Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an essential nutrient found in dietary sources such as fruits and vegetables. It was isolated from cells in 1937 by scientist Albert Szent-Györgyi who won a Nobel Prize for his discovery. Vitamin C functions as a cofactor in many cellular processes, serves as an antioxidant, supports tissue repair and is essential in the production of collagen. The health benefits of high dose vitamin C include strengthening our immune system, maintaining healthy skin and facilitating the death of some cancer cell types.
Our immune system’s white blood cells actively utilize vitamin C to enhance their antibacterial properties. Vitamin C increases a white blood cell’s ability to migrate toward the bacterial pathogen and better produce the oxidants required to eliminate it. A lack or deficiency of vitamin C results in increased susceptibility to infections and a weaker immune system overall. Studies have reported that long term and regular vitamin C intake resulted in duration of the common cold being reduced by up to 8% as it boosts the immune system, resulting in about one less day of being sick.
Vitamin C is crucial in maintaining skin integrity through synthesis and stabilization of collagen. Furthermore, many research studies have shown that vitamin C increases collagen gene expression in fibroblasts, which are the cells that make collagen. While maintaining strong skin from within, ingested vitamin C has also been reported to protect against oxidative stress induced by environmental pollutants.
Though vitamin C IV treatments solely are not found to cure cancers, they are showing potential for making other treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, more effective. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a toxic compound that results in cell death. High levels of vitamin C increase the formation of hydrogen peroxide, which in normal cells is readily eliminated by antioxidants. Cancer cells, though, tend to be more sensitive to hydrogen peroxide due to a lack of protective antioxidants, thus making high dose vitamin C infusions a potential treatment for cancer. Longer survival, decreased tumor volume and decreased cancer cell proliferation have all been reported in studies of high dose vitamin C administration for cancer treatment.
The highest concentration of vitamin C is allowed to enter the bloodstream through IV infusions as this method of delivery bypasses the digestive tract. Any excess amount is easily excreted in the urine as vitamin C is a water soluble compound. Vitamin C infusions are extremely safe, well tolerated and have very few side effects.