Her doctor “could not believe his eyes and …insisted on tests. My mother subjected herself to a mammogram that revealed that indeed, the breast was completely free of cancer.”
That’s a miraculous result for a 78 year old given three months to live. What did she do?
She was under the care of Patrick Kingsley, MD, a now-retired UK pioneer of alternative cancer treatments. He radically changed her diet and supplemented nutrients, but the most important part of the therapy was intravenous vitamin C (IVC).
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Historical evidence for the benefit
of vitamin C in cancer patients
The idea that vitamin C (ascorbic acid) has value in cancer treatment was first reported in the 1940s, mainly by German doctors. The doses used at that time were between 1000 mg and 4000 mg per day.
That’s at least a hundred times more than the 10 mg needed to avoid scurvy – the vitamin C deficiency disease. The current recommended dietary allowance is 75mg for women and 90 mg for men.
By 1951 it was reported that cancer patients have only half the concentration of the vitamin in blood plasma and white blood cells, a level that left these cells with a lower ability to carry out their immune functions.
The first reported use of the vitamin in large amounts over a long period of time was made by Dr Edward Greer of Illinois in 1954.
His patient had chronic myeloid leukemia and took between 24,500 mg and 42,000 mg a day. The patient reported that he felt well on this regimen and continued to work. Dr Greer stopped the vitamin on two occasions. Both times the patient’s liver and spleen enlarged, his temperature rose to 101°, and he suffered malaise and fatigue.
When the vitamin was resumed, signs and symptoms improved and he felt well again.
When he died of an unrelated problem eighteen months later, autopsy showed the cancer had not progressed during the period of supplementation. Dr Greer concluded that “the intake of huge doses of ascorbic acid appeared to be essential for the welfare of the patient.”
In 1959, Dr William McCormick, a physician from Toronto, was the first to report that connective tissue changes seen in scurvy were identical to those seen in cancer. He surmised that the vitamin could be therapeutic in cancer patients. Indeed, historic reports alluded to the increased frequency of cancer among patients with scurvy.
In 1968, a double-blind study compared 27 cancer patients receiving 750 mg of vitamin C, a multinutrient, and dietary advice with 27 identical patients undergoing standard care. All received the same dose of radiation therapy. Patients in the vitamin group showed a superior response. As an additional benefit, they also got some protection against the harmful effects of the radiation.
The Vale of Leven study
The first major human study was published by Dr Ewan Cameron and Dr Linus Pauling, winner of two Nobel Prizes, at the Vale of Leven Hospital in Scotland in 1976.
In the study, 100 terminal patients were injected with 10,000 mg of vitamin C a day. They were compared with 1,000 similar patients who were not given the vitamin. The results were impressive. Five years later every patient in the control group of 1,000 had died, but 18 of the 100 in the vitamin group were still alive. On average the IVC group lived over 300 days longer than did members of the control group.
The result of Cameron and Pauling’s study was widely publicized, so the cancer industry could not ignore it entirely.
The Mayo Clinic carried out its own studies and reported with much fanfare that the results were conclusive. The vitamin had no value in cancer treatment and no further research should be undertaken. The conventional oncology community took these studies as the last word.
In carrying out their studies, it appears that mainstream cancer researchers followed the same modus operandi they’ve used many times when assessing alternative cancer therapies, namely, they did not follow the same treatment protocols used in the successful studies. One of the protocol changes in the Mayo Clinic studies was to give vitamin C orally only, not by IV.
According to cancer researcher Webster Kehr, “The Mayo Clinic studies were done specifically to discredit the work of …Pauling [who] was getting people to believe there was scientific evidence for vitamin C, and had to be stopped.”
Vitamin C has significant protective effects
In spite of the Mayo Clinic’s admonition, there has been an explosion of research into the relationship between vitamin C and cancer.
An exhaustive review was carried out in 1991 by Dr Gladys Block, formerly with the National Cancer Institute. Her conclusion was that vitamin C or vitamin-C-rich foods have significant protective effects.
“Evidence is strong for cancer of the esophagus, oral cavity, stomach and pancreas. There is also substantial evidence of a protective effect in cancers of the cervix, rectum and breast. Even in lung cancer…there is recent evidence of a role for vitamin C.”
A Japanese study showed that patients with uterine cancer lived 15 times as long if they were treated with intravenous vitamin C.
Many studies have reported that vitamin C is toxic to melanoma cells.
Rethinking the role of vitamin C in cancer therapy
In 2004, scientists from the National Institutes of Health found that concentrations of vitamin C in the blood were 6.6 times higher when given intravenously compared with the same amount consumed by mouth.
In a recent scientific paper, researchers at the University of Iowa College of Medicine stated that. . .
“a marked difference existed in these studies. Cameron’s group gave patients ascorbate intravenously as well as orally, while patients in the Mayo Clinic trials received only oral ascorbate. Some years later, clinical data were generated that demonstrated that when ascorbate is given orally, plasma concentrations are tightly controlled.
“…only intravenous administration of ascorbate can yield high plasma levels, i.e. pharmacological levels.”
According to Dr Kingsley, “after a certain level, around 50,000 mg, vitamin C converts into a pro-oxidant and encourages cells in the body to produce hydrogen peroxide.” This chemical can be handled by normal cells as it is disabled by the catalase enzyme. Cancer cells are low in catalase and are therefore vulnerable to attack.”
On the heels of this validation of IV-administered vitamin C, there has been renewed interest in the treatment.
A systematic review of IVC and cancer was carried out in 2014 by Canadian naturopaths and integrated oncologists. It concluded that it “may improve time to relapse and possibly enhance reductions in tumor mass and improve survival in combination with chemotherapy. IVC may improve quality of life, physical function, and toxicities associated with chemotherapy, including fatigue, nausea, insomnia, constipation, and depression. Case reports document several instances of tumor regression and long-term disease-free survival associated with use of IVC.”
How vitamin C works to prevent or treat cancer
- Destroys toxins: Together with enzymes, the vitamin can react with toxins – some of which may be cancer-causing – converting them to substances that are harmless.
- A major building block of collagen: This is the cement that holds cells tightly together. The stronger this is, the less ability cancer cells have to migrate.
- Stimulates the production of hyraluronidase inhibitor: This prevents or retards the ability of cancer cells to burrow through body tissues and spread.
- Plays an Important role in the immune system: Needed by lymphocyte white blood cells.
- Powerful antioxidant: An important scavenger of free radicals.
- Pro-oxidant properties: In very high doses – up to 200,000 mg taken intravenously, it can generate hydrogen peroxide, which is selectively toxic to cancer cells.
- Supports traditional approaches: Enhances the effectiveness of some chemotherapy drugs, reduces the toxicity and side effects of radiation and chemotherapy, and accelerates healing. Provides a greater sense of wellbeing, mental alertness, appetite and pain control. Prolongs survival.
The cancer establishment digs in their heels
Considering the Food & Drug Administration has never approved a cheap, readily available non-toxic treatment for cancer, the agency is not likely to change its position in the near future, if ever. The cancer establishment will dig in its heels, as demonstrated by the most recent systematic review of both oral and IV vitamin C carried out by conventional oncologists, published in January, 2015.
Their study concluded, “There is no high-quality evidence to suggest that ascorbate supplementation in cancer patients either enhances the antitumor effects of chemotherapy or reduces its toxicity.”
Don’t expect a conventional oncologist to offer you this therapy any time soon.
In terms of cancer prevention, a diet high in vitamin C-containing vegetables and some fruits is recommended, as well as supplementation. In very high amounts, vitamin C can upset the digestive tract. Generally, ten grams (10,000 mg) a day by mouth is the maximum most people can tolerate before getting diarrhea, although this varies from person to person. For all practical purposes there’s no limit to the amount of vitamin C a person can tolerate if it’s given by IV. The studies reviewed above ranged as high as 50,000 mg per day.
Lee Euler, Publisher