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Why Vitamin C Might Protect You Against Cancer

New research shows why vitamin C might protect both mice and humans from cancer, particularly leukemia. Stem cells need vitamin C!
Why Vitamin C Might Protect You Against Cancer
Oranges grapefruit and orange juice isolated on white background. Studio shot.

For decades, Nobel prize winning biochemist Linus Pauling advocated high-dose vitamin C to help prevent cancer. For the most part his ideas were dismissed as unproven. But research suggests one way that vitamin C might protect you against cancer, though we must leap from mice to humans.

How Vitamin C Might Protect People Against Cancer:

Now, a new study published in the journal Nature shows that vitamin C may help reduce the likelihood of leukemia. Stem cells require a lot of ascorbate, also known as vitamin C. These are the cells that lead to the development of all the cells that circulate in the blood.

When levels of ascorbate fall, the epigenome is damaged and the stem cells become more likely to transform into leukemia cells instead of ordinary white blood cells. This research was carried out in mice and confirmed in test-tube studies.

Should You Take Vitamin C?

As a result, this research suggests that people who may be at higher risk for leukemia should be especially conscientious about getting adequate amounts of vitamin C from their diet or from supplements.

Agathocleous et al, Nature, Aug. 21, 2017

Where Will You Find Vitamin C?

Many fruits and vegetables are rich in ascorbate, which might help explain why a diet rich in fresh produce has been lined to a lower risk of cancer. The best sources include blueberries; broccoli and cauliflower; cantaloupe and other melons; citrus fruits such as grapefruit, oranges and tangerines; cranberries; green and red peppers; mango; papaya; pineapple; raspberries; spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables; strawberries; sweet potatoes; tomatoes; and watermelon.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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