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High Dose IV Vitamin C

High dose Vitamin C is given intravenously to treat and / or ameliorate the symptoms of a number of medical conditions.

Conditions for which IVC may be useful:

Cancer

 

Vitamin C has quite a long history of use in treating cancer, stretching  back to the 1970s  and has been used extensively since then , although it remains controversial within the medical community.  Much recent research has been done in the laboratory, in animals and in people with advanced cancer.

Vitamin C, in very high doses can be used in cancer:

  • as an adjunct to chemotherapy, enhancing the effect of the chemotherapy drug to kill the cancer cells

  • with chemotherapy to help to reduce the side-effects

  • as a chemotherapeutic (cancer killing) agent in itself

  • improve quality of life

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Vitamin C taken by mouth (even in the same doses as are given intravenously) does not result in high enough levels of Vitamin C in the blood to fight cancer cells.   This is probably due to a number of factors including the way the  body controls the uptake of Vitamin C from the bowel.   This is why it is necessary to give Vitamin C intravenously. In one study patients with the highest concentration of Vitamin C in the blood were able to maintain their physical quality of life, despite suffering with advanced cancer.

 

IVC appears to enhance the cancer-killing effects of chemotherapy and radiation, although how this works is not fully understood.          Also, IVC decreases the side-effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.   Patients who have received IVC and other nutrients, as well as chemotherapy appear to improve more than expected.  Vitamin C has not been studied in all the different types of cancer, but the general trend across the board in people with cancer is positive.

 

While there have been reports of prolonged survival using IVC  , indications are that people with cancer receiving IVC often feel better and may possibly live longer.       Patients receiving IVC report less fatigue, nausea, vomiting, sleep problems and depression, as well as increased appetite and quality of life.

Other Conditions

 

IVC is used to treat numerous other conditions, although these conditions have not been as extensively studied:

  • infections

  • rheumatoid arthritis

  • fatigue

 

IVC is considered to be part of complementary and alternative medicine and is not generally supported by mainstream medicine.  Although there is some evidence for benefits from IVC, as referenced, we do not suggest it is scientifically validated.

 

Side Effects

High dose IVC of up to 1.5g / kg (higher doses have also been used) given daily has been shown to be generally safe with few side-effects   and can be used over a long period of time.

 

Side-effects experienced by a small number of patients are related to the infusions of a concentrated fluid solution and include: abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, fatigue, facial flushing, perspiration and weakness. Irritation can occur at the site of the drip and recurrent infusions can cause thickening and collapse of the vein. These side-effects can usually be prevented by drinking fluids before and during the infusion and are also helped by the addition of calcium gluconate to the infusion (if needed).    If the needle becomes dislodged from the vein it can temporarily cause discomfort from the vitamin C escaping into the surrounding tissue.

 

The development of kidney stones have been described in patients receiving IVC who had a past history of kidney stones.  However, whether the Vitamin C, the carrier fluid passing through the kidney or other factors cause the kidney stones is not known.  IVC is not used in patients with severe kidney failure and a blood test for kidney function needs to be available prior to starting treatment and may be monitored at intervals during treatment. 

 

People with a rare genetic disorder called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency are unable to tolerate high dose IVC.   You will need to have a blood test for this prior to receiving high dose IVC.

 

IVC has occasionally caused severe bleeding from cancer tumors in a few patients with end-stage rapidly growing cancers.   Suddenly stopping high doses of vitamin c (whether taken by mouth or given intravenously) may cause a rebound effect resulting in suppressed immunity.  In the early studies on IVC, patients were given up to 10g of Vitamin C by mouth when the IVC was stopped.

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