Lemons are often consumed to help ward off common colds and flu, but now scientists believe vitamin C could help the body fight cancer cells in the future.
Researchers from the University of Salford in Manchester found that doses of vitamin C can be 10 times more effective at stopping cancer cell growth than some other cancer drugs, such as 2-DG.
The Power Of Vitamin C
Experts tested vitamin C in a lab and found that the nutrients in it starves off cancerous cells and tumours.
“We have been looking at how to target cancer stem cells with a range of natural substances including silibinin (milk thistle) and CAPE, a honey-bee derivative, but by far the most exciting are the results with vitamin C,” says co-author Dr. Michael P. Lisanti, professor at the university, in a statement.
“Vitamin C is cheap, natural, non-toxic and readily available so to have it as a potential weapon in the fight against cancer would be a significant step.”
Additionally, the study revealed that acid in vitamin C works by inhibiting glycolysis (the process by which glucose is broken down within the cell and turned into energy).
Dr Gloria Bonuccelli, lead author and another member of the Salford team added: “This is further evidence that vitamin C and other nontoxic compounds may have a role to play in the fight against cancer.
“Our results indicate it is a promising agent for clinical trials, and as an add-on to more conventional therapies, to prevent tumour recurrence, further disease progression, and metastasis.”
But scientists say that it is impossible to get the required amount of vitamin C to fight cancerous cells through fruit, such as lemons and oranges, and that the results are still very early on. Tests with human patients are yet to take place.
In previous studies, vitamin C has been shown to be an effective non toxic anti-cancer agent.
Researchers from the University of Iowa Health Care found that vitamin C separates and damages the tissue and DNA in cancer cells. Their findings were published in journal Redox Biology.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cancer is the second leading cause of death and disease worldwide, accounting for almost nine million deaths in 2015.
Every year in NSW alone, more than 37,500 new cases of cancer are expected to be diagnosed, reveals the Cancer Council NSW.
The primary function of vitamin C is to produce and nourish collagen, a supportive component found in your skin, ligaments, and blood vessels. Collagen helps maintain your cartilage, teeth, and bones. It also helps to heal injuries and form scar tissue. Because vitamin C is an antioxidant, it can also help block damage caused by free radicals, which are thought to contribute to heart disease, cancer, and arthritis, reveals HealthLine.
Lemons, oranges, kiwis and grapefruits are some of the foods that contain high levels of vitamin C.
Other Health Benefits Of Vitamin C
- Antioxidant: Antioxidants can help improve the functioning of your body and also improve your overall fitness. This means you will have more energy to get active.
- Diuretic: Lemon juices, which contain vitamin C, are natural diuretics, so adding them to water helps flush the body of excess fluids. This can help relieve bloating and constipation.
- Digestion: The citric acid contained can help the liver to produce more bile, which aids in better food digestion.
- Appetite Reduction: Drinking water flavoured with lemon juice can help you to feel full, reducing the amount of food (and therefore calories) that you consume, which leads to weight loss.
- Balances pH Levels: Fruits with vitamin C are one of the most alkalising foods for the body. Yes, they are acidic on their own, but inside our bodies they’re alkaline (the citric acid does not create acidity in the body once metabolised).
- Freshens Breath: Besides fresher breath, fruit with vitamin C have been known to help relieve tooth pain and gingivitis. Be aware that citric acid can erode tooth enamel if you drink it without a lot of dilution, so you should be mindful of this. If you like, rinse your mouth with water after you’ve finished your lemon water.
For more health benefits of vitamin C and lemon water, read more here.