Vitamin C Intake Linked to Breast Cancer Mortality Risk
Linus Pauling fans will be thrilled to hear that yet another study on the effectiveness of vitamin C for preventing cancer has been released! Last year, researchers at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet conducted a meta analysis on ten observational studies that included 17,696 women with breast cancer. How’s that for a sample size?
The researchers found that subjects who supplemented with vitamin C had a 19% lower risk of total mortality and a 15% lower risk of dying from breast cancer than those who did not supplement at all.
Boosting vitamin C intake through dietary changes was also found to reduce overall mortality by 27% and breast cancer mortality by 22% in association with each 100mg per day increase in consumption. That’s huge!
Scientists suggest that this humble vitamin fights cancer by scavenging free radicals and producing hydrogen peroxide, a chemical compound thought to target and kill cancer cells.
Folate Levels Linked to Survival Rates in Women with Breast Cancer
Vitamin C’s alphabet next door neighbor, vitamin B9, has been soaking in the limelight for the last few weeks after researchers from California State University, the University of California, and the CDC reported better survival among postmenopausal breast cancer patients with high blood levels of folate.
The study followed 471 women diagnosed with breast cancer between 1994-1995 and measured their folate levels in plasma samples that were taken shortly after diagnosis. About 6.7 years later, 85 of the original 471 patients had passed.
The researchers found that women who fell in the highest 25% for folate levels had a 59% lower chance of dying from the cancer compared to subjects in the lowest 25%. That’s OVER 50%! Excuse our excitement, we get a little worked up when nutritional health studies make headlines.
Why Supplementing with Folic Acid is Better Than Eating Your B’s Alone
Both supplements and dietary intake of folate were strongly correlated with the amount of the essential vitamin measured in the bloodstream, but the researchers noted that folate from folic acid supplements tends to be more easily absorbed by the body than the folate found naturally in foods:
“Folic acid supplementation compared to dietary folate alone, was not only significantly associated, but also much more highly correlated with circulating total folate concentrations, suggesting that in the absence of folic acid fortification and/or consuming a low folate diet, folic acid supplementation may improve survival after breast cancer diagnosis,” said one the researchers.
So while it’s important to eat lots of folate-rich foods like dark leafy greens, citrus fruits, avocado, & legumes, stay away from sugary cereals fortified with B vitamins and instead opt for a high-quality folic acid supplement!