Scientists have been studying the effects of mega-doses of Vitamin C for decades. Research associated with Vitamin C can be found regarding various cancers, including but not limited to breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer and gastric cancer. This article will review some of the research associated with the use of high dose Vitamin C in cancer treatment.
Vitamin C is an essential water-soluble vitamin, also known as ascorbic acid. The antioxidant functions of Vitamin C have been researched extensively to show positive, protective benefits against coronary heart disease, strokes, cataracts, gout, heavy metal toxicities like lead, as well as the prevention of various forms of cancer (1). For most purposes, oral doses of Vitamin C are adequate to achieve the desired outcome. However, when used adjunctively to treat cancer, Vitamin C must be used intravenously in order to reach doses high enough to have an anti-cancer effect.
Hugh D. Riordan, M.D. is one of several pioneers in Vitamin C and cancer research, with 25 years of clinical experience in the administration of over 40,000 onsite high dose IVC treatments. Riordan and his colleagues conducted numerous case studies and discovered that various types of tumor cells were susceptible to destruction from high-dose Vitamin C, when the Vitamin C levels are able to reach 350 to 400 mg/dL in the blood plasma. At this particular dose, Vitamin C becomes a pro-oxidant that is able to selectively induce cellular death of cancer cells, without harm to healthy cells (2).
The reason Vitamin C can kill cancer cells is due to research concluding that cancer cells are deficient in an enzyme known as catalase, which is responsible for the breakdown of hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen. Therefore, Vitamin C creates a chemical reaction that results in a surge of peroxide free radicals within cancer cells causing them to die. Because normal (non-cancer) cells don’t have a catalase deficiency, they go through the normal process of breaking down the peroxide into water and oxygen, which not only prevents their death, but also actually increases cellular health.
Additional research has identified that the role of Vitamin C in cancer treatment, may be inducing cancer cell death through other standard cellular functions and biochemical pathways. Once example of this is the mitochondria, the “powerhouse” energy-producing component of a cell. A recent study in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine determined that the mitochondria of cancer cells are inefficient at generating the amount of energy needed to allow for natural cell death (3). However, high doses of Vitamin C optimize health in the sick mitochondria of cancer cells, which allows the cells to do their job at stimulating the immune system and killing cancer cells. This means that cancer cells are actually too sick and metabolically disabled to die, but when the high-energy mitochondrial burn is restored with Vitamin C, cancer cells are able to undergo a natural cell death.
Gonzalez MJ, Rosario-Perez G, Guzman AM, Miranda-Massari JR, Duconge J, Lavergne J, Fernandez N, Ortiz N, Quintero del Rio AI, Mikirova NA, Riordan NH, Ricart CM
Orthomolecular Medicine, 2010, 25(1):29-38