Vitamin C is naturally occurring in many fruits and vegetables. Our bodies need Vitamin C to preform may of its daily functions, fight disease, and promote overall health and wellness. Deprived of vitamin C, your body falls apart at the very root. In extreme cases you end up with a condition called scurvy that involves bleeding, hair and tooth loss, joint pain and swelling, and eventually death.
Fortunately, even small amounts of vitamin C from foods like oranges and lemons prevents this condition. Unfortunately, food and oral supplements usually aren’t enough to achieve optimal health.
You see, only about 18% of the vitamin C we consume is absorbed by our bodies. However, when it’s delivered by IV, vitamin C is 100% bioavailable. That means you can support your adrenal glands, maintain energy levels, improve and protect your skin, strengthen tendons and bones, boost you immune system and fight chemotherapy / radiation side effects with the power of high dose vitamin C.
High dose vitamin C is especially useful any time you are under greater than usual amounts of stress, feeling excessive fatigue, when your immune system needs bolstering to fight acute or chronic viral and bacterial infections, when your skin needs to be restored to glowing conditions such as after sun damage or surgery and to help improve the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy like fatigue, nausea and vomiting.
That's nice, but what does the science say about Vitamin C?
Vitamin C has such broad applications because it is a key factor in collagen production (skin, blood vessels, ligaments and bones), adrenalin and carnitine synthesis (energy), it directly boosts the immune system, and it has a potent antioxidant function. So let’s look at each of these in turn.
Collagen is the structural protein found in all animal tissue. It holds our muscles to our bones, provides structural support for veins and arteries, and more.
Vitamin C is required for collagen synthesis along with the amino acids proline and lysine (1). When you don’t have enough collagen, you may have thin skin and weaker blood vessels, bones, tendons and ligaments. This can lead to aneurysms (blood vessel wall thinning), possible stroke, and even the ruptured ligaments and tendons commonly seen in sports injuries.
High doses of vitamin C when administered by IV can bolster skin and connective tissue and prevent these outcomes.
Vitamin C is required in the breakdown of fat for energy use. It takes part in the synthesis of a molecule called carnitine which serves as a shuttle bringing fats into the mitochondria in our cells for energy production.
This means it can have a powerful influence on our energy levels. For example, a 2011 scientific study showed high dose (10 grams) vitamin C given by IV reduced fatigue in office workers after 2 hours and continued its effect for 24 hours (2)
Vitamin C may have a direct effect against infectious agents like bacteria, viruses, and even cancer cells. (The use of Vitamin C in cancer is still controversial but is being studied and is promising… read more below.) At very high doses it can generate peroxide (H2O2) which may account for this effect.
Before the polio vaccine, vitamin C was used as a high dose intramuscular injection every 8 hours in the treatment of polio with some success. More recently in mice genetically modified to lose the ability to make vitamin C, external vitamin C was shown to increase the mice’s ability to increase anti-influenza cytokines (powerful immune system cells) and fight influenza virus infections (3).
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps protect cell structures like collagen, proteins, and DNA from damage by free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) which are common in high stress states, chronic illness and infections.
Research has shown that the antioxidant properties of vitamin C can reduce the severity of symptoms associated with H1N1 influenza virus and is considered an important add-on therapy in surviving the flu (4).
Cancer and Chemotherapy
The role of vitamin C as a therapy for cancer is very controversial. No large scale studies have been done to definitively conclude one way or another if vitamin C has a role in the treatment of cancer. Here is what we do know:
- Vitamin C even in high doses of 1.5 grams/ kg (over 100 grams) is safe and tolerated very well with very few side effects. Even the myth of kidney stones (oxalic acid) has been dispelled in recent studies which have shown that oxalic acid levels remain well controlled even with high doses of vitamin C. (5)
- IV vitamin C becomes an oxidant at high doses as opposed to its antioxidant function at lower doses. This is because vitamin C interacts with oxygen and iron to cause the formation of high concentrations of peroxide (H2O2) in tissues. Peroxide is used by immune cells to kill foreign invaders and cancer cells. Vitamin C also depletes ATP and causes DNA damage to cancer cells. (7)
- High dose IV vitamin C can be used safely in conjunction with chemotherapy (except methotrexate) and radiation in certain situations in which the patient’s oncological team is aware of and has agreed to incorporate vitamin C as a treatment modality. (5, 6)
- High dose IV vitamin C may improve mood and energy for patients undergoing cancer treatment using other modalities. (5)
- High dose IV vitamin C can be used safely in treatment of terminal cancers which have not responded to chemotherapy and radiation treatment even if it may be of limited use in further killing these cancer cells. (5)
Some of the most active treatment and research for the use of high dose IV vitamin C is coming out of The Riordan Clinic in Wichita, Kansas where they have been using it for decades. The clinic has published a well-known protocol that has become a standard for scientific studies on high dose IV vitamin C. This protocol is what we follow when administering IVs, and can be accessed here.
In addition, the University of Kansas Medical Center is also actively researching the use of high dose IV vitamin C in cancer, and has a full time clinic with 10 chairs and 2 isolation rooms dedicated solely to the treatment of cancer patients with this therapy. You can read more about it here and here.
Lastly, the US Government NIH National Cancer Institute publishes updated information on the current state of research and knowledge on the use of high dose IV vitamin C in the treatment of cancer. This can be accessed here.
Vitamin C (ascorbate) is a powerful antioxidant and several critical enzymes require vitamin C in the synthesis of collagen from proline and lysine. Vitamin C is, therefore, required for the maintenance of normal connective tissue as well as for wound healing since synthesis of connective tissue is the first event in wound tissue remodeling. Vitamin C is also necessary for bone remodeling due to the presence of collagen in the organic matrix of bones.
Vitamin C is required for conversion of tyrosine to epinephrine (adrenalin), and the synthesis of the bile. It is present in high amounts in the adrenal gland cortex and these levels are depleted after adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) stimulation of the gland and synthesis of the stress hormone cortisol, which is why it’s important to replete vitamin C level during times of high stress.
Bringing it all together
Vitamin C is one of the BEST vitamins the have abundantly flowing in your body. At iDrip Therapy, we offer 2 IV blends (with more on the way) that have 5000mg of Vitamin C infused in them. They are the Myer's Cocktail and the Immune Booster. In light of everything that has been going on in the last few months, we stand by our IV blends, knowing that they will provide your body the nutrients it needs to fight any disease and promote overall health and wellness. We are located in Phoenix, Arizona but our RN's and Paramedics will travel anywhere in the valley. So whether you're in Scottsdale, Peoria, Mesa, Gilbert, Tempe, or any other of Phoenix's surrounding cities, give us a call and we will bring IV vitamin C right to you!
- Mussini E, Hutton JJ, Udenfriend S. Collagen proline hydroxylase in wound healing, granuloma formation, scurvy, and growth. Science. 157:927-9.
- Suh SY, Bae WK, Ahn HY, Choi SE, Jung GC, Yeom, CH. Intravenous Vitamin C administration reduces fatigue in office workers: a double-blind randomized controlled trial. Nutr J, 11(7).
- Kim, Y, Kim H, Bae S, Choi J, Lim SY, Lee N, Lee, WJ. Vitamin C is an essential factor on the anti-viral immune responses through the production of interferon-α/β at the initial stage of influenza A virus (H3N2) infection. Immune network, 13(2), 70-74.
- Uchide N, Toyoda H. Antioxidant therapy as a potential approach to severe influenza-associated complications. Molecules, 16(3), 2032-2052.
- Hoffer LJ, Robitaille L, Zakarian R, Melnychuk D, Kavan P, Agulnik J, Miller Jr WH. High-Dose Intravenous Vitamin C Combined with Cytotoxic Chemotherapy in Patients with Advanced Cancer: A Phase I-II Clinical Trial.
- Ma Y, Chapman J, Levine M, Polireddy K, Drisko J, Chen Q. High-dose parenteral ascorbate enhanced chemosensitivity of ovarian cancer and reduced toxicity of chemotherapy. Science translational medicine, 6(222), 222ra18-222ra18.
- Tian W, Wang Y, Xu Y, Guo X, Wang B, Sun L, Esteban MA. The hypoxia-inducible factor renders cancer cells more sensitive to vitamin C-induced toxicity. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 289(6), 3339-3351.