Vitamin C has always been a staple of immune support protocols, and many people take it as a supplement during cold and flu season, or when coming down with an illness. While oral vitamin C can be beneficial when battling a cold, it is also used in IV nutrient therapy as an adjunct treatment for cancer.
What are the benefits of regular vitamin C intake?
According to experts, vitamin C is one of the safest and most effective nutrients. When taken regularly, it can help prevent immune deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye diseases, and even wrinkles.
When vitamin C is taken orally for immune support at doses of 1000-3000 milligrams per day, it has antioxidant activity that protects cells from free radical damage and has antibacterial properties.
It also can prevent and help treat respiratory and systemic infections. The body is self-limiting with how much vitamin C it can absorb and utilize, and vitamin C concentration is regulated by intestinal absorption, tissue accumulation, and kidney reabsorption and excretion. This means excess vitamin C is excreted and flushed out of the body. Because of this, it is impossible to reach high blood or plasma levels of vitamin C.
What are good sources of vitamin C?
Vitamin C can be found in a variety of different foods, including but not limited to citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, strawberries, Brussel sprouts, and cantaloupe. Many of the best sources of vitamin C can be consumed raw and eating about five fruits and vegetables per day can provide more than 200 mg of vitamin C.
Supplements for vitamin C can also be taken to meet adequate dietary levels. Many of these supplements contain vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid, which has the same bioavailability as orange juice and broccoli.
While both of these sources of vitamin C are beneficial, optimal absorption and use of vitamin C can be obtained through IV nutrient therapy. When compared to ingestion, IV nutrient therapy allows for 100% nutrient absorption so the body can better access and utilize vitamin C in a variety of ways.
How does high dose vitamin C IV therapy fight cancer cells?
In the oncology world, vitamin C is given intravenously at doses of 50-100 grams two to three times per week and has pro-oxidant activity at that dose. That means that the purpose of the high dose IV vitamin C is to kill cancer cells, as opposed to its antioxidant and cellular protective function at lower doses. This happens when vitamin C interacts with oxygen and iron to cause the formation of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in high concentration in tissues. Hydrogen peroxide is used by cells in the immune system to kill cancer cells, and vitamin C also causes DNA damage to cancer cells. Some clinical studies have shown that high dose IV vitamin C may improve symptoms and prolong survival in patients with terminal cancer.
Is high dose vitamin C IV therapy safe?
High dose IV vitamin C is safe and well tolerated and has minimal side effects. It can be used along with most chemotherapeutic agents and radiation therapy, when monitored by a doctor who is experienced with integrative oncology treatments and understands interactions with conventional oncology therapies.
It is always important that all providers on a patient’s care team are informed of all treatments that they are receiving, both oral and IV, so that the patient can be effectively monitored during treatment.
Have studies been done on the effectiveness of this treatment?
Although high dose IV vitamin C has been used for many years in clinical settings, more studies are being conducted and published to support its use as an integrative cancer treatment.
Recently, many studies have shown how intravenous vitamin C IV therapy benefits cancer patients. There are several phase I/II clinical trials and case reports on the safety and efficacy of high dose IV vitamin C with various types of cancer, and studies also show better quality of life with symptom management such as decreased pain and protection of normal tissues during chemotherapy. Vitamin C is also thought to have synergistic effects when it is used at the same time as chemotherapy and radiation.
Spark Health’s integrative cancer treatment
Adding our naturopathic doctors to your cancer team, will provide you with the individualized oncology support you need to feel as healthy as possible.
There are three stages to our supportive oncology care:
Stage 1: Initial Diagnosis
During this stage, time is of the essence. The earlier we can meet with you, the better outcomes we will be able to provide. Our healthcare team will work with you to strengthen your body, evaluate your diet, and recommend supplements and IVs to minimize or prevent side effects.
Stage 2: Cancer Treatment
Whether it’s surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination, our cancer specialist doctors will work with you to create an individualized care plan based on your specific health needs. Collaborating with the rest of our in-house team, your doctor-led care will be comprehensive and thorough.
Stage 3: Conventional Treatment Ends
When conventional treatment ends, our support continues. We will provide regular recommendations and guidance on how to increase the natural cancer-fighting ability of the immune system and work towards preventing recurrences. You will then be able to use your new individualized treatment plan to strengthen your body and walk down the path to greater health and wellness.
With our team in your corner, you’ll have the guidance you need during every stage of your journey.
To start getting extra support for your conventional cancer treatments, contact the Spark Health team of naturopathic doctors to schedule an initial appointment to learn more. Located in Solana Beach in San Diego County, CA, Spark Health Integrative Medicine examines your health using a wider lens. Our team of practitioners take an all-encompassing approach to your heath to reconstruct and restore your body from the inside out.
Article written by Dr. Aliza Cicerone, ND, FABNO