The issue of using vitamin C on cancer patients has been hotly contested in conventional and alternative medical settings ever since the 1970s.
Specifically, I’m talking about 1976.
Of course, it was a different time back then. That’s when you could buy a house for under £50,000!
That’s also the year that the great Nobel Prize winner Dr. Linus Pauling (along with Dr. Ewan Cameron) proposed that high-dose intravenous vitamin C (IVC) could be used to help fight cancer.
As they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
But progress is being made – and I’ve got the latest on what the scientific community has recently established in terms of how IVC works to not only promote cancer cell death and inhibit growth, but also to keep healthy cells from becoming cancer cells in the first place.
What’s more, if you’re currently battling cancer and struggling with the treatments, IVC can help… and in more ways than one.
Why you need IVC and not just supplements
At first, researchers repeated the studies using high-dose oral vitamin C – so, of course, it didn’t show the same positive effects on cancer.
No matter how poorly (or inaccurately) those studies were conducted, the results were enough for the mainstream to consider Dr. Pauling’s theories debunked… for the next 20 years!
In fact, it wasn’t until the late 1990s that National Institutes of Health researcher Dr. Mark Levine discovered an interesting fact about vitamin C that appeared to debunk the debunkers.
Turns out, vitamin C behaves differently in the body when administered intravenously than when taken orally!
The field of pharmacokinetics can make this all sound pretty complicated, but what you need to know is that it all boils down to one thing: IVC accumulates much higher levels in the bloodstream and cells than similar oral doses do.
And at that higher concentration, vitamin C transforms from being an antioxidant to a pro-oxidant – and that has particularly damaging properties to
A crack in the armour of cancer cells
To understand how it works, though, you have to know a little bit about the mechanisms behind the survival of cancer cells.
And if you’re a Star Trek fan, this will make perfect sense to you.
You know how the Starship Enterprise would sacrifice its protective shields to transfer more power to its phaser weapons?
That’s pretty much what cancer cells do. In order to be streamlined and to grow fast, cancer cells have to make some sacrifices.
The biggest sacrifice is this: While most healthy tissue cells have an enzyme called catalase that protects them from the ravaging effects of hydrogen peroxide, cancer cells are missing that catalase, which makes hydrogen peroxide lethal to them.
Exposure to high enough levels of hydrogen peroxide, in fact, can cause so much oxidation that the cancer cells die off – and that, as you know, is part of the problem with cancer cells.
They don’t follow the normal cycles of programmed cell death!
I’m telling you this because the theory behind using IVC to fight cancer is that it exploits that vulnerability, helping release hydrogen peroxide…
and killing off cancer cells.
Hence its pro-oxidant properties.
Much of the work on this has been pioneered by the Riordan Clinic in Wichita, Kansas, and the University of Kansas Medical Center (under the leadership of Dr. Jeanne Drisko).
And according to the Riordan Center, there are plenty of animal studies that show that intravenous administration can provide a high enough concentration of vitamin C to be toxic to cancer cells – and even reduce tumour growth.
And that holds true for a variety of cancers, including those of the liver, pancreas, colon, and prostate, as well as sarcoma, leukaemia, and mesothelioma.1
Hack your genes to prevent tumours from growing
Pro-oxidation isn’t the only mechanism by which IVC demonstrates anti-cancer activities.
It also acts as an anti-inflammatory.
Inflammation is a key factor in the destructive nature of cancer’s appearance and spread. So, it stands to reason that the lowering of inflammation is likewise key in the shrinking of cancers.
And the best way for us to measure inflammation – especially whether it’s getting better or worse – is by testing for inflammatory markers, which are essentially messengers of inflammation and cellular activity.
When cancer cells provoke inflammation, it elevates the levels of those markers. But when treated with IVC, markers of inflammation – including multiple cytokines, CRP, IL-8, Tumour Necrosis Factor alpha (TNF-a), IFN-gamma, and even PSA levels – have all been shown to decrease.
In a 2016 study, elevated levels of multiple cytokines and other inflammatory messengers dropped significantly with the addition of IVC,2 as did proteins that promote the development of new blood vessels stimulated by cancer cells (angiogenesis).
And when there’s a tumour forming inside of you, you don’t want anything to create new supply channels for those rapidly growing cells.
Fortunately, other studies have shown that vitamin C appears to actively retard the growth of new blood vessels, and it does so through yet another astounding mechanism.
It influences your genetics.
You see, we all have genes that, under certain circumstances, can turn healthy cells into cancer cells. And these cancer-switching genes – known as oncogenes – can be turned on or off by the various chemicals and substances that are coursing through your body.
But IVC has been shown to beat back at least two of the gene expressions and related proteins (cMyc and Ras) that, when triggered (or ‘upregulated’), contribute to the uncontrolled growth of cells – both in number and in size.
This may be the oomph you need
Now, we’re nowhere near making the blanket statement that ‘IVC cures cancer’. Nor are we at the point when we can say that IVC should replace traditional cancer-fighting approaches.
But looking at its efficacy and safety record does beg the question: Should IVC be used in conjunction with chemotherapy?
Well, the jury’s still out on that – but the evidence is showing more and more that IVC may help chemotherapy drugs work better. At the very least, IVC may protect your healthy tissues against the havoc that chemo can wreak.
In vitro, this synergistic effect has been shown with such chemo drugs as doxorubicin, adriamycin, gemcitabine, cisplatin, and paclitaxel.
IVC has even shown some synergy with another conventional cancer therapy – radiation!
Now, when someone has cancer, we obviously want to try to shrink the tumour, stop it from growing, and kill off as many cancer cells as possible. That’s why so many conventional treatments are of the ‘scorched earth’ variety.
Your choices are to cut the cancer out… burn it out… or poison it to death.
But all of those treatments can leave you feeling pretty crappy (pardon my French) – not to mention any kind of pain or suffering you were experiencing from the cancer itself.
That’s why it’s particularly exciting that research is starting to support the use of IVC in relieving the pain and other symptoms of cancer and cancer treatments (aka palliative care).
In 2011, an improvement was found in a group receiving IVC,3 but since the study wasn’t of the ‘gold standard’ variety – it didn’t compare the effects of IVC to a placebo in a double-blind setting – the naysayers and the nonbelievers can easily ‘pooh-pooh’ those results.
However, we only need to go back to 2010, when a study looking at palliative care showed that using 10g of IVC twice daily can improve quality of life.
Now, it would be one thing if those patients just SAID that they felt better. But in this study, the researchers actually took a more scientific approach in measuring quality of life by coming up with a scoring system.
And you know what? Overall, the IVC group scored higher in physical, emotional, and cognitive function.
What’s more, their scores for all of the complications and adverse effects that comes with cancer and the treatments for it – fatigue, nausea and vomiting, pain, and appetite loss – dropped.
In both cases, the score improvements were statistically significant (both P < 0.005).
And it only took one week of IVC infusions to make a difference for those cancer patients.
Why they’re coming around to our side
At the Rothfeld Center for Integrative Medicine here in the Boston area, we’ve treated well over 50 patients with cancer using IVC therapy… and continue to treat several today.
Some have been on concurrent chemo or radiation therapy (as I just mentioned above)… and some have already tried standard chemo protocols that failed in killing off the cancer.
In addition, we’ve been impressed by this intravenous nutrient therapy – and for many reasons.
First of all, it’s safe. It’s also easy to administer in a clinical setting – both for the care provider and also for the patient.
What’s more, in many cases, it clearly improves patients’ energy levels and overall well-being. We can see that with our own eyes.
In fact, it’s not an uncommon occurrence for patients’ family members to tell us how much better their loved one looks!
Now, some oncologists will scoff at the treatment and tell their cancer patients that IVC is a waste of time. “You’re just making expensive urine,” they’ll say.
And there are still oncologists who’ll even tell their patients that IVC is “dangerous and unproven”… and worse.
But I am optimistic – because we’ve also started to hear more positive responses reported by our patients.
Just last week, an IVC patient of ours with multiple myeloma said that her oncologist told her, “You’re doing great. Keep doing whatever it is they’re doing for you at that holistic place.”
And we’ve started to get a trickle of patient referrals from the oncology world, too – usually from IV chemo nurses at one of the hospitals.
Change doesn’t happen overnight. But it does happen. And I can’t wait to see what happens next.Wishing you the best of health,
Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing
Full references and citations for this article are available in the downloadable PDF version of the monthly Nutrition and Healing issue in which this article appears.