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Intravenous Therapy: IV - Vitamin C


Irwin Stone first pointed out the importance of vitamin C to the “Father of Vitamin C,” Dr. Linus Pauling. Irwin realized that humans no longer have the ability to make vitamin C. Therefore, we must obtain vitamin C through our diet. Dr Pauling’s continuing research on Vitamin C shows that, large doses of vitamin C have significant effects on our immune system, and anti-tumor effects. For many years Pauling was highly criticized for making these statements, but today, high dose Vitamin C therapies are used by many health care practitioners as a means of treatment for cancer patients diagnosed with any stage of the disease.


Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is essential for the body to function properly and is required for processes such as: proper immune function; the synthesis of collagen, an important structural component of blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and bone; it plays a vital role in the synthesis of specific neurotransmitters which are critical for brain function; and it is needed for the synthesis of carnitine, and essential molecule for the transport of fat to mitochondria, for energy conversion. Research also suggests that Vitamin C is a highly effective antioxidant and that small amounts can protect essential molecules in the body from free radical damage and reactive oxygen species generated during normal metabolism, as well as through exposure to toxins and pollutants.


The administration of vitamin C intravenously is used as a powerful support to the body by bypassing the digestive system and getting the nutrition directly into the body. Some of the direct benefits of high dose intravenous vitamin C therapy include:
• Increases quality of life and prolongs survival as a cancer therapy
• Works synergistically with conventional cancer therapies
• I.V. route of administration achieves plasma levels of vitamin C consistent with concentrations demonstrated in vitro (in a test tube) to be cytotoxic to several cancer cell lines
• Inhibits hyaluronidase, an enzyme produced by cancer cells responsible for the breakdown of healthy tissue facilitating tumor progression and metastasis
• Increases intracellular hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is directly cytotoxic to tumor cells. At concentrations achieved through I.V. administration, vitamin C overwhelms the ability of tumor cells to suppress hydrogen peroxide production
• Corrects an ascorbate deficiency, often seen in cancer patients
• Helps prevent systemic free radical injury


1. Negligible toxic effects; is virtually non-toxic at any dose.
2. Patient’s that have, and are using vitamin C along with their chemotherapy have found that the side effects of the chemotherapy are minimal
3. Preferentially kills neoplastic cells (abnormal growth of tissue cells, or tumor cells) opposed to healthy cells.
4. Does not suppress the immune system, unlike most chemotherapeutic agents.
5. Increases human resistance to infectious agents by:
-enhancing the transformation of small lymphocytes (white blood cells) into larger cells that are capable of undergoing mitosis (cell division),
-enhancing cellular immunity,
-strengthening the extracellular matrix,
-and enhancing the destructive activity of neutrophils (white blood cells), towards bacteria
6. Strengthens the structural integrity of the extracellular matrix, making the framework of the cells resistant to malignant invasiveness.


Over the next two weeks we will be concluding our series of topics important in cancer care.

A few weeks ago I talked about the use of vitamin C in cancer care. This has been an area of confusion and controversy. When you take vitamin C as a daily supplement by mouth, we consider this as an anti-oxidant. Antioxidants work to decrease the free radical burden in our bodies. From an orthomolecular point of view, increasing vitamin C as an oral supplement on a daily basis is essential for optimal immunity. We know through clinical trials that large doses of oral vitamin C is significant in cancer therapy since antioxidants have been shown to increase immune response and decrease gene mutation.

However, large doses of vitamin C, those given as an intravenous infusion, behave differently than vitamin C taken orally. Vitamin C taken intravenously for cancer is given in a dose of 35g to 100g over about 2 to 3.5 hours. A dose such as this taken orally would be almost impossible because of the side effects. Taken as an intravenous infusion, we by-pass the gastrointestinal system and therefore side effects are negligible. IV infusion of these large amounts act not as an antioxidant, as in oral dosing, but rather as a pro-oxidant. In other words, we create the opposite effects. In this process, the ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is easily taken up by the tumor cells since ascorbic acid and glucose are similar in structure (remember that tumor cells prefer glucose as their fuel source). Once inside the tumor cell, ascorbic acid is converted into peroxides. Peroxides are hazardous to all cells, and tumor cells are particularly susceptible to peroxides as they can cause tumor cell death. Normal cells are not susceptible to peroxides because they have the enzyme catalase to break the peroxides down. By this mechanism, intravenous vitamin C can be used as a natural chemotherapeutic agent on its own.

Further, most of the conventional chemotherapeutics act in the same way; they are pro-oxidants. In addition, many studies, most of recent, show that intravenous vitamin C adds to the effects of chemotherapy. It decreases drug resistance, increases the effects of chemotherapy and protects healthy cells.

Intravenous vitamin C should be a fundamental part of every person’s cancer treatment plan.

Please call or e-mail me for more details and with your input and questions.

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