Vitamin C and Breast Cancer
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that is not manufactured by the body. In other words, people need to obtain this nutrient through food or other sources. Vitamin C is utilized by the body to build healthy blood vessels, bones, ligaments, tendons and skin. It also facilitates the absorption of iron, and it helps heal injuries and wounds to the body.
This important vitamin is also an antioxidant which is a compound that helps protect the body from unstable molecules called free radicals which can cause damage to cells. Some experts believe that vitamin C boosts the immune system by activating white blood cells that destroy disease-causing agents, thereby preventing certain forms of cancer.
A recent study published in the British Journal of Cancer looked at a cohort of 3405 Swedish women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. With use of a food-frequency questionnaire, researchers wanted to know if consumption of vitamin C was associated with survival of this type of cancer.
Results suggested that regular dietary consumption of vitamin C prior to a diagnosis of breast cancer among the group of women might have been linked to survival. However, there was no association between vitamin C supplementation following diagnosis and survival of breast cancer.
A prior study in 2005 examined levels of specific nutrients in breast cancer patients. It was determined that levels of vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium were lower in breast cancer patients than in healthy individuals.The study also showed that incidence of breast cancer was reduced by 84 percent if vitamin C levels were raised by only one unit.
A number of studies have suggested an association between high dietary consumption of vitamin C and reduced risks for cancer. However, the few studies that have examined vitamin C in the form of natural supplements (as opposed to dietary forms) have shown no benefit in terms of lowered risk.
This implies that reduced risks for cancer may not be attributed solely to the vitamin C, but rather to a combination of nutrients found in the fruits and vegetables consumed. It is also important to note that while high dietary vitamin C appears to work in the prevention of cancer, it has not shown benefit as a treatment for cancer.
Although it doesn't treat cancer, vitamin C has been shown to be helpful for healing the body after cancer surgery. It is also said to boost the healthful effects of certain anti-cancer drugs and lower toxic effects of some chemotherapy drugs.
A deficiency of vitamin C can cause scurvy, a disease that weakens blood vessels, and causes fatigue, bleeding and death without treatment. Fortunately, people who consume a reasonably-balanced diet typically do not have to worry about vitamin C deficiency.
In addition to reducing risks for breast cancer, research has shown that diets high in fruits and vegetables lower chances for developing cancers of the cervix, esophagus, larynx, lungs, mouth, pancreas, stomach, colon and rectum. Some of these studies show that diets specifically high in vitamin C can reduce risks by nearly 50 percent.
Until information is more conclusive, the American Cancer Society recommends high consumption of a variety of plant-based foods, rather than relying on supplements.Foods that contain an abundance of vitamin C are citrus fruits like grapefruit, lemons and oranges, leafy green vegetables and various berries.
It's best to take measures into your own hands when it comes to overall health and wellness. Things like staying active and eating healthy can do wonders for your immune system as well as your heart and other organs. You can also take natural supplements for health to make sure you're in reaching your peak levels of health. Simple strategies like these may ultimately prevent you from ever having to deal with breast cancer, heart attack, and other diseases.
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