Well, it’s been 2 days since the lead-in entry on Vitamin C….which may (or may not) be a long time to wait 🙂 Anyway, here you go:
As I had indicated, it turns out that if one were to take vitamin C, at huge doses by mouth, the blood levels you get are puny. When you, or your dog, takes a pill, some gets absorbed into the body, but some passes out in the waste.
People who took 18 grams of the stuff (which equals gagging down 9-18 of those “horse pill” tablets) per day, only ended up with 220 micromol/L in their blood. That means a huge amount Vitamin C ends up literally going down the toilet.
Those studies showing that cancer cells die when exposed to vitamin C needed more than 1,000 micromol/L. Since 220 is much less than 1000, the cancer cells were not dying.
This is probably why the two clinical trials where people had to down 10 grams of vitamin C daily showed no benefit in surviving their cancers.
So the message seems clear…don’t bother with strait oral vitamin C (ascorbic acid) when you are trying to help your dog kill cancer cells. In my opinion, bases on the evidence, you can’t get the levels you want for cancer cell death.
But there are other ways to get the stuff in the body. What about injections?? Does that help?
Well, I could not find solid reports on the effects of intravenous vitamin C given to canine cancer patients. Recall I want good, solid, science-based information…however, I did find some in the human literature.
A paper came out in 2006 that showed 3 human patients with tumors that would have been expected to have led to their demise opted for IV vitamin C at whopping doses. Read the abstract here.
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One had a form of lymphoma (lymphosarcoma), one a kidney tumor, and other was transitional cell cancer of the bladder. All had signs of either local spread (into the surrounding areas) or distant spread (metastasis). Bad, bad stuff.
The amazing thing is that in each of these three, the tumors went away. Gone. Nada. Zippo. And that, my friends, is pretty astounding. Granted, the lady with the kidney tumor (a chronic smoker) developed lung cancer 4 years later…but the information is pretty impressive regardless.
Does this mean everyone with a dog should go out and schedule IV vitamin C injections for their dogs? No. Especially not dogs with urinary stones like calcium oxalates, which likely can be worsened or theoretically even caused by the injections.
But, it does mean that in certain circumstances, it should be considered. Vitamin C IV injections appear fairly safe overall, and people are starting to pay attention to Vitamin C IV injections in cancer therapy…check it out. For the vets out there, the protocols are here too.
Note that it is, at this point, probably unwise to give these doses of IV vitamin C in conjunction with chemotherapy until the issue of whether it helps or hinders chemo is clarified. I would also avoid IV vit C at these doses if your dog is receiving radiation therapy.
Best to all,
Dr. Demian Dressler is internationally recognized as “the dog cancer vet” because of his innovations in the field of dog cancer management, and the popularity of his blog here at Dog Cancer Blog. The owner of South Shore Veterinary Care, a full-service veterinary hospital in Maui, Hawaii, Dr. Dressler studied Animal Physiology and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Davis before earning his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University. After practicing at Killewald Animal Hospital in Amherst, New York, he returned to his home state, Hawaii, to practice at the East Honolulu Pet Hospital before heading home to Maui to open his own hospital. Dr. Dressler consults both dog lovers and veterinary professionals, and is sought after as a speaker on topics ranging from the links between lifestyle choices and disease, nutrition and cancer, and animal ethics. His television appearances include “Ask the Vet” segments on local news programs. He is the author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Avian Veterinarians, the National Animal Supplement Council and CORE (Comparative Orthopedic Research Evaluation). He is also an advisory board member for Pacific Primate Sanctuary.