Intravenous Vitamin C for Cancer Treatment in Pets

Introduction
Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) is a micronutrient found in many foods. Interestingly, it is essential for primates and guinea pigs, but not for any other mammals since most species can manufacture it from other substances in their diets. The discovery that the disease scurvy, common throughout history among sailors and others without access to fresh fruits and vegetables for long periods, was due to Vitamin C deficiency is one of the classic examples of early use of science and scientific methods to solve a serious health problem. Ensuring adequate Vitamin C intake has been one of the most effective public health measures in history.

However, in the 1970s the notion began to gain popularity that extremely high doses of Vitamin C, well beyond any nutritional requirements, could be used as a drug to prevent or treat disease. This was largely due to the efforts of Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling, a brilliant chemist who developed a bit of an obsession with the medicinal use of Vitamin C in his later years. Because of this, he is considered the paragon of the Nobel Disease, in which an accomplished scientist becomes enamored of implausible or pseudoscientific ideas and refuses to abandon them when the evidence dictates they should. Though the verdict is not etched in stone on all aspects of the medicinal use of megadoses of Vitamin C, but as we will see it is clear that Pauling suffered from the Nobel Disease with respect to this practice.

The two primary uses to which Pauling, and many others in his time and since, have suggest Vitamin C could be put are in the prevention and treatment of the common cold and cancer. In terms of the common cold, the evidence indicates there is no benefit for prevention and there might or might not be a small, largely clinically irrelevant benefit for treatment. Pauling was unquestionably wrong on this one. The situation is more complex with regard to cancer therapy.

Does It Work?
The initial studies of Vitamin C as a cancer therapy, reported by Pauling and Dr. Ewan Cameron, appeared to show a benefit in terms of survival when cancer patients received large doses of Vitamin C along with standard therapy. However, these were methodologically terrible studies that were likely only accepted for publication on the basis of Pauling’s prestige. Subsequent research by others replicating this work (e.g. 1, 2) did not find any benefit. A nice review of this history is available on the Science-Based Medicine Blog.

One objection to the negative studies offered by proponents of Vitamin C as a cancer therapy was that they primarily gave the vitamin orally. There is some in vitro and lab animal evidence (e.g. 3, 4) suggesting Vitamin C is more toxic to cancer cells than healthy cells at very high doses (though, of course, there are some limitations to these studies). The concentrations associated with this effect can only be achieved in living animals with intravenous injection of high doses of Vitamin C, so some have argued that the studies showing no benefit from oral use should be re-evaluated with intravenous dosing.

There is little clinical research in humans, and none in companion animals, to show that intravenous high-dose Vitamin C is beneficial for cancer patients.  Some small scale uncontrolled studies and case reports have shown some potential effects, but it is unclear if there is any meaningful benefit in terms of survival, quality of life, and other clinically important variables. A narrative review from 2010 concludes:

In view of this lack of data after trials which have included at least 1,591 patients over 33 years, we have to conclude that we still do not know whether Vitamin C has any clinically significant antitumor activity. Nor do we know which histological types of cancers, if any, are susceptible to this agent. Finally, we don’t know what the recommended dose of Vitamin C is, if there is indeed such a dose, that can produce an anti-tumor response.

Similarly, the American Cancer Society position on Vitamin C in cancer patients states,

Although high doses of vitamin C have been suggested as a cancer treatment, the available evidence from clinical trials has not shown any benefit.

And while it is easy, as always, to find supportive anecdotes, it is also easy to find anecdotes that show no benefit. I’ve discussed previously why such anecdotes are only useful in suggesting, not proving, hypotheses. Unfortunately, anecdotal evidence is a bit like a two-headed coin in that proponents of any practice win no matter which side is showing. If a patient seems to improve, that is claimed to demonstrate the therapy works. If a patient doesn’t improve, however, that doesn’t indicate that the therapy doesn’t work in general, only that it doesn’t work in all patients. Since nothing is perfect, this sounds reasonable until you realize that with this kind of spin anecdotes can only ever be used to support a therapy, never to challenge it.

The most positive possible spin one can put on the evidence in humans and lab animals is that there might be a small benefit in some cases, though it is more likely this is simply random noise in the data produced by a small number of studies with significant limitations. No spin at all can be put on the evidence for intravenous Vitamin C in companion animals because there is none, apart from the inevitable anecdotes, of course. One study has shown intravenous Vitamin C generates high levels of the chemical in dogs for only a very short time, so any beenfits would either have to happen from only a brief period of exposure or many injections would have to be given frequently to have any effect.

Is It Safe?
I have always argued that any therapy which has a benefit will undoubtedly have side effects. Living organisms are simply too complex to tinker with their workings and not have unintended, as well as desirable, effects. Though its benefits are still unproven, there is no doubt megadoses of Vitamin C have real physiological effects, and so there is the possibility for harm as well as benefits.

Some research conducted about the same time as Pauling’s studies has suggested that dietary Vitamin C can accelerate the growth of some cancers in laboratory mice. Minor side effects are commonly reported, including nausea, diarrhea, and changes in blood pressure and blood sugar.

And high doses of Vitamin C given intravenously have been documented to cause kidney failure, so it should not be used in patients with any compromise in kidney function. Formation of kidney stones has also been linked to Vitamin C supplementation. Individuals with certain enzyme deficiencies or abnormalities of iron absorption can also be harmed by excessive Vitamin C supplementation. A particularly significant issue in cancer patients is that Vitamin C has been shown to reduce the effectiveness of some anti-cancer drugs. Using a chemical with unproven value that can interfere with the proven benefits of medication in patients with a serious disease is not smart or compassionate care.

Once again, there doesn’t appear to be any formal scientific research on the safety of high doses of intravenous Vitamin C in companion animals. Using such a therapy is a bit like throwing darts blind-folded and hoping to hit the bull’s eye rather than the person standing next to the target.

Bottom Line
High doses of Vitamin C given by intravenous injection have not been proven to have any benefit in human cancer patients. There are some studies suggesting such a benefit might exist, but the evidence is weak and contradictory. There is also evidence of both minor and serious side effects associated with this treatment. Vitamin C can interfere with some chemotherapy drugs, thus reducing the benefits of conventional therapy. And, as always, there is a serious risk of harm for patients who elect this unproven therapy over better studied treatments with known risks and benefits.

There is no published clinical research in companion animals evaluating the effects of intravenous Vitamin C as a cancer therapy. The safety and efficacy of this practice is completely unknown despite claims made based on uncontrolled anecdotes and extrapolation from studies in humans.

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42 Responses to Intravenous Vitamin C for Cancer Treatment in Pets

  1. Kle says:

    Hi!

    Thanks for this article!
    My dog was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma on his leg and amputated. Now he is under chemo doxorubicin and I was giving him these two supplements:

    http://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/dogs/dog_health/luposan/tablets/73218

    http://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/dogs/dog_health/multivitamin_mineral_supplements/193458

    Am doing wrong then?

  2. skeptvet says:

    The problem is that for most of the ingredients in those supplements, no one knows if they are beneficial, harmful, or neutral. Glycosamine will almost certainly do nothing. The fish oil might have some benfits. And there is some evidence that Vitamins C can reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy (see the section Vitamins and Supplements in this post for a list of articles ont he risks of vitamins). So while I understand the desire to do everything you can to help your pet, the reality is that without proper scientific study, there is no way to predict the effect of adding things like this to his treatment, and it is as easy to make things worse as better.

    Good luck!

  3. A D says:

    Your comments at Bottom Line are the most eregreious lies about the efficacy of IV vitamin C I have ever heard. You are either an ostrich or blind as a bat since there are thousands of cases where vitamin C has prevented, cured and even reversed many illnesses.
    If you are capable of reading and comprehending simple English, I suggest you read
    “Primal Panacea” and “Curing the Incurable” by Thomas E. Levy MD, JD. Dr Levy is a Board Certified Cardiologist and Internest and has treated many with vitamin C and obtained miraculous results. Irresponsible statements by an uninformed layman like yourself borders on criminality by espousing falsehoods about a treatment that may benefit someone reading your misinformation about vitamin C.

  4. skeptvet says:

    The arrogance you display in assuming anyone who disagrees with you is either lying or ignorant is astounding. And yet, despite your vehemence, you offer no evidence of any kind, much less reliable scientific research findings, to support your beliefs. Referring people to someone else’s opinions doesn’t constitute a substantive argument, especially since Dr. Levy himself is not a reliable source of truly scientific information. Sorry if the facts disturb you, but believing doesn’t make things so.

  5. fluidtherapy says:

    @ AD

    Egregious lies? As opposed to really good lies? Excellent diatribe. If you’re simplistic enough to fall for the hoodwinking of one Dr. Levy, you’ll love the insight provided by one Dr. Oz on weight loss, toxin cleansing and boosting immunity. Can’t wait ’till we can meet and talk at the next Nobel Prize awards ceremony (I understand Linus Pauling will be there this year!)

    Ciao, FT

  6. Kim says:

    The vitamin C treatment works. There a plenty of studies done on it, but why take the word of some studies. While your blog is intended for animals, my proof is with a human, that human being my mom. She was diagnosed with breast cancer, and under went only this treatment after having MOST of her tumor removed, one month later after three separate doctors reading her new X-rays, they all agreed that her cancer was gone. I don’t know if this is an across the board thing, but that is proof that it should be taken seriously.

  7. skeptvet says:

    I’m glad your mother is well, but anecdotes like these should not be taken seriously. They exist for every medical treatment ever invented as well as for psychic phenomena, astrology, alien abduction, and pretty much any claim anybody has ever made. If we rely on anecdotes to prove claims, then everything has to be true. We tried that for thousands of years before the scientific approach was developed, and we never had anything even approaching the success at treating disease we have had since.

  8. Pingback: Evidence Concerning Vitamin and Mineral Supplements- Safety and Efficacy | The SkeptVet Blog

  9. Werner Ulrich says:

    I am a Vet, working in Spain, since 1975. Cancer is one of our most common disease today in the clinic, 20 years ago we had only a few cases every month. If chemo does not work we always have to euthanize. We always say in the clinic that the medicine with the worst secondary effect is the one we use to euthanize, therefore we try other treatment options. I use i.v.vitamin C (sodium ascorbate) very often with fantastic results with the the Riordan i.v. protocol and the nutritional supplements recommended by the Dr.Rath foundation (drrathresearch.org/cancer.html).
    Its ease to use and inexpensive. It works.

  10. skeptvet says:

    Sorry, but “It works” is not a justified conclusion in the absence of supporting research evidence. In the case of vitamin C, there has been a great deal of research and it has failed to show clinically meaningful benefits.

  11. Werner Ulrich says:

    When I say “it works” I speak about my personal experience only.
    I did not believe in it 10 years ago, sincerely. We had to euthanize a lot of dogs and cats using the standard protocols and this was the reason just to try another treatment options, not only vitamin C.

  12. Frankie says:

    Your report is written without any knowledge about the latest Ascorbic Acid IV trials. What are you trying to accomplish with your story? Ascorbic Acid IV is once again the proof that cancer is curable for a very affordable price. Don’t scare people. It works. There is even proof for pancreatic cancer. The tumor declined by 50%.

  13. skeptvet says:

    The post was pretty well-researched, but if I’ve missed some good clinical trials feel free to post links and the results here. Claoims without evidence don’t advance our understanding at all.

  14. Michaela says:

    Thanks for great article. I want to ask anyone here who has experiences with vit C…what dosage did you use? I mean a dosage per libra (or kilogram). How often, one a week or twice a week? An finally, what is amount of 0,9% sodium chloride for dilution? Please, help me, I want to start with it for “treatment” of osteosarcoma for my dog as soon as possible. Thanks a lot!

  15. jvburke says:

    Anecdotal evidence is not evidence.
    But it is not proof of no success, either.
    So all the people who say they have witnessed the success are not in themselves evidence of effectiveness and to dismiss them as not a scientific study is correct in the academic sense as they are a data point in an uncontrolled study – BUT – they must be considered as a stimulant to research more.

    Having said that …
    here is
    note this article from National Cancer Institute – NIH
    http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/highdosevitaminc/patient/page2

    “…Have any clinical trials (research studies with people) of high-dose vitamin C been conducted?
    Several studies of high-dose vitamin C in patients with cancer have been done in recent years, including the following:

    Studies of vitamin C alone

    •Intravenous (IV) vitamin C was studied in patients with breast cancer who were treated with adjuvant chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The study found that patients who received IV vitamin C had better quality of life and fewer side effects than those who did not.

    •A study of IV vitamin C and high doses of vitamin C taken by mouth was done in patients with cancer that could not be cured. Vitamin C was shown to be a safe and effective therapy to improve quality of life in these patients, including physical, mental, and emotional functions, symptoms of fatigue, nausea and vomiting, pain, and appetite loss.

    •Vitamin C has been shown to be safe when given to healthy volunteers and cancer patients at doses up to 1.5 g/kg, while screening out patients with certain risk factors who should avoid vitamin C. Studies have also shown that Vitamin C levels in the blood are higher when taken by IV than when taken by mouth, and last for more than 4 hours.

    Studies of vitamin C combined with other drugs

    Studies of vitamin C combined with other drugs have shown mixed results:

    •In a small study of 14 patients with advanced pancreatic cancer, IV vitamin C was given along with chemotherapy and treatment with a targeted therapy. Patients had very few bad side effects from the vitamin C treatment. The nine patients who completed the treatment had stable disease as shown by imaging studies.

    •In another small study of 9 patients with advanced pancreatic cancer, patients were given chemotherapy in treatment cycles of once per week for 3 weeks along with IV vitamin C twice per week for 4 weeks. These patients had disease that did not progress for a period of months. The combined treatment was well tolerated and no serious side effects were reported.

    •Patients with acute myeloid leukemia, refractory metastatic colorectal cancer, or metastatic melanoma treated with vitamin C combined with other drugs had serious side effects and the disease got worse.”

  16. skeptvet says:

    I certainly agree that anecdotes are a useful way to generate hypotheses to test, though they can never demonstrate a hypothesis true or false. And it is technically true that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. That said, the failure to generate convincing evidence after a reasonable effort must be taken as suggestive that there is no evidence to find, otherwise we must indefinitely accept as possible to a meaningful extent every idea forever. One day, someone may jump off a building and not fall, and we may have to rethink the concept of gravity. But it seems unlikely enough that further expenditure on research seems inappropriate.

    Vitamin C has been pretty extensively researched as a cancer therapy, and has failed to demonstrate convincing effects pretty consistently. (e.g. 1, 2, 3). Given our resources for developing treatments are not infinite, it seems appropriate to direct them into more promising areas.

  17. Atn says:

    There are many research papers studying the effectiveness of IV ascorbic acid on cancer. You seem to be pretty biased in your research for information. Here are a couple for you. Feel free to read them.

    Orthomolecular Oncology Review: Ascorbic Acid and Cancer 25 Years Later
    by Gonzalez et al

    Intravenous Ascorbate as a Tumor Cytotoxic Chemotherapeutic Agent
    by Riordan et al

    Intravenous Viatmin C as a Chemotherapy Agent: A Report on Clinical Cases
    by Riordan et al

  18. skeptvet says:

    It’s funny that you accuse me of being biased in my citations (which include a review article 5 years more recent than the one you cite and the American Cancer Society), and then you cherry pick a few papers by dedicated Vitamin C advocates as your evidence. The article makes clear that the evidence is mixed, but the balance is pretty strongly tilted to small, clinically insignificant effects in humans, and there is still no clinical research to support using this in pets.

  19. Atn says:

    The point of my post was to provide you with serious work that was done with IV ascorbic acid. So yes, my post had a biased goal and it did contain cherry-picked material.

    You clearly haven’t read any. From the first paper I reference (by the way these are all fully available online):

    “In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a debate ensued between Dr Linus Pauling (Linus Pauling Institute) and Dr Charles Moertel (Mayo Clinic) due to conflicting results on studies on vitamin C and cancer.150-153 To make the story short, the Pauling and Cameron studies used historical controls and were positive, while the Mayo Clinic studies were done in a prospective randomized double-blinded fashion and had negative results. The Mayo Clinic studies were done with the accepted experimental design used to clarify initial observations but did not truly replicate the Cameron
    and Pauling studies (used a lesser dosage, less time). This issue has been reviewed elsewhere.154
    A critical point of both studies (Mayo Clinic and Pauling’s) is that they used oral doses of ascorbate of about 10 g. Given the saturable gastrointestinal absorption and the nonlinear renal clearance,155 oral absorption of AA cannot achieve plasma concentrations comparable to those obtained by intravenous administration.44 Plasma concentrations of AA rise as the dose ingested increases until a plateau is reached with doses of about 150 to 200 mg daily.
    Moreover, there is a recent report on AA as a toxic agent against cancer cells when given intravenously.94 The doses we are advocating for therapy are substantially
    higher doses (25-200 g) and, most important, are given intravenously. We believe intravenous administration is more effective because plasma levels of ascorbate can reach higher levels than those attained by oral intakes, and these higher levels can be sustained for longer periods of time. These 2 aspects seem necessary to produce a selective toxic effect by AA on cancer cells.We are attempting to reach plasma levels that are 100 times higher than those that can be achieved by oral administration.”

    The clinical trials showing negative results typically use oral doses known not to work as a cancer therapy.

    Please, as a healthcare professional and (hopefully) intelligent individual, be open-minded. There is a lot of work done on IVC by researchers. If done right, IVC can work as a selective cytotoxic substance to cancer cells.

    I haven’t looked into IVC use with animals so I can’t give my opinion about that. My guess is that you haven’t looked much yourself.

  20. Rafael Guzmán says:

    Do not torture your poor pets, when they get cancer, euthanize them. I do not justify chemotherapy or amputations not even for humans, it is torturous. A pet can not complain and all they know is that its guardian who is supposed to protects them is causing pain to them, and with what end? that YOU have your pet for another year or so…

  21. skeptvet says:

    Sorry, but you are simply wrong. I treat pets with cancer all the time, and most of them are happy, comfortable, and enjoy the time we are able to give them. Euthanasia is absolutely appropriate at the right stage, but the idea that we should not even try to teat cancer because it is cruel simply isn’t consistent with what actually happens when we do treat it.

  22. Rafael Guzmán. says:

    I am sorry too, but you are wrong, it is not about if cancer is treatable or not, the point is that the animals suffer the process, even the simply fact to take them to the vet is very unpleasant. The point is they do not choice to be treated, it is YOU who want to treat them against their nature. A human has a choice, they decide to be treat or not, but not your pet ¿what kind of life is for a dog to live without a leg for example or even worst for a cat who enjoys playing around so much. I understand that this is a very polemic theme, but consider this, when a human is treated and suffer of nauseas, pain, hospital time, etc., at least he/she knows there is a reason for that and can (as a matter of fact a lot do) not to continue or be treat at all, but the animal don’t. Beyond the disease they have to deal with, is the “what the hell are they doing to me? And why?” (“if I have been a good dog”), you can see that expression on their faces when they look at you with very sad eyes. So, as I said, I do not even considered good for humans (and I have friends and family who died of cancer), even less for pets. I have a cat right now with cancer, she has the kind of cancer (due to location and other technical issues) is untreatable, I can NOT euthanize her yet, I really can’t, I am administering some shots for pain and “wellness” (vet recommendation of course), but I would not treat her with chemotherapy or anything like that anyway, the reason: she is a rescued cat and is very, very paranoid, when a I met her, she was shaking of terror, even now that she has a safe home, she terrifies when someone get home, to take her to the vet is a very horrible experience for her, thinking in taking her every month or so to treatment is worst than the sickness it self. It is hard to explain, but I truly believe that all she want is “leave me alone”.

    Now beyond that, what should be done is to prevent, I know is a very difficult thing, but the truth is that they are sick for the same reason humans are: food, bad food, nitrates, sugar and all the junk food that is eaten. These kind of disease did not even exist a few decades ago, they are the result of very industrialized food., etc. that is the real problem and there is where the real solution is. After treatment is only a torture and a business for vets, pharmaceuticals and food industries, they commerce with pain and make the pet owners believe that their pets will have a good life, but that is a lie, your pets suffer, They are not toys, They also have the right to die in peace, for a disease caused to them by greed.

    Regards.

  23. skeptvet says:

    It is you projecting your feelings and beliefs onto animals with cancer here. You think it is “against their nature,” so you don’t think they want it. And you project your fears about the side effects of cancer therapies onto these animal without really knowing what cancer treatment is actually like for most of them. I actually treat animals with cancer and your vision of them as frightened and sick and unhappy is not accurate. When I treat a dog with lymphoma who goes from feeling lousy to happy and energetic and well and feels that way for 1-3 years, I know it’s far better for that animal than simply having let them die of their disease or exposing them to untested treatments that often don’t work or even actively harm them without any benefits.

    Sure, some individuals are too fearful of being handled to tolerate chemotherapy, so it may not be right for those individuals, but this isn’t a general rule you can simply project onto every animal with cancer. I know what successful science-based cancer treatment for pets looks like, and it is not the grim suffering you picture. Again, that is you projecting your fears and beliefs outward.

  24. v.t. says:

    Rafael Guzmán,

    You are really misinformed.

    Pets tolerate most chemotherapy better than humans. Depending on the type of cancer, you would be surprised at how many have done well with treatment, not to mention survival.

    Likewise, pets fair extremely well with amputations. Pets don’t know much about limitations and if you’d ever met a pet with a loss of limb, you wouldn’t know it either.

    To deny your pets a fighting chance is…..well, just plain denial and selfishness on your part. Perhaps you need to look more closely into the eyes and hearts of pets who have lived because of chemotherapy, lived happily with three legs, are the same pets they were prior to their illness. They are [i]grateful[/i] for a chance at life, just as you would be. If your kitty could tell you, she would probably want the same chance.

  25. Rugz says:

    Hi.
    We were skeptical when our holistic vet advised Vitamin C IV therapy to our German Shepherd Baron, who was diagnosed with advanced hemangiosarcoma or blood cancer and given two weeks to live. It’s now been 7 months and he’s still with us. Vitamin C IV still continues to save his life every day.
    We supply with Vitamin C IV from Institute Pasteur’s authorized supplier
    If someone it is in huge need we will share their page… vitamincvial.blogspot.com

  26. skeptvet says:

    I’m glad your pet is doing well, but this sort of anecdote doesn’t say anything about the effectiveness of Vitamin C for hemangiosarcoma. For one thing, 2 weeks is less than the normal survival for this cancer, and many dogs live 6-8 months without treatment. This is yet another example of how we can be fooled by anecdotal evidence and why we really need good scientific research to tell us which treatments work an which don’t.

  27. UCDAVISZOO says:

    The comment clearly says “advanced hemangiosarcoma” it doesn’t say the dog was diagnosed the day the 1st cancer cell formed! I read that as in the professional educated & expierenced opinion of the treating DVM the dogs cancer was advanced far enough at the time of diagnosis to ESTIMATE that the dog probably had about 2 weeks before succumbing to the cancer without treatment. I find it less than a coincidence that the dog is still living a quality life 7 months later.

  28. skeptvet says:

    Unfortunately, without a crystal ball it makes no difference how educated or experienced a vet is, an estimate of survival time with hemangiosarcoma is highly unreliable because survival is variable and unpredictable. For one thing, death is usually not spontaneous but the result of euthanasia, and people have very different criteria for when they make that decision. Apart from that element of subjectivity, whether, when, and how much a patient bleeds, which is usually the life-limiting outcome with this disease, is inherently unpredictable. This unpredictability adds to the other sources of error involved in giving credit for a longer-than-expected survival to any particular treatment used. Again, controlled research science doesn’t exist for no good reason. It exists because it has proven itself far more reliable than this sort of personal observation in evaluating the true effects of medical treatments.

  29. The actions of vitamin C are both ain’t viral and antibiotic. These are powerful actions. The form of vitamin C, whether sodium ascorbate or citric acid is essential, as is the method of delivery. While not specifically cancer, three papers were presented to the AMA in the 1950’s by the director of a Southern Carolina hospital ward for polio victims. All 63 adult patients were in the end stages of the disease and had been given about two weeks to live, on average. Having nothing else to lose, this doctor decided to experiment and administered very high doses of sodium ascorbate intravenously to the patients. The results were repaid, and definitive. Every one of the patients survived, many of them made complete recoveries in a matter of two or three days, several of them were on the therapy two to three weeks before complete remission and some required two months before complete recovery, but they all walked out of that ward, fully recovered. The papers were presented to the AMA and copies sent to the newspapers, but it was largely ignored, and in the same hospital, a few weeks later, Dr. Linus Pauling introduced his vaccination therapy to great medical acclaim and praise, although he killed several hundred children early on. Since this time, there have been many independent studies of the action of intravenous C on many diseases and upon cellular activity, and it’s role in correcting numerous mitochondrial abnormalities and inssufficiencies associtated with disease states. The information is abundant and paints an emerging picture of efficacy. How you could state these tests don’t exist is a mystery to me.

  30. Could you correct my silly typos when you publish my comment? It’s the IPad’s fault! Insane autocorrect…thanks!

  31. skeptvet says:

    It’s only a mystery since you didn’t look at any of the resources or references in my article. There has been extensive research, and it has not demonstrated real or meaningful clinical benefits. Reference to dubious publications over 70 years ago which were never verified does not make compelling scientific evidence.

  32. skeptvet says:

    It happens to all of us!

  33. audrey says:

    Have you ever considered the possibility that the lack of studies in alternative therapies like IV VitC is not because there’s no value, but because it isn’t a profitable venture for the industry? I’m wondering this because let’s face it… capitalism has had a particular impact on what gets studied and what doesn’t.

  34. skeptvet says:

    Certainly financial incentives are associated with research priorities. However, there are two problems with that concern. First, various “natural” therapies that can’t be patented are still billion-dollar industries, including vitamins and herbal remedies. There is plenty of money to be made, and if a treatment has a dramatic impact on cancer survival, people will make money selling it.

    The second problem is that whatever the reason is for a lack of evidence, it doesn’t change the fact that without the evidence we don’t know if something is safe or effective. People often claim that if there is some reason why a treatment is difficult to study or isn’t being studied, this somehow legitimizes using it without proof. This is clearly not true.

  35. Marisa Ruffolo says:

    Throughout the history of medicine doctors that were ahead of their time were often disrespected and called foolish for their innovative ideas. All I can tell you is my own personal experience: On July 9, 2017, my 72 year old mother was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer (adenocarcinoma). For various reasons (adrenal insufficiency, a-fib, aortic stenosis, to name a few) they did not want to proceed with chemotherapy. I brought her to my naturopathic doctor and started her on large dose vitamin c IV 2 to 3 times a week (she also changed her diet to include absolutely no sugar–not even raw honey or maple syrup).
    A recent scan (done by her oncologist) showed that her lesions have disappeared, her swollen 8 cm left ovary is now 4 cm, a 9 cm tumour in her mesenteric on the right side is now less than 4 cm, and her tumour marker count (ca-125) went from 140 down to 14. Surgery, which was previously not an option, is now an option. She goes in this Friday, December 1, 2017 for the surgery. Although, because of other health issues (as mentioned above), she is considered a “moderate” risk, the doctors feel positive about it.
    While vitamin c IV may not be a cure, it can certainly buy the patient some time and can create opportunities where originally there were none. I only wish I had known about it back in 2014 when my father-in-law was diagnosed (and died) of stage 4 cancer (a very rare kind).
    Does it work in dogs? I have no idea; however, we’re waiting to find out if my chocolate lab (11 years old) has bone cancer. If he does, we are definitely starting him on vitamin c IV while we explore other options. For us, chemotherapy is not an option for our dog, We feel it is too cruel–especially at his age. Again, I cannot speak about what the vitamin c will do for dogs, but it most certainly helped my mother. And quite frankly, when all hope is gone (as it was in my father-in-law’s case) what would have been the harm in us doing the vitamin c IV? There are no side effects and it’s painless (except maybe, for the iv needle being put in). As far as cost goes: I live in Canada and all medical treatment (including her upcoming operation) is covered by our government, but, from what I understand, that’s not necessarily the case in many other lands (especially the U.S.). Where I live, for a vitamin c IV treatment of 20,000 mg, it costs $206.00. That includes tax. I suspect pharmaceutical drugs cost a lot more. That’s my 2 cents.

  36. skeptvet says:

    Throughout the history of medicine doctors that were ahead of their time were often disrespected and called foolish for their innovative ideas.

    And the vast majority of folks who come up with implausible or wacky ideas turn out to be wrong and history forgets them. A few who are right eventually prove it and get deserved recognition, but this doesn’t mean every idea that seems crazy or that fails to prove itself over time should be treated as unrecognized genius.

    All I can tell you is my own personal experience:

    As compelling as such anecdotes are for the people who experience them, they are not a reliable guide to the truth in medicine. This is why the scientific approach has done so much more to improve our lives and health than all the millennia of relying on storytelling did.
    Why Anecdotes Can’t Be Trusted

    If a therapy doesn’t work, it can not do any good for the patient, and it may do harm. Vitamin C for cancer almost certainly doesn’t work, which means at best it’s a waste of time and money and at worst it makes the lives of cancer patients a little worse.

  37. Lisa says:

    The only evidence I personally need, is that it worked on me, and it is working on my dog. So to me, that’s all that matters 🙂

  38. skeptvet says:

    Yes, people often feel that way. It’s a shame since personal experience is deeply unreliable and often leads us to false beliefs and bad choices. Accepting our own limitations and the need for science not just stories is what has allowed all the achievements in health, medicine, and technology of the last couple of centuries and the overcoming of sources of suffering and death we failed to beat in thousands of years. Yet our brains are wired to believe what we think we see whether it’s true or not.

    For those open-minded enough to consider that things may not be as they seem, here is some additional discussion of why we can’t trust anecdotes:

    Why Anecdotes Can’t Be Trusted

  39. Rosemary says:

    At concentrations on the order of 1 mM, ascorbate can cause a build-up of hydrogen peroxide, which is preferentially toxic toward tumor cells [4,22,23]. Experimental studies confirm that ascorbate concentrations sufficient for this cytotoxic effect can be attained in vivo, and that treatments can reduce tumor growth in animal models

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3751545/

  40. Rosemary says:

    Okay, my vet gives my dogs the same meds my docs give me. Different dosages but, same meds just the same. My dogs get the same antibiotics and the same pain meds, etc. So, even though these IVC therapies were tested on humans I’m thinking they will work on dogs as well. I haven’t found specific studies done on pets at this point. The closest I came was noted in my previous post. And even though I know people who have used IVC on pets and their cancer went into remission it is not considered “evidence”. Still don’t be so darn close minded. Open up to possibilities for the betterment of our pets along with human kind.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3480897/

  41. skeptvet says:

    Here’s the conclusion of that paper, with a few words highlighted:

    “The data indicate that, while potentially therapeutic plasma ascorbate concentrations can be achieved with IVC, levels attained will vary based on tumor burden and degree of inflammation (among other factors). Evidence suggests that IVC may be able to modulate inflammation, which in turn might improve outcomes for cancer patients. IVC may serve as a safe, adjunctive therapy in clinical cancer care.”

    Hardly definitive evidence of the kind of benefits you claim. As I pointed out in the original post, a thorough review of the evidence concluded:

    “In view of this lack of data after trials which have included at least 1,591 patients over 33 years, we have to conclude that we still do not know whether Vitamin C has any clinically significant antitumor activity. Nor do we know which histological types of cancers, if any, are susceptible to this agent. Finally, we don’t know what the recommended dose of Vitamin C is, if there is indeed such a dose, that can produce an anti-tumor response.”

    For something marketed as a powerful treatment, even a “cure” for cancer, it’s problematic that we can’t actually find this effect in over three decades of research. The bottom line has remained the same in every review of the evidence: extremely high doses of IV Vitamin C might have some mild-to-moderate impact of the growth rate of some tumors, but the evidence is poor quality and certainly doesn’t show remission or cure at all. Here are the most recent reviews:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24867961
    “There is limited high-quality clinical evidence on the safety and effectiveness of IVC. The existing evidence is preliminary and cannot be considered conclusive but is suggestive of a good safety profile and potentially important antitumor activity; however, more rigorous evidence is needed to conclusively demonstrate these effects. IVC may improve the quality of life and symptom severity of patients with cancer, and several cases of cancer remission have been reported. Well-designed, controlled studies of IVC therapy are needed.”

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24571058
    ” It remains to be proven whether vitamin C-induced reactive oxygen species occur in vivo and, if so, whether this will translate to a clinical benefit. Current clinical evidence for a therapeutic effect of high-dose IV vitamin C is ambiguous, being based on case series. The interpretation and validation of these studies is hindered by limited correlation of plasma vitamin C concentrations with response. The methodology exists to determine if there is a role for high-dose IV vitamin C in the treatment of cancer, but the limited understanding of its pharmacodynamic properties makes this challenging. Currently, the use of high-dose IV vitamin C cannot be recommended outside of a clinical trial.”

  42. skeptvet says:

    I don’t think you really understand what “open-minded” means. I am perfectly open to the possibility of Vitamin C having anti-cancer effects. I am also, however, aware of the fact that science has repeatedly failed to find evidence that supports the anecdotes of remission and cures in humans, and that there is absolutely no evidence in animals.

    And if you think it is reasonable to assume any effects in humans can be assumed to occur in animals too, you have a dangerous misconception. Common over-the-counter medicines which are safe and effective in humans (e.g. acetominophen, ibuprofen) are sometimes deadly to cats and dogs. Pepcid reduces stomach acid levels in humans but has no affect on stomach acid in dogs. Humans get scurvy without enough Vitamin C in their diet, and dogs and cats don’t need to ingest any. There are many, many examples of why we cannot simply assume what is true for people is true for out pets. Even if Vitamin C is proven to be a meaningful cancer therapy for humans (and it hasn’t yet, not by a long shot), the same kinds of studies will have to be done in dogs and cats before we know whether it has any value or is safe for them.

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