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Vitamin C



How to Determine the Proper Dose of Vitamin C for the Treatment of Illness

In his twenty-three years of clinical experience, Robert Cathcart III, M.D., has found that taking vitamin C to bowel tolerance (bowel tolerance refers to the amount of vitamin C that can be tolerated by the body before diarrhea occurs) can effectively treat diseases which may involve free radical damage. These include: the common cold, infections, allergies, autoimmune diseases, burns, and viral pneumonia. Free radicals are atoms within the body that contain an unpaired electron. As free radicals seek to replace their missing electrons they wreck havoc on body tissue, thus depleting the body. Free radicals are neutralized by electrons called reducing equivalents that are carried by high doses of vitamin C.

Powdered ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is mixed with water and taken several times in a twenty-four-hour period. The amount taken is increased until diarrhea develops and is slightly adjusted until the diarrhetic condition stops. The more severe the problem, the more vitamin C that can be taken before diarrhea occurs. Dr Cathcart suggests the following amounts of vitamin C be taken for certain problems

In many conditions, symptoms are greatly reduced but will return rapidly if the dose levels are not maintained. In serious problems, doses may have to be taken every half hour, and delays may prolong the illness.

Linus Pauling investigates vitamin C

Linus Pauling first became interested in vitamin C in the 1960’s when he met Irwin Stone, a biochemist who had been investigating the vitamin’s properties since the 1930’s. Stone believed that it had distinctive healing qualities, and he was convinced of vitamin C’s efficacy when he and his wife had an accident involving a head on collision with a drunk driver. They used large doses of vitamin C as an aid in their recovery, and as a result they healed with remarkable speed (Hager, 1995).

Stone began to research certain animal’s abilities to synthesize their own vitamin C. He realized that humans, chimpanzees, fruit bats and guinea pigs were the only mammals that didn’t posses an enzyme necessary for vitamin C synthesis. Therefore, they had to obtain it from their diet. He concluded that the loss of this ability in humans likely occurred as the result of a mutational deviation in primates, the human predecessor, 25 million years ago (Zuckerkandl and Pauling, 1962).

In 1448, Portuguese sailors on long sea voyages were notably inflicted with an initial swelling of their feet, hands and gums, which would later spread to the rest of their bodies until they eventually died. They realized that when they ate oranges and lemons their health was restored. Historical accounts suggest that sailors in the fourteenth century were aware of the medicinal properties of oranges and lemons. In 1589, British sailors would call this illness “skurvie” or scurvy. It was not until 1911, that scurvy was recognized as a vitamin deficiency (Carpenter, 1986).

Overall, the symptoms of scurvy include a feeling of weakness, restlessness, rapid exhaustion and sallow skin. A patient will also experience muscle pain, depression and hemorrhaging of muscles and tissues. In later stages a patient will exhibit extreme exhaustion, kidney and pulmonary problems, as well as diarrhea, which consequently leads to death (Pauling, 1976).

International standards were established in the 1930’s regarding a recommended requirement for vitamin C. The league of the United Nations (presently the United Nations) concluded that 30 milligrams was adequate in order to prevent scurvy. Stone didn’t believe that a minimal dosage was adequate for optimal health, as he proposed that the inability of humans to synthesize vitamin C was actually a genetic disease and not the result of a simple vitamin deficiency. Moreover, he suggested that studies on rats showed that humans needed between 1.4 grams and 4 grams of vitamin C per day to coincide with the amounts of vitamin C that rats naturally synthesized daily (Hager, 1995).

At first, Pauling was skeptical of Stones ideas, but Stone’s theory regarding genetic mutations and genetic deficiencies intrigued him. Pauling knew that George Beadle’s research revealed that genetic mutations occurred in mold spores, which resulted in the mutated spore’s altered need for new nutrients such as amino acids and vitamins (Hager, 1995).

Pauling decided to follow Stone’s advice and quietly took 3 grams of vitamin C daily for 3 years. He immediately noted that as he took the vitamin his sense of wellness improved and he wasn’t experiencing the dreaded cold that plagued him for 40 years (Hager, 1995). He concluded that the intake of vitamin C could enhance, as well as prolong life expectancy, and therefore went forth to advocate its use for the remaining 30 years of his life.

Pauling’s scientific support for vitamin C

For many years, Pauling studied the physiological activity of molecular substances in the body. As his research progressed he began to study the use of vitamins as a therapy in addressing mental disorders such as schizophrenia. His personal experience with vitamin C led him to believe that vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a food that could effectively treat a common cold or similar disorders. In contrast, he believed that “a treatment using drugs may help to ease symptoms of a cold, but does not effect the duration of the cold” (Pauling, 1976).

Ascorbic acid is a nontoxic substance that is vital for human existence. A human being will die with in a few months if ascorbic acid is eliminated from the diet. In 1974, the National Research Council recommended 35 mg for infants, 40 mg for children and 45 mg for adults (60 for pregnant women and 80 mg for lactating women). 10 mg of ascorbic acid is needed to prevent scurvy, but Pauling believed that people’s individual needs varied, and though he wasn’t sure what the optimal requirement was he thought that people needed between 250 mg to 10 g per day (Pauling, 1976).

Many foods such as oranges, limes, peppers, spinach, cucumbers, asparagus, lettuce and cranberries contain varying amounts of ascorbic acid. Cooked foods lose about half of the ascorbic acid compared to raw foods. Although a decent diet may provide about 100 mg of ascorbic acid, studies conducted in the 1970’s showed that many people did not obtain this amount. Furthermore, one- half of the people ingested less than 57.9 mg and one-third of the people did not obtain the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 45 mg per day for adults (Pauling, 1976).

Pauling recommended that L-Ascorbic acid be used to supplement the diet. It is water soluble and can be found as a white crystalline powder. L-Ascorbic acid is a synthetic form of vitamin C that is identical to natural vitamin C found in plants. It’s manufactured by using dextrose, which exist in honey and other plants, but it is also known as glucose, grape sugar, honey sugar, corn sugar or starch sugar. Its chemical formula is C6H12O6 and it is converted to C6H8O6 by an oxidation reaction, which remove 4 hydrogen atoms to form water. Animals that make their own ascorbic acid can synthesize ascorbic acid from dextrose in either the liver or the kidney (Pauling, 1976).

Vitamin C can be taken orally as ascorbic acid, but its salts; sodium ascorbate and calcium ascorbate can only be injected. Ascorbic acid is considered a weak acid, a little stronger than acetic acid, which is found in vinegar, yet somewhat weaker than citric acid (oranges, lemons), lactic acid (milk, sauerkraut) and tartaric acid (grapes). Ascorbic acid thoroughly dissociates into hydrogen ions, which combine with basic groups of proteins or carbonate ion. The ascorbate ion is responsible for the synthesis of collagen and other physiological processes. The salts of ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate and calcium ascorbate also dissociates to produce ascorbate ions, and they function exactly as ascorbic acid does. The acid in ascorbic acid by injection damages veins or tissues; therefore sodium ascorbate and calcium ascorbate is used by injection (Pauling, 1976).

Although ascorbic acid’s function in the body is not fully understood, it does act as a strong reducing agent, otherwise known as a compound that donates its electrons or hydrogen atoms. In this case ascorbic acid donates its hydrogen atoms, then it is converted into dehydroascorbic acid (C6H8O6 ) in which dehydroascorbic acid accepts the ascorbic acid’s hydrogen atoms. Dehydroascorbic acid is considered the oxidizing agent. This process is reversible and the reducing of ascorbic acid, as well as the oxidation of dehydroascorbic acid is thought to account for some of the physiological qualities of vitamin C (Pauling, 1976).

Studies have shown that animals, such as guinea pigs and monkeys that require ascorbic acid will exhibit symptoms of scurvy if they do not acquire a sufficient amount through their diet. These symptoms include, intramuscular and subcutaneous hemorrhages, tender joints, loss of appetite, anemia, sluggishness, as well as a weakening of connective tissue such as skin, tendons and walls of blood vessels. The studies also showed that low intakes of ascorbic acid resulted in the slow healing of wounds and burns, as ascorbic acid is essential for maintaining the strength of connective tissue which is responsible for rapid healing and scar formation (Pauling, 1976).

A number of studies revealed the need for larger doses of ascorbic acid in human beings, as well as animals. Additional doses of vitamin C could increase an animal’s resistance to exposure of a cold. Also, if humans were subjected to stressful situations involving surgeries, burns or wounds, it was found that levels of vitamin C in the blood decreased, suggesting the body’s need for ascorbic acid. In 1964, Dr. James Greenwood, Jr., clinical professor of neurosurgery in Baylor University College of Medicine concluded that increasing the amount of vitamin C protected the stability of the intervertebral disc, and therefore impeded back trouble. Greenwood found that patients using 1000 mg per day experienced a decrease in pain and soreness due to work or vigorous exercise, but if patients stopped taking the vitamin their ailments would return. His observations in 500 cases led him to state with almost certainty that many patients with early disc lesions could avoid surgery by ingesting large quantities of ascorbic acid (Pauling, 1976).

Collagen is a fibrous protein critically responsible for the maintenance of connective tissue, a substance that holds various structures in the body together. Tendons, cartilage, bones, arteries and veins are comprised of connective tissue, whereas collagen acts to strengthen and protect these tissues. Ascorbic acid is required for the synthesis of collagen in the bodies of human beings and animals (Pauling, 1976).

The intercellular glue of connective tissue is composed of a mucopolysaccharide, called hyaluronic acid in which tiny fibrils of collagen are found. If vitamin C intake is low, the integrity of connective tissue is compromised; in other words collagen fibrils can not be synthesized with out adequate amounts of vitamin C (Pauling, 1976).

Vitamin C and the common cold

Pauling believed that the presence of vitamin C in the intercellular glue obstructs virus particles from moving through cells and tissues. He also hypothesized that it was involved in interferon activity. Interferons are proteins that are manufactured by most cells, which interfere with virus production and infection (Pauling, 1976).

The common cold is the result of an infection by a virus, which leads to an inflammation of the upper respiratory tract. The common cold can last from three to ten days and on the average can affect a person three times per year (Pauling, 1976).

Many studies regarding the effect of vitamin C on the common cold have been conducted since the late 1930’s. In 1938, Dr. Roger Korbash of St. Elisabeth Hospital, Oberhausen, Germany published that vitamin C was used in effectively treating several diseases. He used vitamin C to treat gastritis and ulcers. He then tried vitamin C in treating rhinitis, or inflammation of the mucus membranes of the nose. He found that the therapy was valuable and decided to try 250 or 500-mg injections of vitamin C on a person suffering from a cold. He concluded that the vitamin C therapy always led to an immediate disappearance of the cold symptoms, but sometimes another injection may be needed the following day. Overall, Korbash believed that vitamin C could be safely administered in large doses. He also stated that vitamin C was far superior to cold medicines (Pauling, 1976).

Another trial in Germany (Ertel, 1941) apportioned 357 million daily doses of vitamin C among 3.7 million pregnant women, nursing mothers, infants and children. The study concluded that the participants experienced better health than the corresponding control population. Furthermore, statistical data indicated that school children with illnesses relating to respiratory infections decreased by 20 % over the previous year (Pauling, 1976).

Controlled studies were also carried out in the 1970’s. A team in Toronto (Anderson et al., 1975) used 488 subjects who completed a fifteen-week test. 150 subjects received a weekly 500-mg vitamin C tablet (two-thirds sodium ascorbate and one third calcium ascorbate), 152 received a weekly 500-mg timed release capsule of ascorbic acid, and 145 received a placebo tablet with the same appearance and taste of ascorbic acid. The subjects were instructed that if symptoms of illness should appear they should take an additional tablet or capsule, and if the symptoms continued they should repeat the dose twice at four-hour intervals on the first day and once every twelve hours for up to 4 more days (Pauling, 1976).

The team concluded that the ascorbic groups reported on an average of 62 to 98 percent fewer symptoms than the placebo group. The symptoms included fever, chills, achy heavy limbs, runny nose, sore throat, chest soreness or tightness, as well as a lack of ambition and depression. Also the two vitamin group’s averages of the symptoms were very close, 75 and 78 percent respectively. The results showed that “subjects in both vitamin groups experienced less severe illness than subjects in the placebo group, with approximately 25 percent fewer days spent indoors because of illness.” Finally, the team suggested that large doses of ascorbic acid produce “ a generalized nonspecific improvement in the host’s ability to cope with infection (or possibly any type of stress?).” They also firmly stated that they had little doubt that ingesting additional vitamin C led to a reduction in “winter illness” (Pauling, 1976).

Vitamin C, influenza and other viral diseases

Historically, when an epidemic of a contagious disease advanced through an undernourished population, an epidemic of scurvy would sometimes follow. Pauling believed that it was evident that there is a direct correlation between ascorbic acid and many diseases, including viral diseases, if not all diseases (Pauling, 1976). Research has shown that ascorbic acid inactivates the herpes virus, vaccina virus, hepatitis virus, bacterial viruses and other viruses (Stone, 1972, for references). A Japanese microbiologist, Akira Murata and his collaborators concluded that ascorbic acid could inactivate many bacterial viruses (viruses that attack bacteria). They found that the rate of inactivation varied. A concentration as small as 3 mg per deciliter in the blood was effective. Likewise, they discovered that intravenous injections of 20 g of sodium ascorbate in adult human beings inactivated 99 percent of many types of viruses with in 20 minutes (Murata, Kitagawa, and Saruno, 1971).

Murata and his coworkers also observed that the inactivation of the virus occurs only if free oxygen and ascorbic acid are both present. Moreover, they discovered that scavengers of free radicals (a highly reactive molecule with an odd number of electrons) block the inactivation. Copper ions in small concentrations, which naturally reside in the blood, can increase the rate of inactivation as well. These two contributing factors indicate that ascorbic acid reduces the oxygen molecules to a free radical, which in turn destroys the nucleic acid of the virus (Pauling, 1976).

High doses of vitamin C has also been reported to be effective in preventing poliomyelitis, hepatitis and other viral diseases. Dr. Fred R. Klenner, a physician in North Carolina first investigated treating polio with ascorbic acid. He successfully treated viral hepatitis with 400 to 600 mg injections per kilogram body weight (28 g to 42 g for a 150-pound person) and repeated this dose every eight to 12 hours (Klenner, 1949, 1951). He also treated other viral diseases with twice this dosage (Klenner, 1971, 1974).

A viral disease called hepatitis or serum hepatitis can be transferred through a blood transfusion as a result of a surgical procedure. Dr. F. Morishige, was a chief surgeon in Fukuoka General Hospital, Fukuoka, Japan. He had studied the use of vitamin C in relation to wound healing; thus he decided to investigate ascorbic acid’s effect on hepatitis. Dr. Morishige conducted a trial with some of his surgical patients by giving a number of his patients large doses of vitamin C, but others received no vitamin C or very little of the vitamin. 11 of the 150 patients (7 percent) who received less than 1.5 g per day of vitamin C developed serum hepatitis (Pauling, 1976). However, out of 1095 patients who received 2 g per day or more, not one patient developed the virus (Murata, 1975). Dr. Morishige continued to have his patients take 10 g of vitamin C per day while they stayed in the hospital, as well as 6 g per day thereafter. He also successfully used ascorbic acid in treating other viral diseases including, measles, mumps, viral pneumonia, viral orchitis, herpes zoster (chicken pox, shingles), herpes simplex (canker sores), encephalomyelitis, and viral meningitis (Murata, 1975).

Pauling noted that as of 1976, a significant body of evidence had shown that vitamin C was effective in controlling viral diseases, yet no thorough studies had been conducted regarding the use of vitamin C in treating influenza. Nevertheless, he was confident that vitamin C would provide the same defense against influenza as it had for the common cold (Pauling, 1976).

Klenner successfully treated severe cases of influenza with doses as large as 24 g every 12 hours (Klenner, 1949, 1971). It was also reported that using a few grams per day in treating influenza produced significant results (Albanese, 1947 & Magne, 1963). Moreover, smaller doses such as 300 mg were found to be effective in reducing the duration of the illness by 25 percent (Kimbarowksi and Mokrow, 1967).

Investigators have also reported that vitamin C had been used in treating bacterial infections. A study in 1937 showed that an ascorbate concentration of 1 mg per deciliter inhibits the growth of tuberculosis bacterium (Boissevin, Spillane 1937). Likewise, ascorbate has been effective in treating other bacteria and their toxins. The bacteria that cause typhoid fever include diphtheria, tetanus and staphylococcus infections, and their toxins include diphtheria, tetanus, staphylococcus and dysentery and (references are given by Stone, 1972). Bacteria may be inactivated in the same manner ascorbate facilitates inactivation in the virus; free radicals are created by an interaction between ascorbate and oxygen, which is catalyzed by copper ions, and as a result the free radicals attack the bacteria (Pauling, 1976).

Although ascorbic acid has been shown to inactivate bacteria and viruses, in Pauling’s opinion vitamin C serves to protect the entire body (Pauling, 1976). For example, it was discovered that phagocytosis, a process in which white blood cells (leukocytes) ingest and eradicate bacterial cells must contain a small amount of ascorbate (Cottingham and Mills, 1943). A study in 1973 showed that healthy persons on a typical Scottish diet had a little over the amount needed of ascorbate required for leukocyte activity. When they encountered a cold the amount of ascorbate dropped to one-half the total on the first day, and stayed low for several days afterwards. Ingesting 250 mg of ascorbic acid per day was not adequate in supporting phagocytosis activity, but taking 1 g per day with an additional 6 g per day at first notice of a cold resulted in immunity protection (Hume & Weyers, 1973).

The results of this study convinced Pauling that at least 250 mg of ascorbic acid per day should be taken by most people in order to maintain their health. Also, he believed that if most people took between 250 to 10 g per day they could expect to reduce the chance of incurring a common cold or influenza. In addition he proposed that if a viral infection is contracted, secondary bacterial infections could be inhibited (Pauling, 1976).

Vitamin C and other diseases

The evidence regarding the ability of ascorbate acid to inactivate viruses and bacteria clearly indicates its value in staving off bacterial and viral infections. Pauling believed that the attributes of ascorbic acid could be applied to warding off other diseases as well. He concluded that vitamin C not only inactivated bacteria and viruses, but it also functioned naturally as an internal defense mechanism (Pauling, 1976).

Cardiovascular disease, a disease of the heart and blood vessels is related to environmental and dietary factors. Smoking, a high intake of saturated fats, and high cholesterol levels can all contribute to heart disease. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can counteract saturated fats that are converted by oxidation into dangerous peroxides. Also, human beings naturally produce 700 mg of cholesterol in the body daily, but higher concentrations of cholesterol in the blood may lead to cardiovascular complications (Pauling, 1976). Research has found that an increased intake of vitamin C reduces the concentration of cholesterol in the blood (Ginter, 1970, 1973, 1975; Spittle, 1971).

The study examined twenty-four subjects with ages ranging from forty to seventy-five years that took 1 g of ascorbic acid daily for 6 months. The subjects had moderately high cholesterol levels, averaging 253 mg per deciliter. Six months of daily intake of 1 g of ascorbic acid reduced their cholesterol levels to 210 mg per deciliters on average. Control subjects who hadn’t received any ascorbic acid showed a slight increase of 12 mg per deciliter (Pauling, 1976).

Overall, Pauling compared the cholesterol intake of one egg per day, which produces on average 8 mg of cholesterol per deciliter in the blood. He concluded from the study that an intake of 1 g per day of ascorbic acid could reduce cholesterol levels by 43 mg per deciliter, which comparably is equivalent to eliminating 5 eggs per day from the diet (Pauling, 1976).

Ascorbic Acid is necessary for collagen synthesis in the body, and sufficient wound healing depends on adequate amounts of the vitamin. Pauling suggested that persons undergoing surgery should receive increased doses of ascorbic acid (Pauling, 1976). One study revealed that a patient with a bilateral hernia only had a plasma concentration of 0.9 mg per liter. The patient was administered 100 mg of ascorbic acid per day after the herniorrhaphy on one side, and was given 1,100 mg following a second operation on another side. The skin and fascia wounds from the first operation did not heal well, yet the wounds from the second operation healed properly (Bartlet, Jones & Ryan, 1942).

A number of reports indicating the efficacy of vitamin C on wound healing after surgery have been cited by Stone (1972). Likewise many studies have shown that large doses of ascorbic acid resulted in accelerating wound healing. Some surgeons have suggested that their patients take additional vitamin C before a surgery, and then administered 5 g or more to each liter of intravenous fluid prior to performing the surgery. Other physicians have observed that increased doses of vitamin C decreased postsurgical pain, reduced the time needed for regaining normal bodily functions, expedited rapid wound healing, and decreased the overall length of time spent in the hospital (Pauling, 1976).

“ For three days I have been listening to talks about the value of vitamin C and other natural substances, and I have not heard a single mention of the name Linus Pauling. Has not the time come when we should admit that Linus Pauling was right all along?”



Currently, dieticians advise that foods, such as tomatoes, broccoli, and citrus fruits should be included in the diet in addition to taking a flu shot in order to prevent the flu. The Association of Operating Room Nurses, AORN Journal; Denver published an article by an anonymous author who wrote that dieticians advise eating vitamin C rich foods because vitamin C helps the body increase the production of white blood cells and antibodies in the blood. They do not refer to additional oral supplementation of vitamin C (AORN, 2002).

Another recent study examined the effect of antioxidant supplementation including vitamins C and E in respect to the immune response in aging women. Two diseases associated with aging are major depressive disorder (MDD) and coronary disease (CHD), which are thought to influence impaired immune function (De la Frente, Ferrandez Burgos & Soler; et al).

Ascorbic acid and vitamin E are powerful antioxidants that function synergistically or individually (Chew, 1995). Ascorbic acid not only initiates the defense mechanism against free radicals in white blood (Niki et al. 1988) and plasma (Frei et al. 1989), but it also is involved in the regeneration of vitamin E, which is considered the most abundant lipophilic antioxidant in vivo (Burton et al. 1983).

Vitamin C is known for its antiviral and phagocytic activity (Hernanz et al. 1990), as well as its immunostimulant effect on lymphocyte cells (reviewed by Jariwalla and Harakeh 1996). Furthermore, resistance to disease decreases if a vitamin C deficiency occurs, even more so if it has progressed to scurvy. However, high intakes of vitamin C can stimulate phagocytic and T-lymphocytic activity (Jariwalla and Harakeh, 1996).

The investigators studied 30 aged women (72 6 years old) divided into three groups. Ten women in good health were placed in a control group. Ten women with major depressive disorders were placed in another group, and ten women with coronary heart disease were placed in a third group. The women were given 1 g of vitamin C (Roche Nicholas SA, Barcelona, Spain) and 200 mg of a-tochopherol (Roche) per day for 16 weeks. Lymphocytes, nuetrophils and phagocytes are components of the immune system, and the investigators specifically examined the effect of vitamin C and E on these immune cells.

The authors (De la Frente, Ferrandez Burgos & Soler; et al) concluded that antioxidant supplementation does have an impact on immune response (Meydani et al. 1995; Jariwalla and Harakeh 1996; Pike and Chandra 1995) and that subjects on antioxidant–enriched diets appear to suffer much less frequently from infection-related illness (Meydani et al. 1990;Penn et al. 1991). They also believe that vitamins C (Beyer 1994; Jariwalla and Harakeh 1996) and E (Meydani et al. 1995) contribute to these beneficial effects.

Overall, the investigators found that both the healthy and sick subjects benefited from antioxidant supplementation. Their data showed that there was a reduction in serum lipid peroxides (associated with cell impairment due to aging), as well as a decrease in serum cortisol levels. They also found an improvement of the lymphocyte and neutrophil function. Because it has been observed that the immune function declines as people age, the authors concluded that supplementation with vitamin C and E, may improve the immune function of not only sick, but healthy aged people as well (De la Frente, Ferrandez Burgos & Soler; et al).

Many other studies have investigated the effect of vitamin C on other diseases. Studies have shown that vitamin C supplementation may prevent cataracts, as well as possibly reduce the risk of periodontal disease, atherosclerotic heart disease, and diabetes. Also vitamin C is indicated in reducing blood pressure and decreasing cholesterol in the blood.

Other studies have found that vitamin C supplementation effects H pylori growth associated with ulcers, may lower the risk of childhood brain tumors (due to the pregnant mother’s supplementation use), and improves endothelium-dependent vasodilatation corresponding to hypertension. Also, long term-use (10 years or more) of vitamin C in menopausal women who did not use estrogen revealed that they had a higher bone mineral density. Moreover, research found that moderate to high intakes of vitamin C reduced the risk of developing knee pain.

Finally, although it is acknowledged that vitamin C could prevent many chronic diseases, evidence of ascorbic acid in relation to cardiovascular disease and cancer has been inconsistent. One study published in The Lancet; London found that there was a strong correlation between people who ate vitamin C rich foods and lower mortality rates from all causes including, cardiovascular disease and ischaemic heart disease (Khaw, Bingham, Welch, Luben; et al). Nevertheless, the authors concluded, “whether ascorbic acid supplements are beneficial remains to be seen.”

Dr. Linus Pauling spent many years researching and advocating the use of vitamin C. He considered the vitamin to be a simple, inexpensive food, which naturally exists in the human body. He also believed that the human population should be informed of this nutrient in order to live a long and happy life.

Vitamin C contributes to the body’s many functions, as well as supports and enhances its immune defense system. Research will continue to unravel the mysteries and complexities of the function of the body. No doubt, vitamin C will have a place in that research for the many years to come, as its significant presence deserves such attention.

Vitamin C and Cancer

For 3 decades Linus Pauling advocated the use of vitamin C for maintaining health and well being. He examined findings, which ascertained that vitamin C is a vital nutrient that human beings and animals require in order to live. If animals and human beings do not intake an adequate amount of vitamin C they will exhibit similar symptoms of scurvy, which can eventually result in death. These symptoms include, hemorrhaging of muscles and tissues, loss in strength, feeling of exhaustion, as well as a general weakening of connective tissue, such as skin, tendons and walls of blood vessels. Also, ascorbic acid is necessary for collagen synthesis. Collagen is a ropelike protein responsible for rapid healing and scar formation, and it is evident that low intakes of ascorbic acid leads to a slow healing of wounds and burns (Pauling & Cameron, 1993).

As Pauling continued to research vitamin C, he concluded that physicians could administer large doses of ascorbic acid to patients undergoing surgical procedures in order to enhance rapid wound healing. He further surmised that higher intakes of ascorbic acid could be used to naturally defend the body against viruses, such as the common cold and influenza. Likewise he believed that ascorbic acid could protect the body against bacterial infections and viral diseases such as, serum hepatitis, poliomyelitis and herpes. Overall, Pauling was convinced that vitamin C could be used to virtually address any disease, including cardiovascular disease and cancer (Pauling & Cameron, 1993).

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States and affects aging adults more so than children. Cancer annually afflicts 1 in 3 Americans; thus 1 in 4 cases will end in death (Purves, Sadava, Orions & Heller, 2001). Cancer is a disease that results in a genetic alteration in the DNA of somatic cells (body cells).

When a cell divides by mitosis in order to propagate other cells, cancer cells become renegade cells because they do not respond to biological mechanisms, such as growth factors and hormones, which influence their division. As a result, cancer cells divide uncontrollably and eventually lead to the formation of tumors (large masses of cells). Tumors can either be benign, a growth that does not spread to other organs, or malignant, a growth that can invade tissues and spread to other organs. A benign tumor often does not cause a problem, but it may need to be removed if it encroaches on other vital organs such as the brain. On the contrary, when a malignant tumor invades surrounding tissues and spreads to other organs in the body it is called a metastasis, which results in the destruction of tissues and organs and renders a loss in function finally leading to death (Purves, Sadava, Orions & Heller, 2001).

Currently, cancer therapies try to destroy malignant cells by using x-rays or lasers (radiotherapy), surgical removal of the tumor or drugs (chemotherapy), but these treatments can destroy normal surrounding tissue as well (Purves, Sadava, Orions, & Heller, 2001). Some side effects that may occur include, anemia caused from loss of blood tissue, nausea caused from loss of the intestinal lining, and a deterioration of the natural protective mechanisms of the body (Pauling & Cameron 1993).

Immunotherapy may be a promising anti-cancer treatment, which encourages cells involved in immune response to recognize abnormal cells and eradicate them, therefore leaving the normal cells untouched (Purves, Sadava, Orions & Heller, 2001).

Linus Pauling and Ewan Cameron advocate vitamin C in treating cancer

Ewan Cameron, a Scottish surgeon at the Vale of Leven Hospital, Loch Lomondside, Scotland had been treating cancer patients for over thirty years and approached Pauling in 1971 regarding the use of vitamin C to treat cancer. Cameron believed that strengthening a patient’s natural resistance to cancer could determine the effect of the disease on the patient. He wrote a book, Hyaluronidase and Cancer, which explains that if the integrity of the intercellular glue called ground substance between cells could be strengthened in the normal tissues surrounding a malignant tumor, the normal tissues could better withstand the infiltration of the abnormal cells. The intercellular glue contains fibrils (small filaments) of protein collagen, as well as long molecular chains called glycosaminoglycans, which contribute to the strength of the ground substance. Possibly all malignant tumors free two enzymes, hyaluronidase and collagenase. Hyaluronidase snips glycosaminoglycans into smaller molecules. Collagenase is also responsible for splitting collagen fibrils into small molecules, and as a result malignant tumors are able to invade the weakened tissues (Pauling & Cameron, 1993).

Because it was known that strengthening the integrity of the ground substance in cells could obstruct tumor enzymes from degrading normal tissue, Cameron and Pauling conceived the idea that megadose vitamin C therapy could be used to treat cancer. Cameron and Douglas Rotman theorized that a larger concentration of vitamin C in the body could provoke normal cells into manufacturing greater amounts of hyaluronidase inhibitor, a substance, which prevents the enzyme hyaluronidase from assaulting the intercellular glue of the normal tissue (Pauling & Cameron, 1993).

Taking Pauling’s advice, Cameron began to cautiously treat his patients who had advanced cancer with a daily dose of 10 g of vitamin C. His patients were deemed “untreatable” by other physicians who used standard treatments. However, Cameron observed that in the eight years of implementing the therapy, his more than 500 patients with either early stages or progressive stages of cancer improved from the use of vitamin C as a compliment to other therapies (Pauling & Cameron, 1993).

Cameron and Campbell (1974) observed that the first 50 patients who underwent vitamin C therapy and received 10 g or more of vitamin C daily experienced an overall improvement in their condition. This included an elevation in appetite and mental alertness, as well as a decreased need for narcotic drugs in treating pain. Ninety percent of the patients were not expected to live for more than three months, yet half of the patients who were considered “untreatable” survived up to 100 days. The remaining patients lived longer as well. Their average survival time was 261 days. Yet, five of the patients lived with an average survival time of 610 days or more. The author’s concluded that treating cancer patients with sodium ascorbate may have enabled them to survive longer than was anticipated (Pauling & Cameron, 1993).

Pauling and Cameron went forth to find investigators to carry out a double blind control study on the effects of vitamin C in relation to cancer, but their request was repeatedly denied by the National Cancer Institute. In 1976, They decided to go ahead and conduct a controlled study at the Vale of Leven Hospital. The trial examined two groups, including 100 terminal cancer patients who were administered sodium ascorbate (a salt of ascorbic acid as effective as ascorbic acid) and 10 of 1000 terminal cancer patients who were established as a control group that did not receive sodium ascorbate. The control group consisted of patients with a similar status to the ascorbate group. They were matched by same sex and same age (within 5 years), and they also had the same type of tumor. The results were surprising. 1000 of the patients had died, but 18 of the 100 patients who were treated with ascorbate remained alive. Overall, the 100 patients that were treated with sodium asorbate lived on an average of 300 days longer than the control group. Five of the patients continued to take daily doses of sodium ascorbate, and out of those five, some appeared to have overcome the disease (Pauling & Cameron, 1993).

In 1978 Pauling and Cameron conducted a second study, which similarly examined 100 subjects treated with ascorbate and 10 of 1000 patients who did not receive ascorbate. The 10 of 1000 patients again were established as a control group based on age, tumor type and sex. This time they set up nine control groups according to their tumor type. They found that terminal patients in Scotland who were treated with 10 g of vitamin C survived on an average of over 300 days; meaning that 8 out of 100 patients had remained alive after 300 days. Five of the eight patients continued to live for another 16 months, which increased the mean survival to 330 plus days (Pauling & Cameron, 1993).

Other clinical trials had been carried out, some as early as 1940. A German physician W. G. Deucher discovered that patients with progressive cancer had small amounts of ascorbic acid in their bodies. When he administered 1 to 4 g of ascorbate he noted that the patient’s well being improved. Also, Deucher stated that the effects of the vitamin enabled the patients to tolerate very high doses of radiation therapy. Similar reports were published in German medical journals. Several physicians expressed as a consensus that giving cancer patients 1 to 2 g of vitamin C, as well as some vitamin A resulted in improved health quality, and at times a regression in a tumor even occurred (Pauling & Cameron, 1993).

A study was also conducted in Fukuoka, Japan in 1979 at the Fukuoka Torikai Hospital, Fukuoka, Japan. Morishige and Murata reported that 44 of 99 terminal cancer patients were given 4 g or less of vitamin C per day and 45 terminal cancer patients received 5 g or more of vitamin C per day. The results showed that the patient’s who were administered 5 to 9 g of ascorbate had an increased survival rate by three times that of the patient who was administered less than 5 g of ascorbate. They did note that dosages of 30 to 60 g were not as effective as a 5 to 9 g dose, but also stated that 30 to 60 g doses were administered to patients with the grimmest cases. Morishige and Murata agreed with Cameron and Campbell (1974) that many patients’ quality of health improved. Furthermore, as their appetites increased and they experienced an increase in mental alertness, they wished to return to their normal lives (Pauling & Cameron, 1993).

Finally a double-blind trial had been conducted at the Mayo Clinic in 1978 (Creagan, Moertel, O’Fallon, Schutt, O’connell, Rubin, and Frytak, 1979). Although the trial was intended to duplicate the Vale of Leven study, there was one important difference in the two studies. The Mayo Clinic study examined 52 of 60 subjects that had received cytotoxic chemotherapy, whereas only 4 of the 100 subjects in the Vale of Leven study had received cytotoxic chemotherapy. It is a fact that cytotoxic chemotherapy damages the immune system and may obstruct vitamin C from enhancing a patient’s natural immunity defenses (Pauling & Cameron, 1993).

Creagan et al., observed that they their study did not show a meaningful difference in health status between subjects who took 10 g or more of vitamin C per day and subjects who took a placebo. The study showed that 58 percent of the placebo patients and 63 percent of the group that was treated with ascorbate believed that they experienced a decline in symptoms. The Mayo Clinic team concluded that they could not endorse the use of vitamin C to patients who received chemotherapy or irradiation.

Because the Vale of Leven trial revealed that patients who received chemotherapy treatment impedes vitamin C’s capability of counteracting cancer, Pauling and Cameron expressed that they disagreed with the Creagan et al., conclusion. They pointed out that the report showed that patients who were treated with ascorbate did improve somewhat, and there was no reason why patients shouldn’t be treated with ascorbate in conjunction with chemotherapy (Pauling & Cameron, 1993).

Another disease that has been treated with vitamin C is colonic polyposis, a genetic disease that causes polyps in the rectum and the colon. Studies have examined the use of vitamin C in relation to these polyps because they are considered a pre-malignant condition. DeCosse et al. (1975), Lai et al. (1977), and watne et al. (1977) studied 16 patients whom had familial polyps. The patients were instructed to take 3 g of vitamin C per day and the polyps disappeared in one-half of the patients (Pauling & Cameron, 1993).


Although some scientist and physicians currently believe that vitamin C could be beneficial in treating cancer, others assert that vitamin C supplementation could undermine chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Kedar N. Prasad, Ph.D., professor of radiology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver maintains that high doses of vitamin C, as well as other antioxidants can protect healthy cells during cancer treatment, as well as inhibit tumor formation. Prasad also believes that the antioxidant vitamins inhibit only the growth of cancer cells, but he’s not sure why. He thinks that normal cells uptake only a specific amount of antioxidants such as vitamins C and E in order to function. On the other hand, malignant cells somehow lose the capacity to regulate uptake of the antioxidants; as result excess accumulation in the cell occurs. The proliferation of antioxidants in the cancer cell leads to a genetic breakdown of the cell, therefore rendering cell death, growth inhibition, or differentiation (Gottlieb, 1999).

Though, Prasad believes that cancer treatment should include lower doses of a combination of vitamin C, E, and beta carotene, he is opposed to high dosages of a single vitamins because he believes there is a risk of toxicity (Gottlieb, 1999).

Comments from Sebastian J. Padayatty and Mark Levine published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal; Ottawa Canada express that the role vitamin C in vivo as an antioxidant is unclear. They compare an oral dose of vitamin C to an intravenous dose and state that tissues are able to uptake larger amounts between 1.5 g and 10 g intravenously, whereas absorption of oral doses decline when an oral dose of ascorbic acid is increased (Padayatty & Levine, 2001).

They also refer to Pauling and Cameron’s use of high intravenous doses of sodium ascorbate to treat cancer. To test Pauling and Cameron’s research, Moertell and his colleagues carried out two randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials. Moertell and his coworkers chose not to use large intravenous doses of vitamin C, but used large oral doses of the vitamin. They concluded that there was no benefit in high oral doses of vitamin C (Padayatty & Levine, 2001).

Padayatty and Levine conclude that cancer patients will be “better served if advocates and skeptics concerning the efficacy of vitamin C re-examine these issues with both open minds and scientific rigor Padayatty & Levine, 2001).”

It’s been thirty years since Linus Pauling and Ewan Cameron began to boldly treat cancer patients with vitamin C. Today some scientist and physicians oppose the use of vitamin C to treat cancer. However, others are willing to search for evidence that could support the use of vitamin C either in conjunction to chemotherapy and radiation, or as alternative to treating cancer.



Vitamin C is most commonly used as an antioxidant. Recent work has shown that it can be used to destroy cancer cells in a non-toxic way when used in very large doses, and these large doses can only be achieved by intravenous use. In this situation vitamin C acts as a pro-oxidant, and destroys cancer cell membranes, and produces hydrogen-peroxide. The reason that cancer cells are more vulnerable to this approach, is that they have 10-100 times less catalase enzymes present in them. Therefore vitamin C tends to concentrate in cancer cells when given at this high dose, and therefore destroys these cancer cells. The levels we give are 75 grams of vitamin C in an intravenous drip with a mixture of minerals and other vitamins included, and also some amino acids. We have to give this every day for 3 weeks (excluding weekends). We try to reach a serum level of between 350-400 milligrams per 100cc’s. At that level we are achieving maximal cancer cell destruction. Generally speaking patients on this intravenous treatment programme often become tired as there is such a lot of cancer cell destruction going on. We often combine this with B17 intravenously, which also concentrates in cancer cells and can destroy these cells. At the end of this programme we often ask patients to collect 2 litres of urine, and we extract tumour antigen, that is proteins on the cell surfaces of cancer cells, and we make specific cancer vaccines for these patients, specific to their tumours, known as Dendritic Cell therapy vaccines. This then turns on the patient’s specific white cells, which then search out the cancer cells and kill them. This is the normal mechanism operating in all healthy people to kills off rogue cells which otherwise might develop into cancer cells. For further details look at Dr Julian Kenyon The Dove Clinic for Integrated Medicine Winchester & London JNK/eld/1247 ]

Research has shown IVC Max to enhance the efficacy of vitamin C when vitamin C is given orally or intravenously.

Vitamin C is a dietary supplement with many health related effects. In some cases, the benefits of Vitamin C are best achieved with large concentrations administered intravenously. IVC-MaxTM is a dietary supplement containing co-factors known to potentiate the health related effects of Vitamin C.

Vitamin K is essential for clot formation and liver function. A synthetic form of vitamin K, vitamin K3, has been found to induce cytotoxicity of abnormal cells in vitro and in vivo and increase the effectiveness and reduce the toxicity of some drugs.4 Both Vitamin C and Vitamin K3 exhibit health related effects. Together, Vitamin K3 and Vitamin C act synergistically.

Niacinamide, while not fully understood, lowers the blood flow resistance in affected areas, which lowers the vascular pressure, thus increasing blood flow.6 Increased blood flow within the affected area may allow for increased uptake of high concentrations of Vitamin C from the plasma.

Biotin increases normal flora in the gut, which in turn produces increased amounts of Vitamin K. Vitamin K is absorbed into the body via the colon which may result in higher plasma concentrations of that vitamin.

Selenium is a potent antioxidant that makes Vitamin C more effective. Selenium is also required for optimal functioning of the immune system.

Alpha Lipoic Acid is a water soluble antioxidant that recycles Vitamin C. Recent data shows that alpha lipoic acid potentiates the cytotoxic effects of Vitamin C toward abnormal cells.

Quercetin, a bioflavonoid, has been shown to alter gene expression (inducing apoptosis), and reduce free radical damage and inflammation. Further studies indicate that Vitamin C potentiates these cytotoxic effects of Quercetin.5

Grape Seed Extract is a natural antioxidant which possesses a broad spectrum of chemoprotective properties against free radicals and oxidative stress. Data suggests that grape seed extract can have a cytotoxic effect toward some abnormal cells and enhance the growth and viability of normal cells.7 Some studies suggest that grape seed extract helps Vitamin C penetrate tissue.

IMMUNOLOGY 2000 JAN; 99(1): 1-7.
SCANNING MICROSC 1995 MAR; 9(1): 159-73.
MOL CELL BIOCHEM 1999 JUN; 196(1-2): 99-108.

In Extremis: First Aid for Advanced Cancer
(or for anyone with cancer, at any stage)
If the medical profession has just told you that you have a short time to live, or have an "incurable" cancer such as pancreatic, liver, brain or lung cancer, where conventional systemic treatment is at best only palliative, there is a remarkable therapy you can try which is relatively simple and cheap, can be done at home, without side-effects, and which a number of MDs who use it claim has saved the lives of between 60% to 70% of terminal cancer patients, and which at the very least has been shown to halt or control the spread of cancer. This therapy is high dose intravenous vitamin C. Intravenous vitamin C is not the same as oral vitamin C. By giving vitamin C intravenously doctors can achieve a blood saturation that is not at all comparable with that achieved by the oral route. The order of magnitude is something like 200%, as opposed to 2% saturation by the oral route. This very high concentration of vitamin C is critical in terms of achieving a chemotherapeutic, cytotoxic - tumour cell destruction - effect. If it is feasible to have a Hickman line put in the patient, extraordinary doses of vitamin C - anything between 50g to 100g, depending on the malignancy of the cancer, - can be self-administered at home on a daily to weekly basis over a period of months, stepping down or up in frequency according to the individual response. Otherwise this treatment can be administered on an out-patient basis, anywhere in the world. Its effects appear to be enhanced by weekly injections of large doses of vitamin B12, (hydroxycobalamin 1000 micrograms), which forms cobalt ascorbate, another benevolent non-toxic, but tumour cytotoxic, compound, or in combination with vitamin K (specifically vitamin K3, though K1 is also efficacious), and Lipoic Acid, (300mg oral, twice daily.) Lipoic Acid recycles the Vitamin C to keep the cytotoxic dose more constantly in the body for longer periods.

Counter indications to this approach are few. However they include anyone with kidney failure, or on dialysis, or with uncommon forms of iron overload. Responsible physicians should also screen for red blood cell glucose-6 phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, a rare condition whose presence can lead to haemolytic crisis involving red blood cell breakdown. The very large doses should also be built up to gradually over some days to establish good tolerance, starting at 15 grams for 1 or 2 sessions, then to 50 grams and, if necessary, to 100 grams. The exact dose is determined by the individual's plasma saturation by Vitamin C immediately after an infusion. WARNING: To avoid the well-documented Rebound Effect, which can lead to scurvy, this treatment should not be stopped abruptly. Patients should be gradually weaned off it over a period of weeks, or even months, and oral vitamin C therapy should continue indefinitely and on the days in between the IVC infusions.

The American Dr Hugh Riordan M.D. is probably the world expert on this approach. His institute, The Center for the Improvement of Human Functioning, has just completed a 10 year research project on high dose intravenous C and cancer, and his patented method recently underwent Phase I clinical trials at the University of Nebraska medical school hospital. These trials have established the non-toxicity of this treatment for cancer, and Dr Riordan is now proceeding with a Phase II clinical trial, under the auspices of the National Institutes of Health, using therapeutic doses of vitamin C on Renal Adenoma patients. Dr Riordan has also published several successful case histories, including the results of treatment on a late-stage lung cancer patient - now cancer free several years on -, in The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. I would recommend anyone interested in this to get in touch with Dr Riordan, and to consult him generally for nutritional strategies against cancer, in particular as Dr Riordan has at his disposal some of the most refined lab-tests in the world for determining individual bio-chemical profiles and needs in cancer, (or indeed any other condition). These tests should be a standard in determining optimal individual nutritional therapy. Unfortunately, as yet, they are not widely available. Dr Riordan is also recruiting "end-stage" cancer patients for a trial of a new immunotherapy for cancer, in which the immune system is taught to recognise and destroy the cancer cells in its midst that it usually overlooks. The trials are free. But you must be able to travel to the U.S.

However, there are a number of other intravenous vitamin C practitioners throughout the world. The International Society for Orthomolecular Medicine, (Ms Claire D'Intino) can give you the name and address of your nearest orthomolecular physician worldwide. (Or see the Countries List in the Resource Section.) The Doctors and Organisations pages list a few English speaking practitioners, all M.D.s, who also offer excellent alternative and complementary, immunotherapeutic approaches to cancer. For maximum efficacy, they should follow Dr Riordan's treatment protocol, available here, and on request from the Center for the Improvement of Human Functioning:


Center For The Improvement Of Human Functioning
N. Hillside Avenue, 3100
Wichita, KS 67219

Tel: 001 316 682 3100
Fax: 001 316 682 5054

Case from the Center: Intravenous Vitamin C in a Terminal Cancer Patient
Neil Riordan (1); James A. Jackson, Ph.D. (2); Hugh D. Riordan, M.D.(1)

In October, 1995 the author (NR) was completing a clinical rotation with a physician in a rural comunity as part of his Physician Assistant Training. His responsibilities included covering the Emergency Room in the hospital and helping the town physician at his three clinics. Emergency Room call was shared with a medical student and the hospital and clinic rotation was for five weeks. A week into the training, a home health care agency nurse visited the clinic and asked if the medical student or the author knew of a treatment that could help a "terminal" breast cancer patient with pain control. She said the patient had cancer for several years and the latest bone scan showed that the cancer had metastasized to "nearly every bone in her skeleton." She was particularly worried about pain from ametastatic lesion in the the patient's left upper arm. The patient was taking I.V. morphine for pain and needed sublingual morphine to cope with pain associated with getting up and going to the bathroom.

The medical student (who planned on a career in pain management and anesthesia), enthusiastically described a nerve block procedure that would relieve the pain but, "unfortunately," loss of function of the arm, as well. Information about the experiences at The Center with the control of metastatic bone pain using high doses of intravenous vitamin C was given to the nurse. She was also furnished with references describing the usefulness of Vitamin C in helping cancer patients. One article, from the present authors, (NR, JAJ, HDR) described the preferential toxicity of vitamin C toward tumor cells, and presented evidence listing the plasma concentrations of vitamin C that would be beneficial as a preferential cytotoxic agent in humans.

The nurse's reaction was less than enthusiastic. She said she would ask the patient if she was interested and would also ask the physician if he would be willing to try something like vitamin C. Since the doses suggested in the article were in excess of 100 grams intravenous per day, and the RDA for vitamin C is 60 mg per day, a positive reply was not expected. Some physicians and health care workers believe (wrongly) that any dose over two grams intravenously will either kill you or make you very ill by inducing an acidotic state. As fate would have it, this patient visited the clinic the next day complaining of a painful, swollen, left arm. A Doppler venogram revealed both subclavian veins to be blocked by blood clots. She was admitted to the hospital and started on anticoagulant therapy. Many staff did not think she would leave the hospital alive.

During clinical rounds, the patient said that she had read the paper on vitamin C and was anxious to try the I.V. C therapy because it offered her some hope. Also, the Home Health nurse said that she and the physician had read the article and were were willing to try the I.V. vitamin C treatments. The physician later said he was enthusiastic to try something that could actually have a positive effect on the pain and disease processes. He also said that he wanted to clear the blood clots before starting the vitamin C treatment. He was concerned that if an embolism occurred and the patient died, it would be blamed on the I.V. vitamin C treatment (obviously an enlightened physician). He did start the patient on oral vitamin C, 250 mg per day, to prevent scurvy, a common occurrence in disseminated metastatic disease. The patient was treated one time with Activase R to clear the clots. An arterial blood sample was drawn from the patient's wrist shortly after the anticoagulant therapy. This resulted in extensive subcutaneous bleeding with bruising of the entire arm, and the site subsequently became infected, swollen, and hot to the touch. She continued to receive small doses of I.V. and oral anticoagulant therapy, antibiotic therapy and oral vitamin C. The infection had not cleared within a week, probably due to poor circulation in the arm and depressed immune system of the patient. The next week, the patient's physician visited Wichita and spoke to H Riordan at The Center. Riordan furnished him with vitamin C to use in the I.V. treatment.

After two weeks, the patient was strong enough to take high doses of I.V. vitamin C. Her physician ordered 30 grams of vitamin C given I.V. in Ringer's Lactate solution. One of the nurses said that she had never heard of such a high dose and she would not administer it "because it would kill the patient." She was assured by the author (NR) that patients at The Center and other clinical sites had been given 100 grams and more of I.V. C without any ill effects, and that he had personally taken 60 grams I.V. with no side effects. The nurse was still not convinced. To prove the safety of the I.V. C, the author started an I.V. infusion of 30 grams of vitamin C in Ringer's Lactate on himself. He was seated next to the nurse with the I.V. pole between them. The infusion lasted an hour and all the time the nurse was saying "you are going to die" and wanted witnesses to the fact that she would not be held responsible. As expected, there were no side effects and after further observation for ill effects by the head nurse for several hours, she finally agreed to give the I.V. vitamin C to the patient.

The patient received 30 grams I.V. vitamin C on the first day, 40 the next day and 50 the following day. After the third dose her right arm was completely without swelling and the swelling in her left arm was greatly decreased. Most notably, the infection in her left hand began to resolve, and she did not need to take sublingual morphine for pain. All, including the physician, nurses and patient were very impressed. The physician ordered additional shipments of vitamin C to continue the infusions. Infusions of vitamin C were increased to 100 grams per day, administered over five hours.

Within one week of starting the increased vitamin C infusions, the patient was walking around the halls of the hospital, looking like a new person. As the clinical rotation came to an end, the patient invited everyone connected with the vitamin C treatment to her room for a pizza party. The patient had her hair done and makeup on, something she had not done in the recent past. It was a wonderful pizza party, especially for a terminally ill cancer patient, once bedridden with intractable pain due to disseminated bone metastasis who, previously, was given a few weeks to live. After leaving the hospital, telephone calls were made to the physician to follow up on this patient. He said that she was discharged from the hospital one week after the vitamin C treatments were began. She continued to take high dose I.V. C treatments three times a week at home. Three months after she began the I.V. C treatments she was surviving with resolution of metastasis to the skull as shown on the bone scan. This case illustrates problems encountered when dealing with health care workers who know little about complementary medicine. One example is the head nurse who thought that 30 grams of I.V. C "will kill you" and refused to administer it until proven otherwise. Yet the nurse probably had no hesitation in giving massive doses of intravenous morphine to the same patient. This case also illustrates that, occasionally, one encounters a physician who is willing to listen to his patient and try treatments not accepted by the conventional medical community. In this instance, both the physician and the patient benefitted.

Case Update
As this article was in the process of being submitted for publication, additional information was learned about this patient. Upon discharge from the hospital, she returned home to find her husband dead, apparently of natural causes. During a three month time period, in addition to her husband, her brother and nephew also died. It was also learned that while walking at a shopping mall, she apparently fell, breaking her hip. She was readmitted to the hospital where she died a short time later.

1. Riordan NH, et al: Intravenous Ascorbate as a Tumour Cytotoxic Chemotherapeutic Agent. Medical Hypothesis, 1994; 9;2: 207-213
2. Jackson JA, et al: High dose Intravenous Vitamin C in the Treatment of a Patient with Adenocarcinoma of he Kidney–A Case Study. J.Orthomol Med , 1990; 5: 1:57.

Vol. 10, No. 2, 1995

Case from the Center

High Dose Intravenous Vitamin C and Long Time Survival of a Patient With Cancer of Head of the Pancreas
James A. Jackson, Ph.D., BCLD; (1) Hugh D. Riordan, M.D.; (2)
Ronald E. Hunninghake, M.D.; (2) Neil Riordan, B.S. (2)

A 68-year old white male was a self-referral to the Center in December 1993. Two months previously, he was seen at another medical facility for painless jaundice (bilirubin was 14 mg/dL), "black urine," pain in the stomach and a rapid weight loss of 21 pounds. A CT scan and abdominalangiogram suggested a blocked bile duct and a pancreatic mass. An operation was performed and because of it's location, all of the tumor could not be removed. An area of the tumor (4 cm x 2 cm x 4 cm) was removed. The gallbladder, head of the pancreas, distal stomach, and duodenum were also removed and a complete "Whipple" procedure performed. The pathology report showed a grade I adenocarcinoma of the pancreas with metastasis to 1 of 7 regional lymph nodes (T3, N1, Mo). A month after the operation the patient developed hyperglycemia. He was placed on the ADA diet with blood glucose monitoring twice a day. After a short period, the blood glucose returned to, and remained, normal. Three months prior to the Whipple procedure, he had a transurethral resection for an enlarged prostate which proved to be benign.

After discussing treatment options with an Oncologist, the patient decided not to take conventional chemotherapy and radiation. At the Center, a complete physical, psychological and biochemical examination was done on the patient. He was an alert, pleasant, 68-year old male who weighed 140 pounds and was 70 inches tall. Significant laboratory data included blood DHEA 39.7 ng/dL(normal, 200 to 335), beta carotene 2.4 ug/dL (normal 10 to 85), and vitamins A, C and E in the non-supplementing normal range. Urine vitamin C was 10 mg/dL (our normal is 20 to 40), and the RBC essential fatty acid profile showed low gamma linolenic, palmitoleic fatty acids and a low stearic/oleicratio. His fructosamine was 313 umol/L (175 to 272 normal) and blood glucose 326 mg/dL. Hair tissue analysis showed calcium, magnesium and sodium to be low.

A blood analysis for G6PD, a BUN, creatinine and urinalysis was done before I.V. vitamin C was started. All were normal. Appropriate supplements were started for those identified as low or sub-optimal by the laboratory results.

The patient initially received a small dose of vitamin C in Ringer's Lactate during a one hour infusion to screen for toxic reactions. The next infusion of 115 g was given in 1000 mL of Ringer's Lactate over a 8 h period. One hour into the infusion, the plasma C level was 3.7 mg/dL and at 5 h was 19 mg/dL. During the fourth 8-h infusion (8 days later), the 1 h plasma C level was 158 mg/dL and 5 h was 185 mg/dL. Both values are well above the concentration required to kill 100% of human pancreatic tumor cells as found in our research laboratory. 1 The low plasma levels of C in this patient during the first infusion compared to the fourth infusion, shows the value of measuring the plasma level to see that adequate levels are achieved during therapy. The patient received 39 of the 8-h infusions in doses ranging from 57.5 to 115 g over a 13-week period, the length of the treatment protocol with high dose I.V. vitamin C.

A CT scan of the abdomen six months after the surgery failed to detect any progression of the tumor. A recurrence of the tumor occurred after the amount and frequency of I. V. vitamin C was significantly reduced so the patient could travel in his motor-home (family reunions, etc). The patient lived for 12 months after the initial diagnosis of cancer of the head of the pancreas. He received no chemotherapy or radiation treatment and enjoyed a good quality of life until the time of his death.

Altogether, six patients have been infused intravenously with similar doses of vitamin C over 8-h periods with no reported side- effects. In all cases, the patients had either been given no further therapeutic options by their oncologists, had refused conventional treatment or requested I.V. vitamin C in conjunction with standard chemotherapy.

1. Professor and Assistant Dean, Graduate School, Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas, 67260-0004.
2. The Center for the Improvement of Human Functioning International, Inc., 3100 N. Hillside, Wichita, Kansas, 67219.

1. Riordan, N. H. et al. 1995. Medical Hypo-theses, (44), pp. 207-213.

Vitamin C and cancer citations

Gary Null

High Dose Intravenous Vitamin C and Long Time Survival of a Patient With Cancer of Head of the Pancreas

Intravenous Vitamin C in a Terminal Cancer Patient

Linus Pauling and Vitamin C Therapy

Intravenous Ascorbate as a Tumor Cytotoxic Chemotherapeutic Agent:
Riordan et al, Medical Hypotheses, March 1995

Cameron, Ewan (1982) Vitamin C and cancer: an overview. International
Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research Suppl. 23, p 115-127.

Cameron, Ewan (Undated, c.1986-88) Protocol for the use of intravenous
vitamin C in the treatment of cancer. Linus Pauling Institute of
Science and Medicine, Palo Alto, California.

Cameron, E. (1991) Protocol for the use of vitamin C in the treatment
of cancer. Medical Hypotheses. 36:190-194.

Cameron, E. and Baird, G. (1973) Ascorbic acid and dependence on
opiates in patients with advanced and disseminated cancer. Journal of
International Research Communications. 1:38.

Cameron, E. and Campbell, A. (1974) The orthomolecular treatment of
cancer II. Clinical trial of high-dose ascorbic supplements in advanced
human cancer. Chemical-Biological Interactions 9:285-315.

Cameron, E. and Campbell, A. (1991) Innovation vs. quality control:
an "unpublishable" clinical trial of supplemental ascorbate in
incurable cancer. Medical Hypotheses, 36(3),
p 185-189, November.

Cameron, E. and Pauling, L. (1973) Ascorbic acid and the
glycosaminoglycans: An orthomolecular approach to cancer and other
diseases. Oncology (Basel) 27: 181-192.

Cameron, E. and Pauling, L. (1974) The orthomolecular treatment of
cancer. 1. The role of ascorbate in host resistance. Chemical-
Biological Interactions. 9:273-283.

Cameron, E. and Pauling, L. (1976) Supplemental ascorbate in the
supportive treatment of cancer: prolongation of survival times in
terminal human cancer. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
USA. 73:3685-3689.

Cameron, E. and Pauling, L. (1978) Supplemental ascorbate in the
supportive treatment of cancer: Reevaluation of prolongation of
survival times in terminal human cancer. Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences USA. 75:4538-4542

Cameron, E. and Pauling, L. (1993) Cancer and Vitamin C, revised
edition. Philadelphia: Camino Books.

Alternative Medicine for Immune System Strengthening

Vitamin C

Many nutritionists consider vitamin C to be the single most important supplemental nutrient for maintaining a strong, efficient immune system and recovering from infections.

Vitamin C strengthens the immune system. It is a critical nutrient when you contract an infection. It is important for the proper functioning of white blood cells.

Dr. Linus Pauling's research, as well as that of others, showed that people taking 200 to 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily had fewer colds than those who were not taking Vitamin C. For the maintenance of good health, scientists recommend an optimum daily intake of 1,000 to 5,000 milligrams of vitamin C. (RDA for Vitamin C is 60 milligrams.) In fact, it has been shown that taking too little supplement does not do any good and that there is a critical threshold for this supplement to be effective.

Several types of infections were successfully treated by high-dose vitamin C therapy including viral pneumonia. Vitamin C has been shown to be protective against cancer of the lung, larynx, colorectal tract, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, bladder, cervix, endometrium, and breast, as well as childhood brain tumors.

For serious infections, vitamin C must be administered intravenously by a physician.

How Vitamin C Affects Our Immune System

Vitamin C enhances the body's physical and immune defenses broadly against infection.

Vitamin C is essential for the activity of white blood cells. White blood cells are like soldiers in the body-they fight off invading pathogens. When there are high levels of vitamin C in the body, these white blood cells become much more active. Their ability to defend the body against harmful bacteria is enhanced. In one study, 2,000 to 3,000 milligrams of daily supplementation of vitamin C was found to stimulate white blood cells' attacks on bacteria. However, lower doses of the vitamin had no noticeable effect on the action of white blood cells.

Vitamin C is required by the body to synthesize collagen, which strengthens the integrity of tissues. Strong collagen reinforces the physical barriers of our body against disease-causing germs from outside. When collagen is weak or inadequate, our tissues are more permeable (hollow) and allow bacteria and bacterial toxins to infiltrate and spread.

Vitamin C increases the body's production of glutathione, an antioxidant that stimulates the immune system and detoxifies bacterial waste products. Daily intake of 500 milligrams of vitamin C was found to increase the blood levels of glutathione in people by 50 percent.

Several studies have shown that vitamin C increases the levels of interferon, an antiviral substance produced in the body. This increases the level of antibody in the bloodstream and boosts the activity of the thymus gland. Mega vitamin C therapy is used in the treatment of AIDS, cancer, and other diseases in which boosting the immune function is of primary importance.

Vitamin C deficiency impairs the body's defenses against disease-causing microorganisms. The response of white blood cells and T cells are seriously impaired with Vitamin C deficiency. For example, white blood cells of vitamin C-deficient animals killed only 12 percent of Actinomyces, a species of bacteria. However, when vitamin C supplements were given, the numbers of bacteria decreased.

Vitamin C increases the immunity and T-cell activity in elderly people who are usually deficient in Vitamin C. As we get old, our immunity decreases. Surprisingly, the same is also true of our blood and tissue levels of most vitamins. Blood levels of vitamin C are routinely below normal in the elderly, impairing T cells. Regular intravenous supplementation of vitamin C was found to increase the T-cell activity in elderly.

Vitamin C supplements can reverse the effect or glucose in dampening the effectiveness of white blood cells in mopping up bacteria. Glucose interferes with the absorption of vitamin C by white blood cells. Many dietary sugars are found to reduce the ability of white blood cells to capture bacteria. Extra vitamin C counteracts this.

Vitamin C increases the size of the "free radical burst," which white blood cells use to kill bacteria. During an infection, free radicals are produced faster than ordinary numbers of antioxidants can quench them. Vitamin C, in addition to increasing the free radical burst, later mops up many of the leftover free radicals.

Vitamin C has a positive effect on different parts of the immune system, making it easier for the body to deal with infection. Vitamin C in large doses can prevent an infection from developing by boosting the body's immune system. If infection is already present infusion of vitamin C shortens the duration and severity of an infection. Vitamin C is vital for white blood cells to destroy invading viruses or bacteria. When high levels of vitamin C are present, white blood cells fight viruses and bacteria more effectively; when there are low levels of vitamin C in the body, this ability is reduced.

Our body's need for Vitamin C increases substantially when we are under stress or under attack by infections. Infections rapidly deplete vitamin C levels in our blood. For example, within twenty-four hours of the start of a cold, vitamin C levels were found to drop from approximately 20 micrograms per 100 million cells (normal level of vitamin C in white blood cells) to half that level. After 24 hours, vitamin C levels increase gradually and return to normal by the end of the infection. Thus the most serious deficiency in vitamin C occurs at the beginning of the infection and to be effective, the supplementation should be given near the beginning. The more serious the infection is, the more severe is the depletion in vitamin C and hence the need for supplementation. We presume that Cancer infection comes under this category of more severe infection and hence the need and importance for the Vitamin C supplementation.


Daily requirements for vitamin C vary considerably, not only among individuals, but also within the same individual from day to day. When you are healthy and feeling well, your daily requirement can be as low as 200 milligrams. Under stress, your daily requirement may rise to 1,000 milligrams.

If you are in the early stages of developing an infection, you may need even higher doses of Vitamin C.

In the treatment of an acute infection, take 10,000 milligrams of vitamin C for two days, then 5,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily for two days, then 2,000 to 3,000 milligrams as a daily maintenance dose for one week.

Children between the ages of six and twelve should take half of this recommended dose. For children under the age of six consult your health-care practitioner for recommended dosages.

Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin. The excess is excreted from the body using body's normal mechanism. So, the chance of toxicity with Vitamin C is pretty slim unless you deliberately misuse it.

The daily preventive vitamin C requirement is between 1,000 milligrams and 5,000 milligrams. Many nutritionists recommend 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C for adults as a preventative measure. Children should take doses that are slightly lower based upon their age and weight.

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