Sunday does well on high-dose vitamin C

By Peter Griffin 20/09/2010 8


Maybe it was Sunday reporter Simon Mercep’s seven years working for Fair Go that gave him the knack for sussing out claims that sound too good to be true.

His story last night on cancer sufferers who are receiving large intravenous doses of vitamin C as part of their cancer treatment was the most balanced, most rational look at the high-dose vitamin C issue so far in the recent flurry of TV stories that have looked at vitamin C as an alternative treatment for serious medical conditions – from cancer to pneumonia.

Even the promo blurb for the Sunday piece last night suggested the show’s makers were out to finally give the issue a decent treatment.

vit cHealth or hindrance?

What’s in an orange apart from juice, pips and pith?

For increasing numbers of cancer sufferers there’s also hope in oranges, but is it false hope? They are pumping themselves with highly concentrated Vitamin C in the hope of buying more time and even getting better.

Mainstream medicine often warns them off Vitamin C therapy because they argue there’s not enough research to back it.

However, New Zealand scientists have now taken a crucial first step in deciphering how Vitamin C might affect tumour growth.

This week a debate where emotion and science clash head on.

Compare that to the work of Melanie Reid on rival show 60 Minutes, who in her first story on high doses of vitamin C being used to treat an ailing farmer who had swine flu but recovered after receiving high-dose vitamin C, didn’t bother to interview any independent scientists. The name of that episode: Living Proof.  Discussion of that story, which Reid followed up with a marginally better piece that at least sought the views of an expert but succeeded in showing Reid’s lack of objectivity on the issue, has been raging on this Sciblogs thread.

Mercep didn’t have to really push the boat out to do a good job on the story last night. He just resorted to the basic journalistic focus on balance, which I hasten to add, doesn’t always apply particularly well to science where the weight of evidence is often overwhelmingly on one side.

But what Mercep did was give everyone a fair hearing. He interviewed two scientists – Dr Shaun Holt who is critical of high-dose vitamin C (“avoid and try something else”)  and the University of Otago’s Margreet Vissers who is undertaking research into the interaction of vitamin C and cancer tumors and sees potential (and a need for more research funding). He also interviewed a Waikato oncologist who was sceptical of the benefits of high-dose vitamin C (“I wouldn’t try it myself”) and a GP who is actually treating around 20 patients with it.

He rounded things out with the all-important human anecdotes, by interviewing two people suffering from cancer who have received high-dose vitamin C  at a cost of up to $300 a week (one of whom has just died). The result is that the story covers the science well and the emotional side too and you get a more accurate idea of the efficacy of this type of treatment – which is still largely unknown, but where the scientific community see enough potential to carry out further research in this area.

I really felt for the two cancer victims, the older of which was extremely pragmatic in admitting that he didn’t know whether the vitamin C was behind him feeling better, but that with his life at stake, he was willing to try it and other things in his attempts to fight his cancer.

It can be done

What the Sunday piece shows is that a complex science-related issue can be dealt with intelligently, rationally and compassionately in a relatively short segment on a prime time current affairs show.


8 Responses to “Sunday does well on high-dose vitamin C”

  • Wow, that was every good. As you say, quite a contrast to Melanie Reid giving two Aussies that provide vitC treatment an open platform and then leering and jabbing away at at the token expert she got to represent the mainstream position.

  • How many people die a DAY on Earth that utilize the Big Pharmaceutical forms of treatment and leave their families in mountains of debt thanks to Chemo (which not only destroys Cancer cell but also compromises the immune system so that eventually Cancer will usually come back in another part of the body) and radiation treatment?

    The answer? a number in the 1000’s. The Cancer Industry is a BOOMING trade. At the cost of suffering, this industry is cleaning up. I would find it rare to see a whole brained perspective on anything on TV. Its a left brained world. Looking at parts (rather than looking at the whole picture) will only get you part of the way to the place you need to be in order to understand why its important to NOT allow for Natural Treatments that WORK have precedence over ones that don’t and never will.

    Its much like Nikola Tesla offering J P Morgan ABUNDANT POLLUTION FREE ENERGY. The first thing he asked was, ‘where’s the meter?’

    The cure for Cancer has been hidden in the Rockefeller Institute (Dr Richard Day’s March 20th 1969 speech will account for that fact) for 50 years AT LEAST. No conspiracy there. A simple fact.

    http://www.davidicke.com/articles/medicalhealth-mainmenu-37/29121

    Tullio Simoncini is a Oncologist. Who Big Pharma came after headlong and eventually had him imprisoned for 3 years for the death of two patients (hhhmm… 8 million die every year worldwide from Cancer, USING the traditional treatments) GO FIGURE. However the man continued with his treatment methods when released from prison and his testimonials speak for themselves. His treatments are used at the Shen Clinic too on the Isle of Wight to great success with ALL kinds of Cancers

    Finding a means to treat disease that is NOT under the jurisdiction of the Medical Mafia or those who fund them (Big Pharma) means you are INSTANTLY bound to be ridiculed by doctors and scientists on their payrolls and by the media.

    Cancer is a fungus and easily treatable with various natural methods. NONE of which can be patented by Big Pharmaceutical companies. If you look back at ancient forms of medicine and healing that have been present for millenia, Ayurveda for example they have prescribed Sodium Bicarbonate for Cancer thousands of years ago.

    Well you can thank one J.D Rockefeller for the Pharmaceutical drugs and the cartels we have today that have doctors and scientists (not all but most) being bitched up to the system and they have become nothing but pimps for these organisations selling their drugs and treatments.

    How long has modern (western) medicine been around? Maybe 300 years… that a push. To say that it has precedence over thousands of years of medicinal approaches to these diseases such as Cancer (a fungus) is simply arrogant.

    People are scared into line by reports like this. Would I fall into line if I developed a candida colony in my pancreas or lungs? Well… 8 million people die EVERY year even with TRADITIONAL treatments and the COST of these treatments is ASTRONOMICAL with NO guarantee of success. If people knew that fact then I would suggest that they would consider doing more research and then make up their own minds about which treatment the would want to take.

    In the end though the bodies ability to heal itself is the most important fact that is not well pursued by science. The ‘belief’ in success goes a long way to assisting in a recovery. You only have to trace that element back to Quantum Mechanics and the work of intention.

    http://www.theshenclinic.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=19&Itemid=22&lang=en

    This interesting research asks some pertinent questions. If salvestrols destroy cancer cells then why is our food sprayed with contaminants that kill these helpful molecules? Why is there a MASSIVE push for regulation of food in the EU and why have natural medicines all but become illegal (herbs especially) in the EU?

    http://gaia-health.com/articles301/000301-big-pharma-scores-big-win-medicinal-herbs-disappear-eu.shtml

    The Codex Alimentarius will put pay to Organic Produce and make sure that we are only allowed to eat food that is regulated and insure that eventually humans will be dependent on foods that have no nutritional value.

    These are not conspiracies. These are simple facts.

    I believe in being informed and looking at life with a balance of both left-brained perception (logical, sequential, rational, analytical, objective, looking at parts) and right brained (random, intuitive, holistic, synthesizing, subjective, looks at wholes) thinking.

    I lost my father to cancer, watched him rot away on chemo and radiation therapy, plied with so many drugs he hardly even knew where he was. I can tell you right now. I WOULD NEVER use the traditional methods for treating this disease on myself.

    http://www.naturalnews.com/021892.html

    why aren’t people given a chance to decide for themselves? New information is available to us all the time about treatment of disease in ways that are simple and effective.

    The answer? Sickness is a booming industry.

    http://www.cancertutor.com/WarBetween/War_Research.html

    sickening amounts of money and STILL 8 million people die every year to this disease. There is no money in cures. The money is derived from suffering and ‘hope’.

    I personally applaud those who investigate further into methods to treat disease in holistic ways. Diet, lifestyle and mental attitudes all need be assess when it comes to being diagnosed.

  • David Icke?? David Icke as a reliable source of information on anything, let alone science? The same man who has written about how the various people in power round the globe are either controlled by ‘reptiloids’ or are themselves our reptilian overlords? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Icke

    I’m afraid that neither Icke nor Mike Adams of NaturalNews are reliable sources of science-based information on health.

    Similarly the argument that cancer is a fungus has been roundly refuted (http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/08/a_fungus_among_us_in_oncology.php) – it appears to be based on the observation that (some) fungi are white & (some) cancers are white, ergo! fungus = cancer. Hard to see how that one explains melanoma, for example. Not to mention the very many fungi that are brightly coloured…

  • cancer is a fungus

    To add to what Alison said, if tumours were or contained fungi, cancer genomics would show fungal genes, which would be *big* news and we’d have all heard about it. Pathologists would have known about it for years, too.

    (There are cancers with links to viral infections, however. Vaccinations are one option to tackle these.)

  • “How many people die a DAY on Earth that utilize the Big Pharmaceutical forms of treatment and leave their families in mountains of debt thanks to Chemo?”

    If you want to throw around questions, then how about the following:

    How many people get to spend more time with their loved ones because they use chemo/radiotherapy to cure or treat their diseases? 1000’s, 10,000’s, 100,000’s a day?

    How many people die needlessly because they use ineffectual natural therapies instead of chemo? Probably 100’s per day?

    How many chemotherapeutic treatments are fully subsidised by the New Zealand government? about 50 proven therapies.

  • “The Cancer Industry is a BOOMING trade.”
    What an offensive statement. This statement insults all of the hard working medical and biological scientists who work hard to understand and develop treatments for cancer and other diseases. Believing that every medical professional is part of a medical mafia or conspiracy is ridiculous.

    “Looking at parts (rather than looking at the whole picture) will only get you part of the way to the place you need to be in order to understand”
    This is why medical scientists and physicians ARE taking a more and more holistic approach in studying disease.

    “why its important to NOT allow for Natural Treatments that WORK have precedence over ones that don’t and never will.”

    No one is “not allowing” natural treatments to work. Most of them don’t work all by themselves. And the ones that do work are studied and then developed into …guess what…. medicine!

    “The cure for Cancer has been hidden in the Rockefeller Institute (Dr Richard Day’s March 20th 1969 speech will account for that fact) for 50 years AT LEAST. No conspiracy there. A simple fact.”

    I see. And who is hiding it there? The illuminati, aliens (possibly of the reptoid variety)?

    “Finding a means to treat disease that is NOT under the jurisdiction of the Medical Mafia or those who fund them (Big Pharma) means you are INSTANTLY bound to be ridiculed by doctors and scientists on their payrolls and by the media.”

    More blatant and offensive attacks on physicians and medical scientists. You obviously have never worked with, or meet any of the dedicated people who work in these fields and who would support ANY treatment SO LONG AS IT WORKS. This is why many such professionals attack natural therapies – because they HAVE invested time and effort looking into them only to be disappointed by them.

    “Cancer is a fungus and easily treatable with various natural methods. NONE of which can be patented by Big Pharmaceutical companies.”
    As Alison and Grant have pointed out this shows you have no understanding of science. First cancer is not just one disease. Secondly, if it was a fungus, this could easily be proved as Alision and Grant have pointed out. Thirdly, your assessment that fungi can all be treated with natural remedies is incorrect.
    And finally natural treatments can be, in effect, patented, by isolating the active components.

    “Well you can thank one J.D Rockefeller for the Pharmaceutical drugs and the cartels we have today that have doctors and scientists (not all but most) being bitched up to the system and they have become nothing but pimps for these organisations selling their drugs and treatments.”

    Yet more unjustified and conspiracy theory based insults. I guess if you have no facts to back up your argument you suppose insults and conspiracy theories will work?

    “How long has modern (western) medicine been around? Maybe 300 years… that a push. To say that it has precedence over thousands of years of medicinal approaches to these diseases such as Cancer (a fungus) is simply arrogant.”
    Much of modern medicine is derived from observation of nature and the human body and by utilising and refining traditional treatments. Over 70% of drugs currently in use are derived or inspired by nature.
    And if the few useful treatments that were available hundreds of years ago were so great, then why did humans of such times have such short life spans compared to modern man. Possibly because even a simple cut, toothache or virus could kill?

    “Well… 8 million people die EVERY year even with TRADITIONAL treatments”

    And how many millions live each year because of medical treatments.
    How many of this 8 million die because of old age, AIDS, or car accidents all of which have no medical (or natural) cures?

    “and the COST of these treatments is ASTRONOMICAL with NO guarantee of success.”
    Better that a treatment is expensive and works than cheap and useless – although some treatments like homeopathy manage to be both useless and expensive.

    “If people knew that fact then I would suggest that they would consider doing more research and then make up their own minds about which treatment the would want to take.”

    Most scientists I know have initially given “alternative” treatments a fair consideration, however, when we read meaningless statements about water having memory or inaccurate use of terms such as “quantum mechanics” we see alternative therapies for the delusions that they are.

    “In the end though the bodies ability to heal itself is the most important fact that is not well pursued by science. The ‘belief’ in success goes a long way to assisting in a recovery. You only have to trace that element back to Quantum Mechanics and the work of intention.”

    Sorry, but I know for a fact that belief does not work. Every morning I try and believe I will not see another inane, scientifically bereft, conspiracy laden argument on this blog, but unfortunately they just keep on coming.

    “This interesting research asks some pertinent questions. If salvestrols destroy cancer cells then why is our food sprayed with contaminants that kill these helpful molecules?”
    Fact #1 Cancer is not just one disease or one type of cell
    Fact #2 You cannot KILL a molecule! Molecules are not alive.

    “Why is there a MASSIVE push for regulation of food in the EU and why have natural medicines all but become illegal (herbs especially) in the EU?”
    Probably because gullible people suffer illness and death at the hands of “natural” practitioners who prescribe useless or dangerous herbal concoctions?

    The Codex Alimentarius will put pay to Organic Produce and make sure that we are only allowed to eat food that is regulated and insure that eventually humans will be dependent on foods that have no nutritional value.
    Pure propaganda. Food is quite different from hazardous plants and herbs. Anyone can grow organic foods in their own garden so how could this be outlawed.

    “These are not conspiracies. These are simple facts.”
    Actually these are not facts they ARE conspiracies (and poorly thought out ones at that)

    “I lost my father to cancer, watched him rot away on chemo and radiation therapy, plied with so many drugs he hardly even knew where he was. I can tell you right now. I WOULD NEVER use the traditional methods for treating this disease on myself.”

    I am sorry to hear of your loss. My experience of chemotherapy is quite different. It means my mother survived breast cancer and my aunt was with us for two years longer than aggressive ovarian cancer would have allowed.
    Cancer treatments are not always comfortable for the patient and they don’t always work. But they do allow many people to survive otherwise lethal diseases. Perhaps your father suffered from one of the cancers that is harder to treat, but do you really believe that he would have lived longer without the treatments?

    “why aren’t people given a chance to decide for themselves?”

    Why are there laws to wear seatbelts and cycle helmets? Laws to drive on the left hand side of the road?
    Answer – to protect us from danger

    “I personally applaud those who investigate further into methods to treat disease in holistic ways. Diet, lifestyle and mental attitudes all need be assess when it comes to being diagnosed.”
    At last something we agree on. I also applaud those who look at possible treatments of disease so long as they do it honestly and scientifically. Unfortunately most “alternative” therapy advocates do neither while also making money out of their dodgy treatments.

    I fear your bad experiences with your fathers treatments make you overlook the many patients who are successfully treated with chemotherapy. There is no guarantee with any medical treatment, but many of them a re successful for many people.
    Chemotherapy did not cure my aunts cancer but it did give us longer with her. I wish that cancer therapies were more advanced than they are so she could have been cured, but it isn’t.
    I know people who work for cancer research in New Zealand and they are the hardest working most honest people that I know. If for one moment they thought that an alternative therapy might work or that an existing therpay didn’t work they would be making it public.

  • The Codex Alimentarius will put pay to Organic Produce and make sure that we are only allowed to eat food that is regulated and insure that eventually humans will be dependent on foods that have no nutritional value.
    I’m sorry but all I can think of here is the incarnation of Famine in the wonderful Good Omens by Pratchett & Gaiman. If foods have no nutritional value then humans won’t be dependent on them because they’ll be dead (which was Famine’s idea all along, he just had a modern take on it). Some degree of regulation is necessary – it’s how we make sure there’s no brucellosis or Listeria in milk products, no Salmonella in eggs, none of the lethal E,coli variants in meat. And of course, it’s how we try to stop gullible consumers from being poisoned by so-called TCM products that contain cadmium, lead, &/or prescription drugs.

    As Michael says, in the past, when people lived ‘natural’ lives & relied on ‘natural’ or ‘traditional’ products, they also lived much shorter lives.

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