It is becoming apparent that the classic high dose-model of administering vitamin C-based treatments is not typically needed and may in fact be detrimental or harmful. Higher-dose treatments (i.e. beyond 50-75 grams/infusion) can place the body in an increased state of stress and actually further exhaust the body over time – more is not necessarily better. This is one of the reasons why we do not typically go beyond 25 grams of vitamin C-based infusions with patients and yet the benefits remain (and the results are in fact better). Other experienced physicians who have been using vitamin C-based treatments in people with cancer well over a decade are also noticing a similar trend. Experience is crucial in this area.
While the more standard oncology community feels that such treatments should not be combined with either chemotherapy or radiation, a growing body of data is showing that this recommendation is incorrect or wrong. Clinical experience clearly demonstrates that a combination approach allows for a “synergistic-effect” to, for example, enhance chemotherapy while at the same time protecting the body (i.e. decrease negative side-effects). Case after case is demonstrating how the effectiveness of chemo can go along long way when taken together with intravenous vitamin C treatment. Radiation is showing a similar trend however the data is more preliminary.
Dr. Spooner believes that the greatest benefit of vitamin C lies in its combination with conventional treatment versus using each one on its own.
Cancer cells respond very differently to intravenous vitamin C than when compared to the body’s normal cells. For example, a cancer cell makes a rather rapid and sustained increase in hydrogen peroxide in response to vitamin C which results in a “rusting-effect” known as oxidative damage (i.e. this is how many chemo agents work to kill cancer). Normal or healthy cells do not respond this way with vitamin C. This phenomenon makes intravenous vitamin C a very unique and targeted treatment unlike any other chemotherapy-like medicine.
It is important that each intravenous treatment be tailored to the individual patient and particular situation. Protocols are adjusted based on how the patient is feeling, the type of cancer(s), conventional treatments they are receiving, and what is financially feasible over time. Supportive ingredients alongside the vitamin C assist in enhancing the effectiveness of the treatment.
Typically, a person would receive 2-3 treatments per week and the duration depends on how a patient responds. In the beginning, it is advised that a person try a treatment cycle for at least 8 weeks to help assess the potential benefit of treatment. Doses are started low and gradually increased to better customize a person’s individual tolerance.
Similar to a treating medical oncologist, there may be a need to adjust or change a treatment protocol at any time. We have many, many protocols to use in cancer care, and the art of medicine is to determine which one works best for you.
Basic Facts Why Intravenous vs. Oral Vitamin C is Key in the treatment of Cancer:
Vitamin C levels in the body are tightly controlled by the bowels and the kidney’s (i.e. the body gets rid of it quickly)
Even by taking up to 18000mg per day orally in divided doses throughout the day, the blood levels do not change and do not exceed 0.2 mMol/L
Intravenous vitamin C bypasses the tight control by the body leading to a 70-fold higher blood levels with only a 2000mg injection
A simple injection of 5000mg of vitamin C produces a blood value of 3mMol/L and the research has shown that you can kill most cancer cells in the laboratory with values between 0.5 to 3mMol/L
How Intravenous Vitamin C (IVC) may work in killing cancer (chemotherapeutic action):
Increased production of hydrogen peroxide production (pro-oxidant)
Anti-angiogenesis (stop the blood supply that feeds cancer)
Immune system support (interferon, interleukin, etc.)
And many, many, many other ways
Safety of Intravenous Vitamin C:
A 2010 study evaluating the use of vitamin C amongst practitioners revealed, after calculating over 750,000 yearly sales and estimated yearly doses of over 350,000 in 2008, and after evaluating over 9000 patients, only minor side-effects were noted that included lethargy/fatigue, change in mental status, and vein irriation. Clinically, if these effects occur they are temporary and easily corrected.
Padayatty SJ et a. Vitamin C: intravenous use by complementary and alternative medicine practitioners and adverse effects. PLoS One. 2010 Jul 7;5(7):e11414.
The negative side effects of vitamin C IV are rare. However, there are concerns and potential side effects to be considered:
Although it has been reported only once in the literature (Scot Med J 1979;24:151), tumor necrosis, hemorrhage, and subsequent death after a single intravenous 10 gram dose of vitamin C should be the highest priority for safety. This is why we always begin with a small dose.
Another report described acute oxalate nephropathy in a patient with bilateral ureteric obstruction and renal insufficiency who received 60 gram IVC. Consequently, we need to ensure that your kidneys are working well enough before beginning and especially with a higher-dose infusion.
A rare hemolysis can occur in patients with a red cell glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PD) and so this may be screened in select cases.
Localized pain at the infusion site can occur if the infusion rate is too high or the pH too low. This is easily corrected by either slowing the rate or adjusting the formula.
Vitamin C may decrease the levels of calcium, chloride, and potassium and as a consequence some patients may experience shakiness or ache. This is treated by further adjusting the formula with those ingredients.
Given the amount of fluid and sodium that is used as the carrier for vitamin C, any condition which could be affected by the increased fluid load (i.e. congestive heart failure, ascites, edema, pleural effusion, etc.) needs to be monitored more closely and a tailored protocol given accordingly.
IVC may be dehydrating and cause a temporary lowering of blood sugar, and so proper hydration and nourishment needs to be emphasized prior to each treatment and following
As with any intravenous injection, infiltration or vein irritation is always possible
Overall “Positive” Effects of Intravenous Vitamin C:
Correction of any possible vitamin C deficiency (i.e. fatigue, bleeding)
Immune-modulation (enhance or calm down)
Cytotoxic to cancer (chemotherapeutic potential)
Support white blood cells (they have 10-30x higher levels than the blood)
Stimulation of collagen formation (wall off tumors)
Inhibition of hyaluronidase (prevent cancer spread)
Enhanced wound healing after surgeries, biopsies
Enhanced benefits of chemotherapy and radiation
Support the bone marrow and especially the platelets
Anti-stress and Anti-depressant properties