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Intravenous Vitamin C and Cancer

Benefits of the IV Administration of Vitamin C

  • IV route is the only route to acquire therapeutic concentration.
  • IV vitamin C stops proliferation of cancer cells by inhibiting the enzyme hyaluronidase which cancer cells emit to break down and invade healthy tissues.
  • IV vitamin C supports the immune system, assists in the healing of wounds and protects against infection.
  • IV vitamin C is preferentially toxic to cancer cells by increasing intracellular hydrogen peroxide. Cancer cells cannot process the hydrogen peroxide due to a lack of the enzyme catalase, which normal cells have in abundance.
  • IV vitamin C corrects an ascorbate deficiency, often seen in cancer patients.
  • IV vitamin C helps prevent cellular free radical damage.
  • IV vitamin C increases the quality of life.
  • IV vitamin C extends life.
  • IV vitamin C works alongside chemotherapy.
  • According to the National Cancer Institute, 1990, Dr. Donald Henson summarized a NCI Symposium on vitamin C: “The take home message was that vitamin C has multiple complex effects on a variety of biological activities, perhaps wider than any other nutrient. Many of these effects seem related to its chemical properties and not to its role as a vitamin.”

Vitamin C’s Effects on Killing Cancer 

In the book Cancer and Vitamin C by Cameron and Pauling, a Canadian physician, Dr. W.J. McCormick, hypothesized in 1954 and 1959 that cancer is a disease associated with a deficiency in vitamin C. He recognized that the changes in tissues from scurvy are identical to the alterations of invading cancer cells. Dr. McCormick surmised that since this nutrient (vitamin C) is capable of preventing damage from scurvy, then it may have similar effects in cancer. The evidence that cancer patients are found to almost invariably be depleted of vitamin C supported this view.

Cameron and Pauling also state, “Most important of all, we are led to the conclusion that the administration of this harmless substance, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), might provide us with an effective means of permanently suppressing neoplastic cellular proliferation and invasiveness, in other words an effective means of controlling cancer. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in adequate doses might prove to be the ideal cytostatic agent.”

According to the 4th Quarter, 2000 Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, Riordan, Riordan & Casciari concluded from their research, “vitamin C is toxic to tumor cells. Concentrations of vitamin C that kill tumor cells can be achieved in humans using intravenous vitamin C infusions.”

One study reported in the Journal of Nutrition and Biochemistry in July 2006, concluded that the combined treatment with retinoic acid (vitamin A) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) inhibited the proliferation of human breast cancer cells. The combination altered the gene expression of antioxidation processes as well as the proliferation inhibitory pathway.

In 1991, the Journal of Oncology reported two cases of complete cancer regression in response to high-dose ascorbic acid therapy.

Vitamin C’s Effects on Quality and Duration of Life

According to a study reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in March 2006, early clinical research showed that high-dose vitamin C, given by intravenous and oral routes, may improve symptoms and prolong life in patients with terminal cancer. The study found three well-documented cases of advanced cancer where patients had unexpectedly long survival times after receiving high-dose intravenous vitamin C therapy.

In a trial of vitamin C in the Vale of Leven Hospital, researchers described the quite dramatic relief of bone pain in four out of five patients with expanding skeletal metastases. Of equal importance was the observation that most of the ascorbate-treated patients entered a period of increased well-being and general improvement. In another clinical report in the same trial, 50 patients with advanced cancer received 10g of vitamin C or more per day. It was expected that most of these patients (90%) would die within about three months. In fact, only half of them had died on or before the 100th day after being deemed to be “untreatable” at the time the administration of ascorbate was begun. In similar trials, 100 ascorbate-treated patients have lived on average about 300 days longer than their matched controls. In addition, it is the researchers’ strong clinical impression that they have lived happier lives during this terminal period.

In another study published by the Journal of Korean Medical Sciences in February 2007, terminal cancer patients reported significantly higher scores for physical, emotional and cognitive function after administration of vitamin C. In symptom scale, the patients reported significantly lower scores for fatigue, nausea/vomiting, pain and appetite loss after the administration of vitamin C.

Vitamin C’s Positive Interaction with Chemotherapy and Radiation

A study published in March-April 2007 from the journal of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, concluded that non-prescription antioxidants and other nutrients do not interfere with therapeutic modalities (chemotherapy and radiation) for cancer.  The meta-analysis found consistent results since 1970 from 280 peer-reviewed in vitro and in vivo studies. Including 50 human studies involving 8,521 patients, from which 5,081 were given nutrients. Furthermore, the supplements enhanced the killing therapeutic modalities (chemotherapy and radiation) for cancer, decreased their side effects and protected normal tissue. In 15 of the human studies, the 3,738 patients who took non-prescription antioxidants and other nutrients actually had increased survival.

In a review paper in The Journal of American Nutraceutical Association, Block & Evans reviewed all English articles listed in Index Medicus between the years 1990-2000 related to antioxidant and interactions with anticancer drugs or radiation and concluded that “there is a rational basis for the continued use of antioxidant agents as a therapeutic adjunct in cancer therapy.”

Another study published in the Journal of Chemotherapy in October 2005 indicated that vitamin C enhances the antitumor activity of two chemotherapeutic drugs and sensitizes cancer cells to drug-induced cell death. The data suggested that vitamin C supplementation may improve the efficacy of chemotherapy for esophageal cancer. Yet another study reported in the medical journal Cancer Treatment Review in March 2007 concluded that none of the trials reported evidence of significant decreases in efficacy from antioxidant supplementation during chemotherapy. Many of the studies indicated that antioxidant supplementation resulted in either increased survival times, increased tumor responses, or both, as well as fewer toxicities than controls.

Additional reading:

  1. Um, M. The benefits of IV vitamin C: a treatment for cancer. May 2008.
  2. Prytula, M. Intravenous vitamin C in cancer management. Feb 2008.


  1. Cameron E and Pauling L.  Cancer and Vitamin C.  Philadelphia, PA: Camino Books 1993.
  2. Padayatty SJ, Riordan HD, Hewitt SM, Katz A, Hoffer LJ, Levine M.  Intravenously administered vitamin C as cancer therapy: three cases.  Canadian Medical Association Journal.  2006 Mar 28;174(7):956-7.
  3. Padayatty SJ, Sun H, Wang Y, et al. Vitamin C pharmacokinetics: implications for oral and intravenous use. Ann Intern Med 2004;140:533-7.
  4. Riordan NH, Riordan HD, Casciari JJ. Clinical and experimental experiences with intravenous vitamin C. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine 2000;15:201-3.
  5. Simone CB 2nd, Simone NL, Simone V, Simone CB.  Antioxidants and other nutrients do not interfere with chemotherapy or radiation therapy and can increase kill and increase survival, Part 2.  Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine.  2007 Mar-Apr;13(2):40-7.
  6. Block KI, Koch AC, Mead MN, Tothy PK, Newman RA, Gyllenhaal C.  Impact of antioxidant supplementation on chemotherapeutic efficacy: a systematic review of the evidence from randomized controlled trials.  Cancer Treatment Review.  2007 Aug;33(5):407-18.
  7. Yeom CH, Jung GC, Song KJ.  Changes of terminal cancer patients health-related quality of life after high dose vitamin C administration.  Journal of Korean Medical Science.  2007 Feb;22(1):7-11.