There's been a lot of bad publicity of late about vitamin C as a cancer-fighter, which has been remarkably timely for the European bureaucrats and their UK compatriots (aka House of Commons) seeking to ban all high-dose nutritionals.
Worse, the publicity has also probably stopped some cancer victims from using the therapy.
The recent publicity has claimed that even 200 mg of vitamin C could cause cancer, an extraordinary conclusion based on one test-tube study, and one that flies in the face of over 90 well-conducted trials that have proved vitamin C acts both as a preventative and as a cancer-fighter.
But the confusion (what little there is) seems to centre on the types of vitamin C that are used. Several recent studies have suggested that 10,000 mg a day of vitamin C in its sodium ascorbate form is an effective cancer-fighter. Another common form, as dry ascorbic acid, didn't seem to work as well, although the work of Abram Hoffer suggests otherwise. Hoffer worked with ascorbic acid at 12,000 mg a day, and he found that it complemented conventional therapies such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy when it was used with other supplements, such as vitamins A, B, E and zinc.
Most research suggests the sodium ascorbate form is the best way forward, and although ascorbic acid might be effective, it should only be administered by a therapist who really knows what he's doing.
* And those of you who still wonder why doctors don't take a more serious look at vitamin C as a cancer therapy need look no further than a recent copy of the New York Times. There they would have read that, under the American health-insurance scheme, doctors buy their chemotherapy drugs for just $3, but claim back $17.50 each time from the insurer. It helps to pay for office costs and staff, explain oncologists.
(Source: Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients, 2003; 239: 104-6).