Vitamin C plays vital role in battle against cancer

So, according to a recent news release a study headed by Ass. Prof. Margreet Vissers at the University of Otago has found a link between vitamin C and cancer. I haven't read the paper yet but to be honest if the content is anything like the abstract I don't think I'm going to get very far. :P

Edit: According to Science not the first group to suggest this.

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Vitamin C and cancer has been

Vitamin C and cancer has been extensively studied. covers much of the history well.

"According to an investigative report by James Lowell, Ph.D., in Nutrition Forum newsletter, Robinson's own research led him to conclude in 1978 that the high doses (5-10 grams per day) of vitamin C being recommended by Pauling might actually promote some types of cancer in mice [18]. Robinson told Lowell, for example, that animals fed quantities equivalent to Pauling's recommendations contracted skin cancer almost twice as frequently as the control group and that only doses of vitamin C that were nearly lethal had any protective effect."

The whole area is fraught with pit falls, Vitamin C at very high doses apparently acts as a pro-oxidant, not an anti-oxidant protecting cells from what I've read. Cell studies only allow you to know that an effect might happen, you don't know what might happen in vitro (inside an organism) and it's not clear what dosage would allow the positive effects to happen. I know by the time you account for bioavailability with one nutrient or another that shows a positive effect in cell culture that can mean that very large doses are required that are totally impractical and put the person at risk of toxicity. I'd also think that different types of cancer cells would metabolise lots of nutrients differently, so it's very difficult to tell how that would translate in practice when you've only looked at one isolated type of tumour cells.

Overall, obviously eating well is something that can act as a cancer preventative, but that is not the whole story as cancer tends to develop as people age and also in response to genetic or environmental factors. I'd interested to see what the take is of Dr. Rachie, who would understand the paper and it's implications much better than me.

I'm thinking @DrRachie may be

I'm thinking @DrRachie may be a little too busy to follow up. When she does, it's usually fairly promptly.

I checked with @DrRachie

I checked with @DrRachie about this study as she's one person that I know that is qualified in this area(PhD , Cell Biology). The general response to the abstract was quite interesting. She should have access to the full paper through USyd and will, hopefully, examine it closer if she finds the time.

The general response to the abstract;

  • At first glance it looks sound, but it was not in humans (in tumour tissue samples) so you can't extrapolate to a whole person
  • Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant, so what they have is a model for oxidative stress. The findings are no surprise as tumours thrive in this environment.

So what we have (admittedly this is just from the abstract) is non-news. What we have is a study that backs up what we already know on the subject.

Cool, that's the sort of

Cool, that's the sort of response I was hoping for.

In my reading I found out the Nobel Prize guy who went the way of vitamin C woo apparently criticised the people who initially tried to duplicate his research for ingesting vitamin C rather than injecting it, so I wonder if he may end up being vindicated in some situations?