Vitamin C could be a powerful weapon to fighting cancer, research says

In Clinical Trials by Barbara Jacoby

By: Staff Contributor


Could vitamin C be the key to the ridding of cancer and other infections?

Overseas research suggests it could – and it‘s prompting discussion in New Zealand to fast-track clinical use of the supplement with the hope it will help save lives.

Use of high-dose vitamin C infusions in intensive care units abroad has led to lower death rates, shorter stays in intensive care and most importantly flushing out infections and cancers, University of Otago researcher professor Margreet Vissers told the Herald.

Put simply, when a person is sick the body uses up a lot more vitamin C than when they are well. If vitamin C intake isn‘t increased through diet then the body becomes exhausted and vulnerable to further sickness, Vissers explains.

“If we don‘t compensate for that turnover then our bodies run out.”

She said it remained a “controversial” issue due to a lack of solid evidence and further research was needed in New Zealand before it was sufficient enough for hospital use.

“For a while now there has been little reliable information available for patients and doctors due to an absence of good clinical studies. But that is now changing,” Vissers said.

A clinical trial in Christchurch – led by Vissers and associate professor Anitra Carr – kick started local research about a year ago and was already showing promising results.

“We are still recruiting people and it‘s still in the early stages, but we hope it will give us a better understanding of how Vitamin C impacts cancer and infectious diseases such as pneumonia and sepsis,” Vissers said.

She stressed life-changing benefits from topping up vitamin C levels didn‘t work for everyone.

The clinical trial would enable doctors to give informed advice to patients regarding the value of vitamin C for cancer, Vissers said.

“At this time, patients should consult carefully with their doctors for any plans around their treatment options,” Vissers said.

Top oncologist and medical director of Cancer Society New Zealand Chris Jackson said
he supported further research into vitamin C potentially shrinking cancer and prolonging life because it was currently lacking.