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Intravenous (IV) Vitamin C in Integrative Cancer Care and Chemotherapy Support

At the Finlandia health centre our Naturopathic Doctors provide integrative medical support to those with a cancer diagnosis. This practice can involve nutrition, supplement and lifestyle recommendations. In certain cases physical therapies and injection therapies are warranted.

One of those cases is in support of most chemotherapy programs.

Chemotherapy is an important conventional therapy in many treatment programs for cancer; however, it is not without side effects. From low energy to nausea and vomiting to neuropathy the side effects can reduce quality of life and delay conventional treatment progression causing the entire process of therapy to be prolonged.

A tool the Finlandia Health Centre uses to help those along their journey to recovery is Intravenous Vitamin C. Below we have outlined what vitamin C is, how it is used in our clinic and how it could benefit those undergoing chemotherapy.

 

What is high-dose vitamin C?


Vitamin C is a nutrient that is found in food, such as oranges, grapefruit, papaya, peppers, and kale, or in dietary supplements. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and helps prevent damage to cells caused by free radicals. It also works with enzymes to play a key role in making collagen. Vitamin C is also called L-ascorbic acid or ascorbate.
High-dose vitamin C is an intravenous infusion of an amount of vitamin C that would be too high to absorb orally at once.

 

How is high-dose vitamin C given or taken?


High-dose vitamin C is given by IV infusion as doses this high can cause diarrhea when taken orally. Vitamin C can reach higher levels in the blood when given by intravenous infusion than when it is taken by mouth.

Intravenous infusions of vitamin C can take from 1 to 2 hours.


Have any laboratory or human studies been done using high-dose vitamin C?


In laboratory (in vitro) studies of high-dose vitamin C have shown cytotoxic effects (cancer cell destruction) and reduced cancer cell proliferation effects (slowing cancer growth) on many different cancer cell lines.Several human studies of high-dose vitamin C given alone or in combination with other drugs in patients with cancer have been completed. When used alone, separate from chemotherapy and radiation, IV vitamin C has shown to improve quality of life of patients with cancer.

When combined with conventional therapy IV vitamin C has been shown to be a safe therapy (when done by a qualified Naturopathic Doctor) that is able to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy and improve the quality of life of patients with cancer.

 

Small Study Example Series (sourced from the National Cancer Institute – ref. below):

 

  1. “In a 2014 study of 27 patients with advanced ovarian cancer, chemotherapy alone was compared with chemotherapy and IV vitamin C. IV vitamin C was given during chemotherapy and for 6 months after chemotherapy ended. Patients who received IV vitamin C had fewer side effects from the chemotherapy.”
  2. “Patients with non-small cell lung cancer or glioblastoma multiforme in two pilot trials were given standard therapy plus IV vitamin C. Patients had better overall survival and fewer side effects compared to the control groups.”

 

Are there any side effects of high-dose vitamin C?

 

Throughout the years of clinical trials high-dose vitamin C has been shown to cause very few side effects. Our Naturopathic Doctors are able to identify when certain risk factors render high dose vitamin C side effects more likely.

For example, high dose vitamin C is avoided in the following scenarios:

  • Patients with a history of kidney disease may not be able to tolerate high doses of vitamin C. IV vitamin C is avoided in those with kidney stones.
  • An inherited disorder called G6PD deficiency is a contraindication for IV Vitamin C. Our Naturopathic Doctors are able to test for this condition in clinic.
  • Caution is warranted for those with iron storage diseases such as hemochromatosis as high doses of vitamin C can theoretically improve iron uptake.

 

Working with our clinic and the benefits of IV Vitamin C:


Knowing when to use vitamin C (in which cancers), what chemotherapy and other cancer drugs it is safe with and in what population this therapy could provide the most benefit is where our Naturopathic Doctors thrive.

Recommended protocols range from 1-3 intravenous vitamin C sessions per week and are supported by the Naturopathic holistic approach including dietary advice in cancer care, evidence-based supplementation to improve results and chemotherapy side effect management.

 
Contact our clinic today to inquire about this therapy.

 

Reference: PDQ® Integrative, Alternative, and Complementary Therapies Editorial Board. PDQ High-Dose Vitamin C. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Updated <12/13/2017>. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/hp/vitamin-c-pdq. Accessed <02/20/2019>. [PMID: 26389504]

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Dr. David Duizer has been a Naturopathic Doctor at Finlandia Pharmacy for over four years with a special interest in interrogative cancer care and IV therapies. To book an appointment with him please call our Health Centre at 604-734-7760 or you can book online here.