There is much research regarding the use of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in cancer therapy. However, most of the research focuses on oral rather than the more effective intravenous (IV) route of administration. IV vitamin C has a significantly greater effect on immune enhancement than the conventional oral route of administration.
Oral doses of vitamin C can only achieve maximum blood concentrations of 220 micromoles per liter. At this concentration, vitamin C acts as an anti-oxidant, protecting healthy cells from oxidative stress and against some bacteria and viruses. It remains good advice to take your vitamin C at the first sign of a cold.
Research shows that blood levels greater than 1,000 micromoles per liter are toxic to cancer cells. These levels cannot be achieved by taking oral vitamin C.
How IV Vitamin C Therapy Works
When given intravenously, high levels of vitamin C in the blood generate the production of hydrogen peroxide, a known toxin to cancer cells. Whereas normal cells have the ability to reduce the effects of hydrogen peroxide, cancer cells do not have the same mechanism of action in this regard.
In laboratory experiments of human lymphoma cancer cells, hydrogen peroxide exposure results in cell death. When high doses of vitamin C is added to human lymphoma cancer cells, cell death was identical and due to the generation of hydrogen peroxide from the vitamin C2.
These experiments show vitamin C at high concentrations does not actually work as an anti-oxidant as it does when given orally at lower doses, but as a pro-oxidant. Pro-oxidants cause cancer cell death due to the low levels of anti-oxidant properties present in tumor cells. Vitamin C at high doses only acts as a pro-oxidant, similar in mechanism to some cancer medication therapies but without the toxic side effects.
IV Vitamin C Therapy at The Center
Current intravenous vitamin C protocols suggest maximum benefit from one to two infusions of 50 - 75 grams per week for about 6 months.
After reassessment, continued treatment is typically one to two 50 - 75 gram infusions per month or on an as needed basis. Each infusion takes about one hour. Although it is not necessary, it is recommended to have intravenous access through a port or PICC line.
Other IV Therapies in the Treatment of Cancer
Resveratrol has great potential in the treatment of patients who have oncologic disease and chronic illness.Besides cardioprotective effects, resveratrol is an antioxidant that has anticancer properties, and can suppress the growth of a wide variety of tumor cells, including lymphoid and myeloid cancers; multiple myeloma; cancers of the breast, prostate, stomach, colon, pancreas, and thyroid; melanoma; head and neck squamous cell carcinoma; ovarian carcinoma, and cervical carcinoma.It blocks the multistep process of cancer formation at various stages (initiation, promotion, and progression),having a chemopreventive effect as well as a therapeutic effect against cancer.Intravenous data in human subjects shows it to be well tolerated and safe.
Curcumin is derived from the Indian Spice turmeric, and has been shown to interfere with multiple cell signaling pathways in cancer cells, including ability to survive, proliferate, invade, metastasize, and the creation of blood vessels and inflammation. There is reported activity of curcumin against leukemia and lymphoma, gastrointestinal cancers, genitourinary cancers, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, lung cancer, melanoma, neurological cancers, and sarcoma. Successful oral absorption of curcumin is often difficult, requiring a lipid (fatty) medium or one with black pepper.Although oral administration has been shown to provide some benefit, less than ideal absorption does not always allow maximal benefit.Intravenous curcumin, given in liposomal (fat-encapsulated) form bypasses the need for gut absorption and is a novel and promising adjunct to the care of the cancer and chronically ill patient population.
Artemisia annua, or sweet wormwood, is an herb that has been used in Chinese medicine for many centuries as an intestinal cleanser because it has strong anti-parasitic properties. The herb also has a long history of being used for treating malaria. More recently a semi-synthetic form of Artemisia has been developed as a medication and is now preferred over quinine as it is less toxic and more effective. Artemisia does not directly kill the malaria parasite. Artemesia compounds such as artemesinin contain a peroxide element which reacts with iron in red blood cells to form fee radicals. The buildup of free radicals damages and kills the parasite.
Currently, there is ongoing research for using artemesinin for many health conditions including viral and bacterial infections, certain types of cancer including breast and leukemia, and autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Artesunate is a form of artemesinin that can be given intravenously. Although oral artemisinin is absorbed relatively well through the intestines, peak plasma concentrations of IV artesunate are 4-5x higher while using less than half the dose of oral artemisinin. These higher concentrations that are attainable through IV administration are likely more beneficial at creating a free radical burst.
In clinical trilas for the treatment of malaria, IV artesunate has been shown to be safe with a low toxicity profile. Artemesia therapies are contraindicated in pregnancy, especially in the first trimester, and is not recommended with lactation.