Intravenous Vitamin C

Intravenous Ascorbic Acid (IVAA) is not the same as oral vitamin C. The key difference is with IVAA is direct injection into the blood stream results in plasma levels that cannot be achieved orally.



Decades ago, Dr. Linus Pauling strongly believed that Vitamin C could and should be used to treat cancer. Because of his status, his views and research were very well publicized. Eventually, the Mayo Clinic ran a clinical trial to see if Vitamin C really did work. The trial, ran by Moertel, showed that 10g of AA (Ascorbic Acid) given to cancer patients who had recently undergone chemotherapy did nothing to improve their outcome. Pauling was angry and upset. He strongly believed the Mayo trial was flawed. One of his main objections was that the Mayo trial used oral vitamin C instead of the intravenous + oral treatment that Pauling and Ewan Cameron (his Scottish colleague) had been using. A second objection was that patients had already gone through chemotherapy and then were administered oral Vitamin C, after their immune systems had already been weakened. A public argument ensued, which gave a bad taste to the whole issue. As a resut, Vitamin C has been ignored by main stream medicine as a potential treatment for cancer.

Meanwhile, vitamin C has continued to be used by practitioners such as Robert Cathcart MD, Abram Hoffer (Dr. of psychiatry) and other practitioners who think out of the box and refuse to be constrained by conventional standards. These practitioners have gathered a fair amount of anecdotal evidence that vitamin C does a lot of good for cancer patients, possibly even "curing" them. However, without the support of main stream medicine, there has not been a way to prove its efficacy via tools such as a double blind randomized clinical trial.

Recent findings

Within the last few years, researchers at the NIH (Mark Levine et al) suddenly showed that many cancer lines are selectively killed in vitro - provided the concentration of serum Vitamin C is high enough. Secondly, they showed that normal cells were not destroyed by the Vitamin C. Thirdly, they showed that cytotoxic concentrations can only be reached if AA is given intravenously (not orally).

Their findings have stirred tremendous excitement. Could Linus Pauling have been right all along? Could it be that the Mayo trial was flawed because they didn't use intravenous vitamin C? Could it be that Pauling's results would have been even more successful if he had used higher concentrations of IVAA (he used 30 grams which is shown to be insufficient in maintaining high enough plasma levels)? The ramifications of these questions are tremendous.

There are now a handful of clinical trials using IVAA (Intravenous Ascorbic Acid) in conjunction with chemotherapy. The current president of ACAM, Dr. Jeanne Drisko, is running a phase II trial. You can read more about her at her Kansas University web page. Cancer Treatment Centers of America, is also running a phase I safety trial for solid tumors and IVAA. Therefore, it'll be a few years before we know whether IVAA works.

Key points

  1. Intravenous Vitamin Ascorbic Acid (IVAA) is not the same as oral. Believed to act as a pro-oxidant rather than anti-oxidant at high enough concentrations.
  2. Cancer cells uptake AA at much higher rates than normal cells, presumably because of molecular similarity to glucose.
  3. If concentration is high enough, AA is believed to interact with cellular Iron to form hydrogen peroxide, killing cancer cells from inside out.
  4. Normal cells are not harmed by very high concentrations of IVAA
  5. Immune system is not damaged, but rather strengthened by IVAA
  6. Linus Pauling was strong advocate decades ago (Pauling was a nobel prize winner, one of the top 10 scientists of all time, discoverer of numerous biology findings including demonstrating that sickle cell anemia occurs as a result of abnormality in haemoglobin molecule). Mayo Clinic trial discredited his findings. However, Mayo clinic only used oral vitamin C.Pauling was branded as a quack.
  7. Pauling typically used oral + 30 grams intravenous. Since then, doctors have been using up to 200 grams safely. Belief is that 30 grams is insufficient to elevate serum levels to tumor-toxic levels in many people.
  8. In 2006, NIH researchers have shown that AA kills many cancer lines in-vitro, while not harming normal cells. They've also found the required tumor-toxic concentration. (note: it's believed that tumors with low levels of catalase are more susceptible because catalase is needed to break down and prevent oxidative damage from H2O2).
  9. Clinical trials using IVAA have started. It takes time and there is very little money/support since Vitamin C cannot be patented.
  10. Patients can go for IVAA treatment TODAY. Alternative doctors have been using it for decades. Typically costs $100 per session. Multiple sessions are needed. You'll also need to pay for a couple of consultations with the doctor. If no IVAA doctor is available locally, you can have a remote doctor coordinate with a local registered nurse for administration.

Getting treatment

Treatment typically entails the following:

  1. Locating an IVAA practitioner who is up-to-date on the current research. Most such practitioners are usually not covered by insurance. You should have to pay for a handful of consultations with them. In between the consultations, the IV sessions should cost no more than $100-$200 per session. After all Vitamin C is really cheap and you're really paying for a seat in their drip clinic + the nurse labor (hooking you up and periodic monitoring).
  2. Get tested for suitability (G6PD, kidney function etc)
  3. Work with practitioner to find tumor-toxic doses. Read this book by Dr. Steve Hickey and Hilary Roberts. Discuss the possibility of adding Alpha-Lipoic Acid, Vitamin K or other synergistic compounds that can amplify tumor kill.
  4. Discuss complementary synergistic treatments. Make sure to view the video of the talk given by Dr. Contreras (see resources below). He uses pre-treatment of blood ozone treatment for 7 days and then does IVAA. Before each does of IVAA, he injects PERFTEC (artificial oxygen). The whole premise is increased oxygenation allows IVAA to reach deep into hypoxic tumors. Hypoxic tumors have little or no oxygen. No oxygen means IVAA will not generate H2O2.
  5. Work with practitioner to formulate game plan (protocol)
    It's important to follow a protocol. If you have high tumor load, you must ramp up gradually to avoid sudden tumor lysis which can cause death). In the beginning you may get 2-5 treatments a week. Gradually this will taper down to maintenance doses (like once every 2 weeks or once a month). Follow a protocol. Do not start/stop suddenly. Like any chemo, there is always the possibility of your cancer developing resistance. Jeanne Drisko gives her protocol freely to doctors upon request.

For San Francisco Bay Area patients

I personally tried arranging for a phone consult with Dr. Jeanne Drisko. At that time, the waiting time was around 3 months. However, administering intravenous vitamin C is technical very simple to perform. If you want to give it a shot, you'll need to find a local practitioner who believes in it and is willing to treat you. If you live in the San Francisco Bay are, you can check out this list of doctors. Note that the list is not totally up to date. For example, Dr. Cathcart recently passed away and Dr. Guilford does not seem to be currently taking patients. 

Dr. Graeme Shaw in Los Altos has experience giving IVAA. However, he isn't familiar with the protocol used by Dr. Jeanne Drisko in Kansas. That protocol calls for measurement of blood ascorbate levels immediately after the drip. That is something that not all practitioners do. 
This author strongly believes it is important to follow a protocol. There is evidence that cancer cells can develop resistance towards IVAA (just as in any other chemotherapy). Therefore, you don't want to be randomly injecting without a gameplan. This book by Dr. Steve Hickey and Hilary Roberts is a very interesting and well thought-out thesis, where they suggest IVAA should be complemented with a constant supply of oral Vitamin C to prevent developing of resistance.
In summary, I strongly suggest you find a local practitioner who is willing to follow a protocol such as Dr. Jeanne Drisko's protocol. Very importantly, they should measure ascorbate levels to ensure tumor-toxic concentration is achieved. They should check ensure IVAA is suitable for you (check kidney function and G6PD testing). If your doctor doesn't know anything about these and is not willing to pay attention, go find another one.



  • Extract from a paper by Mark Levine et al:
    "Recent evidence shows that oral administration of the maximum tolerated dose of vitamin C (18 g/d) produces peak plasma concentrations of only 220 µmol/L, whereas intravenous administration of the same dose produces plasma concentrations about 25-fold higher. Larger doses (50–100 g) given intravenously may result in plasma concentrations of about 14 000 µmol/L. At concentrations above 1000 µmol/L, vitamin C is toxic to some cancer cells but not to normal cells in vitro."

Interesting reads


  1. Amazing medical conference talk on IVAA (Fast forward to 30 mins 45 seconds for case studies)

    Oasis of Hope hospital director, Dr. Contreras, outlines technical findings on his work on IVAA along with oxidation therapies for cancer. If you fast forward to the MRI case studies (30:45), you'll see some pretty remarkable case studies of late stage patients having disease stabilization or regression. Bear in mind, Dr. Contreras uses Ozone therapy along with artificial hemoglobin together with IVAA.

  2. Intravenous Vitamin C for Cancer Cure on ABC News (March 2008)

    A local ABC news video describing the treatment. Colon cancer patient skips radiation/chemo and opts for organic diet, nutritional supplements and IVAA (1x/week). Dr. Alan Magaziner claims he has had success over the past 2 decades with IVAA. Dr. Magaziner believes IVAA does not interfere with chemo/radiation and abates their side effects. Another breast cancer patient who believes IVAA works says "I feel better than I did prior to when I had the cancer".
  3. Intravenous Vitamin C for Cancer Cure on CBC News (March 2008)

    This Canadian news report is pretty balanced. The case study reports a late stage prostrate cancer patient having disease stabilization of disease for 6 months (he was told by conventional clinics that there was no more hope).
  4. Vitamin C IV Fights Cancer (Feb 2008)

    This video has some patient testimonials. Patients claim to look better and feel better. I would be a little cautious about this video as it is a commercial for an IVAA clinic. Still worth viewing though.
  5. FOX news: Vitamin C for cancer (Sep 2007)

    Local doctor is optimistic. Lady with Stage IV lung cancer is optimistic. 2 weeks over initiating treatment of 3x treatments per week after chemo, her lung cancer tumor markers started dropping rapidly. Doctor says she patient feels week and will likely exceed her expected lifespan. Doctor is cautious about promising a cure though. Doctor cannot say for sure that IVAA is working (since patient had chemo prior). However, doctor can say for sure that IVAA is helping patient feel better and stronger. Patient pays around $700/week for her treatment.

  • Book by Dr. Steve Hickey and Hilary Roberts
    Their book is worth buying. In particular they talk about the importance of combining oral Vitamin C during IVAA, as well as synergies with Alpha Lipoic Acid and other nutrients.

  • A very interesting compilation of useful posts
    This chap in Japan has compiled a ton of useful links. He has aggregated lots of useful bits of information from all over the web, including testimonials from other websites.

  • Perfluorocarbon emulsions
    Dr. Contreras from the Oasis of Hope hospital uses Perftec to increase oxygenation of hypoxic tumors. Perftec is a Russian product that's not approved for use in the US. This web page describes the class of product of which Perftec belongs to.