Intravenous Vitamin C Therapy
There is much research regarding the use of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) for intravenous vitamin therapy. However, most of the research focuses on oral rather than the more effective intravenous (IV) route of administration. IV vitamin C has a significantly greater effect on immune enhancement than the conventional oral route of administration.
Oral doses of vitamin C can only achieve maximum blood concentrations of 220 micromoles per liter. At this concentration, vitamin C acts as an anti-oxidant, protecting healthy cells from oxidative stress and against some bacteria and viruses. It remains good advice to take your vitamin C at the first sign of a cold.
Research shows that blood levels greater than 1,000 micromoles per liter are toxic to cancer cells. These levels cannot be achieved by taking oral vitamin C.
How IV Vitamin C Therapy Works:
When given intravenously, high levels of vitamin C in the blood generate the production of hydrogen peroxide, a known toxin to cancer cells. Whereas normal cells have the ability to reduce the effects of hydrogen peroxide, cancer cells do not have the same mechanism of action in this regard.
These experiments show vitamin C at high concentrations does not actually work as an anti-oxidant as it does when given orally at lower doses, but as a pro-oxidant. Pro-oxidants cause cancer cell death due to the low levels of anti-oxidant properties present in tumor cells. Vitamin C at high doses only acts as a pro-oxidant, similar in mechanism to some cancer medication therapies but without the toxic side effects.
Benefits Of IV Vitamin C Therapy:
Who can benefit from high dose intravenous vitamin C? Research shows that IV vitamin C prolongs survival times and improves quality of life in cancer patients. Benefits are especially seen among patients with metastatic cancer, lung cancer, and lymphomas.
Side Effects Of IV Vitamin C Therapy:
There are very few side effects associated with high doses of intravenous vitamin C. A very small percentage of the population has a deficiency in the enzyme known as Glucose-6-Phospate Dehydrogenase, or G6PD. This enzyme is found in the blood and is necessary for the production of glutathione in red blood cells. Glutathione is a powerful anti-oxidant and is able to reduce hydrogen peroxide in the protection of normal cells. A simple blood test is used to determine the presence of this enzyme.
High dose vitamin C is contraindicated in patients with an iron overload disease. It is also contraindicated in patients with renal insufficiency or renal failure, or those undergoing dialysis.