Vitamin C’s ability to generate hydrogen peroxide in tumors hinges on the presence of catalysts that can transfer electrons from the vitamin to oxygen molecules, generating an unstable compound superoxide, which rapidly converts to the hydrogen peroxide that has cancer-killing properties.
One such well-known catalyst is menadione, also known as vitamin K3 . Substantial research in both rodent and human studies demonstrates that supplementing intravenous vitamin C with injectable vitamin K3 increases the therapy’s effectiveness on cancer cells.
A vitamin C/K3 combination can interact synergistically with certain cytotoxic chemo drugs in killing cancer cells. Vitamin K3 alone can increase the cytotoxicity of certain chemo agents, presumably because, in sufficiently high concentrations, K3 help generate oxidative stress by transferring electrons from intracellular molecules to oxygen.
At the Oasis of Hope, we inject vitamin K3 just prior to the vitamin C infusions, with the hope and expectation that C/K3 combination will markedly increase the production of hydrogen peroxide within tumors, enabling a more substantial cell kill in those cancers that produce sufficiently small amounts of catalase.
While vitamin K3 is an excellent electron transfer catalyst, the effectiveness of intravenous vitamin C therapy can still be crippled if oxygen levels within the tumor are poor. (Remember: Many common tumors create a hypoxic environment, so it’s necessary to introduce agents that can efficiently oxygenate them.)
We continue to use vitamin C in cancer treatment and am optimistic because the research community is seriously looking again at its action as a pro-drug to deliver malignant-cell-killing hydrogen peroxide to tissues.