Vitamin C may harm cancer patients

April 4, 2000 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

Vitamin C may harm cancer patients

More bad news about vitamin C supplements emerged this week. Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York City suspect that large doses of the vitamin may actually protect cancer cells from radiation and some forms of chemotherapy after they learned that cancer cells have large concentrations of vitamin C.

While they can't prove that vitamin C is harmful during cancer therapy, they feel there is strong reason to suspect that it does.

Many people take vitamin C to help prevent cancer. Vitamin C may reduce the risk of certain cancers by acting as an antioxidant. As such, it protects cells in the body from oxidation by free radical molecules. Oxidation can damage the genetic material of healthy cells, which, in turn, may lead to cancer.

Researchers feel that vitamin C may protect cancer cells from the oxidation of radiation and some chemotherapy regimes. These treatments work by triggering oxidation damage to the genetic material of cancer cells. The researchers said that vitamin C rich foods and multivitamins are safe for cancer patients.

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