CellVitaminC
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REVIEW ARTICLE


Pharmacokinetics of Vitamin C: insights into the oral and intravenous

administration of ascorbate


JORGE DUCONGE, Ph D ; JORGE R. MIRANDA-MASSARI, Pharm D;

MICHAEL J. GONZALEZ, Ph D, DSC, FACNF; JAMES A. JACKSON, MT (ASCP) CLS, Ph D, BCLD (ABB);

WILLIAM WARNOCK, NDY; NEIL H. RIORDAN, Ph D, PA-C.

There is a strong advocacy movement for large doses

of vitamin C. Some authors argue that the biological halflife

for vitamin C at high plasma levels is about 30

minutes, but these reports are the subject of some

controversy. NIH researchers established the current

RDA based upon tests conducted 12 hours (24 half lives)

after consumption. The dynamic flow model refutes

the current low-dose recommendations for dietary

intakes and links Pauling’s mega-dose suggestions with

other reported effects of massive doses of ascorbate for

the treatment of disease. Although, a couple of

controlled clinical studies conducted at The Mayo Clinic

did not support a significant benefit for terminal cancer

patients after 10 grams of once-a-day oral vitamin C,

other clinical trials have demonstrated that ascorbate

may indeed be effective against tumors when

administered intravenously. Recent studies confirmed

that plasma vitamin C concentrations vary substantially

with the route of administration. Only by intravenous
administration, the necessary ascorbate levels to kill
cancer cells are reached in both plasma and urine.
Because the efficacy of vitamin C treatment cannot be
judged from clinical trials that use only oral dosing,
the role of vitamin C in cancer treatment should be
reevaluated. One limitation of current studies is that
pharmacokinetic data at high intravenous doses of
vitamin C are sparse, particularly in cancer patients.
This fact needs prompt attention to understand the
significance of intravenous vitamin C administration.
This review describes the current state-of-the-art in oral
and intravenous vitamin C pharmacokinetics. In
addition, the governmental recommendations of dose
and frequency of vitamin C intake will also be
addressed.
Key words: Vitamin C; Pharmacokinetics;
Intravenous; Mega-Dose; Dynamic Flow.

Figure 1. Vitamin C disposition profiles after intravenous

infusions in a 72 years-old patient. This figure is electronically

reprinted with permission from the International Society for

Orthomolecular Medicine (ISOM), the publisher of Journal of

Orthomolecular Medicine (taken from Riordan NH, Riordan

HD, Casciari JP. Clinical and Experimental Experiences with

Intravenous Vitamin C. J of Orthomolecular Medicine 2000;

15(4): 201-213)

Figure 3. Truncated plasma pharmacokinetic profiles (absorption
phase) after a single 36-gram dose of liposomal ascorbate in two
subjects. Note both peaked about 6 hours (360 minutes) after
the dose. Data supplied by courtesy of Steve Hickey.