Vitamin C has several clinical applications. It helps with collagen production, energy support; helps boost the immune system, and a potent antioxidant. High dose vitamin C may also help after surgery with wound healing and may help with some of the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation.
When comparing intravenous vitamin C to oral administration the benefits are clear. Only about 18% of oral vitamin C is absorbed, and high doses can cause diarrhea. Intravenous vitamin C has 100% absorption and much higher serum concentrations of vitamin C can be achieved compared to oral, because the GI tract is bypassed.1
There is a rare genetic condition called G6PD which can cause problems with the metabolism of high doses of vitamin C. As such, all patients who wish to have high dose intravenous vitamin C must make sure they do not have this condition. A simple blood test will rule this out.
Conditions that may benefit:
- Wound healing and collagen support
- Vitamin C is required for collagen synthesis.2 Collagen provides the structural support for our skin, tendons, arteries and veins.
- Fatigue and energy support
- Vitamin C is required for the production of the amino acid L-Carnitine. This amino acid transports fats into the mitochondria to be used as fuel.
- Potent antioxidant
- Vitamin C helps protect cell and DNA from oxidative damage.
- Cold and flu and Immune support
- Studies suggest that immune cell function improves in the presence of adequate vitamin C, and declines without it.3,4,5
- Clinical studies suggest vitamin C may have anti viral properties.6
- Cancer and Chemotherapy
- It is unclear of the benefits for IV vitamin C for cancer, but there is data to suggest that IV vitamin C is beneficial for cancer related fatigue.7,8
- Jacob RA, Sotoudeh G. Vitamin C function and status in chronic disease. Nutr Clin Care 2002;5:66-74
- Mussini E, Hutton JJ, Udenfriend S. Collagen proline hydroxylase in wound healing, granuloma formation, scurvy, and growth. Science. 157:927-9.
- Heuser G, Vojdani A. Enhancement of natural killer cell activity and T and B cell function by buffered vitamin C in patients exposed to toxic chemicals: the role of protein kinase-C. Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 1997 Aug;19(3):291-312.
- Toliopoulos IK, Simos YV, Daskalou TA, Verginadis, II, Evangelou AM, Karkabounas SC. Inhibition of platelet aggregation and immunomodulation of NK lymphocytes by administration of ascorbic acid. Indian J Exp Biol. 2011 Dec;49(12):904-8.
- Kim JE, Cho HS, Yang HS, et al. Depletion of ascorbic acid impairs NK cell activity against ovarian cancer in a mouse model. 2012 Sep;217(9):873-81.
- Uchide N, Toyoda H. Antioxidant therapy as a potential approach to severe influenza-associated complications. Molecules, 16(3), 2032-2052.
- Hoffer LJ, Robitaille L, Zakarian R, Melnychuk D, Kavan P, Agulnik J, Miller Jr WH. High-Dose Intravenous Vitamin C Combined with Cytotoxic Chemotherapy in Patients with Advanced Cancer: A Phase I-II Clinical Trial.
- Ma Y, Chapman J, Levine M, Polireddy K, Drisko J, Chen Q. High-dose parenteral ascorbate enhanced chemosensitivity of ovarian cancer and reduced toxicity of chemotherapy. Science translational medicine, 6(222), 222ra18-222ra18.