When you or a loved one are facing a cancer diagnosis, the experience may seem overwhelming. Traditional cancer treatment can be scary and painful. Lately, high-dose Vitamin C (Vit-C) has been used as an adjunctive measure to minimize the effects of cancer treatment. This is a therapy we administer by intravenous (IV) infusion to selective people we see at Hang 10 Drips.

While Linus Pauling first studied the effects of high-dose Vit-C in the 1970’s, recent insights into the effects of Vit-C in the body suggest that high-dose Vit-C could be effectively utilized in the management of various tumor types by inhibiting growth of cancer cells, regulating the immune system and inhibiting tumor-causing viruses. Studies show that Vit-C can attack various processes that cancer cells use for their growth and development and spread.

Now, new findings support the notion that high-dose consumption of Vit-C is associated with a decreased risk of oral cancers, as well as cancer of the stomach, esophagus, pancreas, cervix, breast, rectum and cancers with non-hormonal origins.

For example,  following treatment with high-dose IV Vit-C twice a week for 10 months, a 74-year-old woman showed complete regression of multiple pulmonary metastases, enabling her to undergo Transarterial Chemoembolization—a minimally-invasive, image-guided treatment for liver cancer.

In another promising report, the National Cancer Institute noted that treatment with high-dose Vit-C slowed the growth and spread of prostate, pancreatic, liver, colon, malignant mesothelioma, neuroblastoma and other types of cancer cells. When Vit-C was administered in breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy, those who received 25-100 gm of IV Vit-C experienced a better quality of life and fewer side effects than those who did not.The Crush, a signature IV Drip of High-dose Vitamin C

In our work with cancer patients at Hang 10 Drips, we start with a blood test to rule out G6PD deficiency (glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase). This is an enzyme that helps red blood cells work properly. If that test result confirms they are not deficient, we will begin treatment with high-dose Vit-C at 15 grams and adjust the dose as needed.

The high-dose IV Vitamin C infusions can take several hours, depending on the patient. At Hang 10 Drips, all of our infusions are of the highest quality, preservative-free Vit-C, using the appropriate buffering agents to not scar the veins. We offer high-dose Vit-C therapy as an adjunct cancer treatment, as well as lower doses of Vit-C as a great therapy tool for many other conditions, including infections, delayed wound healing, diabetes, vascular, vision and muscle conditions.

How does high-dose Vit-C work in cancer treatment?

Numerous mechanisms have been suggested to support the role of Vitamin C in cancer treatment and prevention, including that of increasing immune system activity; stimulating collagen synthesis; preventing metastasis; inhibiting certain enzymatic reactions; and inhibiting tumor-causing viruses. Correcting for the lack of Vit-C, which is normally linked with cancer patients, may neutralize certain carcinogens, and help with wound healing in cancer patients after surgery. Vit-C can improve chemotherapy sensitivity potentially decreasing the potential of chemotherapy toxicity. In the lab, pharmacological doses of Vit-C preferentially target and kill cancer cells. This tumor-killing phenomenon is due to the pro-oxidant characteristics of high dose Vit-C, which facilitates the formation of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), which may be an agent responsible for the anti-tumor impact of Vit-C. Keep in mind; it is the dose of IV Vit-C that determines whether the Vit-C will act as an antioxidant or a pro-oxidant in the body.

Recent experimental investigations have shown that when tumor cells are exposed to high doses of Vit-C, they suffer growth arrest. Current reports have also shown that Vit-C administration inhibits metastasis, tumor development, and inflammatory-associated cytokine production and enhancing chemotherapy. According to some reports IV Vit-C raises Vit-C levels over 70-fold when compared to oral delivery, but the ideal method of administration, the dosage and the length of the treatment are still intensely debated.

Why is supplemental Vit-C Necessary?

Vitamin C is a vital water-soluble nutrient that, due to various gene mutations, cannot be synthesized by the human body on its own. Therefore, humans must get their Vit-C from dietary sources. In general, Vit-C has several pivotal physiological functions in the body through acting as an electron donor, scavenger of reactive oxygen species, epigenetic regulator and immunotherapy enhancer. In addition to being a powerful antioxidant, Vit-C also helps to maintain vital tissue structures and functions, by protecting key macromolecules such as proteins, fats, collagen and DNA from oxidative stress. Vit-C also functions as an enzyme cofactor involved in the production of hormones and energy.

Nutritional deficiency of Vit-C is related to anemia, bleeding gums, infections, scurvy, capillary hemorrhage, delayed wound healing, atherosclerotic plaques, muscle degeneration and more. In fact, Vit-C is used in the prevention and treatment of a broad spectrum of conditions, including diabetes, atherosclerosis, the common cold, cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, stroke, heart disease, COVID-19 and cancer. Vit-C supplemented in high amounts makes up for such deficiencies. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, toxicity from high-dose Vit-C is uncommon.

History of high-dose Vit. C Research

As noted at the beginning of this article, the notion that Vitamin C may play a significant part in cancer prevention was originally proposed in the 1970s and attributed to Linus Pauling’s research in which Vit-C was given to cancer patients. He demonstrated that giving 100 terminally sick cancer patients 10 gm of Vit-C daily led to excellent results, when compared to 1,000 cancer patients who received only conventional treatment. In this study it was shown that 10% of cancer patients who received Vit-C lived; while no cases receiving the conventional treatment without Vit-C survived.

The follow-up investigations supported this data. Japanese researchers showed that patients with uterine malignancies who received 5-30 gm of Vit-C daily lived six times longer than those who received only 4 gm of Vit-C daily. When a comparison was conducted between individuals who received Vit-C supplements and those who did not, it was shown that those who received Vit-C supplements had a 15% greater survival rate.

While high-dose IV Vit-C has its benefits, food counts as one of the most significant nutrients for health and wellness. Several studies concluded that a high consumption of fruits and vegetables lowers the risk of developing various forms of cancer. And it was shown that Vit-C intake was inversely linked to fatality rate. But it is impossible to consume enough oral Vit-C to get the absorption necessary for the desired pro-oxidant effect in cancer patients, however.

Although the therapeutic benefit of high-dose Vit-C in cancer treatment or remission has not been exactly established, administration of the IV Vit-C in high doses can enhance quality of life, even in the advanced stages of a variety of cancers.

High-dose Vitamin C IV Therapy Summary

Although high-dose Vitamin C has been shown to have anticancer properties for more than 50 years, most of the mechanisms behind this action remain a mystery. However, new results have advanced our knowledge of the biological roles and processes behind Vit-C’s anti-cancer activity—emphasizing several fascinating and interesting notions that offer solid scientific foundations for the use of Vit-C in cancer treatment.

As we see with regenerative medicine, cellular signaling networks influence health and healing. Tremendous effort has been made in understanding the processes behind high-dose Vit-C and its influence over control of the NF-kB pathway which regulates inflammatory responses and clearance of dead and diseased cells. More research into this crucial area will aid our understanding of how the NF-kB pathway and oxidative stress interact with other cellular signaling networks—and influence how cancer cells survive or not in the body. The development of therapeutic options for the treatment of cancer might be aided by a better knowledge of the complicated interaction between the NF-kB pathway and the relationship between Copper and Iron and oxidative stress, particularly that mediated by high-dose Vit-C.

Since high-dose Vit-C can induce massive reactive oxygen species (ROS) in concentrations that can damage cancer cells, these cells, in return, can possess highly effective antioxidant systems that can easily scavenge ROS and reduce their toxic effect. In fact, a single cancer cell can contain all of these systems, which may act in a complementarity manner to reduce the harmful effect of ROS. More studies into this critical area will help us understand how these antioxidant systems interact with one another and with other cellular-signaling networks. A deeper understanding of the intricate interplay between the numerous antioxidant systems and how they work together to assist in the development of therapeutic approaches for cancer treatment.

Finally, high-dose Vit-C has the definite potential to provide beneficial and cost-effective anti-cancer treatment options that should be investigated further. Infusing hope with high-dose Vit-C may become a significant treatment option in the fight against cancer, due to its widespread availability in nature, minimal toxicity and low cost.

Pain Management Doctor and Author: Lisa Barr, MD
about the author

A Coastal Virginia native, Dr. Lisa Barr is a seasoned physician with a passion for treating people with musculoskeletal conditions that cause pain and dysfunction. A double alumna of Eastern Virginia Medical School, Dr. Barr finished her training at EVMS in 1988 as the chief resident in physical medicine and rehabilitation. As a practicing physician in the community, she has effectively treated more than 200,000 patients over the course of her career. Dr. Barr is the founding partner at the Barr Center, where she focuses her energies on developing innovative methods to help guide her patients to optimal recovery and their best functional outcome. For information visit www.BarrCenter.com

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