Intravenous vitamin C has a storied past. Not at the time identified as the active therapeutic component, vitamin C in citrus fruits was demonstrated by James Lind in 1747 to prevent scurvy in sailors. Citrus fruit therapy had been inconsistently utilized for 500 years for the same purpose, but was not officially acknowledged and promoted by the British admiralty until 1785, 50 years after Lind’s great experiment. During that interval multitudes of nutritionally deprived seamen suffered and died from a preventable disease Scurvy caused gastrointestinal, skin and mucous membrane bleeding, skin rashes, loss of teeth, fatigue, depression, and poor wound healing. Oranges and limes, high in vitamin C, were the answer.
Linus Pauling, a world famous chemist and beneficiary of two Nobel prizes, began studying vitamin C in 1966, after discussions with Irwin Stone, another researcher. From his work came the recommendation of vitamin C for the common cold, an idea repudiated out of hand by the medical community. He later studied intravenous vitamin C as a treatment for lung cancer, with survival rates months longer than for patients who did not receive vitamin C.
Oral vitamin C in too high a dose causes diarrhea. Intravenous vitamin C does not, because it does not utilize the gastrointestinal tract for absorption. Blood levels achieved with intravenous vitamin C are much higher than with oral dosing. Blood levels considered necessary to kill cancer cells are not attainable with ingestion. We measure blood levels one hour after IV administration, and aim for a concentration of 300-400 mg per cent.
Vitamin C is thought to suppress or kill cancer cells by production of hydrogen peroxide, a powerful toxin normally produced by our white blood cells to destroy invaders: viruses, bacteria, fungi, as well as cancers. Normal cells are not damaged by vitamin C because they produce an enzyme that deactivates peroxide. There are several case reports of IV vitamin C leading to cures of metastatic cancer. We do not, however, offer IV vitamin C as a cure, but rather as an immune system support for individuals with cancer. It should be taken when patients receive other therapies, including radiation and chemotherapy, since it helps individuals tolerate these treatments with less toxicity, and prevents earlier termination of therapy due to toxic side effects. We often use vitamin C in combination with other nutrients, especially glutathione, a major antioxidant and detoxifier. A patient with severe chronic lung disease improved remarkably with IV vitamin C in high dose, 75 grams per treatment.
We use intravenous vitamin C as a component of chelation therapy for cardiovascular disease, and as a major component of the “immune drip”. The immune drip contains glutathione, magnesium, zinc, B vitamins, and other trace minerals. We prescribe it routinely for those about to undergo surgery, after injury or stress including emotional stress, for detoxification from alcohol, recreational drugs or prescription medications. Improvement in patients with chronic illness, especially when malnutrition is a factor, is often remarkable. Combined with phosphatidylcholine, the immune drip helps recovery from liver disease and helps maintain brain function in those with stroke, Alzheimer disease and Parkinsons disease.