Throughout the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, Doctors Linus Pauling and Ewan Cameron conducted extensive research into the efficacy of vitamin C as a treatment for cancer. They concluded that high doses of vitamin C could be used as both a preventative protocol to protect the body from the development of cancer, and as an auxiliary treatment for patients treating an existing cancer. It should come as no surprise that the conventional medical community of the day refused to countenance such findings, and ultimately labeled the results inconclusive while calling Pauling and Cameron quacks.
Pauling, of course, was a two time Nobel Prize winner. Hardly what you might call a quack. Still, Cameron and Pauling published their findings in a book called “Cancer and Vitamin C”, and their research went largely ignored for the next half a century. But some scientists and natural health practitioners did take note, and recent research along the same lines may be bearing out Pauling’s and Cameron’s original findings. Vitamin C can play an effective role in the prevention and treatment of many different types of cancer.
Vitamin C and the Immune System
The body’s immune system is the first line of defense against cancer and other diseases. When the immune system is functioning at peak efficiency, it sends out lymphocytes (white blood cells) to combat illness. One of the three primary lymphocytes that the immune system can deploy is the NK, or natural killer, cell. NK cells target abnormal or mutated cells, in other words cancerous or pre-cancerous cells, and targets them for destruction. Research has proven that NK cells are only active when they contain large stores of vitamin C. Additionally, PGE1, the chemical that regulates the production and function of NK cells, is itself dependent upon vitamin C. Studies into the effectiveness of vitamin C as a treatment for cancer have shown that patients taking 5 grams of vitamin C orally for three consecutive days saw the number of lymphocytes in their bloodstream double. Further, patients taking 10 grams of vitamin C per day saw their lymphocyte count triple. Extrapolating from these findings, researchers deduce that the high doses of vitamin C increased the immune system’s ability to fight cancer.
Vitamin C as an Antioxidant
It is well understood that free radicals are one of the underlying causes of cancer. Free radicals pull electrons from otherwise healthy cells, leaving them damaged and prone to mutation. This is what is known as oxidative stress, and it is one of the primary causes of cell mutation and cancer. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, cleaning up free radicals and neutralizing them before they can damage any healthy cells. High doses of vitamin C have also been show to neutralize environmental toxins that can lead to oxidative stress. The vitamin C acts as a lure, giving the toxins something to consume and distracting them from otherwise healthy cells. Eventually, those same toxins are excreted as natural bodily waste.
Vitamin C and the Recommended Daily Allowance
The USDA has established a recommended daily allowance of 75 milligrams. An average, healthy, person can absorb and utilize between 4,000 and 15,000 milligrams of vitamin C per day. The USDA’s recommendation is purely arbitrary, and is based on the absolute minimum amount of vitamin C a person needs to avoid certain illnesses such as scurvy. Vitamin C is unique, in that the body will take what it needs and excrete the excess, making it an ideal daily supplement.
Research continues into the effectiveness of vitamin C as a cancer therapy. But it is clear that this common vitamin offers a many health benefits. In addition to fighting cancer, it is also a powerful virucide and micro-biocidal, and can help to protect the body from a wide range of infections and toxins. While conventional medicine may continue to ignore the life giving attributes of vitamin C, it clear that Linus Pauling and Ewan Cameron were on the right track, and that vitamin C may prove to be one of the more powerful weapons in the fight against cancer.