Vitamin C, which is often thought to aid in preventing cancer, may hinder the effectiveness of cancer treatment according to a new study done on mice with tumors. The mice were given large doses of vitamin C and the measured efficacy of the chemotherapy was reduced by 30% to 70%.
“There’s a possibility that taking supplemental vitamin C could have a detrimental effect on cancer treatment,” said study author Dr. Mark L. Heaney, associate-attending physician at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
The vitamin C dose used in the study is equivalent to a 2,000 milligram dose for humans however, the type used is not available over the counter. Dr. Heaney said there is no evidence that the vitamin C found in foods and daily multivitamins will have similar effects.
Heaney believes studies using human subjects to be the next logical step, but he feels convincing patients to participate will be a “hard sell”
“What I recommend to my patients is that they continue to eat a well-balanced diet that has vitamin C, and that they don’t take supplemental vitamin C. I think a multivitamin is fine.” Said Heaney.
Pamela Mason scientific adviser and spokeswoman for the Health Supplements Information Service, said, “The study concluded that vitamin C reduced the effectiveness of anticancer drugs in laboratory cell cultures and in mice with implanted cancer cells Though the researchers said that their findings could have implications for human beings treated with anticancer drugs, they also added that this needs to be tested in a proper clinical trial.”