Vitamin C could potentially be the long-awaited cure for cancer. This is what a controversial new research from the University of Salford Manchester suggests.
Vitamin C For Cancer
Otherwise known as L-ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that can naturally occur in a variety of fruits and vegetables, including lemons, oranges, kiwis, guavas, berries, bell peppers, and kale.
Previous studies have mentioned the positive effects of vitamin C for cancer, but the latest UK study is said to be the first scientific evidence that proves it can be used to target and kill cancer stem cells, which are the primary culprit behind fatal tumors and the root cause of chemotherapy resistance.
"We have been looking at how to target cancer stem cells with a range of natural substances including silibinin (milk thistle) and CAPE, a honey-bee derivative, but by far the most exciting are the results with Vitamin C," Dr. Michael Lisanti, a professor of translational medicine and one of the principal authors of the study, said.
Up To 10 Times More Effective Than Cancer Drugs
Lisanti's team assessed the bioenergetics, or the process involved in the life cycle and health of cancer cells in the body, and its metabolism. They found that vitamin C works 10 times stronger than drugs used in cancer trials by starving cancer stem cells.
"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," Lisanti added.
The latest cancer study has been published at the scientific journal Oncotarget.
High-Dose Vitamin C For Cancer
However, some cancer experts are still hesitant about recommending vitamin C for cancer patients.
"This is an early-stage study and hasn't been tested in patients. In fact, some doctors think that antioxidants like vitamin C might interfere with chemotherapy which we know can be effective treatment," Cancer Research UK Senior Science Information Manager Anna Perman said.
"This should not prompt anyone receiving treatment for cancer to change their diet or treatment plan," Perman warned.
In the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug approves of vitamin C as a dietary supplement but not as a treatment for cancer or any medical condition.
Cancer, A Global Health Crisis
Cancer is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide.
According to the World Health Organization, cancer was responsible for 8.8 million deaths in 2015 - that's almost 1 in 6 deaths globally.
Lung cancer, liver cancer, colorectal cancer, stomach cancer, and breast cancer are listed as the deadliest forms of the disease.