What is Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) and Why Do I Need It?
- Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant and is essential nutrient for life. Humans cannot make ascorbic acid.
- Vitamin C is necessary for the formation of collagen in the skin, tendons, ligaments, bone and blood vessels. The name “ascorbic” comes from its ability to prevent and cure scurvy. The human body can store only a certain amount of vitamin C. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C is 90 mg. for men and 75 mg. for women. This minimum recommendation was obtained from healthy, non-smoking individuals and was designed to prevent scurvy. The RDA does not take into account the other potential benefits of higher doses.
- In the 1970’s, two–time Nobel Laureate, Dr. Linus Pauling proposed that vitamin C could be used to treat cancer, and stimulate the immune system. Pauling popularized the use of oral doses up to 10 grams to treat various ailments including cancer and the common cold. Recent studies using the intravenous route of administration are showing promise to Paulings’ theories. Today vitamin C is commonly consumed to enhance the overall immune system.
Is There a Difference Between Orally Administered and Intravenous Vitamin C?
- There is a definite difference between the amounts of vitamin C that ends up in your blood depending on method of administration. There are limits to how much vitamin C an individual can tolerate by the oral route. In single doses above 2 grams, many develop gastrointestinal irritation leading to diarrhea. Frequent oral doses can be used to increase the total daily intake but the body will generally limit how much is absorbed.
- Intravenous administration bypasses the GI system and allows the delivery of much higher doses of vitamin C. Typically, doses of 15-100 grams of vitamin C and other nutrients are administered intravenously over one to three hours. The blood levels achieved by intravenous administration is 50 to 70 times higher than the maximum concentrations achieved with an oral dosage. It is precisely this high concentration of vitamin C that is believed to have powerful beneficial effects without significant adverse complications.
How Does Vitamin C Promote Wellness?
- Recent studies have suggested that intravenous administration of vitamin C could result in selective destruction of susceptible cancer cells (or infectious agents) without harming normal cells. Controversy exists regarding the mode of action of vitamin C on cancer cells. You should be aware that vitamin C therapy should be considered an adjunct to conventional cancer care. Many patients who receive vitamin C nutritional therapy along with traditional cancer care live a fuller, more vibrant, energetic life and suffer fewer side effects.
- Vitamin C also is thought to stimulate your immune system and helps your body fight infection. It helps protect you against various viral and bacterial infections including colds and flu. While Vitamin C is helpful during an infection, it is a better idea to not wait until an infection starts.
What conditions/Diseases Can Be Treated with Vitamin C Infusions?
In addition to assisting in the treatment of some forms of cancer and respiratory tract infections, vitamin C infusions have been used to support the immune system, aide in skin rejuvenation, elevate energy levels, help in management of hypertension, COPD, asthma, fibromyalgia, muscle spasm, shingles, cystitis, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, infectious mononucleosis, and hepatitis. Along with other nutrients (see below, Meyers Cocktail) the infusion helps with lethargy, fatigue, weakness and lack of energy conditions.
What is the Meyer’s Cocktail
The “Myer’s Cocktail” is an intravenous vitamin-and-mineral formula used in the treatment of a wide range of conditions. Dr. John Meyers pioneered the use of this nutrient rich intravenous infusion to treat asthma, migraines, fatigue (including chronic fatigue syndrome), fibromyalgia, muscle spasms, upper respiratory tract infections, chronic sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, cardiovascular disease, optimization of athletic performance and other disorders. The “Myers’ cocktail,” generally consists of magnesium, B vitamins, and varying doses of vitamin C. The Myer’s Cocktail can be very useful in situations where oral nutrients or other therapies are not working. When nutrients are given intravenously, your digestive system is bypassed and a much higher level of nutrition can be delivered directly to your cells via the bloodstream. The nutrients then kick-start those cells which are performing below par. The general effect of a Myers Cocktail intravenous therapy appears to be a marked improvement in the energy capacity and function of cells. If your cells can function at their best, it’s more likely you can recover from a health problem.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
Your underlying medical condition will determine the dosage, how many and how frequently you should be treated. Dr. Hernberg will review the treatment plan with you and your response to treatment will help guide therapy. Generally, chronic conditions will require longer treatment schedules whereas acute illnesses often respond to prompt therapy of one-to-three infusions.
Does My Insurance cover intravenous Vitamin Infusions?
If you do not have documented evidence of a vitamin deficiency your insurance will most likely not cover the infusion cost. They will tell you it is medically unnecessary, and/or not supported by scientific studies. Your insurance carrier will also not cover the cost of the infusion if the treatment is to maintain wellness.
What are the Complications to Intravenous Vitamin C infusion?
Like any medication there are always risks for adverse reactions raging from mild to severe life-threatening events. Thousands of infusions have been administered in the U.S. with any complications. The risk of significant adverse reactions including anaphylaxis is rare. More common and less serious complications include a sensation of warmth, lightheadedness, upset stomach, and irritation and/or phlebitis of the vein. Kidney stones also a potential risk to an infusion.
Are there drug interactions with Vitamin?
Individuals taking blood thinners may need their dosages adjusted. Most other medications seem to have minimal interaction.
Do I Need Any Lab Studies Before Starting Intravenous Therapy?
It is a good idea to have a laboratory baseline assessment of your health and especially important when treating individuals with life-threatening illnesses. Generally, you will need to have a recent complete blood count, serum chemistry profile with electrolytes, urinalysis, vitamin D, and magnesium levels. Individuals will also need to be tested for glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency. It is an inherited condition in which a person’s body has a defective enzyme, G6PD that helps red blood cells (RBCs) function normally. Patients with this deficiency should not receive vitamin C infusions because red blood cells may be destroyed, resulting in anemia.