HEALTH: The Powerful Intravenous Vitamin C In Cancer Cells

HEALTH: The Powerful Intravenous Vitamin C In Cancer Cells

Some say that high dose of vitamin C might be an alternative cancer treatment. Let’s find out.


Related image Image credit:



Vitamin C (ascorbate, ascorbic acid) is a major water-soluble antioxidant that also increases extracellular collagen production and is important for proper immune cell functioning (Hoffman, 1985; Cameron, et al., 1979). It also plays key roles in L-carnitine synthesis, cholesterol metabolism, cytochrome P-450 activity, and neurotransmitter synthesis (Geeraert, 2012). The Riordan intravenous vitamin C (IVC) protocol involves the slow infusion of vitamin C at doses on the order of 0.1 to 1.0 grams ascorbate per kilogram body mass (Riordan, et al., 2003). IVC use has increased recently among integrative and orthomolecular medicine practitioners: a survey of roughly 300 practitioners conducted between 2006 and 2008 indicated that roughly ten thousand patients received IVC, at an average dose of 0.5 g/kg, without significant ill effects (Padayatty, et al., 2010). While IVC may have a variety of possible applications, such as combating infections (Padayatty, et al., 2010), treating rheumatoid arthritis (Mikirova, et al., 2012), it has generated the most interest for its potential use in adjunctive cancer care.

Vitamin C was first suggested as a tool for cancer treatment in the 1950′s: its role in collagen production and protection led scientists to hypothesize that ascorbate replenishment would protect normal tissue from tumor invasiveness and metastasis (McCormick, 1959; Cameron, et al., 1979). Also, since cancer patients are often depleted of vitamin C (Hoffman, 1985; Riordan, et al., 2005), replenishment may improve immune system function and enhance patient health and well-being (Henson, et al., 1991). Cameron and Pauling observed fourfold survival times in terminal cancer patients treated with intravenous ascorbate infusions followed by oral supplementation (Cameron & Pauling, 1976). However, two randomized clinical trials with oral ascorbate alone conducted by the Mayo clinic showed no benefit (Creagan, et al., 1979; Moertel, et al., 1985). Most research from that point on focused on intravenous ascorbate. The rationales for using intravenous ascorbate infusions (IVC) to treat cancer, which are discussed in detail below, can be summarized as follows:

  • Plasma ascorbate concentrations in the millimolar range can be safely achieved with IVC infusions.
  • At millimolar concentrations, ascorbate is preferentially toxic to cancer cells in vitro and is able to inhibit angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo.
  • Vitamin C can accumulate in tumors, with significant tumor growth inhibition seen (in guinea pigs) at intra-tumor concentrations of 1 mM or higher.
  • Published case studies report anti-cancer efficacy, improved patient well-being, and decreases in markers of inflammation and tumor growth.
  • Phase I clinical studies indicate that IVC can be administered safely with relatively few adverse effects.



The Riordan clinic has treated hundreds of cancer patients (Figure 1) using the Riordan protocol. At the same time, Riordan Clinic Research Institute (RCRI) has been researching the potential of intravenous vitamin C therapy for over thirty years. Our efforts have included in vitro studies, animal studies, pharmacokinetic analyses, and clinical trials. The Riordan IVC protocol, along with the research results (by the RCRI and others) that have motivated its use, is described below.


eMedicineHealthVitamin C (also called L-ascorbic acid or ascorbate) is a nutrient that humans must get from food or dietary supplements since it cannot be made in the body. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and helps prevent oxidative stress. It also works with enzymes to play a key role in making collagen.

When taken by intravenous (IV) infusion, vitamin C can reach much higher levels in the blood than when it is taken by mouth. Studies suggest that these higher levels of vitamin C may cause the death of cancer cells in the laboratory.

A severe deficiency (lack) of vitamin C in the diet causes scurvy, a disease with symptoms of extreme weakness, lethargy, easy bruising, and bleeding. The lack of vitamin C in patients with scurvy makes collagen thinner in texture; when vitamin C is given, collagen becomes thicker again.


High-dose vitamin C has been studied as a treatment for patients with cancer since the 1970s. A Scottish surgeon named Ewan Cameron worked with Nobel Prize-winning chemist Linus Pauling to study the possible benefits of vitamin C therapy in clinical trials of cancer patients in the late 1970s and early 1980’s.

Surveys of healthcare practitioners at United States CAM conferences in recent years have shown that high-dose IV vitamin C is frequently given to patients as a treatment for infections, fatigue, and cancers, including breast cancer.

More than fifty years ago, a study suggested that cancer was a disease of changes in connective tissue caused by a lack of vitamin C. In the 1970’s, it was proposed that high-dose ascorbic acid could help build resistance to disease or infection and possibly treat cancer.


Riordan Clinic: The situation with intravenous ascorbate therapy is different from that with new chemotherapeutic agents in that FDA approval was not strictly required in order for physicians to administer IVC. As a result, clinical investigations tended to run concurrently with laboratory research. Two early studies indicated that intravenous ascorbate therapy could increase survival times beyond expectations in cancer patients (Cameron & Pauling, 1976; Murata, et al., 1982). There have been several case studies published by the Riordan Clinic team (Jackson, et al., 1995; Riordan, et al., 1998; Riordan, et al., 1996) and collaborators (Padayatti, et al., 2006; Drisko, et al., 2003). While these case studies do not represent conclusive evidence in the same way that a well-designed Phase III study would, they are nonetheless of interest for comparing methodologies and motivating future research, in addition to being of monumental importance to the individuals who were their subjects. Some key case studies are summarized here:

  • 51 year old female with renal cell carcinoma (nuclear grade III/IV) and lung metastasis declined chemotherapy and instead chose to intravenous ascorbate at an initial dose of 15 grams. Her dose was increased to 65 grams after two weeks. She continued at this dose for ten months. Patient received no radiation or chemotherapy. The patient supplemented with thymus protein extract, N-acetylcysteine, niacinamide, beta-glucan, and thyroid extract. Seven of eight lung masses resolved. Patient went four years without evidence of regression. Four years later, patient showed a new mass (consistent with small-cell lung cancer, not with recurrent renal carcinoma metastasis) and died shortly afterward (Padayatti, et al., 2006).
  • A 49 year old male with a bladder tumor (invasive grade 3/3 papillary transitional cell carcinoma) and multiple satellite tumors declined chemotherapy and instead chose to receive intravenous ascorbate. He received 30 grams twice weekly for three months, followed by 30 grams monthly for four years. Patient supplementation included botanical extract, chondroitin sulfate, chromium picolinate, flax oil, glucosamine sulfate, alpha-lipoic acid, lactobacillus acidophilus, L. rhamnosus, and selenium. Nine years after the onset of therapy, patient is in good health with no signs of recurrence or metastasis (Padayatti, et al., 2006).
  • A 66 year old woman with diffuse Stage III large B-cell lymphoma with a brisk mitotic rate and large left paraspinal mass (3.5 – 7 cm transverse and 11 cm craniocaudal) showing evidence of bone invasion agreed to a five-week course of radiation therapy, but refused chemotherapy and instead chose to receive intravenous ascorbate concurrent with radiation. She received 15 grams twice weekly for two months, once per week for seven months, and then once every two-three months for one year. Patient supplementation included coenzyme Q10, magnesium, beta-carotene, parasidal, vitamin B and C supplements, Parex and n-acetylcysteine. The original mass remained palpable after radiation therapy and a new mass appeared. Vitamin C therapy continued. Six weeks later, masses were not palpable. A new lymph mass was detected after four months, but the patient showed no clinical signs of lymphoma after one year. Ten years diagnosis, the patient remained in normal health (Padayatti, et al., 2006).
  • A 55 year old woman with stage IIIC papillary adenocarcinoma of the ovary and an initial CA-125 of 999 underwent surgery followed by six cycles of chemotherapy (paclitaxel, carboplatin) combined with oral and parenteral ascorbate. Ascorbate infusion began at 15 grams twice weekly and increased to 60 grams twice weekly. Plasma ascorbate levels above 200 mg/dL were achieved during infusion. After six weeks, ascorbate treatment continued for one year, after which patient reduced infusions to once every two weeks. The patient also supplemented with vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and vitamin A. At the time of publication, she was over 40 months from initial diagnosis and remained on ascorbate infusions. All CT and PET scans were negative for disease, and her CA-125 levels remained normal (Drisko, et al., 2003).
  • A 60 year old woman with stage IIIC adenocarcinoma of the ovary and an initial CA-125 of 81 underwent surgery followed by six cycles of chemotherapy (paclitaxel, carboplatin) with oral antioxidants. After six cycles of chemotherapy, patient began parenteral ascorbate infusions. Ascorbate infusion began at 15 grams once weekly and increased to 60 grams twice weekly. Plasma ascorbate levels above 200 mg/dL were achieved during infusion. Treatment continued to date of publication. The patient supplemented with vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and vitamin A. Her CA-125 levels normalized after one course of chemotherapy. After the first cycle of chemotherapy, the patient was noted to have residual disease in the pelvis. At this point, she opted for intravenous ascorbate. Thirty months later, patient showed no evidence of recurrent disease and her CA-125 levels remained normal.

Note that these case studies involve a variety of cancer types, sometimes involve the use of IVC in conjunction with chemotherapy or irradiation, and usually involve the use of other nutritional supplements by the subject.

Several other clinical studies looked into the effect of vitamin C on quality of life in cancer patients. In a Korean study, IVC therapy significantly improved global quality of life scores, with benefits including less fatigue, reduction in nausea and vomiting, and improved appetite (Yeom, et al., 2007). In a recent German study, breast cancer patients receiving IVC along with standard therapy were compared to subjects receiving standard therapy alone (Vollbracht, et al., 2011). Patients given IVC benefited from less fatigue, reduction in nausea, improved appetite, reductions in depression and fewer sleep disorders. Overall intensity scores of symptoms during therapy and aftercare was twice as high in the control group as the IVC group. No side effects due to ascorbate were observed, nor were changes in tumor status compared to controls reported.


Evidence indicates that patients who show no prior signs or history of renal malfunction are unlikely to suffer ill effects to their renal systems as a result of intravenous ascorbate (Riordan, et al., 2005). In cases where there are preexisting renal problems, however, caution is advised. In addition a kidney stone forming in one patient with a history of stone formation (Riordan, et al., 2005), a patient with bilateral urethral obstruction and renal insufficiency suffered acute oxalate neuropathy (Wong, et al., 1994). A full blood chemistry and urinalysis work-up is thus recommended prior to the onset of intravenous ascorbate therapy.

Campbell and Jack (Campbell & Jack, 1979) reported that one patient died due to massive tumor necrosis and hemorrhaging following an initial dose of intravenous ascorbate. It is thus recommended that treatment start at a low dose and be carried out using slow “drip” infusion. Fatal Hemolysis can occur if a patient has glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency. It is thus recommended that G6PD levels be assessed prior to the onset of therapy. The treatment is contra-indicated in situations where increased fluids, sodium, or chelating may cause serious problems. These situations include congestive heart failure, edema, ascites, chronic hemodialysis, unusual iron overload, and inadequate hydration or urine void volume (Rivers, 1987).


Riordan Clinic

  1. Candidates include those who have failed standard treatment regimens; those seeking to improve the effectiveness of their standard cancer therapy; those seeking to decrease the severity and carcinogenicity of side effects from standard cancer therapy; those attempting to prolong their remission with health-enhancing strategies; those declining standard treatment, yet wishing to pursue primary, alternative treatment.
  2. Patient (guardian or legally recognized care-giver) must sign a consent-to-treat or release form for the IVC treatment. Patient should have no significant psychiatric disorder, end-stage CHF, or other uncontrolled co-morbid conditions.
  3. Obtain baseline and screening laboratory:
    1. Serum chemistry profile with electrolytes
    2. Complete blood count (CBC) with differential
    3. Red blood cell G6PD (must be normal)
    4. Complete urinalysis
  4. In order to properly assess the patient’s response to IVC therapy, obtain complete patient record information prior to beginning IVC therapy:
    1. Tumor type and staging, including operative reports, pathology reports, special procedure reports, and other staging information. (Re-staging may be necessary if relapse and symptom progression has occurred since diagnosis.)
    2. Appropriate tumor markers, CT, MRI, PET scans, bone scans, and x-ray imaging.
    3. Prior cancer treatments, the patient’s response to each treatment type, including side effects.
    4. The patient’s functional status with an ECOG Performance Score.
    5. Patient weight.


Intravenous high-dose ascorbic acid has caused very few side effects in clinical trials. However, high-dose vitamin C may be harmful in patients with certain risk factors.

  • eMedicineHealthIn patients with a history of kidney disorders, kidney failure has been reported after ascorbic acid treatment. Patients with a tendency to develop kidney stones should not be treated with high-dose vitamin C.
  • Case reports have shown that patients with an inherited disorder called G-6-PD deficiency should not be given high doses of vitamin C, due to the risk of hemolysis (a condition in which red blood cells are destroyed).
  • Since vitamin C may make iron more easily absorbed and used by the body, high doses of the vitamin are not recommended for patients with hemochromatosis (a condition in which the body takes up and stores more iron than it needs).
  • Riordan ClinicThe danger of diabetics on insulin incorrectly interpreting their glucometer finger stick has been found. It is important to notice to health care workers using this protocol for the treatment of cancer in patients who are also diabetic: high dose intravenous vitamin C (IVC) at levels 15 grams and higher will cause a false positive on finger-stick blood glucose strips (electrochemical method) read on various glucometers (Jackson & Hunninghake, 2006). Depending on the dose, the false positive glucose and occasionally “positive ketone” readings may last for eight hours after the infusion. Blood taken from a vein and run in a laboratory using the hexokinase serum glucose method is not affected! The electrochemical strip cannot distinguish between ascorbic acid and glucose at high levels. Oral vitamin C does not have this effect. Please alert any diabetic patients of this potential complication! Diabetics wishing to know their blood sugar must have blood drawn from a vein and run in the laboratory using the hexokinase glucose determination method.
  • Tumor necrosis or tumor lysis syndrome has been reported in one patient after high-dose IVC (Campbell & Jack, 1979). For this reason, the protocol always begins with a small 15 gram dose.
  • Acute oxalate nephropathy (kidney stones) was reported in one patient with renal insufficiency who received a 60 gram IVC. Adequate renal function, hydration, and urine voiding capacity must be documented prior to starting high-dose IVC therapy. In our experience, however, the incidence of calcium oxalate stones during or following IVC is negligible (Riordan, et al., 2005).
  • Hemolysis has been reported in patients with G6PD deficiency when given high-dose IVC (Campbell, et al., 1975). The G6PD level should be assessed before beginning IVC. (At the Riordan Clinic, G6PD readings have yielded five cases of abnormally low levels. Subsequent IVC at 25 grams or less showed no hemolysis or adverse effects.)
  • IV site irritation may occur at the infusion site when given in a vein and not a port. This can be caused by an infusion rate exceeding 1.0 gram/minute. The protocol suggests adding magnesium to reduce the incidence of vein irritation and spasm.
  • Due to the chelating effect of IVC, some patients may complain of shakiness due to low calcium or magnesium. An additional 1.0 mL of MgCl added to the IVC solution will usually resolve this. If severe, it can be treated with an IV push of 10 mL’s of calcium gluconate, 1.0 mL per minute.
  • Eating before the IVC infusion is recommended to help reduce blood sugar fluctuations.
  • Given the amount of fluid used as a vehicle for the IVC, any condition that could be adversely affected by fluid or sodium overload (the IV ascorbate is buffered with sodium hydroxide and bicarbonate) is a relative contraindication; i.e. congestive heart failure, ascites, edema, etc.
  • There have been some reports of iron overload with vitamin C therapy. We have treated one patient with hemochromatosis with high-dose IVC with no adverse effects or significant changes in the iron status.
  • As with any I.V. infusion, infiltration at the site is possible. This is usually not a problem with ports. Our nursing staff has found that using #23 Butterfly needles with a shallow insertion is very reliable with rare infiltrations (depending upon the status of the patient’s veins!)
  • IVC should only be given by slow intravenous drip at a rate of 0.5 grams per minute. (Rates up to 1.0 gram/minute are generally tolerable, but close observation is warranted. Patients can develop nausea, shakes, and chills.)
  • It should never be given as an IV push, as the osmolality at high doses may cause sclerosing of peripheral veins, nor should it be given intramuscularly or subcutaneously. The accompanying table lists the calculated osmolality of various amounts of fluid volume. Our experience has found that an osmolality of less than 1200 mOsm/kg H2O is tolerated by most patients. A low infusion rate (0.5 grams IVC per minute) also reduces the tonicity, although up to 1.0 grams per minute can be used in order to achieve higher post IVC saturation levels. (Pre and post serum osmolality measurements are advisable at this dose.
  • We presently use a sodium ascorbate solution, MEGA-C-PLUS®, 500 mg/mL, pH range 5.5-7.0 from Merit Pharmaceuticals, Los Angeles, CA, 90065.


eMedicineHealthVitamin C may be given by intravenous (IV) infusion or taken by mouth, although much higher blood levels are reached when given intravenously.


A drug interaction is a change in the way a drug acts in the body when taken with certain other drugs. High-dose vitamin C, when combined with some anticancer drugs, may cause them to be less effective. So far, these effects have been seen only in some laboratory and animal studies. No clinical trials have been done to further research these drug interactions in humans.

  • Combining vitamin C with an anticancer drug called bortezomib has been studied in cell cultures and in animal models. Bortezomib is a targeted therapy that blocks several molecular pathways in a cell, causing cancer cells to die. Several studies showed that vitamin C given by mouth made bortezomib less effective, including in multiple myeloma cells. A study in mice transplanted with human prostate cancer cells, however, did not show that giving the mice different doses of vitamin C by mouth made bortezomib therapy less effective.
  • An oxidized form of vitamin C called dehydroascorbic acid has been studied in cell cultures and in animals with tumors. Several studies have found that high doses of dehydroascorbic acid can interfere with the anticancer effects of several chemotherapy drugs. Dehydroascorbic acid is found in only small amounts in dietary supplements and in fresh foods.


eMedicineHealthLaboratory studies and animal studies have been done to find out if high-dose vitamin C may be useful in preventing or treating cancer.


Riordan Clinic: Many laboratory studies have been done to find out how high-dose vitamin C may cause the death of cancer cells. The anticancer effect of vitamin C in different types of cancer cells involves a chemical reaction that makes hydrogen peroxide, which may kill cancer cells.

Laboratory studies have shown the following:

  • Treatment with high-dose vitamin C slowed the growth and spread of prostate, pancreatic, liver, colon, malignant mesothelioma, neuroblastoma, and other types of cancer cells.
  • Combining high-dose vitamin C with certain types of chemotherapy may be more effective than chemotherapy alone:
    • Ascorbic acid with arsenic trioxide may be more effective in ovarian cancer cells.
    • Ascorbic acid with gemcitabine may be more effective in pancreatic cancer cells.
    • Ascorbic acid with gemcitabine and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) may be more effective in malignant mesothelioma cells.
  • Another laboratory study suggested that combining high-dose vitamin C with radiation therapy killed more glioblastoma multiforme cells than radiation therapy alone.

However, not all laboratory studies combining vitamin C with anticancer therapies have shown benefit. Combining dehydroascorbic acid, a particular form of vitamin C, with chemotherapy made it less effective in killing some kinds of cancer cells.

Animal Studies

Studies of high-dose vitamin C have been done in animal models (animals given a disease either the same as or like a disease in humans).

Some of the studies showed the vitamin C helped kill more cancer cells:

  • High-dose vitamin C blocked tumor growth in animal models of pancreatic, liver, prostate, sarcoma, and ovarian cancers and malignant mesothelioma.
  • High-dose vitamin C combined with chemotherapy in a mouse model of pancreatic cancer showed that the combination treatment shrank tumors more than chemotherapy treatment alone.
  • Another study showed that vitamin C made a type of light therapy more effective when used to treat mice injected with breast cancer cells.
  • A study in a mouse model of ovarian cancer showed that combining intravenous high-dose vitamin C with the anticancer drugs carboplatin and paclitaxel made them more effective in treating ovarian cancer.

However, other animal studies have shown that vitamin C interferes with the anticancer action of certain drugs, including the following:

  • Mouse models of human lymphoma and multiple myeloma treated with combinations of vitamin C and chemotherapy or the drug bortezomib had more tumor growth than mice treated with bortezomib alone.


Have any clinical trials (research studies with people) of high-dose intravenous (IV) vitamin C been conducted?

Several studies of high-dose vitamin C in patients with cancer have been done in recent years, including the following:

Studies of vitamin C alone

  • Intravenous (IV) vitamin C was studied in patients with breast cancer who were treated with adjuvant chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The study found that patients who received IV vitamin C had better quality of life and fewer side effects than those who did not.
  • A study of IV vitamin C and high doses of vitamin C taken by mouth was done in patients with cancer that could not be cured. Vitamin C was shown to be a safe and effective therapy to improve quality of life in these patients, including physical, mental, and emotional functions, symptoms of fatigue, nausea and vomiting, pain, and appetite loss.
  • Vitamin C has been shown to be safe when given to healthy volunteers and cancer patients at doses up to 1.5 g/kg, while screening out patients with certain risk factors who should avoid vitamin C. Studies have also shown that Vitamin C levels in the blood are higher when taken by IV than when taken by mouth, and last for more than 4 hours.

Studies of vitamin c combined with other drugs 

Studies of vitamin C combined with other drugs have shown mixed results:

  • In a small study of 14 patients with advanced pancreatic cancer, IV vitamin C was given along with chemotherapy and treatment with a targeted therapy. Patients had very few bad side effects from the vitamin C treatment. The nine patients who completed the treatment had stable disease as shown by imaging studies.
  • In another small study of 9 patients with advanced pancreatic cancer, patients were given chemotherapy in treatment cycles of once per week for 3 weeks along with IV vitamin C twice per week for 4 weeks. These patients had disease that did not progress for a period of months. The combined treatment was well tolerated and no serious side effects were reported.
  • In a 2014 study of 27 patients with advanced ovarian cancer, treatment with chemotherapy alone was compared to chemotherapy along with IV vitamin C. Patients who received IV vitamin C along with chemotherapy had fewer serious side effects from the chemotherapy.
  • Patients with refractory metastatic colorectal cancer or metastatic melanomatreated with IV vitamin C combined with other drugs had serious side effects, the disease got worse, and there was no anticancer effect. These studies were not controlled with a comparison group so it is unclear how much the IV vitamin C contributed to the side effects.

More studies of combining high-dose IV vitamin C with other drugs are in progress.


Riordan ClinicVitamin C can be safely administered by intravenous infusion at maximum doses of one-hundred grams or less, provided the precautions outlined in this report are taken. At these doses, peak plasma ascorbate concentrations can exceed 20 mM.

There are several potential benefits to giving IVC to cancer patients that make it an ideal adjunctive care choice:

  • Cancer patients are often depleted of vitamin C, and IVC provides an efficient means of restoring tissue stores.
  • IVC has been shown to improve quality of life in cancer patients by a variety of metrics.
  • IVC reduces inflammation (as measured by c-reactive protein levels) and reduces the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
  • t high concentrations, ascorbate is preferentially toxic to tumor cells and is an angiogenesis inhibitor.

: Having taken all precautions listed above and having obtained informed consent from the patient, the administering physician begins with a series of three consecutive IVC infusions at the 15, 25, and 50 gram dosages followed by post IVC plasma vitamin C levels in order to determine the oxidative burden for that patient so that subsequent IVCs can be optimally dosed.

The initial three infusions are monitored with post IVC infusion plasma vitamin C levels. As noted above (Scientific Rational), research and experience has shown that a therapeutic goal of reaching a peak-plasma concentration of ~20 mM (350- 400 mg/dL) is most efficacious. (No increased toxicity for post IVC plasma vitamin C levels up to 780 mg/dL has been observed.) The first post IVC plasma level following the 15 gram IVC has been shown to be clinically instructive: levels below 100 mg/dL correlate with higher levels of existent oxidative stress, presumably from higher tumor burden, chemo/radiation damage, hidden infection, or other oxidative insult, such as smoking.

Following the first three IVCs, the patient can be scheduled to continue either a 25 or 50 gram IVC dose (doctor’s discretion) twice a week until the post IVC plasma level results are available from the lab. If the initial 50 gram post IVC level did not reach the therapeutic range of 350 – 400 mg/dL, another post IVC vitamin C level should be obtained after the next scheduled 50 gram IVC. If the therapeutic range is achieved, the patient is continued on a 50 gram twice a week IVC schedule with monthly post IVC determinations to assure continued efficacy. If the therapeutic range is still not achieved, the IVC dosage is increased to 75 grams of vitamin C per infusion for four infusions, at which time a subsequent post IVC plasma level is obtained. If the patient remains in a sub-therapeutic range, the IVC dosage is increased to the 100 gram level.

If after four infusions the post IVC dosage remains sub-therapeutic, the patient may have an occult infection, may be secretly smoking, or may have tumor progression. While these possibilities are being addressed, the clinician can elect to increase the 100 gram IVC frequency to three times per week. Higher infusion doses beyond 100 grams are not recommended without serum osmolality testing before and after infusions in order to properly adjust the infusion rate to maintain a near physiologic osmolality range.

If higher dosages are not tolerated, or there is tumor progression in spite of achieving the therapeutic range, lower dosages can still augment the biological benefits of IVC, including enhanced immune response, reduction in pain, increased appetite, and a greater sense of well-being.

Very small patients, such as children, and very large obese patients need special dosing. Small patients < 110 lbs. with small tumor burdens and without infection may only require 25 gram vitamin C infusions 2x/week to maintain therapeutic range. Large patients > 220 lbs. or patients with large tumor burdens or infection are more likely to require 100 grams IVC infusions 3x/week. Post IVC plasma levels serve as an excellent clinical guide to this special dosing.

In our experience, the majority of cancer patients require 50 gram IVC infusions 2-3x/week to maintain therapeutic IVC plasma levels. All patients reaching therapeutic range should still be monitored monthly with post IVC plasma levels to ensure that these levels are maintained long term. We advise patients to orally supplement with at least 4 grams of vitamin C daily, especially on the days when no infusions are given, to help prevent a possible vitamin C “rebound effect.” Oral alpha lipoic acid is also recommended on a case by case basis.


Riordan ClinicVitamin C can be safely administered by intravenous infusion at maximum doses of one-hundred grams or less, provided the precautions outlined in this report are taken. At these doses, peak plasma ascorbate concentrations can exceed 20 mM.

There are several potential benefits to giving IVC to cancer patients that make it an ideal adjunctive care choice:

  • Cancer patients are often depleted of vitamin C, and IVC provides an efficient means of restoring tissue stores.
  • IVC has been shown to improve quality of life in cancer patients by a variety of metrics.
  • IVC reduces inflammation (as measured by c-reactive protein levels) and reduces the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
  • t high concentrations, ascorbate is preferentially toxic to tumor cells and is an angiogenesis inhibitor.

Vitamin C can be safely administered by intravenous infusion at maximum doses of one-hundred grams or less, provided the precautions outlined in this report are taken. At these doses, peak plasma ascorbate concentrations can exceed 20 mM.

There are several potential benefits to giving IVC to cancer patients that make it an ideal adjunctive care choice:

  • Cancer patients are often depleted of vitamin C, and IVC provides an efficient means of restoring tissue stores.
  • IVC has been shown to improve quality of life in cancer patients by a variety of metrics.
  • IVC reduces inflammation (as measured by c-reactive protein levels) and reduces the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
  • t high concentrations, ascorbate is preferentially toxic to tumor cells and is an angiogenesis inhibitor.


eMedicineHealthThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the use of high-dose vitamin C as a treatment for cancer or any other medical condition.



Riordan Clinic

NOTE: Riordan Clinic is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3), nutrition-based health facility in Wichita, Kansas.




Natural NewsIt would be naive to think that the FDA endeavors to protect the public’s health as its primary focus. Indeed, that would be a conflict of interest, as it serves its master, the pharmaceutical industry. Has the Food and Drug Administration engineered a shortage of intravenous vitamin C as part of an overall attack on natural and non-toxic approaches to healing that compete with prescription drugs? An analysis by Natural Blaze would suggest that the answer is yes.

Natural Blaze claims that a critical shortage of IV bags in general followed an FDA ban on the mass production of intravenous vitamin C. The FDA limited the availability of IV-C and the pharmaceutical industry halted production of injectable vitamins and minerals, after a 60 minute story about the miraculous recovery of a swine flu patient on life support. Because of the shortage of IV-C, doctors called upon compounding pharmacies to produce it. But the FDA began to limit compounding pharmacies after injectable steroids produced by the New England Compounding Center were contaminated with a fungus that caused a deadly outbreak of meningitis. Here is an example of an entire industry being punished for the dubious practices of one compounding pharmacy.

Try and follow this convoluted story: Doctors began to source NECC for its more expensive product because cheaper generic versions were in short supply. But it was the FDA’s increased inspection of drug factories that disrupted the supply chain in the first place. So the meningitis deaths were in part caused by the onerous actions of the FDA.

Sponsored solution from CWC Labs: This heavy metals test kit allows you to test almost anything for 20+ heavy metals and nutritive minerals, including lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, aluminum and more. You can test your own hair, vitamins, well water, garden soil, superfoods, pet hair, beverages and other samples (no blood or urine). ISO accredited laboratory using ICP-MS (mass spec) analysis with parts per billion sensitivity. Learn more here.

Natural Blaze reports, “… without anyone noticing, and by many indirect means of banning production of the bags or shutting down those doing the production of the bags and the injectable vitamins and minerals, access to IV solutions for innumerable treatments for diseases, have gone into critical shortage.”

Vitamin C and the Big C

Could the shortage of IV-C be part of an effort to limit alternative cancer therapies? states, “… vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that has the power to boost immune function, increase resistance to infection, and protect against a wide range of diseases. But there’s an entirely different and largely unknown role of vitamin C, and that is its ability—when administered in very high doses by intravenous (IV) infusions—to kill cancer cells. … Best of all—and unlike virtually all conventional chemotherapy drugs that destroy cancer cells—it is selectively toxic. No matter how high the concentration, vitamin C does not harm healthy cells.”

Dr. Whitaker continues:

“The only way to get blood levels of vitamin C to the concentrations required to kill cancer cells is to administer it intravenously. … For example, 10 g of IV vitamin C raises blood levels 25 times higher than the same dose taken orally, and this increases up to 70-fold as doses get larger.”

Choose health, choose life

When the human body is challenged by pathogens or needs to heal from injuries or surgery, its requirement for vitamin C increases considerably. If hospitals routinely administered intravenous ascorbic acid, a proven and inexpensive treatment, patient outcomes would improve. When one weighs the risk of infection from deadly superbugs in hospitals today, IV vitamin C as a preventative safeguard makes all the more sense.

To learn how to secure IV-C in advance of a hospital stay for yourself or a family member, check out this very useful advice at You will learn how to deal with objections from physicians and hospital administrators regarding this “alt-health” remedy. It will require some moxie, but doing so may save a life.

Supporters of Obamacare believe that access to affordable healthcare is the most  important consideration. But of even greater concern should be the ability to choose your own treatment modality, such as IV-C. In other words, medical freedom of choice trumps universal access. Many of us involved in the health freedom movement are outraged by the disregard for our natural rights by unelected federal bureaucracies such as the FDA. We hope for a day when a critical mass of aware citizens will hold their elected officials accountable to overturn toxic policies that favor Big Pharma’s obscene profits over our health and well-being. And that day is long overdue.





Mayo ClinicI’ve heard that vitamin C might be an alternative cancer treatment. What can you tell me about it?

Interest in using very high doses of vitamin C as a cancer treatment began as long ago as the 1970s when it was discovered that some properties of the vitamin may make it toxic to cancer cells. Initial studies in humans had promising results, but these studies were later found to be flawed.

Subsequent well-designed, randomized, controlled trials of vitamin C and cancer found no such treatment benefit. Despite the lack of evidence, alternative medicine practitioners continue to recommend high doses of vitamin C for cancer treatment.

More recently, vitamin C given through a vein (intravenously) has been found to have different effects than vitamin C taken in pill form. This has prompted renewed interest in the use of vitamin C as a cancer treatment.

There’s still no evidence that vitamin C alone can cure cancer, but researchers are studying whether it might boost the effectiveness of other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

There are still no well-done, controlled clinical trials that have shown a substantial effect of vitamin C on cancer, but some studies do suggest a mild decrease in side effects of certain cancer treatments when standard therapy is combined with high-dose IV vitamin C. Until clinical trials are completed, it’s premature to determine what role intravenous vitamin C may play in the treatment of cancer.


What are your thoughts?