Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a vitamin your body needs to form blood vessels, cartilage, muscle and collagen in bones. Vitamin C is also vital to your body’s healing process. It has been used as an effective anti-oxidant, immune booster, anti-viral, and anti-aging supplement when administered and dosed effectively. When given through intravenous route, the higher concentrations and immediate availability to the body makes a Vitamin C IV a popular treatment for a variety of conditions.
Vitamin C IV Frequently Asked Questions:
When taken orally, vitamin C passes through the digestive tract and is only partially absorbed. Many factors can inhibit the absorption of vitamins in the gut including stress, smoking, alcohol, medications, leaky gut, inflammation, and infection. Also, oral dosing can lead to GI side effects such as abdominal cramping and diarrhea. When given through IV Vitamin therapy, vitamin C is 100 percent absorbed into the blood stream and can be given in doses 30-70x that of oral dosing. Therefore, a response can be much more therapeutic in achieving results related to disease prevention and treatment.
In addition, Vitamin C is processed by the body in different ways when given oral vs IV. Oral doses act more like an antioxidant protecting cells from damage from reactive oxygenated compounds. IV vitamin C not only provides a higher level of antioxidant protection, but can also produce hydrogen peroxide at higher doses which can attack infections and cancer cells. Also, it is important to know that the FDA does not regulate oral over the counter vitamins. This can often times lead to questions in quality. In contrast to oral Vitamin C, IV vitamins come directly from a pharmacy that has strict regulations ensuring accurate potency and quality. IV vitamins require a prescription from a physician.
When a patient needs an immediate effect, IV vitamin C can provide the body the quick and effective immune boost which is important in the early stages of infection.
IV Vitamin C can help protect your cells against the effects of free radicals (unstable molecules that can damage cells in your body causing illness and aging). This is known as oxidative stress. An antioxidant can help neutralize the unstable free radicals. As we age, we have less ability to control this damage resulting in physical appearance changes like wrinkles and hair loss. Oxidative stress is linked to many disease states such as dementia, heart disease, autoimmune disease, arthritis, cancer, and diabetes. Free radicals are increased with smoking, alcohol, pollution, pesticides, and certain foods.
Using vitamin C through an IV can provide a much higher level of antioxidant function.
There are many vitamins and supplements classified as antioxidants, but they are not identical in their effectiveness in modifying disease states and aging. IV vitamin C provides a potent and effective dose that is just not comparable to other oral antioxidants.
Oral vitamin C has been shown to shorten the course of viral infections. Oral doses of 2000 mg a day have been shown to be more effective then 1000 mg a day. The serum concentrations of oral Vitamin C are short lived and a person would need to take consistently to get the benefits. Although helpful, oral vitamin C is limited in the therapeutic response because of its restrictions in onset and potency related to the digestive process.
The ability to form hydrogen peroxide is only possible at the higher serum concentrations only achievable by IV route. Viruses are susceptible to this reactive oxygen species inhibiting their growth while the body’s own cells have a protective mechanism that prevents its own cell damage. This application is what makes IV vitamin C a promising treatment being studied in current clinical trials for COVID-19. IV Vitamin C also provides renewed resources of important antioxidant function which is often quickly depleted when fighting a significant infection. The ability to maintain consistent higher levels might help the immune response which can be harmful when it goes into overdrive. This systemic inflammatory response (SIRS) can be more harmful than the actual virus. IV Vitamin C may be one key method to help balance the immune response that can be difficult to regulate with serious infections.
High dose vitamin C is often times used as adjunctive treatment when fighting cancer. Its role is to stop the replication of cancer cells without damaging other cells. It inhibits hyaluronidase which is key in the ability of cancer cells to replicate and metastasize. IVC is used in some as monotherapy or an add on to chemo/radiation. It may also be used in cancer patients to improve quality of life as it helps protect the bodies healthy cells from the effects of cancer or chemotherapy.
Lymes disease, Inflammatory arthritis, and chronic fatigue syndrome are often treated with high dose vitamin C protocols. By lowering the inflammation and enhancing the immune response, patients with these difficult to treat conditions often get significant improvement when traditional treatment do not work.
Vitamin C can be combined with other vitamins in IV Vitamin drips which can lead to a variety of health benefits. Some common combinations include magnesium, b12, b complex, essential minerals, and calcium.
Yes. IV Vitamin C has been used for its affect on lightening skin. It is often used along with glutathione – another potent antioxidant to achieve the desired improved skin appearance and as an effective anti-aging combination.
For general wellness 1 to 2 times a month is a common routine. For mild viral infections 1 or 2 can be used as needed. For more significant infections like COVID-19, clinical trials are investigating daily infusions for 1 week. For cancer therapy 1-3 times a week with higher dosed vitamin C is often used.
The dosing of IV vitamin C can range from lower doses of 1-2 grams and higher doses of 50 grams. Smaller doses can be infused through a slow IV push and can take around 5-15 minutes. Common doses of 10-25 grams of IV vitamin C is used for most medical conditions as well as anti-aging and disease prevention. These doses are mixed in sterile water often with other vitamins and nutrients. These drips are infused over 30-60 minutes. Finally, “high dose vitamin C” is typically around 50 grams and is used mostly used for cancer and more significant infections and chronic inflammatory conditions. This potent dose takes around 120 minutes to infuse.
Most patients tolerate Vitamin C infusions very well. Without involving the digestive tract we can eliminate the GI issues such as nausea, diarrhea or abdominal cramping that some get with oral vitamin dosing. Higher doses of IV vitamin C can lower blood glucose levels and it is encouraged for those patients to eat before infusions. Caution should be used in pregnancy as there is not much safety data available.
The best way to determine if IV vitamin C is right for you is to consult with a physician first. A medical history and exam should be performed to best customize a treatment that suits your needs. IV Vitamin C might be just what your body needs to get into an optimal state of health.
The price ranges between $100 – $250 depending on the amount of vitamin C used and other vitamins added.
Healthy Solutions by Dr. Luciano offers medical weight loss, wellness, and aesthetic services to residents of Bucks County, PA and the surrounding areas.
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Written by Dr. Michael Luciano