Vitamin C and Cancer

Vitamin C and Cancer


Vitamin C ( Ascorbic Acid ) is a water-soluble molecule which performs numerous coenzymatic functions of hydroxylation.

Among all its metabolic characteristics, vitamin C seems to effectively fight the spread of free radicals , thanks to a very important  antioxidant action .

Cancer Prevention

The fight against free radicals and the reduction of molecular oxidation contribute to determining the  anticancer characteristics  of vitamin C. In particular, ascorbic acid  seems to effectively counteract the harmful action of  hydrogen peroxide  (H 2 O 2 ), favoring the cell conservation and reducing the probability of neoplastic transformation.

It seems that the immunostimulant  function   of vitamin C also contributes to the prevention of some forms of  tumours ; various researches have demonstrated that in many cases the primary aetiological agent  of the neoplastic mutation is constituted by the viral infection  by some pathogenic agents called “transforming viruses”. Furthermore, seen and considered that many forms of tumors are subject to ulceration, increasing the risk of  bacterial contamination, the pharmacological administration of vitamin C is recommended   by virtue of its   broad-spectrum antibiotic function.

Treatment of Tumors

In some trials dating back to the mid-twentieth century, vitamin C proved effective in the treatment of  bladder tumors ; unfortunately, the outcome of the study was frustrated due to some methodological and applicative inadequacies. In a nutshell, the research sample demonstrated significant improvements following the administration of vitamin C ASSOCIATED with conventional drug therapy, but the impossibility of establishing its real effectiveness INDEPENDENT of other therapies has totally discredited the reliability of the results.

Subsequently, in 1970, Linus Pauling and his colleagues gave high doses of vitamin C (10 grams per day  intravenously , followed by at least 10 grams  orally ) to terminal cancer patients  ; finally, this therapy has been shown to increase survival time and improve quality of life.

The pharmacological administration of vitamin C seems to have a beneficial effect on tumor regression, but the results are different between the different types of tumors, the stage and the research sample.

It is advisable to continue to investigate the mechanisms that favor the anticancer therapy of vitamin C, but also to ensure that the  intravenous administrations  of ascorbic acid do not negatively affect the functionality of the other vital organs.


  • The complete book of  vitamins  – G. Noferi L. Draghi – Demetra – cap.87 – pag. 328:337
  • ID Podmore, HR Griffiths, KE Herbert, N. Mistry, P. Mistry and J. Lunec (April 9, 1998) – Vitamin C exhibits pro-oxidant properties – Nature 392 (6676) – DOI:10.1038/33308. PMID 9560150 .
  • Q. Chen, MG Espey, MC Krishna,JB Mitchell, CP Corpe, GR Buettner, E. Shacter, M. Levine –  Pharmacologic ascorbic acid concentrations selectively kill cancer cells: action as a pro-drug to deliver hydrogen peroxide to tissues  – Molecular and Clinical Nutrition Section, National Institute of Diabetes and  Digestive  and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
  • E. Cameron, L. Pauling –  Cancer and Vitamin C: A Discussion of the Nature, Causes, Prevention, and Treatment of Cancer With Special Reference to the Value of Vitamin C  (Camino Books)-  ISBN 0 -940159-21-X .



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