When Linus Pauling, Nobel Prize for Chemistry, postulated that Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) could be useful in fighting cancer, he was shuffled off to the sidelines of mainstream medicine. I was fortunate to attend a lecture by the two time winner. I didn’t know anything much about chemistry and even less about blood chemistry, but when Dr. Pauling explained things it all made sense.
Of course I forgot most of it upon leaving the lecture hall.
In 1971 Pauling collaborated with a Scottish doctor who was treating some people for cancers. They administered large doses of Vit. C . Some people got better and some did not. Clinical trials failed to show improvement with vitamin C therapy. The therapy was pretty much shelved until recently.
More knowledge and better tools have revived interest in the vitamin therapy. Some tumour cells mutate to produce more ‘gates’ for glucose into their cells. The same ‘gates’ also allow vitamin C into the tumour cells. It reacts with the glucose and makes it unavailable to the cancer cell, starving it to death.
Mouse studies show a promising co-relationship between high intravenous doses of Vit. C and tumour shrinkage of some cancers. As in many early medical announcements, this is early days.
Recent human trials have shown that quality of life may be improved in some cases. Patients with pancreatic and ovarian cancers showed improvement in quality of life and an extension of life for some months. That was not the case in all cancers. With some cancer types, the patient got worse with the vitamin therapy.
Cancer directly affects the patient but also impacts on the world economy. It is the leading cause of death around the world. The loss of productivity by the cutting short of lives is the single largest drain on the global economy. In 2008 it was estimated to cost the world 1.5% of the global GDP. In 2010 the dollar amount spent to deal with and treat cancers was an estimated USD $2.5 trillion.
Recently interest in treating some cancerous tumours with injections of bacteria have been revived and refined. Perhaps Vit. C therapy will be added to the oncologists’ tool kit as well.
National Cancer Institute
American Cancer Society
Blogger, gardener, farmer. Working toward food security and a 30 foot
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on Vancouver Island, Canada