Vitamin C is one of the most well-established traditional antioxidants known and its potent health benefits have been clearly demonstrated over time — especially for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.
Research has also shown that vitamin C is selectively cytotoxic to cancer cells when administered intravenously (IV) in high doses, and has a number of heart- and cardiovascular benefits.
From my perspective, vitamin C is a very useful supplement that should be part of most cancer treatment protocols. Vitamin D is another crucial anti-cancer component I’ve written about on numerous occasions.
How Vitamin C Kills Cancer Cells
In order for vitamin C to effectively kill cancer cells, you need to have a very high concentration of vitamin C in your blood, and the only way to obtain these extreme levels is through IV administration, although using oral liposomal vitamin C can approach effectiveness at a fraction of the price, improved convenience and cost.
By bypassing the digestive tract, IV administration results in blood levels up to 500 times higher than what you can achieve through the oral route.
The mechanism behind vitamin C’s ability to selectively target cancer cells has to do with the generation of hydrogen peroxide, which is ultimately what kills the cancer cells. As reported by the University of Iowa:1
“In a new study2,3 … Buettner and his colleagues have homed in on the biological details of how high-dose vitamin C kills cancer cells. The study shows that vitamin C breaks down easily, generating hydrogen peroxide, a so-called reactive oxygen species that can damage tissue and DNA.
The study also shows that tumor cells are much less capable of removing the damaging hydrogen peroxide than normal cells …
‘Thus, cancer cells are much more prone to damage and death from a high amount of hydrogen peroxide,’ says Buettner, a professor of radiation oncology and a member of Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa.
‘This explains how the very, very high levels of vitamin C used in our clinical trials do not affect normal tissue, but can be damaging to tumor tissue.’”
The reason normal tissues are not harmed by the high levels of hydrogen peroxide generated is that healthy cells have several ways of effectively removing it, thereby preventing buildup to toxic levels.
One of the primary pathways of removal is the enzyme catalase, and the study found that cells with reduced catalase activity were indeed more prone to die when exposed to high amounts of vitamin C.
This provides a hint at which cancers are likely the best candidates for high-dose vitamin C therapy — tumors with low catalase levels are likely to be the most responsive, whereas tumors with high catalase levels would be the least responsive. Next, the research team wants to develop methods to measure catalase in tumors.
Vitamin C Lowers Inflammation in Cancer Patients, and More
As a general rule, chronic inflammation is a hallmark of cancer, and here they found that IV vitamin C treatment helps lower pro-inflammatory cytokines and C-reactive protein — two inflammatory markers — and that these improvements correlate with a reduction in tumor size.
It also helps lower the risk of metastasis. A positive response was noted in 75 percent of patients. This study was done by scientist at the Riordan Clinic, which is the successor to Linus Pauling and his work on vitamin C. There is likely no clinic in the world with as much experience with vitamin C as the Riordan Clinic.
Riordan carried out a 15-year-long research project called RECNAC (cancer spelled backwards), which showed vitamin C was selectively cytotoxic against cancer cells.
Other research7,8 done by scientists at the Lewis Cantley of Weill Cornel Medicine in New York found high doses of vitamin C helps kill and eliminate colorectal cancer cells with certain genetic mutations. Other studies9 have shown high-dose vitamin C can help slow the growth of prostate-, pancreatic-, liver- and colon cancer cells.
Human studies also show IV vitamin C can help improve symptoms associated with cancer and cancer treatment, such as fatigue, nausea, vomiting, pain and loss of appetite, and improve overall quality of life.