Almost every woman over a certain age wants smoother, more youthful-looking skin—and some men, too.
Now, a group of cancer scientists point to new research that reveals why we should all aim for younger-looking skin: it might help us avoid cancer.
Here’s the fascinating story…
A stunning 90 percent of all cancer deaths result from metastasis, the medical term for the spread of cancer from its first site of occurrence to another part of the body.
That’s because conventional therapies don’t have a great track record at keeping cancer from invading other organs or tissues.
How does cancer spread? The answer becomes even more compelling when you realize its link to aging skin.
Researchers now tell us cancer spreads via connective tissue. Specifically, through weak collagen. In other words, the research suggests that cancer could be a disease of collagen.
To begin with what’s collagen?
Collagen is a protein. In fact, it’s the most abundant protein in your body, making up about a third of your body’s total protein stores.
Collagen is also a major building block of youthful skin, as well as bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, the cornea of your eyes and even in your teeth.
The word collagen comes from the Greek word kolla, meaning glue. Collagen holds you together.
Collagen weakens as you age
About 90 percent of your collagen is made of dense fibers packed together into long thin strands.
As you age, you produce less (and poorer quality) collagen. Once you turn 60, collagen levels really plummet. One early sign of collagen loss is saggy, wrinkled skin.
But beyond the damage it inflicts on beauty, lack of collagen can lead to significant health problems such as cancer.
Collagen: Your cancer-fighting ally
Some collagen strands are stronger than steel. Yet certain cancer cell enzymes can eat right through them.1 Studies show that weak collagen can turn and work for the “dark side”, letting cancer cells invade to spread through the body.2
But is collagen the key to stopping the spread of cancer?
The work of two-time Nobel laureate Dr. Linus Pauling suggests the answer is yes. He had remarkable success in stopping cancer metastasis using intravenous vitamin C which, among other things, supports the creation of collagen.
Later, Matthias Rath of Germany joined Dr. Pauling. Together, they conducted a 15-year study showing that cancer is, in fact, a collagen disease.
Their research pointed to the disease becoming fatal when cancer cells cross the collagen matrix and metastasize. In addition, studies have shown that strong collagen levels can keep these cancers from spreading:3
- Synovial sarcoma
But when it comes to collagen and cancer, controversy still rages about how to use vitamin C—or if it should be used at all.
Intravenous or oral vitamin C?
Dr. Pauling promoted high doses of vitamin C, more than one gram per day, saying that it could prevent and treat many common diseases, such as cancer.
For this, mainstream medicine ignored and ridiculed Dr. Pauling and labeled him a quack.
High-dose vitamin C, as you can imagine, is even more controversial than a modest one-gram dose. And this is true although Dr. Pauling isn’t the only doctor to turn to vitamin C for cancer treatment.
About 60 years ago, Toronto doctor William McCormick noticed that his cancer patients often had vitamin C levels so low that they had symptoms of scurvy, a disease born of vitamin C deficiency.
Dr. McCormick reasoned that in patients with such extreme deficiencies, vitamin C might be a viable cancer treatment.
Another physician, Dr. Ewan Cameron, thought vitamin C might suppress cancer by inhibiting hyaluronidase, which weakens the collagen matrix and allows cancer to spread. Dr. Cameron began treating late-stage cancer patients with high dose vitamin C and some patients experienced benefits.
Patients treated with vitamin C lived
four times longer
In 1976, Dr. Cameron teamed up with Dr. Pauling to conduct clinical trials on 100 terminal cancer patients. They compared vitamin C patients to control patients, matching them by age, gender, type of cancer, and clinical stage– all treated by the same doctors in the same hospital.
The only difference was that one group received intravenous vitamin C.
The vitamin C patients experienced improved quality of life and a four-fold increase in survival time. A later Japanese clinical trial showed similar results.
As interest in vitamin C therapy grew, researchers at the Mayo Clinic studied the therapy, too. But in their research vitamin C failed to show positive effects on cancer.
So, why the opposing results?
Two key reasons…
In the Mayo Clinic study, researchers stopped vitamin C treatment at the first sign of cancer progression and switched to traditional chemotherapy only.
Total treatment time in the Mayo study was just 2.5 months. However, during the trials conducted by doctors Pauling and Cameron they treated patients for the entire study period, which was up to 12 years.
What’s more, the Mayo Clinic researchers used only oral vitamin C, at a dosage of ten grams a day. But doctors Cameron and Pauling used a combination of oral and intravenous vitamin C.
This is highly significant. Oral doses require absorption into the gastrointestinal tract as well as transport into the tissues—and that’s only the beginning.
Intravenous vitamin C bypasses these internal controls and goes straight into the bloodstream and tissues. So, it’s safer and easier to reach and maintain a high concentration of vitamin C in the bloodstream and tissues.
The study by doctors Cameron and Pauling achieved sustained plasma concentrations of about ten mM (millimolar) for at least four hours—which, according to preclinical studies, is enough to kill cancer cells.
And that’s why many say that the Mayo Clinic study does not disprove high dose vitamin C efficacy against cancer.4 Unfortunately, the flawed Mayo study did dampen enthusiasm for the treatment.
More recently, preclinical studies show that both high-dose oral vitamin C and intravenous vitamin C can help cancer patients. In fact, I know of a number of alternative cancer doctors who rely on intravenous vitamin C as part of their treatment protocol. And of course, vitamin C has many other benefits such as improving immune health and promoting more youthful-looking skin, too.
How to cancer-proof your collagen levels
To make your collagen cancer-resistant, you need protective nutrients that your body can’t produce on its own. These three nutritional building blocks of collagen are critical:
- Vitamin C
- Lysine (an amino acid)
- Proline (an amino acid)
Deficiencies in any of these nutrients can lead to collagen loss, paving the way for cancer, heart disease, and more.
Studies suggest that these three key nutrients work synergistically and have greater benefits when combined with EGCG (green tea extract) and the antioxidant quercetin.
In addition, it’s important to avoid habits that can deplete your stores of these nutrients and result in collagen loss. For instance, you should cut sugar. Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) form when sugars attach to proteins… which makes your collagen brittle and weak. So, follow a low-carb diet that’s also low on fruit.
You should also consider these supplements:
- Niacin (vitamin B3). It promotes healthy collagen and helps prevent AGEs.
- L-arginine (an amino acid.) Needed to produce collagen and elastin.
Plus, when you make lifestyle choices to support collagen production, not only will you help protect your body against cancer but you’ll get the awesome side benefit of more youthful skin… and who wouldn’t want that?