Intravenous Vitamin C

Intravenous Vitamin C (IVC)

What is intravenous vitamin C (IVC)?

  • High doses of vitamin C are administered via an intravenous (IV) drip. The IV route allows much larger concentrations of vitamin C to circulate in the blood than is possible by taking oral vitamin C supplements.

What is it used for?

IVC is most commonly prescribed to:

  • Chronic or acute viral or bacterial infections
  • Improve quality of life in patients with cancer who may or may not be undergoing chemotherapy
  • Reduce cancer-treatment related symptoms including fatigue, nausea and lack of appetite
  • Slow cancer progression

Does IVC work?

  • Preliminary human studies consistently show that IVC, alone or in combination with standard treatments, can reduce cancer symptoms, treatment side effects and improve quality of life. IVC should not be considered as a cure for cancer.
  • A few small studies have looked at IVC in combination with standard care. In line with results from lab studies, these human studies show that IVC plus chemotherapy can slow cancer progression by reducing tumour size and decreasing tumour growth rate, as compared to chemotherapy alone.

How does IVC work?

  • Lab-based studies indicate IVC increases the production of hydrogen peroxide in the blood stream, which has been shown to cause cancer cell death while leaving normal cells unharmed. As opposed to vitamin C taken orally, high doses of vitamin C administered through an IV behaves as a pro-oxidant rather than an anti-oxidant and leads to the generation of free-radicals, adept at killing cancer cells.
  • Cancer cell lines that have exhibited sensitivity to the high doses of vitamin C that are possible through IV delivery include lymphoma, glioblastoma, bladder, prostate, liver, breast, cervix, ovary, colon and pancreas.

What are the side effects of IVC?

  • Side effects are mild and rare in most patients. Possible examples include transient dehydration related symptoms such as headaches, abdominal discomfort and dizziness.

Is IVC safe?

  • IVC should not be administered to patients with renal failure, a history of kidney stone formation or those with a deficiency of the G6PD enzyme. Please contact your healthcare provider to discuss whether you are a good candidate for IVC therapy. IVC should not be considered a viable replacement for chemotherapy.

What is the recommended dose of IVC?

  • The goal of IVC treatment is to achieve a level of vitamin C in the blood stream of approximately 22mM (400mg/dL). Patients at the Nature Doctors typically receive between 25g and 100g per infusion to achieve these levels. Extensive data show that doses up to 1.5g/kg of body weight are safe in a professionally monitored environment.
  • Treatments are generally administered 1-3 times per week during active treatment, and less often during a maintenance phase. Each treatment can last between 1 and 2 hours, depending on the dose.

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Disclaimer of the Nature Doctors:  The information in this monograph should not be interpreted as medical advice nor should replace the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.  Please consult with a qualified Naturopathic Doctor to discuss whether high dose Vitamin C is right for you.  The above information is used in accordance with the Ontario Integrative Cancer Centre.