Updated: Feb 18
Brief History of High Dose Vitamin C & Cancer Treatment
High dose vitamin C or ascorbic acid has had a checkered past when it comes to clinical trials dealing with cancer treatment. The history starts with Dr. William McCormick who first observed a similarity between cancer patients and scurvy (vitamin C deficiency) patients. At the time they were able to roughly measure the plasma concentration of vitamin C in the blood, but did not persue the avenue of treatment very thoroughly.
Ewan Cameron later picked up the scientific torch, hypothesizing that ascorbate could suppress cancer growth by inhibiting hyaluronidase, which otherwise weakens the extracellular matrix & enables cancer to reproduce. They performed a clinical trial (not quite up to todays standards) but a clinical trial with 50 patients nonetheless. The findings encouraged them to repeat the study with 100 patients. The data was compared to 1000 retrospective control patients who were matched with the vitamin-C treated patients regarding age, sex, variation of cancer and clinical stage and who were treated by the same physicians in the same hospital, and in the same way - except that they did not receive vitamin C. Lacking a placebo control group, the study does not get much credit these days, but that is not to say it lacks merit. Cameron and Pauling reported that 22% of vitamin C-treated cancer patients survived for more than one year compared to only 0.4% of control patients. A clinical trial in Japan independently showed a similar result.
A double-blind randomized clinical trial directed by Charles Moertel of the Mayo Clinic did not show any positive effects of high dose vitamin C in cancer patients, as reported in two papers in the journal of New England Journal of Medicine. The clout that came along with the publication put a damper on the previous physicians findings.
So why are the results so different?
In the first study the patients were given high dose vitamin C intravenously by infusions as well as orally during the times in between. This raised the millimolar (mM) concentration level of vitamin C in the bloodstream to 6mM, a concentration high enough to fight tumor growth. In the second trial the Mayo Clinic only gave the patients oral doses of vitamin C. When given orally, vitamin C concentration in human plasma is tightly controlled by multiple mechanisms acting together: intestinal absorption, tissue accumulation, renal reabsorption & excretion, and potentially even the rate of utilization. However, when ascorbate is administered by IV the controls are bypassed, and pharmacologic millimolar plasma concentrations of vitamin C can easily be achieved. A phase I clinical study showed that ascorbate concentrations could safely reach 25-30 mM with intravenous infusion of 100 g of vitamin C. In this study the concentration reached around 10mM at 4 hours. This level of concentration was the result of a 100g infusion of ascorbic acid.
At MedClub® we have been studying the effectiveness of using high dose vitamin C infusions when aligned with other approved cancer treatments for HR2 Breast Cancers, inflammatory cancers, and Colon Cancers. We have specifically based our research off of data suggesting the high vitamin C plasma concentration levels increases the exposure and activity of cancer cells, which in turn makes them easier to target with chemotherapy and radiation especially. We measure the vitamin C plasma level before starting treatments, after the initial treatment, and then monthly after that. Our protocols are designed specifically for each new patient, based on previous history, environmental concerns, and their specific type of cancer/stage. Here are a few examples of patient treatment plans:
Patient Treatment Plan #1
Female, Age 63, History of high blood pressure, stroke, healthy diet, normal BMI. HER2+ Breast Cancer (metastasized to bones/other organs)
Week 1: 15g ascorbic acid infusion in 500mL lactated ringer over 1 hour (IVC levels before and after, no liquid removed for osmolity)
Week 2: 30g ascorbic acid infusion in 1000mL lactated ringer over 1.25hours
Week 3: 60g ascorbic acid infusion in 1000mL lactated ringer over 1 hour
Week 4: 60g ascorbic acid infusion in 500mL lactated ringer over 1 hour (IVC Plasma Level taken 15 mins after finishing infusion)
Continue at 60g in 500mL lactated ringers or 0.9% sodium chloride over 1 hour 1x per week, or 2x per week if possible.
Case Notes: This patient was complaining of severe pain in her hip, the usual orange peel rash associated with breast cancer was observed, MRI/CT showed confirmation. Upon review the oncologist started a treatment regiment including aromatase inhibitors, ibrance, vitamin D, and radiation treatments. Radiologist observed multiple lesions around the hip area and other areas. They focused on the hip to try and relieve the patients pain level. We started the high dose vitamin C infusion protocol around the second/third week of her radiation therapy. The patient reported no serious side effects from the radiation but did not feel a big difference in pain level after a few weeks of radiation. After 2 weeks of combined radiation and vitamin C infusions we brought the patient in for a follow up and noticed her gait had dramatically improved, she was walking without her cane, and seemed to be doing much better. The patients condition continued to improve, and we continued the combination vitamin C infusions, along with the oncology plan laid out originally. This patient is currently being treated and doing very well. Check back here for interval updates.
Patient Treatment Plan #2
Male, Age 72, History of Cerebrovascular accident (CVA) affecting the left side of his bodily function (Past) and a recent colorectomy due to a colorectal blockage (tumor) and a subsequent colorectal cancer diagnosis.
Week 1: 15g ascorbic acid infusion in 500mL lactated ringer over 1 hour (IVC levels before and after, no liquid removed for osmolity) 2x per week + 500mL LR w/B-complex & Trace Minerals + 5g Ascorbic Acid (4 bag total)
Week 2: 30g ascorbic acid infusion in 1000mL lactated ringer over 1.25hours 2x per week + 500mL LR w/B-complex & Trace Minerals + 5g Ascorbic Acid (4 bag total)
Week 3: 60g ascorbic acid infusion in 1000mL lactated ringer over 1 hour 2x per week + 500mL LR w/B-complex & Trace Minerals + 5g Ascorbic Acid (4 bag total)
Week 4: 60g ascorbic acid infusion in 500mL lactated ringer over 1 hour (IVC 2x per week + 500mL LR w/B-complex & Trace Minerals + 5g Ascorbic Acid (4 bag total)Plasma Level taken 15 mins after finishing infusion)
Continue at 60g in 500mL lactated ringers or 0.9% sodium chloride over 1 hour 1x per week, or 2x per week if possible + 500mL LR w/B-complex & Trace Minerals + 5g Ascorbic Acid (4 bag
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