Complementary Cancer Therapies

with High Dose Intravenous Vitamin C at Grossman Wellness Center

At Grossman Wellness Center, we use high dose intravenous vitamin C as a complementary treatment to increase the effectiveness of standard cancer therapies

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has published an online guide for patients interested in using intravenous vitamin C for cancer, “PDQ Cancer Information Summaries,” available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK127724/#CDR0000742253__18

Among the findings published in their summary:

Studies of vitamin C alone:

    • “Intravenous (IV) vitamin C was studied in patients with breast cancer who were treated with adjuvant chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The study found that patients who received IV vitamin C had better quality of life and fewer side effects than those who did not.
    • “A study of IV vitamin C and high doses of vitamin C taken by mouth was done in patients with cancer that could not be cured. Vitamin C was shown to be a safe and effective therapy to improve quality of life in these patients, including physical, mental, and emotional functions, symptoms of fatigue, nausea and vomiting, pain, and appetite loss.
    • “Vitamin C has been shown to be safe when given to healthy volunteers and cancer patients at doses up to 1.5 g/kg, while screening out patients with certain risk factors who should avoid vitamin C. Studies have also shown that Vitamin C levels in the blood are higher when taken by IV than when taken by mouth, and last for more than 4 hours.” 

Studies of vitamin C combined with chemotherapy drugs:

    • “In a small study of 14 patients with advanced pancreatic cancer, IV vitamin C was given along with chemotherapy and treatment with a targeted therapy. Patients had very few bad side effects from the vitamin C treatment. The nine patients who completed the treatment had stable disease as shown by imaging studies.
    • “In another small study of 9 patients with advanced pancreatic cancer, patients were given chemotherapy in treatment cycles of once per week for 3 weeks along with IV vitamin C twice per week for 4 weeks. These patients had disease that did not progress for a period of months. The combined treatment was well tolerated and no serious side effects were reported.
    • “In a 2014 study of 27 patients with advanced ovarian cancer, treatment with chemotherapy alone was compared to chemotherapy along with IV vitamin C. Patients who received IV vitamin C along with chemotherapy had fewer serious side effects from the chemotherapy.”

Some studies from the medical literature regarding IV vitamin C and cancer:

  • 2 patients with advanced ovarian cancer had remission with 60 gm IV vitamin C twice a week
    • Drisko JA et al. J Am Coll Nutr. 2003 Apr;22(2):118-23
  • Riordan published a summary of 7 patients: Renal cell carcinoma (2), Colorectal cancer (1), Pancreatic cancer (1), Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (2) and breast cancer (1). All patients seriously ill with “untreatable” metastatic disease, but experienced complete remissions or cures
    • Riordan HD et al. P R Health Sci J. 2004 Jun;23(2):115-118.
  • Padayatty reported on 3 patients (metastatic kidney cancer, bladder cancer and stage III diffuse B-cell lymphoma) improved or cured with 30 – 60 gm doses
    • Padayatty SJ et al. CMAJ. 2006 Mar 28;174(7):937-42.

A meta-analysis analyzed 37 studies including 2 randomized controlled trials, 15 uncontrolled trials, 6 observational studies, and 14 case reports.

  • Results showed IV vitamin may increase time to relapse and possibly reduce tumor size and improve survival, particularly combined with standard chemotherapy.
  • Improvements were shown in quality of life, physical function, chemotherapy-induced toxicity such as reduced fatigue, nausea, insomnia, constipation, and depression.
  • Several case reports showed tumor regression and long-term disease-free survival after use of IV vitamin C.
    • Fritz H et al. Intravenous Vitamin C and Cancer: A Systematic Review. Integr Cancer Ther. 2014 Jul;13(4):280-300. 

Latest research suggests IV vitamin C combined with chemotherapy may offer the best outcomes

  • Parrow NL et al. Parenteral Ascorbate as a Cancer Therapeutic: A Reassessment Based on Pharmacokinetics. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2013 Dec 10; 19(17): 2141–2156.

Intravenous Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) offers a fresh, new approach to assist in the treatment of cancer. 

Thanks to the work of Dr. Mark Levine at the NIH and others, the mechanisms of IV vitamin C are now better understood.

  • Vitamin C serves as a double-edged sword
    • In low (physiological) doses it acts as an antioxidant and neutralizes free radicals
    • In high (therapeutic) doses, it acts as an oxidant prodrug, raising levels of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). This increases free radical production and can kill cancer cells.

We now know that cancer-killing (cytotoxic) levels of vitamin C in the body can only be achieved through Intravenous administration.

  • To kill cancer cells, blood levels of vitamin C need to be at least 1000 µmol/L
  • Maximum oral serum level = 220 µmol/L and are not high enough to kill cancer cells
  • Levels 50 – 70 times higher (10,000 -16,000 µmol/L are possible via the intravenous route and are more than high enough to kill cancer cells
  • At high serum levels, vitamin C changes from an antioxidant to a pro-oxidant
  • The reason: at high doses vitamin C increases levels of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)
    • Mark Levine, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 12-16, 2005 
Unlike cancer cells, healthy cells are not hurt or damaged by high dose IV vitamin C
  • Intravenous administration of vitamin C can selectively kill cancer cells (or infectious agents) without harming normal cells
  • Reason: healthy cells possess catalase
  • Catalase breaks hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) down into its components, water (H2O) & oxygen (O)
  • Catalase is not found in cancer cells or most infectious agents
  • An advantage of high dose intravenous vitamin C therapy over conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy is that vitamin C does not hurt normal cells 

Another advantage of IV vitamin C is its remarkable safety profile. Because IV Vitamin C is such a nontoxic therapy, it can be used on a long term basis – unlike chemotherapy and radiation

  • “Exhaustive literature searches have failed to reveal a controlled study of vitamin C toxicity in human subjects. Anxiety exists about oxalate stone formation, uricosuria, vitamin B-12 destruction, mutagenicity, and iron overload, but the consensus is that adverse effects do not occur in healthy subjects ingesting large amounts of vitamin C.”
    • Diplock AT. Safety of antioxidant vitamins and beta-carotene. Am J Clin Nutr. 1995 Dec;62(6 Suppl):1510S-1516S

It is hoped that controlled trials will be conducted in the near future to demonstrate optimal doses and treatment regimens. Because vitamin C is a generic drug, it is unlikely that any pharmaceutical company will be able to devote the finances and other resources needed to perform such studies. Hopefully, the NIH will step forward and fund such studies (similar to the TACT Trial which they did with IV chelation therapy in the treatment of heart disease). 

Grossman Wellness Center has been offering high dose intravenous vitamin C therapy to patients as an adjunct to conventional cancer treatments for 22+ years.

For further information, please call one of our patient care coordinators at (303)233-4247 to find out how IV Vitamin C may serve as part of a comprehensive cancer treatment program for you or a loved one. 

 

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