugar. Cancer cells require so much energy that they can actually increase the number of sugar receptors on their surface in order to out compete normal cells for the sweet stuff.
When a person receives intravenous vitamin C, the sugar receptors start pumping the vitamin C into cancer cells with a gusto rivaled only by a starving man at an all all-you-can-eat buffet. Once that vitamin C is inside the cancer cell a series of chemical reactions occur which ultimately produces a large quantity of electron-stealing free radicals inside the cancer cells. With all of these damaging free radicals being generated inside the cancer cell, the cells defense systems become overwhelmed and fatal damage is inflicted. Its interesting to note that this sort of free-radical mediated damage is also how many conventional cancer treatments work, with one big exception. Vitamin C does not adversely affect normal cells.
IV vitamin C
In fact, high-dose intravenous vitamin C IVs are nearly free of adverse treatment-related side-effects. While some of the vitamin C will surely end up inside of normal cells, this vitamin C is broken down into substances like oxygen and water. Higher doses of IV vitamin C can cause a headache in dehydrated people, and some may experience hypoglycemia when receiving these IV. Both the potential headaches and the hypoglycemia can easily be avoided by taking the proper steps. Additionally, on a systemic level, vitamin C improves the functioning of the immune system, promotes increased connective tissue strength, and has been shown to improve quality of life and longevity in people fighting cancer.
So, you may be thinking, whats the problem with vitamin C and cancer?
The problem lies in utilization. Despite research, including clinical trials, showing that vitamin C IVs are both safe and effective they are rarely being recommended outside of the naturopathic medical office. Concerns regarding compatibility with conventional treatments have been addressed with research showing not just the ability to be safely administered with many conventional treatments, but that the addition of vitamin C may actually improve the effectiveness of conventional treatments. The current success rate with cancer is not so good that we can afford to overlook a non-toxic, cancer selective treatment proven to improve the quality of life in people fighting cancer.
Article contributed by Dr. Jonathan Psenka