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Told vitamin C is fuel for cancer?

MichelleP's picture
Posts: 254
Joined: May 2009

What do you think of supplements for cancer? I have been giving my husband omega 3's 2,000 mg daily and vitamin c's 2,000 mg daily. When I took him for chemo yesterday the PA told me that vitamin c's over 500 mg daily is fuel for cancer. I never heard such a thing! I would appreciate comments please.

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sep 2006

Here is something from the New York Times:

Many people gobble big doses of vitamin C in hopes of boosting their immune system and warding off illness. But new research shows that in people with cancer, the vitamin may do more harm than good.

Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York studied the effects of vitamin C on cancer cells. As it turns out, the vitamin seems to protect not just healthy cells, but cancer cells, too. The findings were published today in the journal Cancer Research.

“The use of vitamin C supplements could have the potential to reduce the ability of patients to respond to therapy,” said Dr. Mark Heaney, an associate attending physician at the cancer center, in a press release.

Dr. Heaney and his colleagues tested five different chemotherapy drugs on cancer cells in the laboratory. Some of the cells were first treated with vitamin C. In every case, including a test of the powerful new cancer drug Gleevec, chemotherapy did not work as well if cells had been exposed to vitamin C. The chemotherapy agents killed 30 to 70 percent fewer cancer cells when the cells were treated with the vitamin.

But here is something from ABC News:

Injections of high doses of vitamin C have almost halved the rate of tumour growth in mice, leading US researchers to believe it may be useful in the treatment of cancer in humans.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health noted the phenomenon in brain, ovarian and pancreatic cancers, according to findings published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The idea that vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, could be used to treat cancer was advanced in the 1970s by American scientist Linus Pauling, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1954.

The notion was controversial and studies failed to show a benefit. But those studies involved vitamin C given orally.

In the latest study researchers injected the vitamin C to enable greater concentrations of it to get into the system.

Injections were necessary because the body regulates vitamin C when ingested, so that higher doses cannot be attained.


In the final analysis, I would listen to the professionals. If I doubt them, again, Michelle, I would seek new ones. Otherwise, you need to follow their advice. It is fairly common knowledge that some things we typically think are good for us can have an adverse effect on chemotherapy.

Take care,


MichelleP's picture
Posts: 254
Joined: May 2009

Thanks for the information Joe, I really appreciate it. It's so darn frustrating when you hear that some things are "good" for cancer patients and you load them up with all kinds of it only to find out that it's actually "BAD" for the cancer. Sometimes I just feel like I could pull my hair out. I'm trying to desperately to help him survive that the thought of me making the cancer worse is beyond words. My husband is my life and I would do anything to help him.

Thanks again for your help. You've answered most of my posts yourself ha ha What a sweet person you are :) God Bless You and your recovery Joe!

Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

Dear Michelle,

Going through chemo is a little like going through pregnancy. Before you put anything into your body, you really ought to check with your doctor. In this case, check with your oncologist about any vitamins, herbs, or medicines--even the over the counter ones. Vitamin C is an antitoxicant that can help folks avoid cancer and strengthen the immune system, but you don't want to take it or any other mega-vitamins during chemo because they stop the chemo from killing the cancer cells. AFTER chemo is over, you can start emphasizing treatments to build up the immune system. Check with the oncologist then too so you can get his advice on what works best. From what I've read, keeping your husband's caloric intake high right now so that he doesn't lose too much weight is the most important thing you can do for him during chemo for lung cancer. The drugs and the disease play havoc with anybody's appetite. Lots of small portions of tasty custards, puddings, and starches might not make a nutrionist cheer for you and me, but if they keep a chemo patient's weight up they are worth their weight in gold. There are actually cookbooks for cancer patients with some recipes for chemo and some for recovery later on. Try a public library or interlibrary loan to get an idea of things that work and things to avoid. The receipes aren't hard and the ideas come from caregivers and survivors that know what they are talking about. The oncologist can tell you how long after chemo you have to wait before emphasing a more balanced diet and maybe supplements to enhance recovery. Good luck!

Posts: 98
Joined: Jan 2009

I get my vitamin c from a natural source such as the camu camu berry. It is said to have the highest concentration of natural occuring vitamin c of anything else out there plus a host of other vitamins and amino acids that help maintain serotonin levels in the brain, so it supports brain function and helps with emotional support and depression. Clears your mind and brightens your day, at least for me. I add it to my smoothy in the am and to water with stevia for my workout. The chemistry doesen't stop there... its Anti-mutagenic and Anti-cancerous as well as Anti-inflammatory. Its food! I would stay clear of synthetic vitamin c, especially since it may have come from china. I supect that many of the studies you see posted on vitamin c are done with the synthetic form of vitamin c. Broccoli is another good source of vitamin c.

ARobben's picture
Posts: 46
Joined: Apr 2009

Vitamin C is one of those controversial supplements when it comes to treating cancer. As others in this thread have pointed out, it has been shown to be both beneficial and not. However, most everything I've read has suggested that moderate doses of Vitamin C (500-1,000mg per day) could be beneficial and are probably not enough to cause the cancer cells to resist the chemo. Since chemotherapy does a number on your immune system, it is important to boost your immune function.

Also, I agree with mono5 about trying to obtain your Vitamin C from natural sources. If taking a pill is easier, there are pills that are derived completely from natural sources...just check the label!

Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2010

Hi there,

I really feel for what you are going through and your profile pics says it all :(

I was just reading about this new research that supports Vit C in cancer patients:


Also, the book 'Never Be Sick Again' by Raymond Francis (his website is www.beyondhealth.org' is FANTASTIC (and I've ead a LOT of health books having been sick for 13 years) and his advice lead to the almost halting of my daily seizures (deemed impossible by my neurologist). It has sound and sensible and incredible advice on treating cancer. The only book I've read among thousands of books and articles to truly give me answers.

If you can't afford it I'd be happy to post you my copy. My email is annieblackberry@hotmail.com. I live in New Zealand.

I do not have cancer but the book says a lot about it, I have a chronic illness.

Anna :) x

stayingcalm's picture
Posts: 654
Joined: Feb 2007

Raymond Francis, M.I.T. Scientist (read M.I.T.- trained, which means in real English simply that he attended M.I.T.) He is not a doctor in any way, shape or form and is not affiliated with M.I.T in any way except that he lists it in his employment history - in what capacity he worked there, I don't know. His is a commercial enterprise - sell, sell, sell to the easy marks, sick people. I would place him somewhere in between Suzanne Somers and "Dr." Young....not a book to place your faith in. At least, I wouldn't. Then again, there's no accounting for the placebo effect!

HeartofSoul's picture
Posts: 730
Joined: Dec 2009

Having spoke to 5 differnt med onc totaling 115 yrs of experience at 3 differnt highly touted med centers in US and my own research, vitmain C simply put is not in any way fuel for cancer.

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