Intravenous Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) Infusion in Oncologic Treatment
Administering High-Dose Ascorbic Acid* by Injection in Cancer/Tumor Therapy
from Revisiting Vitamin C and Cancer by Neil H. Riordan PA-C, MS, Managing Director, ITL Clinic
Introduction by Healing Cancer Naturally © 2007
There seem to be a number of apparently permanent cancer cures effected or catalyzed by so-called alternative cancer treatments such as intravenous vitamin C infusion, of which the following report is an example: “[M]y Mother had breast cancer 34 years ago with multiple lymph node involvement. She had surgery and then IV laetrile and IV Vitamin C and has been free of breast cancer since.”
While such healings are wonderful and worthwhile reporting, we cannot be sure whether other factors didn’t play a decisive role as well. Conceivably, the cancer diagnosis in itself roused great determination and inner resources in the person concerned, leading to simple or multiple beneficial changes in their inner and outer circumstances and the way they lived their life on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual plane.
Healing Cancer Naturally generally encourages its readers to go for a holistic approach, i.e. to aim to achieve healing - particularly of a permanent and “all-round” nature - by exploring and reestablishing health on all levels of human existence. You will find ample material and pointers to achieve just that on the several hundreds of pages of this site, particularly in Emotions & Cancer Healing, Energetics, Nutrition, Healing & Your Mind and Spirituality.
George Williams was 70 years old in 1986. That was the year he learned he had kidney cancer. The cancer had spread to his liver and the lymph nodes in his chest. His oncologist told him he could give him chemotherapy and radiation but it wouldn't likely help. The doctor suggested George get his affairs in order.
George had heard about the work of Linus Pauling and some Scottish doctors on the effects of megadoses of vitamin C on cancer. He then visited the only doctor in Wichita, Kansas who treated people with megadoses of vitamins, my father, Hugh Riordan, M.D. My father told George that he would give him injections of vitamin C but didn't know if it would help. George received 30 grams (30,000 milligrams) of vitamin C twice a week for six weeks. X-rays six weeks later showed a marked decrease in the size of the tumors. George continued the injections. Six months later there was no evidence of cancer. Mr. Williams lived a relatively healthy life for another 14 years and died a few years ago of congestive heart failure at the age of 84.
In the Fall of 1994, a 73 year-old farmer from Western Kansas was diagnosed with wide-spread non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Biopsies and CT-scans showed he had cancer in all the lymph nodes from his chest up. He was treated with chemotherapy for 8 months resulting in a remission. In July, 1997 he began losing weight (30 lbs). He returned to his oncologist and a CT-scan at that time showed recurrence. He was placed on chemotherapy in September, 1997. In December, 1997 with no change in the cancer, his immune system was so depressed he developed a case of Shingles and the chemotherapy was stopped. I first saw this gentleman in March, 1998. He was given vitamin C injections 50 grams (50,000 millligrams) two times per week. Three months after beginning vitamin C therapy a CT-scan showed no evidence of cancer. Another CT-scan in February, 1999 was also clear and he was declared to be in complete remission by his oncologist.
Given the results seen clinically as described in the cases above, my father and I went on to perform research on the effects of vitamin C on the immune system and tumor cells. The two major conclusions coming from our research were 1) people with cancer require much more vitamin C than healthy people; and 2) vitamin C in high doses (given through the vein) can act similar to chemotherapy without the side effects. Our latest article was published in the British Journal of Cancer.
It's a good thing that neither my father nor George listened to the negative reports on vitamin C and cancer that came out of the Mayo Clinic several years before he began treatment. Those two clinical tests in Minnesota found the vitamin did not alter the course of disease and the notion was abandoned-it was essentially rejected as a cancer treatment at that time.
Two recent articles in the Canadian Medical Association Journal suggest the Mayo research was flawed and the scientists were biased against the use of "alternative" cancer treatments.
The author of one of the articles, Dr. John Hoffer, a professor of medicine at McGill University, says, "In 1971, even saying that vitamin C could be useful was so outlandish that a conversation would stop between scientists and physicians."
"What's changed now is ... a commitment on the part of agencies to study alternative cancer therapies."
Dr. Hoffer said his own speculation is the Mayo researchers "wanted a quick and decisive way to disprove the treatment."
In May of 1999, vitamin C researchers, including my father and I attended a closed-door research workshop in Montreal. There we began re-examining the methods used to test high-dose vitamin C against cancer. Dr. Hoffer attended the meeting, as did Dr. Mark Levine, a molecular scientist at the National Institutes of Health. One of the conclusions of the workshop was that the Mayo Clinic treatments were too short, and the vitamin C was given by mouth, not by injection. If given by mouth the vitamin is not as well absorbed and blood levels do not reach a concentration high enough to disable tumor cells.
Dr. Levine in the other Canadian Journal article wrote, "We should rigorously explore the anti-cancer effects of vitamin C, when administered intravenously at high doses, in patients with well-documented cancer."
We routinely give large doses of vitamin C to people with cancer at the ITL Clinic. In addition to its anti-tumor effects vitamin C has side "benefits," as opposed to adverse side effects seen with other cancer treatments. The side benefits include an increased sense of well-being, decreased pain, enhanced immune system and stronger collagen-the glue that prevents cancer cells from spreading.
Many people who come to our clinic are taking chemotherapy and/or radiation. We find that people tolerate these standard treatments much better when they also get high dose vitamin C. One patient comes to mind, Richard, a 54 year old businessman was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer 5 years ago. He was put on chemotherapy and at the same time I started him on vitamin C infusions 2-3 times per week. He sailed through the chemotherapy without any symptoms. After 11 months of treatment he went on a two-week trip to Florida. He was able to get his chemotherapy from a doctor there, but not the vitamin C. By the end of the trip he was getting typical side effects from the chemotherapy-most prominently mouth and throat ulcers. One week after getting back on the vitamin C his ulcers healed. Richard remains alive and well today.
Also compare this anecdotal report on Vitamin C helping prevent negative radiation treatment symptoms.
Occasionally people who take vitamin C experience miraculous results, however it is not a cancer cure. As part of a comprehensive cancer treatment program vitamin C is a powerful tool to help people have stronger immune systems, an increased quality of life, and increased chances of surviving their disease.
"Twelve years ago, we used infusions of 30 grams of intravenous ascorbic acid, twice per week, and found that metastatic lesions in the LUNG and liver of a man with a primary renal cell carcinoma disappeared in a matter of weeks (1). At that time we believed IAA was useful for patients with cancer solely through two biological response modifier mechanisms: increased production of extracellular collagen ("walling off' the tumor as proposed by Cameron and Pauling) and enhancement of immune function. We subsequently reported a case of resolution of bone metastases in a patient with primary breast cancer (1A) using infusions of 100 grams, once or twice per week (2).
In a recent publication (3) we presented evidence that ascorbic acid and its salts (AA) could be more than biological response modifiers. We found that ascorbic acid is preferentially toxic to tumor cells suggesting that it could be useful as a chemotherapeutic agent. Preferential toxicity occurred in vitro in multiple tumor cell types. We also presented data suggesting that plasma concentrations of ascorbate required for killing tumor cells were achievable in humans. Others have described in vivo toxicity in multiple tumor types and animal models (4-8).
Addendum & caveat by Healing Cancer Naturally
1 Reportedly, megadoses of intravenous vitamin C will deplete copper so it's important to keep adequate levels of this mineral in the blood to avoid potentially serious consequences in people whose health is already strongly compromised.
2 Physician Dr. Riordan includes in his IV Vitamin C treatment protocol a test for a possible (although rare) G6PD (glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase) enzyme deficiency. If this enzyme (which is required for the integrity of red blood cell membranes) is lacking, vitamin C megadoses can induce hemolysis.
* Please note that the vitamin C referred to in the article is a man-made substance called ascorbic acid not fully identical with the vitamin C as found in natural foods. On the other hand, the vitamincfoundation.org quite convincingly argues to the contrary. You decide.
- Oral megadoses of vitamin C and cancer
- Vitamin C healing testimony
- Dietary vitamin C intake from natural sources, cancer prevention & incidence
- Anecdotal report on Vitamin C helping prevent negative radiation treatment symptoms
- Additional tips on using Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)