Vitamin C can be given intravenously to achieve much higher blood levels and enhance its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, with limited evidence of improved cancer survival when used with conventional treatments.

Intravenous vitamin C at a glance

Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is an essential nutrient for growth, development, and healing. A natural antioxidant, it can also raise hemoglobin levels and promote iron absorption and storage. When administered intravenously, much higher blood levels are possible, enhancing its therapeutic effect against cancer growth. 

Intravenous (IV) vitamin C is used to reduce some side effects of cancer treatments. Some evidence shows better tumor responses and survival, usually when used with conventional cancer treatment, along with less inflammation. 

Oral vitamin C is another therapy used among people with cancer. We review it separately due to its different benefits, safety issues, access, and affordability.

CancerChoices ratings for IV vitamin C

We rate intravenous vitamin C on seven attributes, with 0 the lowest rating and 5 the highest. We rate the strength of the evidence supporting the use of intravenous vitamin C for a medical benefit, such as improving treatment outcomes or managing side effects.

See how we evaluate and rate complementary therapies ›

2

Improving treatment outcomes

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2

Optimizing your body terrain

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3

Managing side effects and promoting wellness

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0

Reducing cancer risk

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3

Use by integrative oncology experts

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3

Safety

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2

Affordability and access

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Keep reading about intravenous vitamin C

Authors

Nancy Hepp, MS

Lead Researcher
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Ms. Hepp is a researcher and communicator who has been writing and editing educational content on varied health topics for more than 20 years. She serves as lead researcher and writer for CancerChoices and also served as the first program manager. Her graduate work in research and cognitive psychology, her master’s degree in instructional design, and her certificate in web design have all guided her in writing and presenting information for a wide variety of audiences and uses. Nancy’s service as faculty development coordinator in the Department of Family Medicine at Wright State University also provided experience in medical research, plus insights into medical education and medical care from the professional’s perspective.

Nancy Hepp, MS Lead Researcher

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS

Senior Clinical Consultant
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Laura Pole is senior clinical consultant for CancerChoices. Laura is an oncology clinical nurse specialist who has been providing integrative oncology clinical care, navigation, consultation, and education services for over 40 years. She is the co-creator and co-coordinator of the Integrative Oncology Navigation Training at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in Washington, DC. Laura also manages the “Media Watch Cancer News That You Can Use” listserv for Smith Center/Commonweal. In her role as a palliative care educator and consultant, Laura has served as statewide Respecting Choices Faculty for the Virginia POST (Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment) Collaborative as well as provided statewide professional education on palliative and end-of-life care for the Virginia Association for Hospices and Palliative Care.

For CancerChoices, Laura curates content and research, networks with clinical and organizational partners, brings awareness and education of integrative oncology at professional and patient conferences and programs, and translates research into information relevant to the patient experience as well as clinical practice.

Laura sees her work with CancerChoices as a perfect alignment of all her passions, knowledge and skills in integrative oncology care. She is honored to serve you.

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS Senior Clinical Consultant

Last update: April 12, 2024

Last full literature review: January 2023

CancerChoices provides information about integrativein cancer care, a patient-centered approach combining the best of conventional care, self care, and evidence-informed complementary care in an integrated plan cancer care. We review complementaryin cancer care, complementary care involves the use of therapies intended to enhance or add to standard conventional treatments; examples include supplements, mind-body approaches such as yoga or psychosocialtherapy, and acupuncture therapies and self carelifestyle actions and behaviors that may impact cancer outcomes; examples include eating health-promoting foods, limiting alcohol, increasing physical activity, and managing stress practices to help patients and professionals explore and integrate the best combination of conventionalthe cancer care offered by conventionally trained physicians and most hospitals; examples are chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy and complementary therapies and practices for each person.

Our staff have no financial conflicts of interest to declare. We receive no funds from any manufacturers or retailers gaining financial profit by promoting or discouraging therapies mentioned on this site.

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