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The Role of Vitamin C and Cancer

By: Lori Dickson, BHSc, ND


Published studies have helped us to understand that High Dose IV vitamin C preferentially kills cancer cells through two mechanisms:

  1. In low doses vitamin C works as an antioxidant BUT in high doses, vitamin C changes roles and becomes a pro-oxidant, causing hydrogen peroxide to be formed. Hydrogen peroxide is a free-radical that damages DNA and other cell structures. In healthy cells, this hydrogen peroxide is immediately neutralized/destroyed by an enzyme called catalase. Cancer cells differ from healthy cells in that they are deficient in catalase. Thus, in cancer cells, hydrogen peroxide builds up and kills the cells. Healthy cells remain unharmed.
  2. The other way vitamin C works is to increase collagen production, the glue that holds the body together. To make collagen we require an amino acid called proline. The biochemical process called hydroxylation requires the presence of vitamin C, which renders proline available for collagen production. Research has shown that vitamin C dramatically increases the collagen within tumor cells, an act that tends to immobilize the cells, “gluing” them into place. Without mobility metastasis is blocked.

In order for vitamin C to act as a cytotoxic (toxic to cells) agent, very high doses (50-100 grams which is 50,000-100,000 mg) must be given. However, there is a limit to the amount of vitamin C that can be absorbed when taken orally (by mouth). Generally, people will experience diarrhea at doses anywhere from 2000 mg to 10,000 mg (2-10 grams) depending on their tolerance and tissue saturation.

The frequency of administration of the IV vitamin C needs to be individualized to each patient and will depend on factors such as the staging of the cancer, and any treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation that are currently taking place.

A common recommendation for treatment is 2-3 times per week, and each treatment lasts 1.5-2 hours depending on the dose required. When administered properly, intravenous vitamin C is very safe. Patients need to be screened with a simple blood test prior to beginning treatment.

Intravenous vitamin C as a ‘natural chemotherapy’ not only makes scientific sense, but is steadily becoming more recognized as a valid treatment option as the body of evidence showing that it is both safe and effective is growing.


The Role of Diet in Cancer Care

By: Dr. Lori Dickson, BHSc, ND

Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada, with the number of new cases expected to increase mainly due to population growth and aging. (Health Canada, 2012 Statistics) It is estimated that 186,400 new cases of cancer (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) will be diagnosed in Canada and 75,700 cancer deaths will occur. (  Just as the causes are complex, so are the treatment options. More than any other disease, cancer has people going on the internet and adding every supplement they can find that’s claimed to cure cancer. This is one area in which the integrative practitioner, has a responsibility to help guide people so decisions can be tailored to each individual.

The importance of diet in treating and preventing cancer is long established. There are clinics such as the Gerson clinic in Mexico that has longstanding success on treating cancer by dietary manipulation alone, focusing in particular on the elimination of cancer toxins and providing potentially deficient essential nutrients to support the immune system and liver. (  Many of the diets advocated for the treatment of cancer in humans are vegetarian, but this may not be applicable to most cancers where the production of ketone bodies and following a low glycemic diet is essential.

Growing evidence supports the basic principle in cancer nutrition of minimizing simple sugars and complex carbohydrates, and favoring protein and unsaturated fats as the main energy sources. The production of ketone body beta-hydroxybutyrate not only inhibited the growth of several tumor cells in vitro, but also reduced the number of B16 melanoma deposits in the lungs of C57BL/6 mice by two thirds.   (Magee BA, Potezny N, Rofe AM, Conyers RA: The inhibition of malignant cell growth by ketone bodies. Aust J Exp Biol Med Sci 1979, 57:529–539.)  This inhibitory effect of beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate on tumor cell growth was confirmed in colon and breast cancer cell lines (Fine EJ, Miller A, Quadros EV, Sequeira JM, Feinman RD: Acetoacetate reduces growth and ATP concentration in cancer cell lines which over-express uncoupling protein 2. Cancer Cell Int 2009, 29:14.)  as well as in neuroblastoma cells.

This is based on studies of the metabolic requirements of cancer versus host cells. Cancer cells use protein for energy and will utilize certain amino acids, such as arginine, at the expense of the host.

As cancer progresses, alterations in normal patient metabolism occur; often these changes are irreversible without treatment and adequate nutritional support. Diet in cancer patients can be extremely challenging when the patient has a low appetite, or decreased ability to swallow food. Cachexic patients need high energy in the form of fat, and even carbohydrates may have to be reintroduced at this stage, even though they give the tumor an energy supply.

For the very sick patient, who are only able to ingest small amounts of foods – fats will provide more calories per gram than protein and carbohydrates.   The biochemical response to food deprivation (even 24 hours of anorexia) leads to substantial dependence on fat derived fuels.

Ideally, all patents must be taken off refined commercial diets and put on raw whole food diets. Caretakers need good instructions on how to create a good diet for their loved one. They must be willing to spend the time putting the diet together every day, using high quality foods. Cheap fatty meats laden with carcinogens and old vegetables from the bottom of the fridge are as unhealthy to the person as a refined diet.  Those with cachexia may not be able to handle raw food diets. At this stage, cooking the food, feeding it warm and not cold, and using high energy convalescence products is required.

Pay attention to the full spectrum of colors in fruit and vegetables which provide a good mineral/vitamin spread.  If vitamin/mineral supplements are used, they must be bio-available and ideally sourced from whole plants.  Typically most vitamins purchased at a drug store, or walmart are NOT high grade, and need to be cautious to overloading the system with products that have fillers or are difficult to break down. Additions to the basic diet include eggs, cottage cheese (especially if the liver is showing measurable signs of stress), spirulina, wheat grass, alfalfa juice and barley greens.

Reducing the acid load is helped by vegetables, fruits and the additions mentioned above combined with the elimination of refined carbohydrates, grains, sugars and dairy foods. Evidence indicates the cancer progresses more in an acid environment. There are also theories that take this understanding down to a basic imbalance between active ionized potassium providing positive electric potentials in health, versus negative potentials created by the ionization of sodium in disease.  It is suggested that alongside detoxification, activated ionized minerals are essential for healing. The addition of digestive enzymes is useful, especially in someone that has been eating a refined diets for years.

In conclusion you need to assess each cancer case individually to determine your specific nutritional requirements, as well as the frequency, consistency and method of delivering the food. With supplements, it is safer to give none than everything under the sun. if you do not know how they work, start with a corrected and appropriate diet and do nothing else.




6 Simple Ways to Support Your Thyroid

It is your thyroid that controls how quickly your body burns calories and utilizes energy.  A sluggish thyroid can leave you more susceptible to feel tired more often, and packing on the pounds an likely exercise less as a result.  Your basal metabolic rate lowers resulting in fewer calories burned in a day.

1. Foods that help: almonds, avocados, bananas, fish and chicken, eggs, pumpkin, sesame seeds, and whole grains.

2. Get iodine from natural sources such as kelp and other sea vegetables

3. Liver friendly foods are good to emphasize as well to help with detoxification; artichokes, beets, carrots, garlic, kale, leeks, lemons and onions.

4. Vitamin D helps and is easy obtained by going outside on sunny days or when taken as a supplement

5. Stress reduction techniques also help support your adrenals glands and in so doing your thyroid gland can better produce thyroid hormones.

6. Because hypothyroidism and weight issues often go together, go easy on processed foods and refined foods which tend to be high in calories, fats and sugars.


Further obstacles to thyroid function include:   

1. Heavy metals which interfere with mineral absorption

2. Exhausted adrenal glands

3. Auto-immune and pre-existing inflammatory conditions (ie/ Hashimoto’s, Lymphocytic thyroiditis)

4. Destruction from radioactive iodine or surgery.

5. Pituitary or hypothalamic disease

6. Certain medications

Please Consult with your Naturopathic Doctor to determine the most effective route to optimal thyroid health.

Inside Health Naturopathic Clinic – Dr. Lori Dickson, BHSc, ND




2013 Juicing Retreat – Detoxify your Mind and Body –


DATE:   August 8th – 11th

LOCATION:   In the heart of cottage country, the ultimate detoxification, rejuvenation and educational health retreat, in an upscale cottage located on Rankin Lake.


The weekends schedule is very flexible, offering a weekend full of mind/body rejuvenation sessions – returning home with more energy and a cleaner state of mind.               

 juicing health retreatWhole body Detoxification:  During your stay you will experience a cleanse while enjoying fresh vegetables, and organic wholesome soups.  Also included fiber, digestive enzymes, probiotics and various detoxification teas.  All liquid meal are prepared for you, designed for ultimate nourishment and cleansing.  Guests lose unwanted pounds, strengthen and cleanse their bodies, feeling refreshed and lighter after only 3 days.




lakeside yoga

  Yoga/Meditation : 2 classes each day –both classes are to enhance relaxation, balance and overall wellness

*All yoga/meditation classes are geared toward beginners right up to intermediate levels.  



 Massage: enjoy 1 therapeutic healing massage.  Additional treatments are available upon request.

Massage will enhance the cleansing process, while providing whole body relaxation.


Seminars:  3 seminars are presented daily.  Attendance is optional.  Including take home recipes and healthy lifestyle  ideas for people with         a busy schedule.


Cost: $900 -$1200 per person, price may vary depending on choice of room, or if sharing a room with friends/family.  This price includes a pure diet of organic fruit and vegetables, coupled with relaxing massage, yoga/meditation and educational seminars geared to re-energize and re-fuel. Welcoming basket also with various take home ….. including lymphatic skin brush, enema kit, and a personalized water bottle and mug.

*Toiletries are included: shampoo/conditioner, body wash, toilet paper, hair dryer


 Call Inside Health Naturopathic Clinic for more information – 905.842.6654 or email us at

SPACE IS LIMITED – Inquire Today!