Has vitamin C REALLY been shown to cure colon cancer? This Week in Science for Holistic Health – 19Dec2015

Done-for-you health articles

Welcome to the second edition of This Week in Science for Holistic Health update!

I scour the science sites for new, interesting and relevant information that applies to a holistic approach to health.


Inclusion Criteria:

  • Studies must be published in a peer-reviewed medical journal or highly credible website (e.g. Cochrane.org) within the last few weeks, UNLESS I’m responding to something in the media recently,
  • Articles must be relevant to a holistic approach to health (specifically nutrition & lifestyle factors),
  • They must have been done on people (NO animal or tissue studies here, since those have unknown relevance to people),
  • I also include new science-based books that look interesting (’cause I LOVE reading!).
  • P.S. – The titles are hyperlinked to the actual studies, so feel free to “geek out”. 🙂

Enjoy!  🙂

This issue:

  • Media – Nope, vitamin C has NOT been shown to cure colon cancer
  • Disease Prevention – Nutrition/Lifestyle approach recommended to prevent kidney stones
  • Supplements – New kit to test TCM products (what plant/animal do they contain?  Is there any adulteration/contamination with medications and/or heavy metals?)

But before we dive into the post – Wishing you a healthy and happy Christmas!

Merry Christmas From Leesa at Nutrition Interactions


In the media this week

Getting all stressed out by vitamin C

Nope – Vitamin C has NOT been shown to cure or even treat colon cancer.  This study was done in cultured human cells with two of the common colorectal cancer mutations, so it doesn’t even cover all of the known cancer mutations.  For more information on science-based complementary and integrative approaches to cancer, see this link.

Yun et al. studied human colorectal cancer cells with KRAS or BRAF mutations and found that they “handle” vitamin C in a different way than other cells, ultimately to their detriment (see the Perspective by Reczek and Chandel). Because the abundance of a certain receptor is increased in the mutant cells, they take up the oxidized form of vitamin C (dehydroascorbate). This leads to oxidative stress, inactivation of a glycolytic enzyme required by the mutant cells for growth, and finally cell death. Whether the selective toxicity of vitamin C to these mutant cells can be exploited therapeutically remains unclear.

Nope - Vitamin C has NOT been shown to cure colon cancer in humans. #vitamin #cancer Click To Tweet


Food and Eating

Effects of Recording Food Intake Using Cell Phone Camera Pictures on Energy Intake and Food Choice

It seems that in at least one study of college students found that when they document their food intake online they remember eating more meat and veggies than when they take photos of each meal.  Interesting…

The present study aimed to assess the effect of using cell phone pictures to record food intake on energy intake and food choice in college students. The effectiveness and acceptability of cell phone picture-based diet recording also was assessed. …

Intake of meat and vegetable servings were significantly higher in the memory period compared with the cell phone period, regardless of the order. Results from the focus group indicated a positive attitude toward the use of cell phone pictures in recording food intake and an increased awareness of food choice and portion size….

Cell phone pictures may be an easy, relevant, and accessible method of diet self-monitoring when aiming at dietary changes. Future trials should combine this technique with healthy eating education.



How do you have your clients document their meals?  Would you recommend it?  Add your tips to the comments at the bottom of this post. 🙂


Diseases/Conditions and Prevention/Treatments

Dietary recommendations and treatment of patients with recurrent idiopathic calcium stone disease.

Looks like a holistic approach to calcium-containing kidney stones is being recommended in this article!  Look at urinary, metabolic, nutritional, environmental and lifestyle risk factors, and then motivate the patient to adhere to their specifically-tailored advice.  AND, preventing stones actually saves suffering and money.  Win-win!

This review describes the various dietary regimens that have been used to advise patients on how to prevent the recurrence of their calcium-containing kidney stones. The conclusion is that although there is some general advice that may be useful to many patients, it is more efficacious to screen each patient individually to identify his/her main urinary, metabolic, nutritional, environmental, and lifestyle risk factors for stone-formation and then tailor specific advice for that particular patient based on the findings from these investigations. If the patient can be motivated to adhere strictly to this conservative approach to the prophylactic management of their stone problem over a long time period, then it is possible to prevent them from forming further stones. This approach to stone management is considerably less expensive than any of the procedures currently available for stone removal or disintegration. …

It is also of immense relief and benefit to the patients not to have to suffer the discomfort and inconvenience of further stone episodes.

Holistic approach to preventing calcium-containing kidney stones? #nutrition #lifestyle #kidneystones Click To Tweet

Sedentary behaviors and light-intensity activities in relation to colorectal cancer risk

This meta-analysis (i.e. one of the highest levels of scientific studies because it analyzes/reviews multiple previous studies on the topic)(1) showed that sedentary behaviour was associated with (not causal, ‘associated with’) an increased risk of colorectal cancer in women but not men.

A recent meta-analysis found that sedentary behaviors are associated with an increased colorectal cancer (CRC) risk. Yet, the finding on TV viewing time, the most widely used surrogate of sedentary behaviors, was based on only two studies. Furthermore, light-intensity activities (e.g., standing and slow walking), non-sedentary by posture but close to sedentary behaviors by Metabolic Equivalent Task values, have not been investigated in relation to CRC risk. … In women, those highly sedentary and physically less active had an approximately 41% elevated risk of CRC (95% CI=1.03 to 1.92) compared with those less sedentary and physically more active. The other sedentary behaviors and light-intensity activities were not related to CRC risk in women or men. In conclusion, we found that prolonged sitting time watching TV was associated with an increased CRC risk in women but not in men.

Yoga participation and all-cause mortality: National prospective cohort study.

This study looked at over 22,000 people who participated in the 1999–2006 National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey, of which 240 reported doing yoga.  Looks like, after adjusting for age, that yoga was not shown to reduce all-cause mortality (i.e. death from any cause).

The relatively few studies examining the effect of yoga participation on chronic disease come from small, short-term studies. As a result, the purpose of this study was to prospectively examine the effects of yoga participation on all-cause mortality in a large nationally representative study with a relatively long follow-up period (up to 12 year follow-up). …

In conclusion, yoga participation was not significantly associated with reduced all-cause mortality risk in an adjusted model.

Gut microbiota in health and disease: an overview focused on metabolic inflammation.

Science is just starting to figure out the vast role that gut microbiota have on human health.

Past decade has witnessed an enormous amount of research investigation and advancement in the field of obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome, with the gut microbiota receiving a special focus in the triangle of nutrition, health and diseases. In particular, the role of gut microbiota in health and diseases has been one of the most vigorous and intriguing field of recent research; however, much still remains to be elucidated about its precise role in host metabolism and immune functions and its implication in the onset, progression as well as in the amelioration of metabolic ailments.

Science is just starting to learn the role of the gut microbiota #gut #bacteria #microbiome #health Click To Tweet



Dietary Supplementation with Specific Collagen Peptides Has a Body Mass Index-Dependent Beneficial Effect on Cellulite Morphology

BCP = Bioactive Collagen Peptides, the brand VERISOL was used for this study.

In this double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, we investigated the efficacy of specific bioactive collagen peptides (BCP) on the cellulite treatment of normal and overweight women….The results of the study demonstrated that a regular ingestion of BCP over a period of 6 months led to a clear improvement of the skin appearance in women suffering from moderate cellulite. Based on the current data, it can be concluded that a long-term therapy with orally administered BCP leads to an improvement of cellulite and has a positive impact on skin health.

In the present study, it could be demonstrated that a daily dosage of 2.5 g BCP has a positive impact on women affected by moderate cellulite. Beside a significant improvement in the cellulite score, results also revealed a significant decrease in the waviness of the thigh skin as well as dermis density strengthening after BCP treatment.

Two VERISOL products are approved for use in Canada, the medicinal ingredient is “hydrolyzed collagen” – Verisol P, and Verisol B.

Recommended Use or Purpose:
Helps increase skin elasticity. Helps augment skin elasticity. Helps promote healthy collagen production. Helps promote healthy elastin production. Helps reduce wrinkles and fine lines. Helps reduce eye wrinkles. Helps reduce eye wrinkles within 4 weeks. Helps reduce fine facial lines. Helps increase skin elasticity and reduce wrinkles. Helps increase skin density. Helps with the appearance of smooth skin. Helps to enhance skin surface profile. 

Risk Information:

Cautions and Warnings 
Consult a health care practitioner prior to use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Known Adverse Reactions 
May cause mild gastrointestinal disturbances.

I cannot seem to find the NHPD-approved product for sale in the usual online channels.  Let me know in the comments below if you can find it!  Thx! 🙂

Nutritional Supplementation with Chlorella pyrenoidosa Lowers Serum Methylmalonic Acid in Vegans and Vegetarians with a Suspected Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Looks like there is enough bio-available vitamin B12 in chlorella to be successfully used by vegans and/or vegetarians.

Since vitamin B12 occurs in substantial amounts only in foods derived from animals, vegetarians and particularly vegans are at risk of developing deficiencies of this essential vitamin. The chlorella used for this study is a commercially available whole-food supplement, which is believed to contain the physiologically active form of the vitamin. … The results of this work suggest that the vitamin B12 in chlorella is bioavailable and such dietary supplementation is a natural way for vegetarians and vegans to get the vitamin B12 they need.

Multiple-micronutrient supplementation for women during pregnancy

Pregnant women may be better off taking more than just an iron and folic acid supplement.

The findings provide a strong basis to guide the replacement of current strategies to supplement pregnant women with iron and folic acid alone with multiple-micronutrients supplements containing iron and folic acid

Combined DNA, toxicological and heavy metal analyses provides an auditing toolkit to improve pharmacovigilance of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)

A new test kit has been created which can be used to test TCM supplements:

  • to confirm the actual plant/animal species in the bottle (by DNA analysis),
  • to confirm whether certain prescription medications have been illegally added,
  • to look for any heavy metal contamination.

The use of complementary and alternative medicine is becoming increasingly popular worldwide1,2. It is generally believed that since herbal remedies are of natural origin, they are therefore safe, that there are legal safeguards in place to ensure quality, and that they have fewer side effects than conventional medicines3,4. Recently, questions surrounding the safety and legality of complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs), such as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), have prompted increased scrutiny. Several studies have shown that there is a lack of accuracy in labelling of some TCM, with undeclared animals and plants, including toxic and endangered species identified by DNA analyses5,6,7. It has also been shown that some TCM contain unsafe levels of heavy metals8, or can be adulterated with pharmaceutical drugs9,10,11. However, the negative health impacts of herbal medicines are difficult to quantify, as reporting rates for adverse reactions are low and the use of herbal medicines is often not reported to healthcare professionals9.

Here is a very interesting image showing that 24 of the 26 Australian TCM samples tested positive for at least one of the three concerns.

Of the 26 TCMs investigated, all but two can be classified as non-compliant on the grounds of DNA, toxicology and heavy metals, or a combination thereof (Fig. 1). In total, 92% were deemed non-compliant with some medicines posing a serious health risk.

New kit to test TCMs for source of ingredient, and contamination #TCM #supplement #safety Click To Tweet

I recently wrote a blog post about the Canadian supplement regulations and requirements where I provide links to Health Canada’s recalls and safety alerts (when an adulterated or otherwise unsafe product is found and is announced to the public), as well as how to report side effects of supplements.

Did I miss any amazing and relevant science-based holistic health news? Share in the comments below. 🙂

(1) Compound Interest – Rough Guide to Types of Scientific Evidence

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I'm Leesa Klich, MSc., R.H.N.
Health writer – Blogging expert – Research nerd.

I help health and wellness professionals build their authority with scientific health content. They want to stand out in the crowded, often unqualified, market of entrepreneurs. I help them establish trust with their audiences, add credibility to their services, and save them a ton of time so they don’t have to do the research or writing themselves. To work with me, click here.

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