When administered intravenously, Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is preferentially toxic to cancer cells. Given in high enough doses to maintain plasma concentrations above levels that have been shown to be toxic to tumor cells in vitro. Vitamin C does not exhibit toxicity to non-cancerous human cells, making it an attractive support for conventional cancer therapy.
Vitamin C has also been shown to enhance the cytotoxicty (cancer killing effect) of several conventional chemotherapy drugs and reducing some of the many side effects of others when used as an adjunctive treatment.
In addition to these benefits, Intravenous Vitamin C therapy has been shown to reduce fatigue, pain, nausea, appetite loss, depression and sleep issues often associated with cancer.
How it works
Vitamin C is involved in many aspects of host resistance to cancer, and it has been known for many years that cancer patients have decreased circulating and tissue levels of vitamin C.
When given in high enough doses, Vitamin C inhibits cell division and growth through the production of hydrogen peroxide (H202) outside of cancer cells in the intracellular space. Normal, healthy cells contain an enzyme called catalase, which quickly and easily breaks down hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen. Cancer cells, however, lack this enzyme and therefore the ability to neutralize hydrogen peroxide. As a result, hydrogen peroxide builds up in the connective tissue surrounding tumour cells, killing them or inhibiting their growth while leaving normal cells intact.
From a patient’s perspective, we most often hear reports of having more energy, increased appetite and better overall mood for up to 1 week following treatment. IV Vitamin C treatments can significantly improve quality of life of cancer patients and can potentially prolong expected survival times.
Recent research has also found that intravenous Vitamin C does not interfere with the activity of many important chemotherapeutic drugs. In fact it has been shown to reinforce their activity and decrease the side effects of conventional chemotherapy treatments.
As far back as the 1970′s 2 time Nobel laureate Linus Pauling and his colleagues had been promoting the use of Vitamin C as a cancer treatment. The first clinical trial of Pauling and Cameron suggested that very high doses of Vitamin C (10g per day) administered intravenously was helpful in increasing survival time and improving quality of life in terminal cancer patients. Following this, two studies done at the Mayo clinic failed to reproduce their results when using 10 g of Vitamin C orally. Of course now we know that oral administration of Vitamin C does not increase blood levels to the level required to kill cancer cells. This is only achievable through IV administration. For example, oral Vitamin C (18 g per day) gives a blood level of up to 220 umol/L. IV Vitamin C (10 g) gives a blood level of approximately 5000 umol/L, or an approximately 25 fold increase.
Since the time of Pauling and Cameron, there has been many studies done on Vitamin C as a potential chemotherapeutic agent. Emerging research is showing that Vitamin C given by the intravenous route may function as an effective cancer therapy.
Treatment of cancer with High Dose Vitamin C should never be considered to replace an effective, proven treatment. It should only be considered where:
It is used as an adjunct to proven treatments.
Cases where treatment using proven methods has failed
Cases where there are no known effective treatments