The Role of Vitamin C In The Treatment Of Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC)

Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is a condition that is characterized by problems due to both clotting and bleeding. The fundamental physiological problem in DIC is that the patient loses the ability to repair/replace connective tissue in the vascular walls because of a severe drop-off of blood vitamin C levels. In normal scurvy, this is because of extremely low consumption of foods containing vitamin C. In DIC, this is because of low consumption and aggressive depletion of blood vitamin C levels tied to the underlying conditions.

Once the vitamin C levels approach zero, the vascular walls become porous and start to bleed, triggering the clotting response. Because this is a systemic problem, it occurs widely, and when the clotting factors are exhausted, there is nothing the body can do to prevent further bleeding.


Functions Of Vitamin C

The most significant functions of vitamin C include the following:1

  • Primary antioxidant (free-radical scavenger)
  • Collagen synthesis
  • Immune system support
  • Adrenal response to emotional stress
  • Chelation of toxic heavy metals
  • Carnitine and norepinephrine synthesis
  • Detoxification of poisons such as snake venom and anesthesia
  • Pain neutralization (by reducing inflammation due to free radicals)

The Underlying Diseases That Reduce Vitamin C Levels

Any circumstance/condition/disease that uses vitamin C will also deplete the supply. When that circumstance/condition/disease becomes severe, it can dramatically increase the vitamin C depletion rate.


The list of conditions associated particularly with disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) includes the following:2

  1. Infectious diseases (immune function)
  2. Cancer (immune, depletion directly from cancer cells)
  3. Cardiovascular disease (collagen synthesis)
  4. Traumatic injury (free radicals and collagen synthesis)
  5. Surgery (collagen synthesis and immune function)
  6. Serious complications of pregnancy and childbirth (emotional stress and collagen synthesis to recover from trauma)
  7. Snakebite (neutralize snake venom)
  8. Surgical anesthesia (neutralizes anesthesia toxins)
  9. Burns (collagen synthesis, free radicals, and immune function)

How Cancer Reduces Vitamin C Levels

Cancer is indicated as one of the most common underlying conditions for DIC. You need a strong immune system to fight cancer, it is an emotionally disturbing disease, and becomes painful in later stages. Apart from these, there is another fourth way in which cancer depletes vitamin C.


[pullquote]Cancer cells thrive in an environment of high glucose because they need a lot of glucose to meet their basic energy needs.[/pullquote]

Since cancer cells prefer to live in oxygen-deficient environments, they primarily use glycolysis as their energy source. This generates 2 adenosine triphosphate molecules (ATP) for each glucose molecule. Normal human cells, by comparison, use aerobic respiration to oxidize glucose, which produces between 34 and 38 ATP per molecule of glucose.3


Because vitamin C is made from glucose and the chemical structure is very similar, cancer cells will often mistakenly pull in vitamin C molecules because they look very much like glucose. Thus, patients with cancer are much more likely to become vitamin C deficient.

How Surgery Reduces Vitamin C Levels

Surgery is identified as one of the most common causes of DIC. This is because surgery depletes vitamin C in multiple ways.

  1. Surgery is an emotionally disturbing experience, so the creation of norepinephrine depletes vitamin C.
  2. Surgery requires repair of connective tissue, depleting vitamin C.
  3. Surgery often requires anesthesia, which vitamin C can detoxify.
  4. Whenever a surgery requires anesthesia, the patient is told to fast, eliminating any food sources of vitamin C for that day.
  5. Some surgeons are aware that vitamin C can neutralize anesthesia and therefore recommend reducing or eliminating vitamin C supplements prior to surgery.

Can Vitamin C Levels Affect Vascular Tissue Quickly?

In fecal occult blood tests (FOBT), you will consistently find recommendations to avoid vitamin C supplements and foods high in vitamin C for 2 days or more before the samples are collected. The explanations for this is that vitamin C interferes with a chemical reaction that depends upon peroxidase.4 Though this is apparently true, none of the discussions on the prohibition/limiting of vitamin C cover the fact that vitamin C actually strengthens the integrity of vascular tissue and truly prevents bleeding. The inevitable conclusion is that not all those “false positive” FOBT tests are actually false.

Another clue comes from the treatment of the disease that is normally named scurvy (the second one from the left in my diagram). The British National Health Service indicates this:5


Scurvy is treated with vitamin C supplements, which can quickly improve your symptoms. Some symptoms, such as joint pain, will usually resolve within 48 hours. Most people will make a full recovery within two weeks.

A third clue comes from the Pauling Therapy for atherosclerotic heart disease (which should be properly named “chronic scurvy”). This therapy for heart disease works quickly. Patients have consistently reported symptom relief in 10 days or less, even in advanced stages. So, even in cases where the vitamin C deficiency affects larger arteries and even when it is advanced, clear positive results are usually attained very quickly.


The effects we describe occur in opposite directions:

  • Vascular tissue damage quickly repaired by vitamin C supplementation
  • Adequate vitamin C supplies quickly depleted causing vascular damage

We believe that this makes a plausible case that the integrity of vascular tissue can change very quickly, primarily depending upon vitamin C status.

A Nutritional Formula For Vascular Tissue

Given here is a nutritional formula for healthy connective tissue in the vascular system, the nutritional supplements to be taken, and the food sources.

1. Vitamin C

[pullquote]For best results, take 3 or more grams of vitamin C per day.[/pullquote]

Take the vitamin C in small doses throughout the day. Vitamin C is not stored in the body and most of it is used in 4 hours. Taking it multiple times per day is therefore much better than taking a larger dose all at once.

Vitamin C can be found in almost any fresh (uncooked) fruit or vegetable. But to get higher doses needed to treat existing DIC, supplements may be necessary. Some of the best food sources include kiwis, strawberries, ripe bell peppers, and citrus fruits.

2. Organic Sulfur

[pullquote]Take 1 tsp of organic sulfur in chlorine-free water on an empty stomach upon waking in the morning. Wait 30 minutes before eating or drinking anything.[/pullquote]

Organic sulfur delivers oxygen to cells, is excellent at removing a wide variety of toxins, and is required to form disulfide bonds in the creation of collagen fibers. Organic sulfur is also known as MSM, but look for products that are described as “organic sulfur” because they tend to be purer and therefore more effective.

The only downside to organic sulfur is that it also “sulfates out” some beneficial minerals. Consequently, some users may develop mineral-deficiency problems after some months of use. To prevent long-term mineral deficiencies, take a multi-mineral supplement.

For those wishing to get their sulfur from food, garlic, onions, and different varieties of kale would be good choices. This approach will work best with patients who have optimally functioning digestive systems.

3. Copper And Zinc

[pullquote]For best results, take 2 mg of copper per day and 20–30 mg of zinc per day.[/pullquote]

Copper and zinc work in opposition. High copper levels depress zinc, and high zinc levels depress copper. Copper is necessary for the production of collagen fibers and so is an essential part of artery wall repairs. An overdose of copper usually results in nausea, digestive problems, and occasionally mania.

Zinc is useful for the immune system and for tissue repair (such as for the vascular tissue).6 An overdose of zinc depresses the immune system.

Consider buying copper in a copper/zinc combination supplement so the two minerals do not get out of balance. Vegetarians are likely to be deficient in zinc and are much more prone to copper overdose, so consider supplementing the zinc and relying on diet alone for copper. People who have copper water pipes probably do not need to supplement copper because they usually get enough copper from drinking and cooking with their tap water.

The ratio of zinc to copper should be between 10:1 and 15:1. Preferably, use a nutritional supplement when treating DIC.

4. Rutin

[pullquote]For best results, take 500 mg of rutin per day.[/pullquote]

Rutin is a bioflavonoid that assists vitamin C in its functions. Rutin in significant amounts is not widely available. Food sources that do contain rutin include buckwheat, elderflower tea, amaranth leaves, unpeeled apples, unfermented rooibos tea, and figs.

Who Could Benefit The Most From This

This formula will work preventatively or as a treatment. Unfortunately, most people and even most physicians are not likely to be focused on preventative measures for a not-well-known condition. Therefore, its application is most likely to be as a treatment.

Since DIC is most prevalent in the hospital environment, doctors or hospital administrators will hopefully be willing to try this promising treatment for DIC that is unlikely to conflict with other treatments and has material costs of no more than a few dollars a day. This is probably not a surprise to those who truly understand vitamin C and what it can do for vascular tissue and overall health.