IV Vitamin C Therapy: Uses, Benefits, & Exciting Research

The pursuit of optimal health often leads us down intricate paths where traditional medicine meets alternative therapies. IV (Intravenous) vitamin C therapy, once a niche treatment championed by wellness enthusiasts, now sits on the cusp of medical breakthrough.

With its purported benefits for a myriad of health symptoms, it's crucial to weigh the treatment's potential against misunderstood risks. In this post, we will debunk myths, examine the science, and discuss the careful navigation required by those venturing into the realm of IV vitamin C therapy.

The Science Behind IV Vitamin C

IV vitamin C therapy is the direct introduction of ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, into the bloodstream. Unlike oral ingestion, which is subject to the body's digestive and absorptive pathways, intravenous ascorbic acid bypasses these steps and allows for much higher concentrations of the vitamin to reach the blood.

When taken orally, vitamin C is water-soluble and dependent on active transporter proteins. High doses of oral vitamin C can lead to gastrointestinal distress and are poorly absorbed. Instead, intravenous administration achieves plasma concentrations unattainable through diet alone—levels that proponents claim can exert potent antioxidant effects and even anti-cancer mechanisms.

Undoubtedly, robust studies on IV vitamin C are fewer compared to the vitamin's oral consumption. However, in the context of diseases like sepsis and cancer, preliminary research suggests that high-dose IV vitamin C may influence the body's immune response and have cytotoxic effects on certain cancer cells.

Related: Anti-Aging Medicine Breakthroughs at CentreSpringMD

Uses and Benefits

High dose vitamin C therapy via IV infusion is employed in a range of conditions due to the promising health benefits associated with high serum concentrations of vitamin C.

Chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disorders, often characterized by oxidative stress, are potential targets for treatment given vitamin C's reputation as an anti-inflammatory agent (1). 

Learn more about the benefits of IV Drips & Vitamin Infusions

High-Dose Vitamin C Treatment for Cancer Therapy

In cancer care, where traditional chemotherapy can cause oxidative damage to healthy cells, IV vitamin C might help mitigate these effects. And, when used alongside certain chemotherapeutic drugs, some studies suggest it can improve the effectiveness and reduce the severity of side effects.

Several mechanisms support the use of high dose vitamin C for cancer treatment and prevention, including (2):

  • Increasing immune system activity
  • Preventing metastasis by inhibiting certain enzymatic reactions
  • Inhibiting tumor-causing viruses
  • Correcting for vitamin C deficiency, which is associated with cancer patients
  • Wound healing in patients with cancer subsequent to surgery
  • Improving chemotherapy sensitivity
  • Decreasing chemotherapy toxicity
  • Neutralizing certain carcinogens

In one study, patients with terminal uterine malignancies who received 5 to 30 g of vitamin C daily lived six times longer than those who received only 4 g of vitamin C daily (3).

Vitamin C for Anti-Aging, Skin Firmness, & Hair Growth

IV vitamin C has been lauded for its association with collagen synthesis, a process implicated in wound healing and skin health.  It's not uncommon for IV vitamin C enthusiasts to attribute the therapy to youthful skin, hair growth, and improved complexion.

Because vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, it may help mitigate damage caused by environmental stressors, leading to healthier skin and hair. Many patients may feel that their skin looks more radiant after treatment. Vitamin C intake has also been associated with reduced risk of skin dryness and wrinkles.

Learn about becoming a new patient

Reduces Inflammation Caused by Low Blood Sugar in Diabetes

Vitamin C infusion during periods of low blood sugar reduces the generation of oxidative stress and inflammation, protecting blood vessel health in individuals with type 1 diabetes (4). 

Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia can be considered a new risk factor for vascular complications related to diabetes, such as atherosclerosis or nephropathy. Hypoglycemia leads to oxidative stress, which then induces blood vessel dysfunction and inflammation.

Because IV vitamin C can reduce oxidative stress, it can potentially support the health of blood vessels in people with diabetes or those who struggle to control blood sugar levels.

Related: Is Type 2 Diabetes Reversible?

Vitamin Reduces Symptoms of Anxiety & Depression

Ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, has shown to have neuroprotective and antidepressant-like effects in numerous studies (1).

Interestingly, the brain maintains a higher level of ascorbic acid, even when bodily levels are lower. This preferential accumulation makes sense in the context that the brain is especially sensitive to oxidative damage from free radicals with its high oxygen content and relatively low levels of internal antioxidants.

Oxidative damage has been associated with depression, anxiety disorders, and stress. Depressive individuals present lower plasma levels of antioxidants, including vitamin C (or in this case, ascorbate). A deficiency in vitamin C is also associated with abnormalities in areas of the brain that control learning & memory, as well as a risk of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Vitamin C Supports Immune Health

In stressful situations or illness, vitamin C is consumed quickly as the body tries to mitigate oxidative damage. In these instances, IV vitamin C may help restore depleted levels and support the body’s natural defense mechanisms (5).

During any infection, cells experience oxidative stress, and undergo depletion of vitamin C, magnesium, and glutathione, while calcium is increased. Increased intracellular (inside the cell) calcium increases all-cause mortality risk (6), while increasing magnesium decreases all-cause mortality risk (7). 

Delivery of intravenous vitamin C decreases calcium levels inside a cell (8), as does the presence of magnesium. So, when intracellular magnesium and vitamin C levels are adequate, the cell is protected from oxidative stress and can perform its functions as normal. 

Browse: The Cold & Flu Buster IV Infusion 

Potential Risks & Considerations

While the therapeutic window for vitamin C is wide—meaning the gap between the levels that provide benefit and those that can cause harm is large—there are caveats to high-dose administration. Patients receiving IV vitamin C may experience minor discomfort at the infusion site or feelings of warmth, flushing, or lightheadedness. In rare cases, excessive doses may lead to kidney stones.

Some studies suggest that high-dose IV vitamin C may reduce the effectiveness of certain chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy in cancer patients. Therefore, it’s crucial to consult with a medical professional before pursuing this treatment.

Additionally, IV vitamin C may interfere with certain medications and medical conditions, such as glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, a condition that can cause red blood cells to break down (9). 

Navigating the World of IV Vitamin C

For those seeking IV vitamin C therapy, ensuring safety and efficacy is paramount. It is essential to seek treatment from reputable providers, ideally under the guidance of a licensed integrative medicine physician.

A comprehensive health evaluation before initiating treatment can assess the appropriateness of IV vitamin C.

What to expect with IV vitamin C infusion

Dosing and duration of treatment may vary depending on your health needs. A typical regimen could involve anywhere from 4 to 25 grams, delivered over an hour or two, with treatments repeated anywhere from once per week to every few weeks.

IV Infusions containing vitamin C at CentreSpringMD include:

  • The Lush Locks drip
  • The Cold & Flu Buster
  • The Beauty Drip
  • The Recharge Drip
  • The Migraine Drip
  • The Fertility Drip

Browse IV Infusions>>

The process starts by inserting a needle into a vein in the hand or arm and delivering the vitamin C solution. Patients typically sit in a comfortable chair during treatment, and the infusion may take anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours.

During the infusion, patients may experience a warm sensation or flushing in their chest or face as the vitamin C solution enters your bloodstream.

Learn more about IV Infusions.

The Future of IV Vitamin C Therapy

The burgeoning research and evidence around IV vitamin C therapy present an exciting world of potential health benefits. It’s also one that requires thoughtful consideration and close collaboration with an integrative healthcare team. While the promise is alluring, an informed approach that acknowledges both the benefits and risks of IV vitamin C therapy will empower individuals to make decisions that align with their health goals, whether as an adjunct therapy to diseases like cancer, or simply to maintain overall wellness.

For those considering IV vitamin C, the message is clear: do your homework, have open discussions with providers, and keep your medical team in the loop. With some consideration, patients can maximize its potential in a safe and sustainable manner.


Holistic Medicine, IV Drip, IV therapy, IV vitamin C

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