What is High-Dose Vitamin C Therapy?

Historical Background

High Dose Vitamin C therapy consist of receiving an intravenous infusion of mega doses of ascorbic acid. These mega-gram doses of vitamin C have been used historically since the early 1900s for many conditions. In the mid-20th century, a study hypothesized that cancer may be related to changes in connective tissue, which could be attributed to vitamin C deficiency. Its role in collagen synthesis led scientists to hypothesize that vitamin C replenishment may protect normal tissue from tumor invasiveness and metastasis. It should be noted that many of these vitamin C studies that have shown cancer benefits have been conducted on cell models or animals.

A review of evidence published in 1974 suggested that high-dose ascorbic acid may increase host resistance and be a potential cancer therapy. Multiple studies of high-dose vitamin C in cancer patients reported improved quality of life and decreases in cancer-related toxicities. When combined with chemotherapy, Vitamin C therapy may enhance the slowing of cancer progression with reduced tumor size and decreased tumor growth rate.

How High Dose Vitamin C works in the body

Vitamin C is commonly known for its significant antioxidant properties. It is able to decrease reactive oxidative species, which may cause damage to DNA, RNA and proteins that can lead to cell death.

When high concentrations of vitamin c are reached, it creates a pro-oxidant effect. This pro-oxidant effect is achieved from the action of hydrogen peroxide being produced.

Non-cancerous cells in our bodies produce an enzyme called catalase which is responsible for removing hydrogen peroxide. This process protects the cell from the toxic effect induced by high dose vitamin C.

However, cancer cells have been found to have low levels of catalase which contributes to less efficient removal of hydrogen peroxide and thus vitamin C-induced death of the tumor cells.
Some studies have also shown high dose vitamin C may also reduce inflammation markers in cancer patients.

Historical Uses of High Dose Vitamin C:

  • Polio
  • Tetanus
  • Encephalitis
  • West Nile Fever
  • Infectious mononucleosis (Epstein Barr Virus)
  • Dengue fever
  • Lyme Disease
  • Influenza
  • AIDS
  • Hepatitis C
  • Pesticide toxicity
  • Heavy metals toxicity effects
  • Cancer

What To Expect:

  • Infusions usually take anywhere between 90 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the dose
  • Usually, these infusions have a very low side effect profile and are very well
  • Patients frequently report increased thirst and urination
  • Possible side effects include nausea, vomiting or headache
  • Side effects can be minimized with adequate hydration and a high protein meal prior to infusion


Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G-6-PD) deficiency
Impaired kidney function or
History of kidney stone formation

Learn more about vitamin injections here.

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