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High-Dose Vitamin C as a Cancer Treatment

Posted by Jennifer Shipp | May 13, 2019


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Can vitamin C cure cancer?

High-dose vitamin C taken orally is a helper-therapy that can incorporated safely into certain cancer protocols such as the Binzel Diet and The China Study Diet. There is a limit to how much vitamin C the body can absorb when it is taken orally which is why many patients supplement with intravenous vitamin C to glean to most benefits from this particular therapy.

Detailed Introduction

Vitamin C is a naturally occurring substance that’s found in food. It’s an anti-oxidant that plays an important role in making collagen and keeping tissues healthy. When vitamin C is given by intravenously it’s possible for it to reach higher concentrations than what’s possible when vitamin C is taken by mouth [1].

Intravenous vitamin C is a therapy that’s typically used in conjunction with other cancer treatments (that's why it's called a "helper-therapy), but vitamin C, when administered in very high doses by IV infusion, can kill cancer cells by itself. Intravenous treatment should be administered in a treatment facility under the direction of experienced health practitioners. Cancer cells differ metabolically from normal cells in that their mitochondria produce high levels of redox-active iron molecules. These molecules react with vitamin C to produce hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide, in turn can damage the DNA of the cancer cells and their mitochondria which ultimately kills the cancer. The vitamin C treatment is selectively toxic against only the unhealthy cancer cells [2][3].

High doses of intravenous vitamin C in cancer patients generally produces few side effects, though some rare, but serious side effects are possible. In mainstream medicine, cancer patients who are given high doses of IV vitamin C experience an improved quality of life and fewer side effects from chemotherapy and radiation. Studies have shown that IV therapy with high-doses of vitamin C can improve the effectiveness of standard chemotherapy and radiation treatments. The vitamin C seems to slow the progression of the disease [1][2].


Intravenous vitamin C has not been demonized to the same extent as certain other no-chemo cancer treatments in part because it can be used in tandem with standard treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. As such, high-dose vitamin C is not as big of a threat to pharmaceutical companies and instead, research funding has been made available to demonstrate its efficacy in prolonging the life of patients with glioblastoma and Stage IV lung cancer [2]. The effectiveness at prolonging lifespan even among patients who followed the standard medical model supports the effectiveness of high-dose vitamin C as a cancer treatment that works despite the presence of the highly toxic biological environment produced by chemo and radiation.

Two studies done by scientists Creagan and Moertel in 1979 at the Mayo Clinic put a spin on high-dose vitamin C treatment, claiming that it was nearly impossible to produce therapeutic concentration levels. In both of these studies, the vitamin C was administered orally, but the medical community was confused by these results so doctors today rarely prescribe intravenous vitamin C to cancer patients thinking that there are few, if any therapeutic benefits to patients [6][8][9].

The reason why intravenous vitamin C is used to treat cancer rather than orally administered vitamin C is because vitamin C concentrations can be raised safely to high levels using intravenous administration. At high concentration levels, vitamin C is toxic to cancer cells, but beneficial to healthy cells. Vitamin C at high concentrations prevents angiogenesis (or the development of a tumor’s blood supply). As the vitamin accumulates in cancer cells, tumor cells stop growing and inflammation is reduced in the body. Further, patients experience few side effects and adverse events when vitamin C is administered intravenously [3].

Safety and Effectiveness

Research has shown that intravenous vitamin C is effective against a variety of cancer types including:

Clinical studies have shown that oral administration of vitamin C at the maximum tolerated dose (18grams/day), produces only a peak plasma concentration of 220 micromoles/Liter. Intravenous administration of the same dose of vitamin C (18 grams/day) can increase plasma concentration 25 times. Even larger doses (50-100 grams/day) can increase the plasma concentration levels to 14,000 micromoles/Liter. At 1,000 micromoles/Liter, vitamin C is toxic to cancer cells, but not toxic to normal, healthy cells [5][6].

Vitamin C treatment was first suggested as a cancer treatment in the 1950’s because of its role in collagen production. Since cancer patients are often depleted of vitamin C, scientists believed that the vitamin C would protect normal tissues and by replenishing vitamin C levels, the immune system function would be enhanced [3][7].

In one study, scientists observed a four-fold survival rate in terminal cancer patients who were treated with high-dose vitamin C IV’s. The researchers who conducted the study observed a survival rate one-third higher for the patients who were given high-dose vitamin C. For the patients who died during the study, their average survival time was more than 20 times higher than it was for terminal cancer patients who did not receive vitamin C treatments [7].

There are rare instances that have been reported where patients with multiple, rapidly proliferating tumors were given high-dose vitamin C, which caused widespread tumor hemorrhage and necrosis that ultimately caused the patient to die. Deaths like these from high-dose vitamin C are rare, but despite their tragic nature, they demonstrate the power of vitamin C to cause cancer cells to die as well as the importance of detoxifying the body as part of a treatment protocol [3].

How Intravenous Vitamin C Is Administered

The half-life of vitamin C is only 2 hours which is why it has to be administered in high doses via IV, otherwise, when administering vitamin C by mouth, the blood concentration never reaches a high enough level to be beneficial in terms of cancer cells. Clinical trials at the University of Iowa in Iowa City have examined the effect of giving 800 to 1,000 times the daily recommended dose of vitamin C to brain cancer and lung cancer patients. The research has shown that vitamin C at 20,000 micromoles disrupts cancer cell metabolism in glioblastoma and non-small-cell lung cancer. Most normal adults have about 70 micromoles of circulating vitamin C [4].

Possible Negative Effects

Intravenous vitamin C treatments are generally well tolerated, but some patients may experience side effects such as brief episodes of high blood pressure or dry mouth [2].

Other Important information

The Nobel Prize winner, Linus Pauling and Dr. Ewen Cameron did a study that showed that 10 grams of vitamin C administered via IV could extend the life of cancer patients six-fold [3].

Also of interest is the fact that nine months of high-dose vitamin C treatment via IV costs less than one dose of chemotherapy [2].

Having the right amount of trace minerals in the blood and hormones that are balanced keeps pancreatic enzymes properly balanced as well, but Dr. Kelley noticed that high doses of vitamin C can disrupt the function of enzymes in the body. Pancreatic enzymes play an important role in dissolving the fibrin sheath around cancer cells which renders the cancer cells vulnerable to the immune system and cancer-killing treatments. As a result of this finding and his success using pancreatic enzymes to cure cancer, Dr. Kelley didn't use high doses of vitamin C in treatment but instead advocated for juicing vegetable combinations [10].

Clinics That Offer Intravenous High-Dose Vitamin C

The Riordan Clinic offers high-dose, intravenous vitamin C treatments in three locations in the United States:

The Riordan Clinic -- Kansas, USA

3100 N. Hillside Ave. Witchita, KS 67219 316-682-3100

1010 E 17th Street Hays, KS 67601 785-628-3215

6300 W 143rd Street, Suite #205 Overland Park, KS 66223 913-745-4757

New Hope Medical Center - Integrative Cancer Center - Tel Aviv, Israel

hei-beyar 62 st Kikar Hamedina Tel Aviv, Israel Dr. Joseph Brenner, M. D. 972-3-5467733 or 972-3-5467739. 

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Related Posts: [1] National Cancer Institute (2018). High-Dose Vitamin C (PDQ™)—Patient Version. Retrieved March 15, 2018 from

[2] Sandoiu, A. (2017). High-dose vitamin C makes cancer treatment more effective, trial shows. Retrieved March 15, 2018 from

[3] Cancer Tutor (2017). High Dose Intravenous Vitamin C (IVC). Retrieved March 15, 2018 from

[4] Schoenfeld, J. D. et al (2017). O2 and H2O2-Mediated Disruption of Fe Metabolism Causes the Differential Susceptibility of NSCLC and GBM Cancer Cells to Pharmacological Ascorbate Retrieved March 15, 2018 from

[5] Padayatty, S. J., Riordan, H. D., Hewitt, S. M., Katz, A., Hoffer, J. L, Levine, M. (2006). Intravenously administered vitamin C as cancer therapy: three cases. Retrieved March 15, 2018 from

[6] Riordan, N. H., Riordan, H. D., Meng, X., Li, Y., & Jackson, J. A. (1995). Intravenous Ascorbate as a Tumor Cytotoxic Chemotherapeutic Agent. Retrieved March 15, 2018 from

[7] Cameron, E. & Pauling, L. (1976). Supplemental ascorbate in the supportive treatment of cancer: Prolongation of survival times in terminal human cancer. Retrieved March 15, 2018 from

[8] Creagan, E. T., Moertel, C. G., O’Fallon, J. R., Schutt, A. J., O’Connell, M. J., Rubin, J., Frytak, S. (1979). Failure of high-dose vitamin C (ascorbic acid) therapy to benefit patients with advanced cancer. A controlled trial. Retrieved March 15, 2018 from

[9] Moertel, C. G., Fleming, T. R., Creagan, E. T., Rubin, J., O’Connell, M. J., Ames, M. M. (1985). High-dose vitamin C versus placebo in the treatment of patients with advanced cancer who have had no prior chemotherapy. A randomized double-blind comparison. Retrieved March 15, 2018 from [10] Cancer Tutor (2018). Kelley Metabolic Protocol. Retrieved May 2, 2018 from

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