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‘Antioxidant’ vitamin C may improve chemotherapy

By Anette Breindl
Science Editor

Friday, February 7, 2014

Recently, reports that levels of vitamin E that are typical for nutritional supplements could hasten the progression of existing tumors provided an unexpected cautionary tale about the health benefits of antioxidants. Now scientists added yet another twist. They showed vitamin C may be a useful addition to chemotherapy – because it can act as a pro-oxidant. The use of vitamin C megadoses for treating disease has “a very old and conflicted history,” said corresponding author Qi Chen. Nobel Prize winning chemist Linus Pauling was an advocate of the use of megadoses of vitamin C, claiming that the chemical increased the survival and improved the quality of life of cancer patients.

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