Vitamin C Injections A Preliminary Overview and Discussion
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) injections trend from time to time, usually tied to the latest diet, skin care or health craze. Generally speaking a well balanced diet rich in citrus fruits will provide the average person more than enough vitamin C for optimal health. There may be circumstances where a person may wish to elevate their intake of vitamin C over the level possible through normal dietary intake. Supplementary vitamin C can be taken by sublingual administration such as encapsulated vitamins or in rarer circumstances vitamin C injections.
Let’s begin by discussing a few fundamental facts about vitamin C and vitamin C injections
Fact #1 The human body does not produce vitamin C naturally. The long and the short of it is that vitamin C must be taken from an outside source through food or supplementation. (1) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080320120726.htm
Fact #2 Vitamin C injections are only useful if there is an underlying absorption issue (individual’s with severe intestinal malabsorption or cachexia may fall into this category) or extremely high (supranatural) blood serum concentrations of vitamin C are the objective. We’ll note here that oral administration of vitamin C can produce a maximum of 220 micro ml/L. IV administration of injectable vitamin C preparations can achieve blood plasma concentrations as high as 26,000 micro ml/L. (2) https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/
The normal reference range for vitamin C is widely regarded as being between 23-57 micro ml/L. As we can see there is a huge spread between what the “normal” blood serum range for vitamin C is and the levels that are achievable through oral and injectable (IV) vitamin C supplements. When looking at the wide spread in the levels achievable through dietary intake and those attainable through supplementation, the debate on the efficacy of vitamin C supplementation and particularly the injectable IV form makes sense. (3)https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/
Why extreme suplementation?
For many the incentive to achieve extremely high blood serum levels of vitamin C is motivated by the desire to increase collagen production and or alter skin pigmentation. The latter is a discernible usage trend particularly in parts of Asia. While vitamin C is indeed required for collagen formation there are as of yet no clinical trials which support the claim that these preparations geared towards achieving supranatural concentrations have a definable clinical dermatological usefulness. The market on the other hand speaks otherwise with board certified plastic surgeon’s making claims that vitamin C injection preparations may reduce wound healing after cosmetic procedures by up to a third due to vitamin C’s collagen producing powers. We look forward to seeing further research come out on this usage. The market has been ahead of the accepted science before, whether this is the case here remains to be seen but we remain optimistic. (reduce scarring? sources for 1/3)
The real debate around the clinical usefulness of vitamin C injectable preparations has focused on whether high concentrations of vitamin C may have a practical application as a pro-oxidant capable of selectively targeting certain cancer cells through the generation of hydrogen peroxide. The National Institute of Health now recognizes that there is a distinct possibility that vitamin C blood serum concentrations of 26,000 micro mol/L may be selectively toxic to some cancer cells. In light of these findings the mainstream medical establishment is now open to exploring how vitamin C injection IV preparations may have an application in oncological support in the treatment of some cancers. As we’ve brought the issue up we should note here that there is also the possibility that the use of vitamin C IV injection preparations could also inhibit treatment in certain contexts and as such one should only explore their usefulness with and under the guidance of a licensed specialist.
What’s particularly interesting about the medical establishment’s acknowledgement of the potential value of this application is that for decades it was vehemently denied that high dose vitamin C could be useful in treating serious disease states. Latterly it was realised that studies debunking claims of Vitamin C’s potential usefulness had not used injectable IV preparation’s and as such had not explored vitamin C’s potential at the higher end of the spectrum. Quite obviously mentioning a supplement in the context of serious diseases such as cancer is a very sensitive issue. We don’t advocate it’s use here one way or the other. The point is that in the debate around vitamin supplementation and particularly where injectable vitamins such as injectable vitamin C are concerned, the thinking is continuously evolving. We the health care consumer must stay abreast of the current research and where reasonable question existing paradigms and modalities based on the totality of the information available to us.