I just read that lemon juice is better for treating cancer than chemotherapy because it doesn't affect the healthy cells. Is there truth to this?

Expert Answers

DrLisaSchwartz (Physician - Oncology - Radiation (Verified) ) - 03 / 22 / 2012

Let me start by saying there are some components of citrus fruits that have anti-tumor activity in pre-clinical studies (those done in test tubes and mice). In particular d-limonene which is a monoterpene found in orange and lemon peels may be active against some tumors and is being investigated in phase I/II trials. Keep in mind this is a concentrated chemical extracted from citrus fruit and given in intravenous form—sound familiar? Yep, this is how chemotherapy got its start. In one trial I read, nausea and vomiting were “dose-limiting toxicities” (one goal of phase I trials is to see how much drug can be tolerated). Side effects like nausea and vomiting occur because of the effect of the drug on normal cells. Now with that said, there is no evidence that lemon juice is effective in the least for treating cancer. As for impact on “normal” cells—have you ever tried drinking much lemon juice? I think you’ll find there is an effect on normal cells.
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