Vitamin C is a key ingredient, required to maintain a healthy immune system. It also helps to cure cold and cough. A new research has given a clear suggestion that vitamin C can also play a vital role in preventing leukaemia, the condition which causes blood cancer. Although it is not sure how much vitamin C is needed specifically, however, researchers now are absolutely glad to find out some of the major benefits of it.
Studies show that deficit of vitamin C in the body may trigger leukaemia, for the vitamin, has a significant role in the development and protection of bone marrow stem cells against cancer. Less amount of vitamin C in the stem cells may produce blood cells at an accelerated rate. This condition increases the risk of blood cancer.
Although previous research had identified a clear link between high levels of vitamin C and lower risk of blood cancer, the mechanism regarding this relationship was not clearly explained. The new research has come up with a prominent biological reason to protect stem cells against blood cancer, a finding that may lead to further effective cancer prevention treatment in near future.
Leukemia is a kind of cancer which hugely affects the blood cells or bone marrow (which produces red blood cells). People, who suffer from an abnormal production of white blood cells, may be vulnerable to the disease.
"The epigenome is a set of mechanisms inside a cell that regulates which genes turn on or turn off," said Michalis Agathocleous, in a Medical Xpress article.
If stem cells fail to receive enough vitamin C in the blood, then the epigenome might be damaged in such a way that might increase the risk of leukaemia.
However, using vitamin C as a treatment to prevent blood cancer has loopholes:
- First, humans cannot create vitamin C on their own, which is also known as ascorbate, reported ILT Science.
- Second, there is no clear idea to see what effect the vitamin actually has on stem cells, thus scientists are struggling to observe stem cell metabolism in a lab setting.
Researchers were able to solve these challenging hurdles to some extent by experimenting on lab mice, which do not produce vitamin C on their own.
The study has few drawbacks. Researchers are not sure as to how much vitamin C is exactly required and what kind of patients would be potentially benefitted from vitamin C intake. Nevertheless, the new research suggests that vitamin C might benefit patients suffering from a particular type of leukaemia known as Clonal haematopoiesis.