As I have reported previously, high dose intravenous vitamin C seems to improve my energy, my mood and my sense of well-being, if not the laboratory markers often associated with HIV and AIDS. Because the infusions are so expensive, I was intrigued by the possibility of preparing my own IV sodium ascorbate ala Dr. Robert Cathcart. This method involves compounding the intravenous solution from pure sodium ascorbate powder in my kitchen, as opposed to purchasing compounded ascorbic acid concentrate from a commercial pharmaceutical manufacturer.
Because I do not have a doctor’s approval, this also required me to violate U.S. law to acquire the necessary infusion equipment, including bags of infusion solution, tubing and IV needles, all of which are regulated by the FDA.
I followed the same dosage and procedure as with pharmaceutical liquid ascorbic acid, which I can procure through the orthomolecular clinic I attend, at a cost of nearly $100 per 50 gram infusion. Thanks to donated pharmaceutical sodium ascorbate powder, these Cathcart infusions only cost me about $5 each. The economics are what make using Cathcart’s protocol so obviously appealing, though some vitamin C enthusiasts also believe it is more efficacious.
[pullquote]By no means should my experience be considered an indictment of the Cathcart protocol, or anyone using it. There are far too many variables involved… [/pullquote]There was an unfortunate consequence the first time I did a Cathcart IV a few months ago. Other than the usual problem with my veins being small and hard to hit, everything went fine during the actual infusion. It was what happened 20 or 30 minutes after the infusion was completed that alarmed me. My entire body felt very chilled, despite the fact that I used a heating pad around the arm that I was using for the infusion.
Then I got the shakes. Muscle tremors, and shaking so severe that my teeth were chattering and my body ached all over the next day from the muscle contractions. Despite this reaction, which lasted only about an hour or so, I tried another 50-gram infusion a few days later, only to have the same adverse reaction. I even took a video with my phone’s cam to document the shakes.
Needless to say, I took a break from these Cathcart infusions. I did get another 50 gram infusion of the commercially prepared ascorbic acid a few weeks later at Riodan Clinic, with no complications whatsowever, and I have never had any adverse reactions with the prepared ascorbic acid manufactured by Merit or Bioniche, even when self-administering them.
Apparently some others who are using the Cathcart protocol have also had reactions to it. They believe they are experiencing a Herxheimer reaction that is due to the supposedly increased potency of Cathcart’s formula. At least some of these users are finding some relief by alternating high dose Cathcart infusions with lower doses of the commercial pharmaceutical ascorbic acid, infused more slowly for “mopping up” toxins created during the Cathcart infusions.
I was not able, or really even particularly inclined to follow this particular experiment any further, but upon hearing about these other experiences, I did wonder if it was possible that 50 grams of the home-brew was indeed more potent than 50 grams from a commercial pharmaceutical company, so I chose to experiment further, once I had some time to spare from The Highland House project. Despite these symptoms, I did not believe I was doing anything particularly high risk.
I decided to try a Cathcart infusion again, using a lower dosage, to see if what happened might be dose-related. I prepared and infused a 25 gram dose on Monday and awaited the results. Everything was fine and I noted no discomfort whatsoever when I completed the infusion and removed the IV. About a half hour later, I did feel chilled, and a bit distressed physically, but I had no noticeable shakes. I had pre-warmed my bed with an electric blanket set to “high” and I crawled in. The chill and attendant discomfort passed in less than an hour. Since I’ve never felt chilled by the IVC in the past, prior to using the Cathcart protocol, I chalked them up to the cold weather.
I was determined to rule out the earlier reactions as a fluke, so I compounded and infused another 50 grams of powdered sodium ascorbate Wednesday in my kitchen. Again, I had no problems hitting a vein, and the infusion completed in about an hour and fifteen minutes, which is pretty typical. I disconnected the IV and cleaned up the mess I had made in the kitchen.
Because I do tend to learn from my experiences, I was more prepared to document any subsequent reaction. Once again, I started to feel chills about 15-20 minutes after I had removed the IV. Shortly after that, the shakes began. I fixed a cup of hot chamomile tea and headed for my preheated bed. My oral temperature (which is “normally” low anyway, around 97.8) was 96.3, and my blood pressure (normally 115/80 or lower) was 176/130, with a pulse of 130! Over the next few hours, my temperature rose to a high of 101.6, while my blood pressure dropped to a respectable 128/80, with a pulse of 133.
By the next morning, my temperature was back to a normal, for me, 97.1, with a normal, hypotensive BP of 107/75, pulse 72.
My conclusion: this is too serious to ignore. Herxheimer, or otherwise, I am not going to risk a stroke or heart attack by continuing to experiment with this protocol. I will, when possible, continue to do IVC using commercially prepared solutions from compounding pharmacies under the direction of a physician with considerable experience in IVC. I just have to find the means to pay for them.
By no means should my experience be considered an indictment of the Cathcart protocol, or anyone using it. There are far too many variables involved that might explain the unfortunate reaction I had. I was unable to acquire the sterile water recommended by Cathcart, for example, and instead used lactated Ringer’s solution from a non-U.S. pharmaceutical source.
I have simply concluded that I am not a good candidate for this kind of experimentation. The adverse effects that I was able to measure, using only a thermometer and blood pressure cuff, are unacceptable risks to me. Herxheimer effects typically cause a drop in blood pressure, not a sudden increase, like the one I had.
Not all of this was in vain. I received some very valuable information as a result and in my next post I will share the interaction I had with my subconscious during this experience.