Incredible IV Vitamin C

Incredible IV Vitamin C

Julian Whitaker, MD

The power of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) was first unveiled in the mid-1700s when Scottish naval surgeon Dr. James Lind discovered that lemons and limes cured scurvy in British seamen. However, the chemical composition of this vitamin wasn’t revealed until almost 200 years later by Albert Szent-Györgyi, a Hungarian-American biochemist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1937 for his work with ascorbic acid.

In the mid-60s, Linus Pauling, PhD, became an ardent advocate of vitamin C as a therapy for a variety of illnesses, including the common cold. Unfortunately, the concept that a dirt-cheap vitamin could treat anything was so foreign and abrasive to the ears of conventional physicians that this two-time Nobel Laureate was vilified just for advocating such an idea.

Linus Pauling and Cancer

The brunt of the criticism, however, came from Dr. Pauling’s advocacy of vitamin C as a cancer therapy. Along with Ewan Cameron, MD, Dr. Pauling conducted a number of trials showing that high-dose vitamin C resulted in remarkable improvements in quality of life and survival time of cancer patients. They followed hundreds of advanced cancer patients taking IV and oral vitamin C, tracked them against similar cancer patients not being supplemented, and found that those getting vitamin C lived up to six times longer than the patients in the control group.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) subsequently funded “similar” studies at the Mayo Clinic that refuted Dr. Pauling’s results. Unfortunately, it appears that they were set up to disprove, rather than validate, Pauling’s results. They used only vitamin C tablets with no IVs. Plus, their patient selection criteria was markedly different, and the length of treatment was far too short to show any efficacy. Nevertheless, the negative results of these trials satisfied the expectations of the cancer treatment “industry,” which was—and continues to be—infatuated with chemotherapy and radiation. Hence, vitamin C as a cancer therapy fell into disrepute.

NIH: C-ing the Light?

This may be about to change. A team of NIH researchers led by Mark Levine, MD, PhD, recently published a study on the effects of very high-dose vitamin C on cancer cells. They found that exposure to high concentrations of vitamin C (ascorbate) kills cancer cells, decreasing their survival rates by 50 percent. Tested on nine different cancer cell lines, vitamin C was highly toxic to five of them, and it eliminated lymphoma cells completely. Furthermore, normal cells were not affected.

This paper went on to describe how high-dose vitamin C kills cancer by generating hydrogen peroxide, which is toxic to errant cells. White blood cells naturally produce hydrogen peroxide to destroy cancer, bacteria, viruses, and other microbes, which explains why IV vitamin C is also useful in the treatment of Lyme disease, hepatitis, mononucleosis, polio, herpes, HIV, tuberculosis, and many other infectious diseases.

The only way to achieve the concentrations necessary to kill cancer cells and microbes is to give vitamin C intravenously. Just 10 g of IV vitamin C, for example, raises blood levels of vitamin C higher than 250 g taken orally. Even the NIH researchers conceded this, concluding in their study, “These findings give plausibility to IV ascorbic acid in cancer treatment.”

Vitamin C Pioneers

Although conventional medicine turned its back on vitamin C decades ago, a handful of innovative physicians have quietly continued to research and treat their patients with IV vitamin C. None of them had the financial backing or status of the NIH behind them, but they did have an open mind and an intense desire to seek out the best possible therapies for their patients.

In addition to Drs. Pauling and Cameron, these pioneers include Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD; Robert Cathcart, MD; Hugh Riordan, MD; and Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD. We owe these innovators a debt of gratitude.

Stopping Cancer With C

The late Dr. Hugh Riordan’s clinic in Wichita, Kansas, continues to utilize IV vitamin C in conjunction with other natural therapies as a cancer treatment. I recently spoke with the clinic’s chief medical officer Ron Hunninghake, MD, and he told me about a number of recent successes.

One of them is a minister with renal cell (kidney) carcinoma. Told by his oncologist that his tumor was too large to operate on and his prognosis was poor, he nevertheless shunned chemotherapy and started twice-a-week IV vitamin C treatments. That was seven years ago, and although his tumor has persisted, it has not metastasized, he has no pain, and until recent setbacks, he has enjoyed a high quality of life. He continues to get regular vitamin C infusions.

Dr. Hunninghake mentioned another success story that was especially meaningful to him—his wife Mary Jo. In September of 2000, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She started on twice weekly IV vitamin C treatments, gradually tapering their frequency to the current once-a-month dose.  She recently celebrated five years cancer-free, an important prognostic milestone.

If I Had Cancer…

Is IV vitamin C on the verge of becoming a mainstream cancer treatment? Don’t hold your breath. The industry that has grown up around the conventional treatment of cancer—entire medical centers, hospital wards, government bureaucracies, pharmaceutical company divisions, nonprofit organizations—and the billions of dollars it generates isn’t about to replace chemotherapy and radiation with an inexpensive vitamin.

So don’t expect to hear about this from your oncologist. I’m not your physician, so I certainly can’t tell you what to do, but if I had cancer, I’d make a beeline to a facility that offers IV vitamin C.


  • IV vitamin C is safe, nontoxic, and well-tolerated. In addition to attacking cancer cells, it reduces drug side effects when used in conjunction with chemotherapy.
  • For a comprehensive look at the varied uses of IV vitamin C, I recommend Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins: Curing the Incurable by Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD. Look for it in bookstores or on amazon.com, or order it by calling (800) 810-6655.
  • To schedule an appointment for IV vitamin C at Whitaker Wellness, call (866) 944-8253.


  • Chen Q, et al. Pharmacologic ascorbic acid concentrations selectively kill cancer cells: Action as a pro-drug to deliver hydrogen peroxide to tissues. Proc Natl Acad Sci U.S.A. 2005 Sep 20;102(38):13604-9.

Modified from Health & Healing with permission from Healthy Directions, LLC. Photocopying, reproduction, or quotation strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher. To subscribe to Health & Healingclick here.

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