If you think vitamin C is just for fighting off colds, think again.
A new study from the USC Longevity Institute and other research centers is suggesting that when vitamin C is combined with a special diet, it may help fight against some really tough-to-treat cancers.
This could be huge news for people dealing with cancer, especially forms that have been hard to beat with existing treatments.
What Makes This Diet Special?
The diet used in the study is called a “fasting-mimicking diet.” It’s designed to trick the body into thinking it’s fasting while still giving it some nutrients and calories.
The idea is to get all the health benefits of fasting—like a better environment for fighting off diseases—without the drawbacks, such as feeling extremely hungry or lacking energy.
This kind of diet has been studied before for its potential to slow down aging, but this time, researchers are looking at how it can help in cancer treatment.
Why Is Vitamin C Important?
Vitamin C has been studied a lot for its potential health benefits, including its ability to combat cancer. But the results have been mixed. Some studies show it can help, while others don’t.
The researchers wanted to see if combining vitamin C with the fasting-mimicking diet could make it more effective against cancer. And it looks like they were onto something.
A Powerful Duo Against Cancer
In the study, both the special diet and high doses of vitamin C had some effect on slowing down cancer growth and killing off a small number of cancer cells when used separately.
But when the two were used together, the results were dramatic. Almost all the cancer cells were killed.
The most interesting part? This powerful combo worked especially well against cancer cells with a specific mutation in the KRAS gene.
This mutation usually makes cancer cells super tough to beat and lowers the survival rates for patients. It’s found in about one-fourth of all human cancers and up to half of all cases of colorectal cancer.
The team also figured out why vitamin C alone might not have worked so well in past cancer studies. It turns out that vitamin C tends to increase levels of a protein called ferritin in these tough-to-treat cancer cells.
This protein makes the cancer cells more resistant to treatment. But when ferritin levels were lowered, vitamin C became much more effective at killing the cancer cells.
The researchers are hopeful that this combination of a fasting-mimicking diet and vitamin C could be a less toxic alternative to some current cancer treatments.
They point out that while fasting is hard for many people, especially those dealing with cancer, a low-calorie, plant-based diet that mimics fasting could be a more practical choice.
It could make cells act like they do when the body is fasting, offering a new and less harsh way to fight cancer.
This research is still in the early stages, but it opens up a fascinating new avenue for cancer treatment. So, the next time you reach for that vitamin C tablet, you might just be onto something much bigger.
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