New Study Suggests Vitamin C Helps Fight Cancer

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New research from the University of Otago, Christchurch, shows that vitamin C can help curb the growth of cancer cells.

One kiwifruit supplies 100% of one's recommended dietary allowance of vitamin C

"Our results offer a promising and simple intervention to help in our fight against cancer, at the level of both prevention and cure.”

A study from The University of Otago in Christchurch, New Zealand, shows that vitamin C can help slow down the growth of cancer tumors.

The study, led by Margreet Vissers, associate professor at the University of Otago’s Free Radical Research Group, studied the connection between vitamin C and tumor growth. She says, “Our results offer a promising and simple intervention to help in our fight against cancer, at the level of both prevention and cure.”

According to the University’s press release, the findings are significant as they show, for the first time, a direct relationship between the protein HIF-1 and vitamin C levels in tumors. Tumors with low vitamin C levels had more HIF-1 protein, which allow cancer cells to thrive in conditions of stress. The study suggests that the addition of vitamin C to the patient’s diet can limit the growth rate of the tumor growth, and make it more responsive to chemotherapy, and may prevent the formation of solid tumors.

The article first appeared in the July 15, 2010 Cancer Research Journal, and was funded by the University of Otago and the Tertiary Education Commission in New Zealand.

Good sources of vitamin C
The news is being well received by the nation’s kiwifruit growers, whose fruit is New Zealand’s largest horticultural export. One large kiwifruit can provide your entire recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C. Before you pick up an orange, note that ounce for ounce, kiwifruit is loaded with more vitamin C, and also contains similar levels of potassium to a banana.

Another reason for ZESPRI’s 2,700 New Zealand growers to rejoice? A hot, dry summer in New Zealand has produced kiwifruit with brix levels (a fruit sweetness measurement) at historic highs, translating into one of the sweetest kiwifruit vintages ever recorded.

2010 marks the 100th anniversary of the first kiwifruit harvest in the country where the fruit gets its name. To mark the occasion, ZESPRI® Kiwifruit is giving away a beachfront vacation for four to the heart of kiwifruit country, the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. To enter the contest, go to http://www.thegreatkiwiadventure.com.

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Cynthia Traina
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