Metabolic Syndrome Patients Need More Vitamin C

A higher intake of vitamin C is crucial for metabolic syndrome patients trying to halt a potentially deadly cycle of antioxidant disruption and health-related problems, an Oregon State University researcher says.

That’s important news for the estimated 35 percent of the U.S. adult population that suffers from the syndrome.

“What these findings are really saying to people as we move out of the rich-food holiday season and into January is eat your fruits and vegetables,” said Maret Traber, a professor in the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences and Ava Helen Pauling Professor at Oregon State’s Linus Pauling Institute. “Eat five to 10 servings a day and then you’ll get the fiber, you’ll get the vitamin C, and you’ll really protect your gut with all of those good things.”

A diet high in saturated fat results in chronic low-grade inflammation in the body that in turn leads to the development of metabolic syndrome, a serious condition associated with cognitive dysfunction and dementia as well as being a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes.

A patient is considered to have metabolic syndrome if he or she has at least three of the following conditions: abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, low levels of “good” cholesterol, and high levels of triglycerides.

Findings published in Redox Biology suggest the type of eating that leads to metabolic syndrome can prompt imbalances in the gut microbiome, with impaired gut function contributing to toxins in the bloodstream, resulting in vitamin C depletion, which subsequently impairs the trafficking of vitamin E.

It’s a treadmill of antioxidant disruption that serves to make a bad situation worse; antioxidants such as vitamins C and E offer defense against the oxidative stress brought on by inflammation and the associated free radicals, unstable molecules that can damage the body’s cells.

“Vitamin C actually protects vitamin E, so when you have lipid peroxidation, vitamin E is used up and vitamin C can regenerate it,” Traber said. “If you don’t have the vitamin C, the vitamin E gets lost and then you lose both of those antioxidants and end up in this vicious cycle of depleting your antioxidant protection.”

Lipid peroxidation is the oxidative degradation of polyunsaturated fatty acids that are a major component of living cells; it’s the process by which free radicals try to stabilize themselves by stealing electrons from cell membranes, causing damage to the cell.

“If there’s too much fat in the diet, it causes injury to the gut,” Traber said. “Bacterial cell walls can then leak from the gut and slip into circulation in the body, and they’re chased down by neutrophils.”

Neutrophils are the most abundant type of white blood cells, a key part of the immune system. Neutrophils attack bacteria with hypochlorous acid: bleach.

“The white blood cells are scrubbing with bleach and that destroys vitamin C,” Traber said. “The body is destroying its own protection because it got tricked by the gut dysbiosis into thinking there was a bacterial invasion.”

And without intervention, the process keeps repeating.

“People with metabolic syndrome can eat the same amount of vitamin C as people without metabolic syndrome but have lower plasma concentrations of vitamin C,” Traber said. “We’re suggesting that’s because this slippage of bacterial cell walls causes the whole body to mount that anti-inflammatory response.”

Vitamin C is found in fresh vegetables and fruits; sources of vitamin E include almonds, wheat germ and various seeds and oils.

Federal dietary guidelines call for 65 to 90 milligrams daily of vitamin C, and 15 milligrams of vitamin E.

Scientists from the University of Iowa and Ohio State contributed to this research. The National Institutes of Health, the Center for Applied Plant Sciences and Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center at The Ohio State University, the National Dairy Council, and DSM Nutrition supported this study.

Source: Oregon State University


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Antibiotics and Vitamin C Could Kill Cancer Cells

 

“Vitamin C and antibiotics could be up to 100 times more effective than drugs at killing cancer cells – without the side effects,” reports the Mail Online.

The news comes from the results of a study that found a new two-pronged approach using the antibiotic doxycycline followed by vitamin C could kill cancer cells.

Doxycycline killed many cancer cells, but others became resistant. The resistant cells were then destroyed by vitamin C.

While this is encouraging news, it needs to be put into context. The experiments all took place in the laboratory. Researchers used human breast cancer stem cells, but didn’t perform any studies on animals or humans.

This means we don’t know how successful this strategy could be – and the Mail’s claim there would be no side effects is unsupported.

Though both doxycycline and vitamin C are safe to use in humans, more research is needed to find out how they interact with other cancer treatments and therapies before this can be recommended as a new approach to treating cancer.

Where did the story come from?

The study was carried out by researchers from the University of Calabria in Italy, and the University of Manchester and the University of Salford in the UK.

It was funded by both UK universities, the Healthy Life Foundation, the Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca sul Cancro (AIRC), the European Union, and various private donations.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Oncotarget on an open access basis, so it’s free to read online.

The Mail reported on the study reasonably accurately, but didn’t point out clinical trials are needed to see if the approach would be effective – and safe – in humans.

What kind of research was this?

This research involved a series of laboratory experiments performed on human cancer stem cells.

Although both doxycycline and vitamin C are safe to use in humans, we don’t know whether the dose and combination required to kill cancer cells would be toxic in other ways.

Trials in animals first and then in humans are needed to eliminate this possibility.

What did the research involve?

The researchers performed a variety of experiments on human breast cancer stem cells. These are cells that are able to divide and become any type of cell the tumour needs in order to grow.

Cancer stem cells are different from most normal cells in that they can produce energy from glucose through a variety of pathways. This is one of the reasons they’re able to grow and replicate better than normal cells.

Most also have an increased number of mitochondria – the powerhouse of cells – which can convert glucose into energy using oxygen. And one of the side effects of doxycycline is it inhibits the production of proteins required by mitochondria.

Previous research has suggested that by stopping the protein production, doxycycline could kill the cancer cells because they wouldn’t be able to make energy.

But because cancer cells are good at adapting, there were concerns that some cancer cells would become drug resistant by using a different pathway to create energy, such as glycolysis.

This happens when certain cells, such as muscles, continue to work hard without oxygen, producing a build-up of lactic acid, and doesn’t require oxygen or mitochondria.

This study looked at whether two natural products and six different drugs already approved for use in humans could kill cancer cells reliant on making energy using glycolysis – or in other words, kill the cancer cells that had resisted the initial treatment with doxycycline.

The natural products were vitamin C and berberine, a type of salt found in many plants.

The drugs included:

  • chloroquine (antimalarial)
  • atovaquone
  • irinotecan
  • sorafenib
  • niclosamide
  • stiripentol

What were the basic results?

Doxycycline reduced the cancer cells’ ability to use different energy pathways. It did this by supressing the production of proteins important for mitochondrial function.

This wiped out many cancer cells, although some did became drug resistant. The doxycycline-resistant cells were then mostly reliant on the glycolysis pathway for energy production.

All of the drugs and natural products had some success in preventing these doxycycline-resistant cancer stem cells dividing. Vitamin C was the most successful.

The cells were 4-10 times more sensitive to vitamin C than cancer cells not resistant to doxycycline.

How did the researchers interpret the results?

The researchers concluded that doxycycline can kill some cancer cells and make others reliant on one energy pathway: glycolysis.

The doxycycline-resistant cells are then susceptible to natural products like vitamin C and drugs including chloroquine.

This, they say, “suggest[s] a new synthetic lethal strategy of i) doxycycline (to target mitochondria) and ii) vitamin C (to target glycolysis).”

Conclusion

This isn’t the first time vitamin C has been studied for use against cancer: it has previously been shown to kill cancer cells in the laboratory and stop cancer growth in mice.

This new two-pronged approach may well prove to be useful in eradicating cancer stem cells in humans, but robust clinical trials are necessary first as cells can behave very differently in a laboratory environment.

Although all the drugs and natural products used in this study are already approved for use in humans, we don’t know for certain what concentration would be required to obtain similar effects without being toxic.

This study also only looked at breast cancer stem cells. We don’t know what effect the combination would have on other types of cancer cells, which stage of treatment this might be useful for, or for which types of cancer.

Source: NHS Choices

Larger Doses of Vitamin C may Lead to a Greater Reduction in Common Cold Duration

The relationship between vitamin C dosage and its effects on the duration of the common cold symptoms may extend to 6-8 grams per day according to a statistical analysis published in Nutrients.

Dozens of animal studies using different animal species have found that vitamin C significantly prevents and alleviates infections caused by diverse bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. Given the universal nature of the effect of vitamin C against various infections in different animal species, it also seems evident that vitamin C influences the susceptibility to, and the severity of infections in humans. However, the practical importance of vitamin C in human infections is not known.

The common cold is the most extensively studied infection regarding the effects of vitamin C. The majority of controlled trials have used a modest dosage of only 1 g per day of vitamin C. The pooled effect of all published studies has shown a statistically highly significant difference between the vitamin C and placebo groups, which indicates a genuine biological effect. However, the optimal doses and the maximal effects of vitamin C on the common cold are unknown. The trials that used doses higher than 1 g per day usually found greater effects than trials with exactly 1 g per day, which suggests a dose dependent effect. Nevertheless, definitive conclusions cannot be made from such a comparison because of numerous confounding differences between the trials. The most valid examination of dose-response is therefore within a single trial that has randomly selected trial groups with different vitamin C doses, so that exposure to viruses is similar and the outcome definition is identical in the study groups.

Dr. Harri Hemilä from the University of Helsinki, Finland, analyzed the findings of two randomized trials each of which investigated the effects of two vitamin C doses on the duration of the common cold. The first trial administered 3 g/day vitamin C to two study groups, 6 g/day to a third group, and the fourth group was administered a placebo. Compared with the placebo group the 6 g/day dose shortened colds by 17%, twice as much as the 3 g/day doses did. The second trial administered 4 g/day and 8 g/day vitamin C, and placebo to different groups, but only on the first day of the cold. Compared with the placebo group, the 8 g/day dose shortened colds by 19%, twice as much as the 4 g/day dose did. Both studies revealed a significant dose-response relationship between the vitamin C dosage and the duration of the common cold. The dose-response relationship in these two trials was also quite linear up to the levels of 6-8 g/day, thus it is possible that even higher doses may lead to still greater reductions in the duration of common cold. Dr. Hemilä notes that there have been proposals that vitamin C doses should be over 15 g/day for the best treatment of colds, but the highest doses that have so far been investigated in randomized trials have been much lower.

Dr. Hemilä concludes that “given the consistent effect of vitamin C on the duration of colds, and its safety and low cost, it would be worthwhile for individual common cold patients to test whether therapeutic 8 g/day vitamin C is beneficial for them. Self-dosing of vitamin C must be started as soon as possible after the onset of common cold symptoms to be most effective.” Dr Hemilä also states that further therapeutic trials should be carried out to investigate the dose-response relation in the region of over 8 g/day of vitamin C.

Source: Medical News Today


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How Vitamin C Supports a Healthy Immune System

Marisa Moore wrote . . . . .

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin well known for its role in supporting a healthy immune system. Because your body cannot make vitamin C, it must come from the foods you eat every day. Tweet this

Research shows vitamin C is essential for the growth and repair of tissue all over the body. Vitamin C helps heal wounds and repair and maintain healthy cartilage, bones, teeth and skin. As an antioxidant, vitamin C fights free radicals in the body which may help prevent or delay certain cancers and heart disease, and promote healthy aging. Vitamin C also seems to reduce the progress of cartilage loss in those with osteoarthritis. Though it may not keep you from catching a cold, there is evidence that high doses of vitamin C may decrease the length of cold symptoms by as much as one to one-and-a-half days for some people.

Sources of vitamin C are abundant and extend well beyond the ever-popular orange or orange juice. Many fruits and vegetables supply this vital vitamin. Sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, green and red bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kiwifruit, among others. You can enjoy these foods raw or cooked, but it’s important to note that fruits and vegetables lose vitamin C when heated or stored for long periods of time. To get the most nutrients, eat them as soon as possible after shopping and consider steaming or microwaving vegetables for short periods of time to limit nutrient loss.

Vegetarians may be especially interested to know that vitamin C helps the body to better absorb non-heme iron — the kind from plant foods such as beans, spinach and quinoa. To get this benefit, combine vitamin C-rich foods with iron-rich plant foods in the same meal. For example, combine black beans and salsa or create a flavorful spinach salad with strawberries and mandarin oranges.

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Healthy Amount of Vitamin C Might Keep Cataracts at Bay

Key is to get the nutrient from foods rather than a supplement, researchers say.

While many believe that vitamin C helps ward off colds, a new study suggests the nutrient might prevent something more serious — cataracts.

“While we cannot totally avoid developing cataracts, we may be able to delay their onset and keep them from worsening significantly by eating a diet rich in vitamin C,” study lead researcher Dr. Christopher Hammond said in a news release from the journal Ophthalmology.

The study was published online in the journal March 23.

As the researchers described, cataracts occur naturally with age and cause the eye’s lens to become cloudy. Cataracts can be removed but they remain the leading cause of blindness worldwide.

The new study included more than 1,000 pairs of 60-year-old British female twins. The researchers found that those who took in high amounts of vitamin C in their diet had a one-third lower risk of cataract over 10 years.

Getting vitamin C via a supplement did not appear to reduce the risk, the investigators found.

The study is the first to show that diet and lifestyle may play a more important role than genetics in cataract development and severity, according to the researchers.

Based on the findings, Hammond’s team now believes that a person’s genetics probably account for 35 percent of the risk of cataract progression, while diet and other environmental factors may account for the other 65 percent.

However, it’s important to note that this study can only show associations; it cannot prove a cause-and-effect relationship between dietary vitamin C and cataracts.

“The most important finding was that vitamin C intake from food seemed to protect against cataract progression,” said Hammond, who is professor of ophthalmology at Kings College London.

Vitamin C’s strength as an antioxidant may explain how it reduces the risk of cataract progression, his team explained. The fluid inside the eye is normally high in vitamin C, which helps prevent oxidation that leads to clouding of the eye lens. A vitamin C-rich diet may boost the amount of the vitamin in the eye fluid, providing extra protection against cataract.

Dr. Mark Fromer is an ophthalmologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. He said that “the finding that vitamin C intake can retard cataract formation is a new finding that changes the way we think of cataract formation.”

Now, doctors have a new understanding that “diet clearly is important in slowing the progression of cataracts, the most blinding form of eye disease worldwide,” Fromer said.

Another expert agreed.

“This is a well-designed, prospective study that confirms what ophthalmologists have always suspected — that a well-balanced diet that includes foods that give us a boost of antioxidants is critical to preventing damage and the aging of our eyes,” said Dr. Carolyn Shih, director of research in ophthalmology at Northwell Health in Great Neck, N.Y.

“As we approach the spring and summer, eating foods high in vitamin C – such as kale, broccoli, papaya, citrus fruits and strawberries — is as essential as using sunglasses to prevent cataracts as we age,” she added.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


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