Two Cancer Combaters with Surprising Power

Health Alert 215

‘You’ve got cancer.’ Those are three words you never want to hear. But you don’t have to leave it up to fate. You have some say in remaining cancer-free.

Your Health Alerts recently introduced you to four nutrients with the power to combat cancer (Health Alerts #207, #209, #211, #213.) Today you’ll see two even MORE powerful cancer combaters. Certainly you’ve heard of them, but let me tell you some things about their disease fighting power you probably don’t know…

* Vitamins C & E: Total Body Protection Against Cancer *

By now, you know that Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and can reduce viral infections. But did you know it can reduce your risk of virtually every form of cancer known to man? There’s no other nutrient with that kind of cancer-fighting power. Studies show Vitamin C works by disarming free radicals before they can damage your DNA and stimulate tumor growth. It’s prevention at its finest. When you add Vitamin E, you increased the protection of Vitamin C.

Yes, there is much debate over Vitamin E’s ability as a cancer fighter. Some studies say it works. Others say it doesn’t. But what is indisputable is Vitamin E’s cancer fighting power when used with other antioxidants like Vitamin C. As it turns out Vitamin E is a ‘synergistic’ nutrient. It needs other antioxidants to work best…

Vitamin E strengthens your cell membranes against free radical damage and blocks the formation of carcinogens in your stomach. This alone is vital since the Western diet contains many cured meats rich in nitrites. But the most important evidence for Vitamin E is this: studies point to low levels of Vitamin E in breast, cervix, prostate , colon and lung cancers.

* Choose Cherries, Not Oranges *

If you want to get the most cancer-fighting power from these vitamins choose the real deal: food when possible. The best foods are the ones you’d probably least expect. For instance, you’d suspect the food with the highest concentration of Vitamin C is the orange… but it’s not. It’s acerola juice made from acerola cherries. Other foods topping the Vitamin C list include black currants, yellow, green and red peppers, peaches, papaya and guava. If you drink, smoke, take antibiotics or oral contraceptives you should increase your intake of Vitamin C.

As for Vitamin E, the most important food sources include seeds, nuts and eggs. Dry roasted sunflower seeds and almonds are the natural sources with the most Vitamin E. One handful a day will significantly boost your intake of Vitamin E. For instance, 2 ounces of almonds will fill your daily Vitamin E requirement of 22 IUs.

For maximum cancer protection, I recommend 1000 mg of Vitamin C in two 500 mg doses. For Vitamin E take a supplement of 400 IU that has mixed tocopherols instead of just alpha tocopherol.

Al Sears MD

‘Vitamin C intake and susceptibility to the common cold.’ Br J Nutr 1997 Jan;77(1):59-72

Greenwood-Robins, Maggie Ph.D. Foods That Combat Cancer, Avon Books, 2004. p 31.

Gey, KF. ‘Vitamins E plus C and interacting conutrients required for optimal health. A critical and constructive review of epidemiology and supplementation data regarding cardiovascular disease and cancer.’ Biofactors 1998; 7(1-2):113-74.

Dickinson, Annette Ph.D. ‘Benefits of Antioxidants: May Help Protect Against Cancer’ from The Benefits of Nutritional Supplements, Council For Responsible Nutrition (CRN) 2002. September, 2004

Greenwood-Robins, Maggie Ph.D. Foods That Combat Cancer, Avon Books, 2004. p 31.

Gunawardena K, Murray DK, Meikle AW. ‘Vitamin E and other antioxidants inhibit human prostate cancer cells through apoptosis.’ Prostate 2000;44(4):287-95.

Ames BN. ‘DNA damage from micronutrient deficiencies is likely to be a major cause of cancer.’ Mutation Research, 2001; 475:7-20.