Vitamin C IV Therapy

Vitamin C or Ascorbic Acid (AA) was first studied as an anti-cancer agent through the research of Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Linus Pauling PhD and Dr. Ewan Cameron MD. Their first clinical trial began in 1971 and the results of this and other research were published in the book Cancer and Vitamin C in 1979.  In their clinical trial they found a four-fold improvement in survival time by those individuals treated with 10,000 mg of AA intravenously.

Vitamin C is an important extracellular antioxidant and plays a role in numerous of biochemical reactions in the body.  Vitamin C has been validated as supportive therapy in case studies, preclinical trials and cancer cell research.  The results of these studies show that Vitamin C acts in the following ways:


Vitamin C increases the resistance to infectious agents by improving lymphocyte function, enhancing bactericidal activity, and modulating complement protein thereby strengthening cellular immunity.

Augmentative treatment to medical therapies

Vitamin C may be able to reduce the toxicity of chemotherapy and radiation against cancer cells.  The use of chemotherapeutic agents alone in the treatment of cancer often suppresses the immune system and has numerous side effects due to its toxicity to healthy cells.

Ascorbic Acid has been tested in tissue cultures and animal models in combination with many different chemotherapeutics to evaluate a combined effect on tumours.   Most well designed trials have shown a generally positive enhancement of chemotherapeutic success in studies where chemotherapy is combined with Ascorbic Acid.

Selective cytotoxicity (cancer cell killing) effect

Vitamin C in high doses leads to the production of large amounts of hydrogen peroxide.  Hydrogen peroxide is an important oxidative molecule involved in many immune reactions in the body.  In healthy cells, the hydrogen peroxide is absorbed and then quenched with intra-cellular antioxidants, but in cancer cells they often lack sufficient levels of antioxidants so hydrogen peroxide will build up.  As levels of hydrogen peroxide rise in cancer cells they eventually go through apoptosis (programmed cell death).

Slowing the growth or reversing the cancer process

Most tumours require the activity of various enzymes in order to invade and metastasize.  Ascorbic Acid inhibits the activity of these enzymes and promotes the production of collagen which may play a role in stabilizing the tumour and preventing local tissue invasion.

Why IV instead of oral dosing of Ascorbic Acid?

Oral AA is absorbed through the intestinal lumen in an energy and dose dependent process.  It rapidly peaks so that at doses over 2g orally less than 20% is actually absorbed. Large quantities of Ascorbic Acid in the intestinal tract bring water with it leading to gastrointestinal discomfort and diarrhea.  Research has shown that high doses of vitamin C can have significant cytotoxic effects.  These doses can only be achieved by intravenous administration.

 Precautions and Potential Side Effects

The side effects experienced with intravenous administration of Vitamin C are infrequent and generally related to effects that maybe experienced with intravenous treatments in general.  As part of the consultation process, a NEX Wellness Naturopath will review these with you carefully and screen for any contraindications before recommending IV therapy.