The Sugar Menace
Vitamin C and Cancer Update
IV Vitamin C and Cancer
Carrots and Cancer
Ask Dr. J: Probiotics with Food
In the Health News
Diet and Disease
Recipe of The Month: Squash Bean Barley Chili
I could not help but see the new ads for candy from the Mars
company, in which their chocolate bars are portrayed as healthy
for the heart. They neglect to mention that the refined sugar
that these candies contain is a leading cause of physiological
dysfunction. Sugar that is purified from sugar cane, beets,
or corn is highly concentrated when added to processed foods,
compared to the level found naturally in most whole, unprocessed
foods, such as fruits and vegetables. In such high levels,
it is addictive and probably more harmful than illegal addictive
Natural sweeteners may be somewhat better. A lot of folklore
suggests that honey has some health benefits, but it is still
a risk for people who are sensitive to sugar. The real advantage
of limiting yourself to natural sweeteners (such as honey,
maple syrup, barley malt, rice syrup, or fruit concentrate)
is that they are much less available; you just can’t
find a dessert at a restaurant that is naturally sweetened,
so following this rule eliminates the large majority of refined
My textbook of medicine at school had a section on hypoglycemia
(low blood sugar), but I did not read that part until well
after medical school. It noted what I had observed in practice:
hypoglycemia can mimic almost any neurological or psychiatric
symptoms, including headaches, fatigue, depression, mania,
insomnia, blurry vision, double vision, palpitations, anxiety,
and more (although it is still controversial in the medical
profession as a cause of these symptoms). Sugar increases
childhood behavioral disturbances, cravings for sweets, kidney
stones, and osteoporosis. The caffeine-like stimulants in
chocolate add to the problems.
Sugar is associated with the rapid and massive increase in
body weight seen in recent decades in developed countries
(although this is also related to increasing overall caloric
intake and sedentary lifestyles). The doubling of childhood
obesity is leading to increased diabetes, arteriosclerosis,
and cancer, and sugar is a contributor. Suggesting that eating
candy of any kind is a benefit for the heart is very misleading,
even though cocoa contains significant antioxidants and other
healthful phytochemicals. Once someone eliminates refined
sugars from the diet, real foods seem much tastier, and less
sweetness is needed for pleasure or to satisfy cravings.
I do enjoy some sweets, but I am just as satisfied by a fruit
smoothie as unhealthful snacks. I like to mix frozen strawberries,
blueberries, and bananas with coconut, medjool dates, almond
or peanut butter, and soymilk in my VitaMix (or a food processor).
The dates are sweet without refined sugar, and they have fiber
and other nutritional value. This dessert is full of antioxidants
that prevent heart disease, cancer, and aging. I do have an
occasional natural sweet, including chocolate, but I have
no illusions about it, and I depend on other nutritional sources
and exercise to prevent disease.
I have long been a proponent of high-dose vitamin C therapy
for many conditions, including cancer, as part of a comprehensive
treatment program. As early as 1976, Cameron and Pauling published
a study of 100 cancer patients given 10 grams of vitamin C
per day (independent of whatever other therapy they were given).
In their report, they compared these patients’ longevity
with 10 case controls each, for a total of 1000 matched case
controls (not placebo controls).
Patients with terminal cancer given vitamin C lived on average
more than four times as long as the controls. For some subgroups,
survival was far longer (12 times longer than the controls).
Eight of the patients lived for 3.5 years after they were
diagnosed as untreatable (while the controls had died within
50 days. While a subsequent study from the Mayo Clinic purported
to disprove their report, those researchers did not match
the methods reported by Cameron and Pauling.
Vitamin C has a number of effects than might account for
some of its benefits. It enhances numerous immune functions,
including natural killer cell activity and T- and B-cell function.
In high enough doses (only achievable with intravenous administration)
it can act within cancer tissues as a hydrogen peroxide promoter,
selectively killing cancer cells. High oral doses (three grams
every four hours) produced serum levels of 220 umol, compared
to 13,400 umol after administration of a 50-g intravenous
Research suggests that cancer patients have elevated oxidative
stress and low levels of antioxidants, such as vitamins C
and E. In one study 20 cancer patients were compared to healthy
matched controls. The patients had a highly significant lower
level of the nutrients and total antioxidant status, and elevation
of an indicator of oxidative stress. Another recent study
confirms that oral cancer tissue consumes larger amounts of
antioxidants and depletes them in the blood stream.
Vitamin C increases the effectiveness of cancer chemotherapy
drugs according to a number of clinical studies. Contrary
to what many doctors tell their patients, antioxidants do
not interfere with chemotherapy. In a laboratory study of
esophageal cancer cells, pretreatment with vitamin C made
the cells more susceptible to 5-FU and cisplatin. Other research
supports the concurrent use of antioxidants and conventional
cancer treatments. Earlier research showed that antioxidants,
including vitamin C and alpha-lipoic acid, reduced oxidative
stress, inflammatory responses, and markers of tumor progression
in advanced cancer patients. Vitamin C is toxic to cancer
cells, and combining it with lipoic acid enhances that effect
in lab studies.
Cameron and Pauling’s work showed prolongation of life
using oral vitamin C in cancer patients, and in a few cases
long-term remission. For a number of years, Riordan and colleagues
have been administering high dose vitamin C to advanced cancer
patients, including intravenous administration, and have reported
numerous case studies of tumor remission.
Two case reports of patients with ovarian cancer who had
received chemotherapy showed apparent benefit from adding
antioxidant therapy and intravenous vitamin C (60 gms twice
a week). These were advanced cancer patients with tumors that
are especially difficult to treat. Both patients received
oral vitamins C and E, coenzyme Q10, and a multivitamin/mineral.
One patient was free of tumor by CT scan 3 1/2 years after
starting treatment. The other refused chemotherapy even though
she had residual tumors, and at three years had no evidence
of tumors. Both patients are disease free at six years.
A new report of three case studies shows significant benefits
in cancer patients from IV vitamin C treatment. One patient
had kidney cancer with metastases to the lungs, received IV
vitamin C (65 gms twice a week for 10 months) and was free
of tumor for five years before developing a totally different
lung cancer (she was a heavy smoker).
A second patient had grade 3 bladder cancer with satellite
tumors, declined chemotherapy or radiation, and had IV vitamin
C (30 gms twice a week for 3 months, then once every 1-2 months),
plus other supplements, and is free of disease 9 years later.
The third patient had a large B-cell lymphoma with muscle
and bone invasion. She had only short-term local radiation,
refused chemotherapy, and had IV vitamin C (15 gms twice a
week for about 9 months, then less frequently for a total
of about two years). This patient also took other supplements,
including coenzyme Q10, N-acetyl cysteine, beta-carotene,
bioflavonoids, and a multi. Ten years after diagnosis, she
is in normal health.
I have had one patient with bladder cancer who was recommended
to have his bladder surgically removed. He chose instead to
take intravenous vitamin C and numerous dietary supplements.
He had been well for over 10 years, never having had conventional
treatment. Vitamin C is incredibly safe, has many benefits
for prevention and treatment of many illnesses, and there
is no rational basis for withholding it from cancer patients
at any disease stage. It is at least very likely to make them
feel better and prolong their life, and it may even lead to
Carrots are well known to contain beta-carotene and other
carotenoids, antioxidants that may help protect against cancer.
Studies with isolated synthetic beta-carotene suggest that
it is less helpful than that found in foods, although natural
carotenoids seem to protect against heart disease and prostate
However, another substance found in carrots, falcarinol,
is also protective. Falcarinol is a substance that protects
the carrots from fungal diseases and in very high amounts
can be toxic to animals and, presumably, humans. However,
in animal studies, typical levels of falcarinol that may be
found in the diet reduce tumor risks. A study compared animals
with pre-cancerous lesions that were given no carrots, raw
carrots, or falcarinol supplements in the same amount as in
the carrots. Those in the experimental groups had a 33 percent
lower risk of developing full-blown tumors than the controls.
Falcarinol is also found in ginseng, which may explain part
of the health benefits derived from taking ginseng supplements.
So far, the mechanism of these benefits from falcarinol consumption
is not understood. (Some people have an allergic skin reaction
with heavy occupational exposure to falcarinol.)
Carrots are nutritious in other ways in addition to their
carotenoids and falcarinol. They are high in fiber (3 gms
per cup of raw carrots), potassium, magnesium, and other minerals,
in addition to small amounts of vitamin C and folic acid.
Q. Should I take my probiotics separated from meals, as I
BC, Pennsylvania, via email
A. I think it is better to take them with food. Probiotics
are “friendly” bacteria, such as Lactobacillus
acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and others. While these
are generally “acid loving” as the name of the
former implies, they do not do as well in extremely acid environments.
Hydrochloric acid in the stomach, with a pH from 2-3, is
important for protein digestion and protection from pathogens,
such as Helicobacter pylori, the cause of many ulcers. However,
this high acidity leads to the loss of some of the friendly
bacteria, which thrive at a pH of 4-5. Healthy food in the
stomach, with lots of fiber, buffers the stomach acid, and
increases the probiotic survival, so they get into the intestines.
They improve intestinal function, help control diarrhea, block
pathogens, reduce vaginal yeast infections, enhance immunity,
and lower cholesterol.
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Cameron E, Pauling L. Supplemental ascorbate
in the supportive treatment of cancer: prolongation of survival
times in terminal human cancer. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1976;73:3685-9.
Cameron E, Pauling L. Supplemental ascorbate
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Chen Q, et al., Pharmacologic ascorbic
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Padayatty S, et al., Vitamin C pharmacokinetics:
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Adhikari D, et al., Oxidative stress and
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a. Changing health habits reduces disease risks, and people
given proper advice are able to maintain changes for the long
term (at least 18 months). In a study of 810 adults, the rate
of hypertension dropped from 38 to 22 percent among those
who followed the most intensive program, exercising, losing
weight, eating less fat and salt, and eating more fruits and
vegetables. Some subjects had the benefit of a counselor and
a support group, but even those who did not improved with
just two half-hour education sessions. (Elmer PJ, et al.,
Effects of comprehensive lifestyle modification on diet, weight,
physical fitness, and blood pressure control: 18-month results
of a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med. 2006 Apr 4;144(7):485-95.)
b. A high intake of calcium and vitamin D (the latter especially
from supplements) reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Following 83,779 women in the Nurses’ Health Study,
researchers found that those with the highest vitamin D intake
from supplements had a 13 percent lower risk of diabetes,
and those with the highest calcium intake from food or supplements
had a 20 percent risk reduction. Women with the highest intake
of both calcium (more than 1200 mg) and vitamin D (more than
800 IU) had a 33 percent risk reduction. (Pittas AG, et al.,
Vitamin D and calcium intake in relation to type 2 diabetes
in women. Diabetes Care. 2006 Mar;29(3):650-6.) Better health
habits might reduce calcium needs.
Arachidonic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid found in land animal
fats, increases the risk of prostate cancer, promotes the
spread of prostate cancer cells, and increases their invasiveness.
Omega-3 oils from fish (EPA and DHA) have the opposite effects
(Brown MD, et al., Promotion of prostatic metastatic migration
towards human bone marrow stroma by omega 6 and its inhibition
by omega 3 PUFAs. Br J Cancer. 2006 Mar 27;94(6):842-53).
This cellular study confirms other clinical research on the
dangers of animal fats (other than fish).
Soak 1 1/2 cups of dried black or red beans, discard the
soaking water, and then pressure cook in fresh water (about
20 minutes). Peel, remove the seeds, and cut a large butternut
squash into cubes. Dice 2 large onions, mince 4 cloves of
garlic, and sauté these in olive oil until tender with
2-3 Tbsp of chili powder, 1 Tbsp of cumin, and 1/4 to 1/2
tsp of cayenne pepper (to taste), then add 2-3 Tbsp of soy
sauce. Add the squash, the liquid from cooking the beans,
fresh diced tomatoes (or organic, canned, crushed tomatoes),
1 1/2 cups of cooked barley (or brown rice), and enough water
or vegetable broth to cover the mixture. Simmer this until
the squash is tender, then add chopped greens, such as fresh
or frozen organic spinach or Swiss chard. Continue simmering
to wilt the greens. Turn off the heat and fold in a bunch
of minced cilantro and garnish with a few drops of toasted