High Dose Intravenous Vitamin C (HDIVC)
HDIVC is a very common therapy in integrative oncology. While lower doses of IV vitamin C are also used, HDIVC has particular potential benefits. HDIVC does have the ability to become a pro-drug (meaning it becomes or triggers another chemical to have a drug-like effect) for hydrogen peroxide and also provides a host of nutrient and chemical manipulations that weaken cancer cells while strengthening normal noncancerous cells. The pro-drug for hydrogen peroxide part of the mechanism cannot be effective with oral vitamin C because not enough will absorb. HDIVC also has potent anti-inflammatory effects. Like many chronic diseases, cancer is a disease of inflammation, which fuels abnormal cell division. Research at Riordan Clinic in Wichita, Kansas, has found that a series of IVC sessions can lower the blood inflammation marker CRP by approximately 75 percent. Preliminary evidence shows that IVC activates a gene that suppresses tumor formation. In addition, HDIVC has an anti-angiogenesis effect, as it gets into cancer cells and creates an inhospitable (aerobic) oxygenated environment.
A recent scientific paper shows the overall direction the data are pointing: “Clinical investigation of pharmacologic ascorbate should be considered as an addition to existing cancer treatments. Its mechanism of action as a pro-drug for H2O2 generation is distinct from most currently used agents. For this reason, there is potential for synergy, or at least an additive effect, in combination with other drugs. This strategy is similar to that used for treatment of many cancers, tuberculosis, serious bacterial infections, hepatitis, and HIV.
Emerging data indicate that there are additive effects of ascorbate with other neoplastic agents.” A review of available data in 2008 summarized multiple existing cancer therapies and their effect in combination with ascorbate and found that all the agents were either not affected or enhanced by ascorbate. This review had one exception, which was the drug bortezomib, but later clinical data showed that even this agent had synergistic effect with HDIVC.
In a 2012 multicenter study, 60 people newly diagnosed with cancer and receiving conventional cancer therapy were administered HDIVC twice weekly for four weeks. Significant relief was noted in quality of life scores, including fatigue, pain, insomnia, and constipation. And a study of 39 terminal cancer patients not undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy and given IV and oral vitamin C reported significantly lower scores of fatigue, pain, nausea/vomiting, and appetite loss. They also had higher scores for physical, emotional, and cognitive function.
Data presented between late 2011 and 2012 from Dr. Anderson’s NIH-funded research reveal only positive additive effects using HDIVC in combination with existing cancer treatments. A 2014 published review of the effects of intravenous vitamin C on cancer and quality of life noted: “Several recent studies have indicated that intravenous (IV) vitamin C alleviates a number of cancer- and chemotherapy related symptoms, such as fatigue, insomnia, loss of appetite, nausea, and pain. Improvements in physical, role, cognitive, emotional, and social functioning, as well as an improvement in overall health, were also observed.”
NIH funded research completed at the Bastyr Integrative Oncology Research Center found the three-year survival rates of stage IV colon, lung, and breast cancer patients and stage III ovarian cancer patients receiving HDIVC from BIORC were dramatically better than national statistics, based on the National Cancer Institute’s SEER program.