Vitamin C Intravenous Therapy
The high-dose vitamin C (ascorbic acid) intravenous protocol was originally developed in the 1940’s by Frederick Klenner, MD and more recently was further researched by Dr. Linus Pauling PhD and Dr. Ewan Cameron MD for its therapeutic use in cancer care. Vitamin C also enters all cells, acts as a respiratory catalyst, potent antioxidant and aids in liver detoxification. In addition to these biological activities, vitamin C is a cofactor for various enzymes particularly in those involved in immune, nerve and bone cells. The role of vitamin C in the synthesis of collagen, carnitine, neurotransmitters and neuropeptides is essential for wound healing, energy metabolism and nervous system function. Vitamin C also works as an antiviral by interfering with viral protein-coat production which prevents the assembly of new viral units. In the face of disease, cancer, toxins and bacteria, our levels of vitamin C are reduced and require replenishment.
All of these effects justify using IV vitamin C generally in patients to enhance immune function and specifically in cancer patients to improve quality of life, protect against side-effects of chemotherapy/radiation and induce anti-proliferative effects. As the concentration of oral vitamin C is tightly controlled in plasma and tissues, it is necessary to give vitamin C intravenously in order to reach pharmacologically active doses. Intravenous vitamin cell is superior to oral doses due to its bypass to the digestive system which is an energy and dose-dependent process. With doses greater than 2g, less than 20% is actually absorbed, leaving a large quantity of vitamin C in the intestinal lumen that collects water and leads to gastrointestinal cramping, bloating, and diarrhea.
The mechanism of action of high doses of vitamin C has been shown to its ability to react with oxygen and generate free radicals and hydrogen peroxide in the body’s connective tissue, thus becoming pro-oxidative. These molecules can then selectively destroy cancer cell DNA while leaving healthy cells unharmed. Hydrogen peroxide is involved in many immune reactions throughout the body. In healthy cells, hydrogen peroxide is absorbed and sequestered by intra-cellular antioxidants. In cancer cells however, there is a deficiency in such protective antioxidants, allowing the hydrogen peroxide to build up and eventually lead to apoptosis (programmed cell death). For this reason, high dose Vitamin C may be administered intravenously as part of a cancer treatment program.
IV Vitamin C has also been shown to inhibit tumour growth and metastasis by impairing the necessary enzymes needed to do so. Vitamin C also promotes collagen production which may help to stabilize the tumour from invading surrounding tissue.
Various well-designed studies have indicated a positive enhancement of chemotherapeutic effect when chemotherapy has been used in combination with vitamin C. Ascorbic acid has to added benefit of stimulating and supporting the immune system—an important aspect in the management and treatment of all diseases.
Your doctor will access your symptoms to determine whether high dose or low dose vitamin C is indicated and what type of scheduling will best suit your needs. A vitamin C protocol in conjunction with other intravenous natural agents such as alpha-lipoic acid may be recommended for an increased cytotoxic effect.
How to prepare for treatment:
- Ensure you have had a substantial meal 1=2 hours before your treatment
- Drink at least .5-1L of water before treatment
- Inform your practitioner or lab technician of any new medications prescribed by your medical doctor
- Bring water, juice, and a snack to avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) from occurring during your IV
- Bring any reading material, music, or DVDs to make your session more enjoyable.
Dosing, frequency, and treatment length:
Vitamin C may be administered in dosages up to 1.5g/kg three times per week with a
positive safety profile. Your practitioner will determine the dosage most appropriate
for you. Most patients find their treatments take approximately 1.5-2 hours.
What can I expect?
Vitamin C may be administered in dosages up to 1.5g/kg three times per week with a positive safety profile. Your practitioner will determine the dosage most appropriate for you. Most patients find their treatments take approximately 1.5-2 hours.
Common side effects of IV vitamin C can include:
- An increased urge to urinate as vitamin C is a diuretic
- Feelings of nausea or fatigue immediately following treatment
- Dizziness or light headedness if a significant drop in blood pressure or blood sugar is experienced
If these symptoms or any other symptoms persist beyond 24 hours, please contact your health professional immediately.
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