The Health Benefits of Vitamin C

Many, many years ago as a young Naturopathic doctor I went to a lecture given by the Nobel prize winner Linus Pauling. At that lecture, Dr. Pauling was promoting the benefits of Vitamin C, especially high dose Vitamin C orally or better yet intravenously, IV. Dr. Pauling noted that even the cheapest form of Vitamin C, ascorbic acid, given orally had benefit. What seems so common knowledge today was shaking up the allopathic medical community at the time. Dr Pauling was even so bold to say that Vitamin C at high doses could help cancer patients. To me at the time, it did not seem unreasonable that a vitamin could be health promoting.

What I didn’t know was that Pauling had been giving 10 grams of IV Vitamin C to cancer patients and extending expected life span by four times. A Mayo Clinic trial to mimic Pauling’s results gave Vitamin C only orally. The trial failed and Linus Pauling’s name was mud for years.

In the 1980’s, their was limited knowledge about the benefits of Vitamin C. Vitamin C deficiency was know to cause scurvy. Scurvy symptoms include anemia, bleeding gums, tooth loss, joint pain, and fatigue. It was also accepted that scurvy was treated by Vitamin C supplements or a high Vitamin C diet. The thought that Vitamin C could be helpful for other health issues was unthinkable.

It turns out that an issue of oral Vitamin C is absorption. A few years ago I attended a conference at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. A big deal was made about absorption. Studies were finding that people can only orally absorb up to 500 mg per dose at a time. This meant that taking 3,000 to 5,000 mg of Vitamin C at a time was having no better effect than a 500 mg dose. Suggested maintenance dosing was 500 mg twice a day. Lower than what I was doing at the time. What startled the PhD’s and MD’s in the audience was a presentation on the use of IV, Intravenous Vitamin C in the treatment of Sepsis, a blood infection. A physician was giving a high dose to his dying blood infected patients. The sick patients miraculously recovered. The dose given,1 gram (IV). To them this was pushing the boundaries of medicine. Unfortunately, it’s my understanding that this simple treatment has yet to be accepted in the hospital world.

Recently, I went to two cancer conferences. The first was in Wichita Kansas at the the Riordan Cancer Clinic. Dr Riordan, a friend of Linus Pauling, paid attention to what Linus had been doing. Dr. Riordan started doing even higher IV Vitamin C doses at 25gm, 50gm and 100gm doses. Getting even better results. Out of helping his cancer patients, he went on to start the Riordan cancer clinic. Even though Dr. Riordan has passed, today the clinic is recognized for its expertise in the use of Vitamin C with cancer patients.

The second, a Naturopathic Cancer conference in Seattle WA. The use of Vitamin C as an adjunct in cancer care has been firmly embraced. However, vitamin C is not a stand alone therapy. It is part of a comprehensive treatment program that can include other naturopathic modalities. Underlying naturopathic therapies is an emphasis for a strong foundation – addressing diet, exercise, emotions/thoughts and from my perspective spirit. As a cancer survivor I can personally attest that had I not included Naturopathic treatments with my oncology regimen of chemotherapy, radiation and multiple surgeries I would not be writing this article.

In regards to Vitamin C and Cancer:

  • Vitamin C can be safely administered by intravenous infusion (IV) at maximum doses of 100 grams.
  • Vitamin C can support the effects of many chemotherapeutic drugs and radiation therapy.
  • Cancer patients are often depleted of Vitamin C and IV Vitamin C provides an efficient means of restoring levels.
  • IV Vitamin C has been found to improve the quality of life in cancer patients.
  • IV Vitamin C reduces inflammation (as measured by c-reactive protein levels) and reduces the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
  • At high concentrations (above 25gm’s), Vitamin C is preferentially toxic to tumor cells.
  • At high concentrations Vitamin C is an angiogenesis inhibitor. This is important! Angiogenesis is the formation of new blood vessels. New blood vessels help growth of a tumor with oxygen and nutrients, the cancer cells to invade nearby tissue, to move throughout the body, and to form new colonies of cancer cells, called metastases.

IV Vitamin C therapy is a helpful support in cancer treatment and is available at Natural Health Works,PC. To schedule your consultation with me, give us a call at 503-722-7776

Numerous other health benefits of vitamin C have been acknowledged. Hopefully to be discussed in a future article.
Wishing you health and happiness,
Gary Dreger, ND, LAc

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