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Vitamin C supplements may make mesothelioma treatment less effective

October 6th, 2008

A new study has suggested that taking vitamin C supplements while undergoing cancer therapies may hinder their effectiveness at treating mesothelioma and other forms of cancer. The study, which was published in the journal Cancer Research by the American Association of Cancer Research, found that 30-70% fewer cancer cells were killed during treatment when vitamin C supplements were administered.

In order to remain as healthy as possible during cancer therapy, some patients may take antioxidants, a class of chemicals which includes vitamin C. Under normal conditions, antioxidants help to rid the body of compounds known as free radicals, which can cause damage to cells that can lead to cancer. Taking antioxidants can help to prevent cancer in healthy individuals.

However, for patients receiving cancer treatment, vitamin C supplements may prevent chemotherapy drugs from attacking cancer cells in the same way that they prevent free radicals from reaching healthy cells. Depending on the type of drug that was used, researchers found that between 30% and 70% fewer cancer cells were killed when vitamin C was administered.

While the researchers who conducted the study state that vitamin C supplements can do more harm than good for patients undergoing treatment for mesothelioma or other forms of cancer, they also state that patients should continue to eat a healthy diet containing vitamin C and other antioxidants.

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