Common treatment options for cancer, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, can be expensive and sometimes ineffective. However, a new clinical trial tests the effect of high-dose vitamin C in combination with standard treatment on health outcomes for patients with cancer.
More recent studies have examined the combined effect of high-dose vitamin C and conventional cancer treatment. Some of this research showed that patients who received the combined treatment had a slower progression of the disease, while others have suggested that the side effects of chemotherapy were less pronounced among those who also took high doses of vitamin C.
The mechanism that might explain the potential efficacy of vitamin C in treating lung and brain cancer relates to the cancer cells' metabolism. As a consequence of the faulty metabolism that occurs inside the cancer cells' mitochondria, these cells produce abnormally high levels of so-called redox active iron molecules. These molecules react with vitamin C and form hydrogen peroxide and hydrogen peroxide-derived free radicals. Scientists think that these free radicals drive cancer cell death by damaging the cells' DNA. The free radicals are also thought to weaken the cancer cells and make them more vulnerable to radiation therapy and chemotherapy.