Vitamin C for Prostate Cancer
Vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin, is commonly known as an antioxidant. It prevents the conversion of harmful molecules in the body, nitrates (from tobacco smoke, meats and other food products) into cancer-causing substances. It is important for building resistance against infections, strengthening blood vessels and many more functions. Vitamin C is necessary for the synthesis of connective tissue and collagen. In addition, sufficient amounts must be present for normal healing to occur.
Sources of Vitamin C
There is much controversy regarding the relationship between vitamin C intake and prostate cancer risk. Some studies show that increased levels of vitamin C reduce one's risk for prostate cancer. Other studies show that vitamin C has no effect on this risk.
On the other hand, the relationship between vitamin C as a treatment for prostate cancer is quite surprising. Our group, while at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center found that prostate tumors consume large amounts of vitamin C. Dr. David Agus, the principal investigator of this study, emphasizes that "tumors appear to have nutritional needs, similar to other healthy cells, but take in larger amounts of this vitamin." More research needs to be done to find out the exact role of vitamin C in prostate cancer treatment.
Urology Center Recommendations
- 60 mg is the daily RDA (recommended dietary allowance) of vitamin C per day. Taking up to 250 mg per day is acceptable, as long as it comes from your five or more servings of fruits and vegetables.
- Do not take a vitamin C supplement. If you are eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, you will be getting an adequate amount of vitamin C.
- Consult your physician if you are currently undergoing radiation or chemotherapy. For example, it is possible that large amounts of vitamin C can interfere with the effects of chemotherapy.
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