Vitamin C

Last Modified: January 28, 2011


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

Is vitamin C good to cure cancer or take during a lot of during treatment?


Karen Wagner MS, RD, LDN, Clinical dietitian specialist for the Abramson Cancer Center, responds:

Vitamin C use during and after cancer treatment is currently being researched in a number of ways. At this point Vitamin C does not appear to cure cancer. High dose intravenous vitamin C is under research at a number of cancer centers to determine if it is helpful during treatment, but at this time it is not a standard part of treatment. If you are interested in these trials, please visit the National Cancer Institute for open trials. Oral Vitamin C supplements are generally considered safe at doses up to about 1000 milligrams per day, although they can cause diarrhea, nausea, cramps and should be used with caution with people with a history of kidney stones. Furthermore starting Vitamin C supplements during radiation is NOT recommended based on possible interactions with radiation and high dose antioxidants (Including Vitamin C, E, A and selenium). Eating foods high in Vitamin C seems to be very safe and increasing food sources of Vitamin C is generally a healthy recommendation. Foods high in Vitamin C are red bell peppers, citrus fruits, and green leafy vegetables. Do speak with your doctor, dietitian and/ or pharmacist to make sure that these foods will not interfere with any other medications you are taking or worsen any symptoms that you are having.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. See the entire transcript of Integrating Complementary Therapies into Your Cancer Care.