Vitamin C Protects Against Stomach Cancer
Higher blood levels of vitamin C can prevent stomach cancer, according to
new European research. A large study, with participants from 23 centers in
ten European countries, has found that vitamin C protects against a variety
of cancers that arise in the stomach and esophagus. Healthnotes Newswire
(August 10, 2006)
According to Dr. Mazda Jenab, a scientist in the Nutrition and Hormones
Group of the International Agency for Research on Cancer and lead author of
the study, the protective effect of vitamin C was even more pronounced in
red meat eaters. This may be because vitamin C can prevent nitrites
(preservatives found in many meat products) from being transformed into
It is surprising that the study did not find any relationship between gastric cancer and vitamin C eaten in food. However, the highest intake
tracked by the researchers was 160 mg per day, which may not result in
maximum vitamin C concentration in the blood. Eating five or more servings
of fruits or vegetables each day would give a person around 210 mg or more
of vitamin C, which would come closer to maximizing blood levels.
See Other LifeSource Vitamins Vitamin C Products, Articles, and
Gastric cancer includes cancers of the stomach and of the lower esophagus,
where it meets the stomach. Stomach cancer has few symptoms in the early
stages; once discovered, it is usually untreatable, so prevention is
Certain foods and beverages may raise the risk of gastric cancer. For
example, a diet that is high in foods preserved by drying, smoking,
salting, or pickling raises the risk because these foods usually contain
nitrates or nitrites, which are transformed in the gut into carcinogenic
nitrosamines. Drinking too much alcohol or smoking also can cause stomach
cancer. Vitamin C has been shown to block the transformation of nitrites
into cancer-causing nitrosamines.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and scavenger of dietary free radicals
that can damage cells in the body. Foods rich in vitamin C include citrus
fruits (oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines, grapefruit), rose hips, acerola
cherries, papayas, cantaloupes, and strawberries. Many vegetables are also
high in vitamin C, including red and green peppers, broccoli, Brussels
sprouts, tomatoes, asparagus, parsley, dark leafy greens, and cabbage.
Animal foods contain almost no vitamin C. Vitamin C supplements are either
made from foods, or they can be synthesized from corn syrup.
"Stomach cancer prevention may be enhanced by eating a diet high in fresh
foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables," said Alan R. Gaby, MD,
Healthnotes chief medical editor and coauthor of Natural Medicine, Optimal
Wellness: The Patient's Guide to Health and Healing. "Limit your intake of
smoked foods and nitrate- and nitrite-preserved foods. Consume alcohol
moderately and don't smoke."
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