Vitamin breakthrough for cancer targets tumors at the sources

New research proves it’s safe and sideeffect free—even at massive doses

When the National Cancer Institute started its studies on nutrition and cancer 30 years ago, there was 10 times more evidence for the anti- cancer effects of vitamin C than for all other vitamins combined. Yet, the NCI blatantly ignored the mounds of evidence supporting it.

Instead, they followed a politically driven agenda (not a scientifically driven one). And chose to focus nutritional cancer research on beta-carotene—which had no real evidence to back it up whatsoever. This misstep set back this field of research for decades. And is still causing mischief today. (In June, a biased editorial by another medical “expert” with no background, training, or real understanding of human diet and nutrition in The New York Times pointed to the old, failed beta-carotene/cancer research as a reason that “vitamins don’t work.”)

Meanwhile, the “experts” have wasted years issuing unfounded warnings against vitamin C for cancer. More on that in just a moment.

First, though, I’m tremendously excited to tell you that, despite the best efforts of the Medical Mandarins at the National Institutes of Health, research on vitamin C and cancer HAS continued…And the results of several new studies have allowed me to bring a lot of thinking and observations from the past 35 years together. Into a rare— but very real—honest-to-goodness cancer breakthrough.

The truth about high doses of vitamin C

There has been a lot of interest in the ability of vitamins and minerals to lower the risk of cancer for many decades. But the way a lot of the research is done just doesn’t get it right. They use the wrong nutrients, the wrong forms of administration, the wrong doses, for the wrong reasons. Then, if they don’t find a positive result, the “experts” have been all too quick to say, “See, it doesn’t work!”

Vitamin C has endured more than its share of this shoddy research and scientific bias. Especially when it comes to its anti-cancer potential.

And thanks in large part to this inept research, many “experts” have been warning cancer patients against vitamin C for years.

When we began offering high- dose, intravenous vitamin C to cancer patients at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital 10 years ago, we first had to prove to a number of hospital review committees that it would be safe. (It was.) And that it wouldn’t interfere with other treatments (chemotherapy and radiation). (It didn’t.)

And now, a new toxicology study has been performed on intravenous vitamin C. And the results are very revealing.

The dose administered was 1 gram (1,000 mg) per minute over 4 consecutive days each week for a total of 4 weeks.1

That dose—1,000 mg—is more than the government’s recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. And the subjects in this study got 1,000 mg every minute.

Researchers then determined how quickly vitamin C is eliminated from the body. They did this by finding the nutrient’s “half-life.” (Half-life means the time it takes for the concentration in the blood to be reduced by half. The radiation oncologists who burn out cancers are familiar with radioactive half-life.)

The half-life of vitamin C was measured as 2.0 hours. In this sense you would think of vitamin C as “short-acting” if it were a drug. But the clearance time for all vitamin C to be eliminated from the body was roughly 21 days.

I think a possible reason for this difference is that the body (particularly the muscles) acts as a reservoir for vitamin C—and can take up and store a large amount.

But it’s important to note that none of the study participants suffered  any ill effects from this high-dose  intravenous administration of vitamin C.

This basic toxicology information is very important. (I wish I and my colleagues had been authorized to study vitamin C like this back in the 1980s instead of just looking at carotenoids. Although at least we were able to discover the importance of lutein and lycopene at the same time I was exposing the lack of any real evidence for beta-carotene. But I digress…)

The new study also tells us that it is probably impossible to achieve blood levels of vitamin C high enough to treat cancer by taking oral supplements.

IV vitamin C enhances chemo

So that answers the safety question about vitamin C for cancer patients. But what about the concerns regarding vitamin C’s impact on other cancer treatments?

Well, new lab studies show that IV vitamin C actually enhances chemotherapy drugs like gemcitabine and erlotinib against pancreatic cancer cells (notoriously difficult to treat).2

Researchers observed this effect even in cancer cells that are otherwise resistant to gemcitabine treatment.

This means doctors may be able to lower the doses of toxic chemotherapy drugs they give their patients if they also administer them with safe IV vitamin C.

So this new research finally allows us to set aside old myths and misconceptions about administering vitamin C to cancer patients.

Of course, there will undoubtedly be the hardened skeptics who will refuse to believe it until someone answers the age-old question “but how does it work?”

Well, new scientific research now has that aspect covered too…

Not just an anti-oxidant

Early theories about the role of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in preventing cancer focused on its role as an “anti- oxidant.”

But oxidation and anti-oxidants are more complicated than they seem. It all goes back to Chemistry 101: Chemically, any oxidant can become an anti-oxidant, and any anti-oxidant can become an oxidizing agent, depending upon the surrounding molecular environment, acid-base balance, and other factors.

And this probably explains why test tube laboratory studies showed that high enough levels of vitamin C actually cause direct cancer cell death. When ascorbic acid gets so high, it may reverse action and become an oxidant, or may simply just act as an acid. Which poisons cells.

However, in lab studies, vitamin C was also effective against experimental tumors even at lower doses that could not kill cancer cells directly.

So, how does it work?

Well, it turns out you don’t have to kill cancer cells outright (and risk poisoning yourself).

Starve cancer cells to death

There is a two-stage model of cancer. (This model was key to my own PhD dissertation research, which recognized the importance of early childhood nutrition in the long-term risk of cancer.) The first stage involves some chemical damage that alters the DNA in normal cells, “mutating” them into individual cancer cells. This is called cancer initiation.

Then the cells have to grow into actual tumors. This stage is called cancer promotion.

The ability of cancer tumors to grow (promotion) is based upon them hijacking the body’s blood supply.

A process called angiogenesis (as I explained in my special report, The “One Word” Battle Plan to Crushing Cancer. You can download and view this report for free by logging on to the Subscriber section of my website,

And it now appears anti- angiogenesis is an important mechanism by which an agent can prevent cancer without having to actually kill the cells. If you can prevent the cancer from getting blood supply, the cells will starve to death, without having to actually poison them.

And a convincing new study shows the anti-angiogenic properties of vitamin C. In fact, three of them.

A triple play against tumor growth

In lab models, researchers used an intravenous vitamin C dose of 25 to 60 grams.3 (A dose you could safely get in 25 minutes to one hour with the “1-gram-per-minute” approach used in the human toxicity study reported above.)

First, the vitamin C inhibited endothelial (blood vessel) cells from multiplying—without harming normal, healthy endothelial cells. (Remember, chemotherapy drugs prevent cells from multiplying by poisoning normal cellular metabolism.)

Second, the vitamin C also decreased the migration of endothelial cells. This prevented new blood vessel cells from going to the cancer.

And, finally, the vitamin C prevented the endothelial cells from organizing into new blood vessel structures.

That’s a triple play against cancer tumor growth.

Oral vitamin C supplements aren’t enough to treat cancer

Now it’s true there is a lot of evidence that lower oral doses of vitamin C (but still higher than the RDA) will prevent development of cancer in the first place. But you have to give vitamin C intravenously— directly into the bloodstream—to get high enough levels, long enough, to stop cancer once it is growing in the body. (So any “negative” studies using only oral doses to try to treat cancer don’t really mean anything.)

This may sound extreme. But all cancer patients receive various intravenous therapies anyway. In fact, chemotherapy drugs are so toxic they have to be administered intravenously. If you swallowed them, they would poison and destroy the gastro-intestinal tract. Of course IV chemotherapy drugs cause enough physical devastation as it is (nausea, hair loss, fatigue, weakened immunity, another cancer—the list goes on).

Intravenous vitamin C can be just as effective against cancer—if not more so. And it doesn’t cause ANY of these toxic effects.

Getting an IV vitamin C infusion is similar to having kidney dialysis—but much less invasive. You have to sit for awhile in the doctor’s office while the nurse is monitoring and administering the infusion. At Thomas Jefferson University Hospital I set things up so that patients could also listen to mindfulness meditation oral exercises, visualization, and other mind-body approaches to make the time pass more pleasantly and productively. (I’ll tell you more about some mind- body approaches to controlling cancer, improving quality of life, and extending lifespan in a future issue.)

The Clinical Laboratory Inspection Act governs the laboratories which formulate vitamin C intravenous infusions to ensure they are accurate, potent, and fresh. So look for a licensed physician that offers intravenous vitamin C infusion with an on-site certified laboratory.


1. “Phase I clinical trial to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of high-dose intravenous ascorbic acid in patients with advanced cancer.” Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2013; 72(1): 139-146

2. “Phase I Evaluation of Intravenous Ascorbic Acid in Combination with Gemcitabine and Erlotinib in Patients with Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer,” PloS One 2012; 7(1): e29794

3. “Anti-angiogenic effect of high doses of ascorbic acid,” J Transl Med. 2008; 6: 50