In a previous edition of my Health Breakthroughs, I wrote an article titled, Make Vitamin C An Ally In Your Cancer Battle. In the article, I cited research demonstrating that intravenous vitamin C treatment reduced the side effects of chemotherapy. In this article, I will address intravenous vitamin C and its ability to reduce the side effects of radiation therapy.
Ionizing radiation is used in oncology to treat localized cancers. Side effects can include fatigue, skin damage, headaches, nausea, vomiting, memory problems, immune system suppression, and localized side effects such as the underlying organs of the area treated.
Research has shown that intravenous vitamin C(IVC) can help improve the quality of life for patients undergoing radiation therapy or who recently had radiation therapy. A study involving multiple medical centers and women with breast cancer who were receiving or had received radiation or chemotherapy was conducted in Germany. Women who received IVC at a dose of only 7500 mg suffered significantly fewer side effects compared to those who received placebo. Improvements were seen with digestive complaints such as nausea and poor appetite, nervous system-related such problems as a loss of motivation and depression, less fatigue, and improved sleep. The IVC treatment was well tolerated.
A recent study examined the effect of high dose IVC during radiation therapy on breast cancer patients. The control group of 354 patients received radiation therapy without vitamin C, and 70 patients received IVC twice a week for at least 4 weeks during radiation therapy. Researchers tracked the immune system markers known as the neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio (NLR). Research has shown that high NLR levels correlate with increased mortality in all cancers. Those patients that received high-dose vitamin C showed a continuous and statistically significant difference in NLR values.
According to a 2018 study, the use of high-dose IVC is “remarkably safe.” The same study noted that the intravenous form of vitamin C is essential since it bypasses the digestive system and goes directly into circulation. The authors note that “higher concentrations are believed to be required for some of the proposed anti-cancer mechanisms of vitamin C and may also enhance diffusion of the vitamin into the hypoxic core of solid tumors.”
For more information on holistic therapies studied during radiation therapy, including what foods to eat and the use of supplements such as glutamine, see my book Outside The Box Cancer Therapies (Hay House).
Carr A, Cook J. Intravenous Vitamin C for Cancer Therapy – Identifying the Current Gaps in Our Knowledge. Front Physiol. 2018;9. doi:10.3389/fphys.2018.01182
Claudia Vollbracht et al. Intravenous Vitamin C Administration Improves Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Patients during Chemo-/Radiotherapy and Aftercare: Results of a Retrospective, Multicentre, Epidemiological Cohort Study in Germany. In Vivo Nov 2011, 25 (6) 983-990;
Park H, Kang J, Choi J, Heo S, Lee D. The Effect of High Dose Intravenous Vitamin C During Radiotherapy on Breast Cancer Patients’ Neutrophil–Lymphocyte Ratio. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2020;26(11):1039-1046. doi:10.1089/acm.2020.0138