What Does the Research Say About High Dose Vitamin C Therapy for Cancer Patients?
The short answer is: A lot! I was stunned when I started to dig into the evidence behind high dose vitamin C therapy for cancer patients. As a triple certified (family, functional medicine, and hospice/palliative care) nurse practitioner, I thought that I would have known about this if it was worth looking into. I was wrong. High dose vitamin C therapy is backed by research, both current and dating back as far as 50 years.
Studies show that it can drastically increase quality of life, enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy, reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, and prolong survival in those diagnosed with various forms of cancer. Time and time again it has been shown to do these things while having virtually zero adverse effects. Say what?! Indeed, there are numerous high quality research studies backing its use and safety.
Before I begin to expound on this, I want to make it clear: I am a believer in integrative medicine which is the use of BOTH traditional and natural medicine for optimal wellness. This means that I absolutely recommend the exploration and use of traditional treatment for cancer, but, I also believe that there are extremely valuable natural adjunctive (to be used in addition) treatments. These can be used alongside traditional options or on their own in the absence of viable traditional options. High dose vitamin C therapy fits this bill.
What does the research say about high dose vitamin C therapy:
- A large study showed that it increased survival time 4.2 fold
- Quality of life was improved
- Appetite was stimulated
- Pain was reduced
- Disease course was stabilized (did not get worse)
- Energy and functional status were increased
- Side effects of chemotherapy were reduced
- Chemotherapy was made more effective
- Negative side effects of vitamin C therapy were not observed
How is this possible?
Research shows that cancer sufferers have lower vitamin C levels as compared to those without malignancy. Through the replacement of this nutrient to higher than normal physiologic levels, incredible results are observed. Some reasons that researchers think that this works are that vitamin C:
- Enhances collagen formation and can promote encapsulation of a tumor, limiting or preventing its spread via a physical barrier
- Counteracts cancer cell proliferation
- Has been shown to be selectively toxic to cancer cells through various mechanisms including oxidative damage
- Stimulates the immune system as a barrier against pathogens and a weapon against cancer cells.
- Is ANTI-inflammatory. Inflammation promotes tumor development, blood supply, growth, resistance to therapy, and metastasis
- Works as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and is therefore able to counteract the side effects of chemotherapy while enhancing its effectiveness
How is High Dose Vitamin C Therapy Administered:
This treatment does not refer to oral supplementation which can only be administered up to about 5 grams per day without causing diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms. High dose vitamin C (in the neighborhood of 30 to 100 grams per dose) can only be given via the intravenous route. Testing for certain genetic conditions such as G6PD deficiency must be done prior to administration. The doses are given on average twice weekly and blood levels are checked periodically to be sure that the correct amount is being given. This varies from person to person based on their individual physiology as well as their tumor burden.
The Rioridian Clinic has been using this treatment for nearly 50 years and has a well established and researched protocol, which is incredibly informational and available to the public. Intravenous high dose vitamin C must be given in a well calculated methodology in order to achieve the desired effects. After much research followed by patient experience, I am a believer. High dose vitamin C therapy can be revolutionary in both the quantity and quality of life when used as an adjunct to traditional cancer therapies in collaboration with the oncology team.
If you have questions about high dose vitamin C therapy for you or a loved one, please do not hesitate to reach out!