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IV Vitamin C

High-dose IV vitamin C therapy is a natural, yet powerful intervention that is a cornerstone in most integrative and complementary cancer care programs around the world. It has been used since the 1950s as a tool to selectively target and eliminate cancer cells without damaging healthy cells or causing side effects.

There is a growing body of scientific evidence that supports the efficacy and safety of IV vitamin C infusions for cancer. The research shows that high-dose IV vitamin C has potent anti-cancer effects, makes cancer cells more sensitive to chemotherapy drugs, mitigates fatigue in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and reduces the toxic side effects [1].

Despite some controversy over the years, the science is gradually becoming clear that high-dose vitamin C protocols are beneficial for patients with a range of different cancer types, both as an alternative therapy and as an adjunct to standard of care treatments.

However, in order to achieve therapeutic benefits, vitamin C must be administered intravenously (directly into the bloodstream via an IV drip) and at sufficiently high doses [2]. It is not possible to achieve the same potent anti-cancer effects when vitamin C is taken orally.


How IV Vitamin C works

What Research Says about IV Vitamin C

There is now a growing consensus in the scientific literature that IV vitamin C is a safe and supportive intervention for cancerpatients. It helps to lower inflammation, improves symptoms related to antioxidant deficiency, alleviates disease processes, and reduces the side effects of standard cancer treatments [6].

Over the past century, the idea that vitamin C can actually treat cancer has been controversial. However, there are well documented cases where patients with advanced cancers had unexpectedly long survival times and improved symptoms after receiving high-dose intravenous vitamin C therapy. In light of these findings, researchers called for a reassessment of the role of high-dose IV vitamin C therapy in cancer treatment [7].

New knowledge is now emerging regarding the anti-cancer properties of vitamin C. Recent high-profile studies have rekindled interest in high-dose vitamin C for cancer treatment. These studies show that vitamin C targets many of the mechanisms that cancer cells use for their survival and growth [8].

After 60 years of research on vitamin C as an anti-cancer agent, a 2022 study confirms that high-dose intravenousvitamin C has many benefits including: “cytotoxicity for cancer cells but not for normal cells; improved quality of life for cancer patients; protection of normal tissues from toxicity caused by chemotherapy; reinforcement of the action of radiation and some types of chemotherapy; immune system enhancement; and strengthening of collagen” [9].

Another recent study from 2021 highlights mounting evidence that vitamin C has the potential to be a potent anti-cancer agent when administered intravenously and in high doses [10]. Early phase clinical trials have confirmed safety and indicated efficacy in eradicating tumor cells of various cancer types [10].

History of IV Vitamin C

The use of high-dose vitamin C as a cancer therapy began in the 1950s. William McCormick, a Canadian physician, observed that cancer patients often had low vitamin C levels and presented with symptoms similar to scurvy. This led McCormick to formulate the hypothesis that vitamin C may help to prevent cancer from spreading to healthy tissues by increasing collagen production.

Linus Pauling and Ewan Cameron then built on McCormick’s theory and published a groundbreaking study in 1976, which showed that high-dose IV vitamin C increased the survival times of patients with advanced cancer [11]. Pauling went on to win the Nobel Prize for his work on vitamin C, but McCormick was the original pioneer of vitamin C for cancer.

Despite these early findings, vitamin C as a cancer therapy has a controversial history. In 1979, the Mayo Clinic conducted double-blind randomized clinical trials on high-dose vitamin C, which showed no benefits in cancer patients [12]. This was more rigorously designed research from a respected institution, which discredited Pauling and Cameron’s landmark study.

However, the scientific and medical communities overlooked the fact that the cancer patients in the Mayo Clinic studies were only treated with oral vitamin C. In fact, the studies did not disprove high-dose vitamin C’s efficacy as a cancer treatment when administered intravenously. Unfortunately, as a result of these “gold standard” studies, many mainstream doctors remain prejudiced against vitamin C as a cancer therapy.

Over the years, it proved difficult for scientists to obtain funding for research on vitamin C IV therapy. Vitamin C is not patentable and the mechanisms of action were not initially clear. This meant that there was no incentive for pharmaceutical companies to finance clinical trials. Studies that were conducted had to rely on government grants or private funding [13].

In recent years, it has come to light that vitamin C concentration in blood plasma is tightly controlled when taken orally, whereas an IV infusion bypasses the body’s control mechanisms. Plasma concentrations high enough to kill cancer cells can only be achieved with IV vitamin C. This new knowledge has spurred new research into the clinical potential of vitamin C[13].

What to Do

Improved quality of life
Increased overall survival
Reduction in pain
Increased Energy
Increased Appetite

Risks / Side Effects of IV Vitamin C

High-dose IV vitamin C protocols are generally well-tolerated and considered remarkably safe for most cancer patients, but there are certain contraindications [14].

If you have G6PD deficiency high-dose vitamin C therapy would be contraindicated. G6PD is the enzyme required to safely metabolize high doses of vitamin C. If there is a deficiency the treatment could cause red blood cells to rupture. It is therefore advised to test for a G6PD deficiency prior to starting high-dose vitamin C therapy.

Patients with reduced kidney function, for example in the case of kidney disease or kidney failure, should also avoid the treatment. They may have problems clearing high doses of vitamin C from circulation [14].

Anti-Cancer Benefits of IV Vitamin C

It may come as a surprise to you that a natural therapy has significant evidence supporting its use as a cancer treatment.

However, the body of research on the anti-cancer benefits of IV vitamin C is more compelling than many prescription drugs currently found on the market.

The scientifically supported benefits of high-dose IV vitamin C include:

• Improved quality of life

• Increased overall survival

• Reduction in pain

• Increased energy

• Increased appetite

• Decreased cancer-associated inflammation

• Prevents cancer-associated sepsis

• Combats infections (viral, bacterial, fungi)

• Reduces side effects and toxicity of chemotherapy

• Reduces side effects and toxicity of radiation

• Augments the cancer kill rate of chemotherapy

• Augments the cancer kill rate of radiation

• Kills cancer cells

• Allows a decrease in the dose of chemotherapy, yet maintains the same cancer kill rate

• Improves surgery recovery time

• Reduces post-surgery pain

• May even decrease post-surgery cancer recurrence

• Kills cancer stem cells (CSC)

What’s more, IV vitamin C therapy does not damage healthy cells or compromise your immune system. In fact, there are no significant side effects and it has been shown to be safe even with daily megadoses of up to 300 grams.

The risk-benefit profile of vitamin C, when compared with the inherent collateral damage of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, makes it a worthwhile inclusion in your treatment program if you are suffering from cancer.

IV Vitamin C is used in Treatments for

Future of this Treatment

While vitamin C may have had a controversial past as a cancer therapy, there is a growing body of scientific studies that show it is beneficial for cancer patients. The mechanisms of action are becoming clearer and better defined within the scientific community. The evidence now supports the use of IV vitamin C therapy as a supportive treatment and shows great promise as a potential cancer treatment in its own right.

Frequently asked questions about IV Vitamin C

Q. Is IV Vitamin C good for my type of cancer?
Q. How is IV Vitamin C administered and how long does it take?
Q. Is IV Vitamin C safe and are there side-effects?
Q. Does receiving IV Vitamin C hurt?

Questions for your doctor about IV Vitamin C

Q. Is there anything in my medical history or current health status that would make it unsafe for me to undergo high-dose IV vitamin C therapy?
Q. Can I test for a G6PD deficiency?
Q. What dosage should I have for my case and how often?

The Best 115 Integrative Cancer Treatment Centers that offer IV Vitamin C

References of IV Vitamin C

[1] Zasowska-Nowak A, Nowak PJ, Ciałkowska-Rysz A. High-Dose Vitamin C in Advanced-Stage Cancer Patients. Nutrients. 2021 Feb 26;13(3):735.

[2] Magrì A, Germano G, Lorenzato A, Lamba S, Chilà R, Montone M, Amodio V, Ceruti T, Sassi F, Arena S, Abrignani S, D'Incalci M, Zucchetti M, Di Nicolantonio F, Bardelli A. High-dose vitamin C enhances cancer immunotherapy. Sci Transl Med. 2020 Feb 26;12(532).

[3] Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients. 2017 Nov 3;9(11):1211.

[4] Belin S, Kaya F, Burtey S, Fontes M. Ascorbic Acid and gene expression: another example of regulation of gene expression by small molecules? Curr Genomics. 2010 Mar;11(1):52-7.

[5] Szarka A, Kapuy O, Lőrincz T, Bánhegyi G. Vitamin C and Cell Death. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2021 Apr 10;34(11):831-844.

[6] Klimant E, Wright H, Rubin D, Seely D, Markman M. Intravenous vitamin C in the supportive care of cancer patients: a review and rational approach. Curr Oncol. 2018 Apr;25(2):139-148.

[7] Padayatty SJ, Riordan HD, Hewitt SM, Katz A, Hoffer LJ, Levine M. Intravenously administered vitamin C as cancer therapy: three cases. CMAJ. 2006 Mar 28;174(7):937-42.

[8] Ngo B, Van Riper JM, Cantley LC, Yun J. Targeting cancer vulnerabilities with high-dose vitamin C. Nat Rev Cancer. 2019 May;19(5):271-282.

[9] Gonzalez, Michael & Miranda-Massari, Jorge & Duconge, Jorge & Berdiel, Miguel. (2015). Increasing the effectiveness of intravenous Vitamin C as an anticancer agent. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. 30. 45-50.

[10] Böttger, F., Vallés-Martí, A., Cahn, L. et al. High-dose intravenous vitamin C, a promising multi-targeting agent in the treatment of cancer. J Exp Clin Cancer Res 40, 343 (2021).

[11] Cameron E, Pauling L. Supplemental ascorbate in the supportive treatment of cancer: Prolongation of survival times in terminal human cancer. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1976 Oct;73(10):3685-9.

[12] Moertel CG, Fleming TR, Creagan ET, Rubin J, O'Connell MJ, Ames MM. High-dose vitamin C versus placebo in the treatment of patients with advanced cancer who have had no prior chemotherapy. A randomized double-blind comparison. N Engl J Med. 1985 Jan 17;312(3):137-41.

Creagan ET, Moertel CG, O'Fallon JR, Schutt AJ, O'Connell MJ, Rubin J, Frytak S. Failure of high-dose vitamin C (ascorbic acid) therapy to benefit patients with advanced cancer. A controlled trial. N Engl J Med. 1979 Sep 27;301(13):687-90.

[13] Cantley L, Yun J. Intravenous High-Dose Vitamin C in Cancer Therapy. 2020.

[14] Padayatty SJ, Sun AY, Chen Q, Espey MG, Drisko J, Levine M. Vitamin C: intravenous use by complementary and alternative medicine practitioners and adverse effects. PLoS One. 2010 Jul 7;5(7):e11414.

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