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Vitamin C: Cancer Causing or Cancer Fighting?

Filed Under: Vitamins and Minerals at 9:39 am | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
OrangesIf you’re a headline scanner, you might be a little confused about vitamin C. In the middle of August, it was doing nothing. Then a few days ago, it was causing cancer. Now, it’s fighting it. What’s true; what’s not? Should you or shouldn’t you be taking vitamin C?

If you’re looking for a cancer treatment, vitamin C is not going to be a cure-all, but it may help. A recent study examined the effects of vitamin C on lymphoma and prostate cancer cells. Happily, the nutrient slowed tumor growth, proving that vitamin C could be used in the fight against cancer.  However, more research is needed to determine under what conditions and for which cancers the nutrient would be most beneficial. There are some situations in which the vitamin will not help, and that’s where we find the “cancer-causing” headlines. Because, a separate study found that in an environment with 10 percent fat, vitamin C contributed to the growth of cancer-causing compounds.  This finding, though, does not mean that a diet rich in vitamin C or taking vitamin C supplements is going to give you cancer. It just means that you have to be more aware of how the nutrient is going to interact with the disease.

And you should still make sure that you get enough vitamin C, because vitamin C is important, regardless of whether or not you have cancer. It’s a nutrient that helps heal wounds, repair cartilage, bones and teeth, make skin, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels, and grow tissue. If you don’t get enough of it, you could become anemic, bruise more easily, have a decreased ability to fight infection and develop gingivitis.  So, keep it in your diet. Eat citrus fruits, green peppers, leafy greens and winter squash. If you think your diet is vitamin-C deficient, or you are pregnant, breastfeeding or a smoker, talk to your doctor about supplements. They may be what you need. And the next time you’re confused about a vitamin, read the whole article, not just the headline and do some research. You deserve to be informed. It is, after all, your body.

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One Response to “Vitamin C: Cancer Causing or Cancer Fighting?”

  1. Katy says:

    I love winter squash!

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