High-dose Vitamin C for Cancer

Did You Know… 

… that new research shows high-dose vitamin C weakens cancer cells and lessens the harsh side effects of chemotherapy drugs?

More than 30 years ago, two-time Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling claimed that huge doses of vitamin C could treat and prevent cancer.  The vitamin C cure, however, has remained unsubstantiated by clinical trials … until now.

A new study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine suggests that when taken in large doses intravenously (we’re talking the amount of vitamin C found in 2000 oranges!), vitamin C lessened the taxing side effects of chemotherapy and even boosted the effectiveness of cancer drugs in mice.

Vitamin C for Cancer 

Researchers in this study were—amazingly—able to secure funding for an essential nutrient that pharmaceutical companies have no chance of patenting.  In addition, they managed to counter the backlash against vitamin C that’s been brewing for years.  Dr. Jeanne Drisko, one of the study co-authors and director of integrative medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center, explains, “There’s been a bias since the late 1970s that vitamin C cancer treatment is worthless and a waste of time.  We’re overcoming that old bias.”

Researchers suspect that one of the reasons vitamin C fell out of favor as a possible cancer treatment is that clinical trials tested the effectiveness of oral vitamin C, which is absorbed and excreted by the kidneys almost as soon as it’s ingested.  When administered intravenously, vitamin C bypasses this process, and plasma levels of the nutrient remain significantly high.

Researchers first analyzed the effects of vitamin C on in vitro cancer cells and ovarian cancer cells in mice.  When vitamin C settled between the spaces of the cell, it formed hydrogen peroxide, which exhibited three inhibitory effects on cancer cells. Hydrogen peroxide fought cancer cells by …

  • Harming their DNA
  • Overwhelming their metabolism
  • Suppressing their growth… a weakening effect that may substantially improve the effectiveness of conventional cancer drugs

Senior author Qi Chen, an assistant professor of pharmacology, toxicology, and therapeutics at the University of Kansas summed up the effect this way: “Ascorbate causes an energy crisis for the cancer cells.”

Researchers also conducted a small clinical trial made up of 27 cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.  A portion of patients was treated with vitamin C, in addition to standard chemotherapy drugs.  The aim of the study was to see whether vitamin C made patients sicker.  Results showed no such ill effect.  Not only did vitamin C have no adverse side effects, but it mitigated the severe side effects of the cancer-killing drugs.  Patients experienced more energy and less nausea!

Vitamin C in Your Medicine Cabinet 

Unfortunately, intravenous injections of vitamin C are expensive and hard to come by.  There is, however, an oral alternative with similar benefits.  The latest version of vitamin C supplements is in a form called liposomal vitamin C.

Liposomal vitamin C is essentially encapsulated ascorbic acid granules that may just be as potent a cancer preventative as intravenous vitamin C.  Some experts believe 90% of liposomal vitamin C is able to permeate tissue and be absorbed on the cellular level.  However, because vitamin C in all oral forms is excreted rapidly out of the kidneys, health care practitioners advise dosing frequently throughout the day to keep plasma levels high.