Nutrient Highlight: Intravenous Vitamin C

Intravenous vitamin C (IVC) has been receiving a lot of attention lately. China has been conducting a few clinical trials using IVC to treat the pneumonia and severe acute respiratory syndrome caused by the coronavirus. A pulmonologist in New York has been following suit, administering IVC to coronavirus-infected patients in the intensive care unit with encouraging results (the patients who receive IVC do significantly better than those who do not get IVC; you can check out the article: )

But what exactly is IVC, what does it do, and what else can it be used for? This article will outline everything you need to know.

What is Intravenous Vitamin C?

Intravenous vitamin C is the administration of vitamin C directly into your veins. This form of administration bypasses your gut and gets this precious nutrient directly into your bloodstream where it can be distributed to, and utilized by, your cells. Bypassing the gut may be desired in certain cases where digestive function isn’t optimal, like in leaky gut syndrome or malabsorption. Bypassing the gut also mitigates the major and most uncomfortable side effects of oral vitamin C – diarrhea and gastrointestinal upset.

What role does IVC play?

Vitamin C is considered an essential nutrient, meaning we cannot make it on our own and need to obtain it through diet or supplementation. It has many important roles in the body, like collagen synthesis (collagen is a major component of all connective tissue, including the elastic fibers in your blood vessels!), neurotransmitter synthesis, and natural immune enhancement. These roles make it useful for wound and soft-tissue healing, chronic venous insufficiency, acne, eczema, mood regulation, depression, cognitive impairment, preventing and treating the common cold and other viral infections, allergic rhinitis (hay fever), asthma, and urinary tract infections.

Vitamin C is perhaps most known for its powerful antioxidant properties at physiological doses, making it useful for macular degeneration, glaucoma, preventing cataracts, cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, healthy aging, and detoxification.

At supraphysiological doses – meaning doses that exceed your cellular requirements – vitamin C acts more like a pro-oxidant, generating free radicals and oxidative stress. Attaining supraphysiological doses is most easily and most commonly done with intravenous administration. At these high doses, vitamin C is most often used as an adjunctive therapy for cancer treatment. Normal, healthy tissue contains enzymes that neutralize hydrogen peroxide – the major free radical created by high dose vitamin C – and turn it into water and oxygen. Cancerous, tumor tissue is often lacking in these enzymes, and thus the hydrogen peroxide burst leads to cell damage and ultimately cell death.

When used appropriately, IVC is a wonderful, safe, and effective therapy for a wide range of conditions. If you would like to learn more, or discover how IVC can be part of your treatment plan, contact the clinic today to schedule a complementary 10 minute consultation with Dr. Christoforou: