Intravenous Vitamin C in Cancer Care

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Intravenous Vitamin C in Cancer Care


This article is an expanded excerpt from Dr. Anhorn’s full article titled: “Dual Approach to Integrative Cancer Care – Step 1: Improving your outcome.”


One therapy that we recently added to our cancer toolkit is high dose intravenous (IV) vitamin C. IV vitamin C allows you to achieve levels of vitamin C high enough to selectively induce cell death in cancer cells, without harming normal healthy cells. There are many studies demonstrating that vitamin C favourably enhances chemotherapeutic drug effects, as well as radiation.  Beyond this potential cancer killing action, IV vitamin C has been shown to stabilize cancer cases by arresting the growth and spread of tumors. IV vitamin C can also vastly improve quality of life by increasing appetite, raising platelet counts, increasing energy, boosting the immune system, reducing the side-effects of chemotherapy, and reducing pain. In a recent 2012 interview, Dr. Daniel Rubin, a leader in the naturopathic oncology field, said “I am not sure that any medical treatment in the integrative medicine world provides as many mechanistic anti-cancer activities than intravenous vitamin C packs in.”


In October, I travelled to Portland, Oregon to learn the most recent advances of this integrative therapy by attending a course called “Clinical Applications and Advanced Topics of IV Nutrient Therapy.” I have also been fortunate to mentor with some of North America’s leading integrative oncologists. One of which was Dr. Gurdev Parmar who is the founder of one of the largest integrative medicine clinics in Canada, the Integrated Health Clinic – Cancer Care Centre in British Columbia. When Dr. Parmar was asked in 2011 about the effectiveness of intravenous vitamin C he replied, “I can say that IV therapy has provided the single most effective therapy for my patients over the years…there are many examples of patients far exceeding their calculated overall survival – but most importantly huge benefits to their quality of life. I have seen many patients that have “failed” first, second and third line chemotherapy – that have been given very short survival prognoses – have terrible quality of life measures – and IV Vitamin C gives them significant benefits to both quality of life and overall survival. It doesn’t require them to swallow dozens of pills, change their lifestyles significantly, or anything like that. It just helps them feel better and live longer.”


To learn more about IV vitamin C please read through the following FAQ’s.  If you have any other questions and would like to know if this treatment is indicated for you, please contact the clinic at 506-382-1329 or


Back to Dr. Anhorn’s full list of articles.


Click to see Dr. Anhorn’s full bio and list of trainings.


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Related Articles:      

Cancer Care Driven by Passion

Dual Approach to Integrative Cancer Care — Step 1: Improving your outcome

Dual Approach to Integrative Cancer Care — Step 2: Preventing Cancer Re-Occurrence

PCA3 – the new gene-based urine test specific for Prostate Cancer

Intravenous Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) in Cancer Care

How does Artesunate target cancer cells?


Frequently Asked Questions:


What is the intravenous vitamin C cancer treatment?

IntraVenous vitamin C (IVC) therapy is the infusion of high dose vitamin C directly into the bloodstream. There is a solid foundation of research to support the use of IVC in the integrative treatment of cancer.


IVC therapy can be used in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiation. In fact, it is recommended they be used concurrently. There are many studies demonstrating that vitamin C favourably enhances chemotherapeutic drug effects, as well as radiation – presumably due to the improved tumour oxygenation via the high dose vitamin C induction of peroxide. High dose vitamin C administered intravenously is a pro-oxidant and as such is complimentary to oncologic care. Cancer patients consistently report that IVC helps them withstand the effects of their traditional therapies. Further benefits to IVC include significantly reduced fatigue, nausea, pain and appetite loss. Patients heal faster, are more resilient to infection and remain more active overall. All of these factors promote healing and an improved response to cancer therapy.


It is important to understand that the concentrations of vitamin C required against cancer are achievable only through IV use, and not orally.


How is the protocol given?

Dr. Anhorn at the Moncton Naturopathic Medical Clinic uses a specific formulation prepared in an appropriate volume IV bag of sterile water. The IV bag is hung on an IV pole, and the patient sits in a comfortable chair. A small catheter is inserted into a vein in the hand or arm to deliver the IV treatment. All treatments are closely monitored by Dr. Anhorn throughout the 1 to 1.5 hour infusion time. Prior to initiating IV vitamin C, all patients are pre-screened for G6PD deficiency (an enzyme used to maintain stability of the red blood cell membranes) and kidney function.


What is the frequency of treatment?

Patients are started out at a low dosage and work their way up to the therapeutic level. Once at therapeutic level, the infusions will take between 1-1.5 hours. Recommendations for frequency and duration of infusions are made by Dr. Anhorn and based on the presenting diagnosis and severity of the condition. From the research from the BIORC (Bastyr Integrative Oncology Research Centre) we know that we need at least 12-15 IVC treatments before determining if a response to IVC was achieved or not. If not an optimal response, then other therapies are considered or combined with IVC (e.g. IVC plus IV artesunate, IVC plus IV mistletoe, ALA or PolyALA, IV Curcumin, IV ozone/MAH, DCA, etc).


May I take oral vitamin C (ascorbate) and get the same results?

Oral ascorbate functions as a vitamin in the body, so it does vitamin jobs and acts as an antioxidant. Its absorption is tightly controlled and even the highly absorbable forms are excreted in high amounts. Whereas, intravenous ascorbate works as a drug and a pro-oxidant by allowing the development of peroxide which causes targeted cancer cell death while leaving normal cells unharmed.


Is the protocol safe?

IV vitamin C is a safe, effective, and minimally invasive therapy that is well tolerated by most people. It carries a very low risk of serious adverse side effects and can have a significantly positive impact on overall health. A G6PD test must be done and results received before any infusions are given.


What is a G6PD blood test? And, why should I get the results from that test before I start the vitamin C infusions?

Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency is an inherited condition in which a person’s body doesn’t have enough of the G6PD enzyme. G6PD helps red blood cells function normally. Patients with this deficiency should not receive vitamin C infusions because it can cause damage to their red blood cells. At the Moncton Naturopathic Medical Clinic safety is our first priority. Therefore, a G6PD test is conducted prior to giving any intravenous vitamin C.


Will intravenous vitamin C reduce the effectiveness of my chemotherapy or radiology treatments?

No. Research has shown that using the Vitamin C concurrently with chemotherapy or radiation will not decrease the effectiveness of these treatments. In addition, intravenous vitamin C is not an antioxidant; it is a pro-oxidant and, therefore, seems to augment the effectiveness of chemotherapy or radiation.  Before recommending IVC an extensive research summary is presented to the patient by Dr. Anhorn showing the level of evidence with IVC and their specific chemotherapy regimen.


Does the intake of large amounts of vitamin C contribute to the formation of oxalate-type kidney stones because of the metabolic conversion of vitamin C to oxalic acid?

This is an unlikely occurrence. Urinary oxalate (the salt of oxalic acid) can be easily monitored if the patient has a history of kidney stones.


Is intravenous vitamin C the only naturopathic treatment for cancer?

Intravenous vitamin C is just one of the possible treatment options available to cancer patients. After gathering all the information about your case in the first visit, Dr. Anhorn creates a personalized plan with the treatments that are most effective for your cancer type and that will work most effectively with your current treatment regimen.


Will Dr. Anhorn work with my other doctors?

Absolutely. Dr. Anhorn is skilled at interfacing with MD oncologists regarding both chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Dr. Anhorn will make certain that no treatments he prescribes will interfere with your other treatments. In fact, just the opposite, Dr. Anhorn’s goal is to help you feel better while you are going through chemotherapy or radiation. He has expertise in co-management with MD oncologists and is able to help you with symptoms or side effects, such as fatigue, nausea and pain. Furthermore, Dr. Anhorn can offer suggestions to help prevent the recurrence of cancer once you have completed your regular treatment program. The treatments offered by Dr. Anhorn are not replacements for standard, conventional treatments.


With the patient’s permission, Dr. Anhorn always writes a letter to the patient’s medical team describing the treatments recommended and the research behind those specific natural medicines. Dr. Anhorn envision a new model of integrative cancer care here in the Atlantic. One which involves conventional doctors and Naturopathic Doctors working together and combining the best of both medicines to create a comprehensive cancer treatment plan that would give you the best possible care.


Back to Dr. Anhorn’s full list of articles.

Click to see Dr. Anhorn’s full bio and list of trainings.

Ready to book an appointment?

Related Articles:      

Integrative Naturopathic Cancer Care Driven by Passion – Dr. Anhorn’s Cancer Mission

Dual Approach to Integrative Cancer Care — Step 1: Improving your outcome

Dual Approach to Integrative Cancer Care — Step 2: Preventing Cancer Re-Occurrence

PCA3 – the new gene-based urine test specific for Prostate Cancer

Intravenous Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) in Cancer Care

How does Artesunate target cancer cells?


Reference Sites – select link to visit

The University of Kansas

The Riordan Clinic

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Canadian Medical Association Journal

1 – Intravenously administered vitamin C as cancer therapy: three cases — Sebastian J. Padayatty, et al.

2 – Orthomolecular Oncology Review: Ascorbic Acid and Cancer 25 Years Later — Michael J. González, et al.

3 – Pharmacologic ascorbic acid concentrations selectively kill cancer cells: Action as a pro-drug to deliver hydrogen peroxide to tissues — Qi Chen, et al.

4 – Intravenous Vitamin C Administration Improves Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Patients during Chemo-/Radiotherapy and Aftercare: Results of a Retrospective, Multicentre, Epidemiological Cohort Study in Germany –Claudia Vollbracht, et al.

5 – Vitamin C: Intravenous Use by Complementary and Alternative Medicine Practitioners and Adverse Effects –Sebastian J. Padayatty, et al.


Most Recent:


High-Dose Parenteral Ascorbate Enhanced Chemosensitivity of Ovarian Cancer and Reduced Toxicity of Chemotherapy –Y. Ma, J. Chapman, M. Levine, K. Polireddy, J. Drisko, Q. Chen,

Intravenous Vitamin C in Cancer: A Brief Overview of Its Use and ConsiderationsBy Michael Traub, ND, DHANP, FABNO, Paul S. Anderson, ND


Back to Dr. Anhorn’s full list of articles.


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