Vitamin C and Cancer

Last Update: Thu Apr 16 08:25:12 EDT 2015

"There was something odd about the results of the vitamin C and cancer experiments Linus Pauling reported in the 1980s: patients lived longer - much longer. Those treated with vitamin C lived an average of four times as long as control patients who did not receive vitamin C. This massive improvement was unparalleled in the history of medicine."

This quote begins Cancer Breakthrough, Handbook on Vitamin C Therapy for Patients and Doctors by vitamin C experts Steven Hickey,PhD, and Hiliary Roberts, PhD.

A local alternative cancerdoctor uncovered an interesting piece of history that may help partially explain these early Pauling/Cameron results - the secret weapon may have been the flavoring that was added to the vitamin C to make it more palatable to cancer patients!

As reported in this forum topic our local alt. cancer doc has not enjoyed the same success using intravenous vitamin C (IV/C) against cancer as reported by Linus Pauling and Ewan Cameron in their book Vitamin C and Cancer.

Visit this forum topic on how and why new Vitamin C Foundation approved chewable vitamin C may contain Cameron's Secret Weapon against cancer.

Podcast: Expert Medical School Researcher on Intravenous Vitamin C for Cancer

Intravenous Vitamin C for cancer: Integrative pioneer Dr. Jeanne Drisko shares her research on IV C, ketogenic diet and hyperbaric oxygen as effective adjuncts to conventional treatments for cancer--just taking ordinary vitamin C by mouth isn't the same!

Vitamin C: The Miracle Cancer Cure?

Vitamin C author Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD writes about vitamin C and cancer in his seminal book Primal Panacea(2011)
Cancer is a class of diseases to which a group of cells displays uncontrolled growth invading and sometimes destroying adjacent tissues. In its advanced stages it frequently metastasizes or spreads to other locations in the body via lymph or blood. These three malignant properties of cancers differentiate them from benign tumors, which do not rapidly proliferate, invade or metastasize.

Traditional Approach:

Often a combination of one or more of the following is used: surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. The theory behind radiation and chemotherapy is that the more rapidly growing cancer cells are less able to defend themselves from toxic assault than the normal cells. Radiation and nearly all chemotherapy drugs are themselves carcinogenic (cancer-causing), since they increase oxidative stress in all the cells treated, not just cancer cells.

High-Dose Vitamin C Approach:

Case studies demonstrate success in treating and even completely resolving various cancers with high-dose vitamin C.

In advanced cancer patients, high-dose vitamin C therapy compared to conventional therapy at one facility over a 3-year period shows:

  • 75% better breast cancer survivor rate
  • 867% better long cancer survivor rate
  • 107% better colorectal cancer survivor rate

When breast cancer patients made this facility as their first treatment option, the 3-year survival rate improved by 134%

High-dose vitamin C enhances the effectiveness of traditional chemotherapies.

Vitamin C has its own cancer cell-killing ability, and it also significantly improves the cell-killing ability of doxorubicin - even when the vitamin C is given at a non-cytotoxic dosage, it still improves the cell-killing ability of doxorubicin.

-- Thomas Levy, MD


Non-toxic "chemo" is the miraculous promise of vitamin C in the fight against cancer. And you may even get your doctor to go along with vitamin C as an 'adjunct' (not a replacement for) conventional chemo therapy.

Vitamin C has and is being studied for its effects on cancer, and now Vitamin C has been scientifically shown (in the test tube and when combined with Maitake Mushroom D'Fraction) to exceed the ability of conventional chemotherapy to limit the growth of cancer cells in almost all cell lines in vitro. ( Story below )


There must be a downside? Linus Pauling and Ewan Cameron warned that it is prudent to start vitamin C therapy slowly in advanced cancers, otherwise the massive tumor die-off may kill the patient.

Recently, exciting research has been published that documents the ability of vitamins C, E and selenium orally to prevent most cancers, and to decrease the mortality of pancreatic cancers, stomach cancers, prostate cancers and other cancers.

How Does Vitamin C Work Against Cancer?

The Vitamin C Foundation is interested in the how and why vitamin C works against cancer tumors. Almost all authorities agree, hydrogen peroxide produced by high levels of ascorbate (vitamin C) kill cancer cells.

We accept the Hickey/Roberts findings that oral vitamin C by itself is a relatively weak cancer fighter, and if given infrequently, might even feed certain tumors. Intravenous and high bowel tolerance doses of vitamin C for cancer should be augmented with at least one of the following: Vitamin K3, Alpha Lipoic Acid, and most recently, D-Fraction of the Maitake mushroom. Recent research, if verified, shows that vitamin C with these adjunts, esp. D'Fraction, become one of the most powerful cancer killers known.

For optimal results, oral vitamin C should be continuous 24/7. It is believed that Vitamin C's cancer killing ability can be enhanced by adding the following nutritional ascorbate augmentors.

Alpha Lipoic Acid

(orally 600 mg daily in two equal dosages)

From a Riordan Clinic paper: "Lipoic acid (thioctic acid), an aqueous and lipid-soluble antioxidant that recycles vitamin C, decreased the dose of vitamin C required to kill 50% of tumor cells from 700 mg/dL to 120 mg/dl".

Vitamin K3

Vitamin K3 has been removed from the market by the FDA and is not available. (Note: Vitamin K3 is under study in combination with vitamin C as an anticancer drug at the Mayo clinic.

Maitake Mushroom D'Fraction

From a New York University paper, "On the other hand, combination of Maitake Mushroom D'Fraction (300 µg/ml) and Vitamin C (200 µM) was capable of inducing the drastic (>90%) growth reductions due to cell death in these cancer cells. These dramatic results were superior to those from any combinations of drugs and mushroom extract." Amazing 10-Times Anti-Cancer Effect of Mushroom D-Fraction and Vitamin C Together Make it into a Mainstream Journal
Induction of Cell Death in Renal Cell Carcinoma With Combination of D-Fraction and Vitamin C.
Conclusion: The present study demonstrates that the combination of D'Fraction and Vitamin C can become highly cytotoxic, inducing severe cell death in ACHN cells.

Vitamin C Pioneer Hugh Riordan Lecture on Vitamin C and Cancer

How Vitamin C Stops Cancer

A team of Johns Hopkins scientists have shown that in mice at least, vitamin C - and potentially other antioxidants - can indeed inhibit the growth of some tumors

Controversy: Vitamin C Works Inside or Outside Cancer Cells?

Perhaps both. The proponents of Intravenous Vitamin C point to research that shows vitamin C concentrations just outside cancer cells is thousands of times more concentrated that levels that can be achieved via oral vitamin C intake. This camp believes that the hydrogen peroxide created outside cancer cells kills them.

Another camp believes that the oxygen redox levels inside cells (from massive amounts of ascorbate entering cancer cells) is what causes cancer cell death or apoptosis. This camp recommends intravenous vitamin C, but also recommends keeping the pressure on tumor cells with oral vitamin C to tolerance all day long.

So does liposomal vitamin C work in the fight against cancer, and how well?

Author and Vitamin C Expert Dr. Thomas E Levy, MD,JD, wrote to us:

Hi Owen,

I am a fan of IVC, always have been. However, vitamin C that is legitimately encapsulated in liposomes, as I have used from LivOn Labs for many years now, also has a profound impact on cancer. Anecdotally, I have seen many cancers now respond dramatically and/or completely resolve with IVC, sodium ascorbate powder chronically pushed to bowel tolerance, and relatively low dose of liposome-encapsulated vitamin C (3 to 6 grams/packets daily). All these forms of vitamin C as monotherapy have achieved these dramatic results. That said, the more forms you take of vitamin C, in the highest tolerable/affordable doses, the better.

While there are many positive things vitamin C can do to help resolve a cancer by its concentration in the extracellular space, I do not believe the evidence supports this as being the primary site of cancer resolution. Anything that causes apoptosis and/or necrosis of a cancer cell does so by ramping up intracellular oxidative stress to the point that is incompatible with continued cell life. If that point is reached relatively gradually, apoptosis, or programmed cell death occurs. If that intracellular oxidative stress escalates rapidly, it results in frank necrosis and cancer cell rupture.

Probably the most common, and perhaps the only significant way a cancer cell can reach a fatal level of increased intracellular oxidative stress from vitamin C, is via upregulation of the Fenton reaction inside the cell. The Fenton reaction involves this sequence: VC converts ferric to ferrous. Ferrous gives its electron to hydrogen peroxide, and the devastatingly destructive free radical, hydroxyl radical, is produced.

The cancer cell is especially susceptible because its accumulates iron, and it is deficient in catalase, increasing peroxide levels. The Fenton reaction is just "waiting" to be stimulated in such a cell. Furthermore, the liposome delivery system is, far and away, the best way to elevate vitamin C inside the cells of the body, including cancer cells. When the elevated intracellular oxidative stress is downregulated in a cancer cell, such as by removing calcium from the cytoplasm, the cell becomes less malignant and will be less prone to metastasize and proliferate. It is the modulation of the intracellular oxidative stress that allows malignant transformation in the first place, and that can prevent it from taking place as well. The abnormalities in the extracellular space, in my opinion, make a lesser contribution to the malignant state and its maintenance versus the microenvironment inside the cancer cells.

On my website,, I have written multiple articles addressing why tracking blood levels of liposome-encapsulated vitamin C is absolutely irrelevant in ascertaining its clinical impact, why the Multi-C Protocol is the way to go, and why liposomes supercharge critical immune cells with vitamin C, in addition to elevating its levels inside the cells of the body, including any cancer cells that are present. I hope this helps clarify things for the forum participants. At the risk of being accused of trying to make a buck, I covered all of this in even greater detail in my new book, Death by Calcium.

Best regards, Dr. Levy

The Vitamin C Foundation recently (2014) introduced its vitamin C truly encapsulated in liposomes. ( China-free Liposomal Vitamin C). Here is an early report from a customer in France about using this liposomal in a case of advanced breast cancer:

This message is just to provide you some feedback on our case

Your new China-free Liposomal C arrived to Algeria 2 weeks ago, and the MD started providing it to this patient with a very advanced breast cancer, with metastasis in bones and also brain, a lot of chemo and even radiation.

The doctors gave up, so the last hope is with high doses with this Liposomal C, combined with coffee enema.

The MD was careful, he started with only 1 gram per day during 5 days, just to double check the tolerance and if any allergy, so far so good.

He then upgraded her to only 3 gm per day at one time, the patient is having a very good sleep now as she was shaking all the night. Even the color of her face is getting better.

Next week he will upgrade her to 5 grs per day one time on the morning on empty stomach, for another week, and if everything works well, he will upgrade her again to 2 times a day 5grs, and he will keep her that way for what ever needed as period.

I just orders 9 Liposomal C bottles , and also Sodium ascorbic and also the Acid ascorbic jars, he might combine Liposomal with IV and other oral use. - T. B.

Testimonials represent a cross section of the range of results that appear to be typical with these products. Results may vary depending upon use and commitment.

The standard therapeutic recommendation for liposomal vitamin C is 5 grams at one time. Experiments show that truly encapsulated liposomal vitamin C raises vitamin C blood concentrations higher than other forms of oral vitamin C (although this is still thousands of times lower than concentrations produced during intravenous vitamin C.)

Join our forum here for the latest information on Vitamin C & Cancer

For Immediate Release

New York: August 2012

Vitamin C Combined with Maitake Mushroom Extract (D-Fraction) Together Stop (.>=90%) Cancer Growths in All Cell Lines

"Results Compared to individual drugs alone, combinations of those drugs and PDF (D-Fraction, Maitake Mushroom extract) showed significantly (p<0.05) improved anticancer activity, assessed by the growth reduction, on all 3 cancer cell types. On the other hand, combination of D-Fraction (PDF) (300 µg/ml) and Vitamin C (200 µM) was capable of inducing the drastic (.>=90%) growth reductions due to cell death in these cancer cells. These dramatic results were superior to those from any combinations of drugs and PDF.

Conclusions The present study demonstrates that the efficacy of chemotherapeutic drugs can be improved with PDF to a certain extent, but the PDF (mushroom extract-D Fraciont/Vitamin C combination can lead to severe apoptotic cell death with a G1 arrest and the modulation of critical apoptotic regulators. Thus, these findings suggest that PDF may have a great potential as an adjuvant agent that can be combined with chemotherapeutic drugs or with Vitamin C for the improved treatment of various urological malignancies."

Comparison of Anticancer Effects of Two Combination Trials in Urological Cancer Cells: Chemotherapeutic Drugs Combined with D-fraction Versus D-fraction with Vitamin C, Bobby Alexander, Andrew Fishman, Majid Eshghi, Muhammad Choudhury, Sensuke Konno, Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, Aug/Sep 2012, pg. 79-81 Abstract

Vitamin C In the News

Newsletter #4 (Aug 2012)
Newsletter #3 (Sep 2011)
Newsletter #2 (Mar 2010)
Newsletter #1 (Feb 2009)

Recent Studies (Reported in 2012)

Study: Long Term Use of Antioxidant Supplements Cuts Risk of Breast Cancer in Half
Taking antixodant vitamins for a long term may help prevent breast cancer, according to a study published in the Aug 24, 2011 issue of BMC Cancer. The study led by S.Y. Pan of Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and colleagues showed that premenopausal women who had taken zinc supplements for 10 years or longer were 54 percent less likely to develop breast cancer, compared to those who had not. The study also showed that supplementation of multivitamin, beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc for 10 or more years was associated with 26, 42, 21, 25, and 53 percent reduced risk of breast cancer, respectively, in postmenopausal women. On the other hand, dietary antioxidants including beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and zinc or supplementation of antioxidants for less than 10 years were not associated with reduced risk of developing breast cancer.

Study: Antioxidant Intake Significantly Decreases Pancreatic Cancer Risk by 67%
What researchers found was that those who consumed the most selenium roughly halved their risk of developing pancreatic cancer compared to participants with the lowest intake. Even more remarkable, participants in the top 25 percent of consumption of vitamins C, E and selenium reduced their risk by 67 percent. The authors concluded that this amount of reduced risk could possibly prevent 8 percent of pancreatic cancers.

Study: Vitamins E, C Cut Prostate Cancer Risk
The study led by E. Bidoli of Centro di Riferimento Oncologico, IRCCS, Aviano, (PN), Italy and colleagues found men who had highest vitamin E intake were 22 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer, compared to those who had the lowest intake.

A similar association was found between vitamin C intake and risk of prostate cancer. Men who had the highest intake were 14 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer compared with those who had the lowest intake.

Study: Vitamin C, E and selenium drastically reduce risk of death from gastric cancer (stomach cancer) and esophageal cancer in half.
"Gastric cancer or esophageal cancer patients who took vitamin C, E and antioxidative selenium supplements during a 15-year study were 50 percent less likely to die from the cancers."

Report: I Refused Drugs and Chemo to Battle my Breast Cancer With Fresh Veg
She refused not only chemo, but also a mastectomy and radiotherapy advised by doctors.

Instead, the 55-year-old former model decided that what she needed was a complete diet overhaul.

Jessica, from Bedfordshire, England, who now works as a leadership mentor, cut out dairy, upped her vegetable intake and took high doses of vitamin C.

Within three weeks of starting her intensive regime, a scan showed her tumour had gone to sleep and her latest blood tests came back normal.

More Studies

"We have had the opportunity to observe patients who have taken 10g or more per day of vitamin C during intense chemotherapy. We now recommend a high intake of vitamin C, in some cases up to the bowel-tolerance limit, beginning as early as possible." Linus Pauling (Pg. 241, HOW TO LIVE LONGER AND FEEL BETTER, 1986, paperback)

Vitamin C Foundation


In Stock! Foundation-Approved Pauling Therapy Drink Mix "My father loves the taste of Cardio-C." -TOMMY O. (Sweden)