I pledged a few months ago that I wasn’t going to give him any more attention, but AIDS drug cheerleader J Todd DeShong has outdone himself recently by declaring that intravenous vitamin C is more toxic and dangerous than the antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) used to treat “HIV”. I can’t resist exposing his fraudulent construction of the “evidence” for his case.
High dose intravenous ascorbate (IVA), also known as intravenous vitamin C, may be one of the best researched “alternative” treatments around, especially for cancer. Even mainstream doctors and researchers are now studying it. I became interested in the therapy personally after a recent cancer scare, and it is no secret that I am currently experimenting with it for my own health.
Since DeShong relied heavily on a single wikipedia entry on vitamin C for his own “research” (though he never cited that or any other source), it seems appropriate to note that the same wikipedia article offers a pretty good defense of IVA as well:
It should be noted however that there are a vast amount of clinical trials and published scientific evidence that show the use of Megadose IV Vitamin C therapy (not oral Vitamin C) has proved to be very successful in treating patients with various illnesses including cancer. These clinical trials report that in some case Megadoses of IV Vitamin C therapy have reversed cancer and other maladies altogether.
Some of this research is funded by the NIH and is being conducted right here in Kansas City, by Dr. Jeanne Drisko at the University of Kansas Medical Center’s Program in Integrative Medicine.
The benefits of IVA for “AIDS” or other autoimmune disorders is less clear, but promising enough to warrant further research. Because there is no profit from prescribing ascorbate, any evidence for its efficacy is going to have to come from grass roots experimenters. I intend to blog more about IVA, and my own reasons for experimenting with it, as well as any results from doing so, in the future.
In the meantime, let’s see what’s got DeShong so aflutter about the hazards of IVA that he chose to post on his blog yet again about my health and my treatment choices. (Note: unlike DeShong, I gladly abide by basic blogging etiquette and provide working links to source material for my readers.)
DeShong lists the following as side effects of intravenous vitamin C therapy—common and potential:
Common Side Effects
- Flushing of the face
- Disturbed sleep
How about that? All the same ones as those damned, deadly, toxic ARVs!
Potential Side Effects
- Iron Posioning [sic]
- Hemolytic Anemia
- Kidney Stones
- Spontaneous Abortions
- Lowered Mitochondria Production/Mitochondria Dysfunction
- Death By Overdose
Given a list of dangerous and horrific side effects like this, why in the world would anyone consider IVA? That is exactly the question DeShong would like his readers to ask. Unfortunately, as has been the case too often with this particular “scientific scholar”, DeShong has failed to cite a source for his information because it would be too obvious that he manipulated it to fit his personal beliefs and agenda.
What reputable scientific journal published these known side effects? Why, none other than wikipedia! Yes, that bastion of reference that has increasingly allowed health and medical information published there to be controlled by Pharma-backed hacks. This lack of objectivity and credibility has gotten so bad that most academics ban their students from referencing the site once they’ve graduated from junior high school. As can be learned from none other than wikipedia itself:
However, citation of Wikipedia in research papers may not be considered acceptable, because Wikipedia is not considered a credible source.
I can forgive DeShong for resorting to the easiest source though. We all do it from time to time, especially if we’re in a hurry, or too lazy to dig much deeper, or if the topic is too mundane to warrant mucking with by corporate interests. However, there is no excuse for trying to make a supposedly scientific point by citing information without a reference to the source. To see why DeShong chose not to do so in this case, all one has to do is read the original material. He not only cites from a single questionable source, he goes through incredible acts of contortion to misrepresent the information he finds there. It turns out that his post is pure concoction, like forcing unmatched pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together and hoping no one will notice the transparent tape he used to try to hold it together.
To make it easier to follow along, all material lifted directly from this wikipedia article is in quotes and italicized. I’ve added bolding for emphasis.
Common Side Effects
Indigestion: “Relatively large doses of oral vitamin C may cause indigestion, particularly when taken on an empty stomach.”
IVA is not oral vitamin C. This is not a reported side effect of intravenous vitamin C.
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, flushing of the face, headache, fatigue and disturbed sleep: Again, this apparently applies to oral supplementation and these “common side effects”, according to the citation at wikipedia, is based on a 1936 study where “doses up to 6000 mg of ascorbic acid were given to 29 infants, 93 children of preschool and school age, and 20 adults for more than 1400 days.”
All DeShong did was take this list of results from a single 75-year-old study of oral vitamin C using mostly infants and children and put them into bullet points. That’s some creative writing. None of these side effects apply to intravenous vitamin C, and in fact are part of the reason why the necessarily high doses must be done intravenously in the first place.
Furthermore, IVA therapy typically lasts weeks, at most a few months, not nearly four years (1400 days).
In other words, these are apples and those are oranges.
Potential Side Effects
DeShong’s intellectual contorting only gets better. First of all, he changes the word “possible” to “potential”.
Iron Poisoning: “As vitamin C enhances iron absorption, iron poisoning can become an issue to people with rare iron overload disorders, such as haemochromatosis.”
Notice the word “rare”? Qualified practitioners of IVA require patients to undergo pre and post-infusion blood work to monitor organ function and essential blood levels.
Hemochromatosis: “A genetic condition that results in inadequate levels of the enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) can cause sufferers to develop hemolytic anemia after ingesting specific oxidizing substances, such as very large dosages of vitamin C.“
Basic blood work should also be done to detect possible existing conditions, including anemia, regardless of cause. Most patients with this condition will know it prior to seeking IVA. According to the NIH, hemolytic episodes, which this article is concerned about, are usually of short duration and resolve on their own. They can also be caused by consuming fava beans or taking anti-malarial drugs.
Kidney Stones: “There is a longstanding belief among the mainstream medical community that vitamin C causes kidney stones, which is based on little science…”
But that lack of scientific basis doesn’t stop DeShong from including it on his list of “potential side effects”. It may, however, explain why the medical technician refused to infuse me with IVA until I produced recent results of my metabolic profile to prove that my kidneys and liver were functioning properly.
Spontaneous Abortions: “In a study conducted on rats, during the first month of pregnancy, high doses of vitamin C may suppress the production of progesterone from the corpus luteum. [snip to spare my readers] …high doses of vitamin C (1000+ mg) are theorized to induce an early miscarriage.”
If DeShong had kept reading the wikipedia article, he would have learned: “However, in a previous study of 79 women with threatened, previous spontaneous, or habitual abortion, Javert and Stander (1943) had 91% success with 33 patients who received vitamin C together with bioflavonoids and vitamin K (only three abortions), whereas all of the 46 patients who did not receive the vitamins aborted.”
I am willing to accept DeShong’s contortion that this kind of supposedly scientific evidence offered at wikipedia might justify considering spontaneous abortions as a risk. It would be prudent to err on the side of caution and give DeShong and other theorists the benefit of the doubt that there is some risk to pregnant women. While I have not confirmed this, I doubt that any doctor—alternative or orthodox—would prescribe or administer IVA to pregnant women in the first place.
Lowered Mitochondria Production/Mitochondria Dysfunction: “A study in rats and humans suggested that adding Vitamin C supplements to an exercise training program lowered the expected effect of training on VO2Max. Although the results in humans were not statistically significant, this study is often cited as evidence that high doses of Vitamin C have an adverse effect on exercise performance. In rats, it was shown that the additional Vitamin C resulted in lowered mitochondria production. Since rats are able to produce all of their needed Vitamin C, however, it is questionable whether they offer a relevant model of human physiological processes in this regard.”
It was hard not to bold the entire quote from the wikipedia source. Bottom line: there is no evidence whatsoever that IVA lowers mitochondria production, or causes mitochondria dysfunction in humans. None. Zero. Zilch.
Death By Overdose (bolded in the original): “Vitamin C… exhibits remarkably low toxicity. The LD50 (the dose that will kill 50% of a population) in rats is generally accepted to be 11.9 grams per kilogram of body weight when given by forced gavage (orally). The mechanism of death from such doses (1.2% of body weight, or 1.8 lbs for a 150 lb human) is unknown, but may be more mechanical than chemical. The LD50 in humans remains unknown, given lack of any accidental or intentional poisoning death data. However, as with all substances tested in this way, the rat LD50 is taken as a guide to its toxicity in humans.”
Let me rephrase this in simple English. If you force 1.8 pounds of pure ascorbate vitamin C down the throats of a group of 150# humans, half of them might die, based on mouse models, and even then probably not from toxicity, but rather choking.
At this point, I am wiping the tears from my eyes at how ludicrous, to say nothing of dishonest, the case that DeShong has attempted to build to disparage intravenous vitamin C is. If he were here, I’d hug him for offering such a wonderful example of his scientific prowess and analytical abilities.
The kicker is that DeShong dares to declare that intravenous vitamin C therapy is more toxic and dangerous than antiretroviral drugs, including AZT and similar analogues.
How about that? “Dissidents” really go on about ARVs and mitochodria dysfuncion and this therapay [sic] causes that as well. OH, and how about the biggie that never seems to happen with ARVs: Death by Overdose!!
Such an assertion is so preposterous that I just couldn’t resist giving DeShong’s logic and rationale more exposure here.
One obvious flaw in his assertion is that IVA, by definition is a relatively short term therapy for a period of weeks, or at most, a few months. ARVs, on the other hand are always prescribed for life.
Responsible use of IVA requires patients and physicians to evaluate and possibly rule out its use for some patients, especially those with kidney or liver problems, and apparently pregnancy. Barring those conditions, there is no evidence of the kinds of toxicity and adverse long term effects that are associated with ARVs.
Forgive me if I once again resort to citing wikipedia to save some time, since I’m already there for this partial list of adverse effects of ARVs:
Adverse effects of antiretroviral drugs vary by drug, by ethnicity, by individual, and by interaction with other drugs, including alcohol. Hypersensitivity to some drugs may also occur in some individuals. The following list is not complete, but includes several of the adverse effects experienced by patients taking some antiretroviral drugs:
* Abdominal pain (Ritonavir)
* Alopecia (INF-alpha)
* Anemia (AZT)
* Diarrhea (Abacavir)
* Dizziness (Vertigo)
* Fanconi syndrome
* Flatulence (Tenofovir)
* Headache (3TC overdose)
* Hyperpigmentation (Emtricitabine)
* Ingrown nails (IDV)
* Insomnia (Emtricitabine)
* Lipodystrophy / HIV-associated_lipodystrophy
* Liver failure
* Mental confusion (EVZ)
* Mitochondrial toxicity (ddI > d4T > AZT)
* Mood swings
* Myalgia (AZT overdose)
* Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (chronic fatigue syndrome)
* Myopathy (AZT overdose)
* Nausea (AZT)
* Neutropenia (AZT)
* Nightmares (EFZ)
* Oral ulcers (ddC)
* Pancreatitis (ddI)
* Paresthesia (IDV)
* Peripheral neuropathy (ddI, ddC, d4T)
* Renal failure or insufficiency (IDV)
* Somnolence (drowsiness)
* Stevens-Johnson syndrome
* Change in taste perception
* Vomiting (AZT)
* Xeroderma (dry skin)
* Xerostomia (dry mouth)
(Note: Irrelevant portions of the original post have been deleted.)