Vitamin C Treatment Of Severe Flu - Levy


Issue No. 7
December, 2003

Vitamin C and Severe Influenza: A Case Report

While the scientific literature has abundant documentation of the
ability of vitamin C to cure a number of viruses considered to
be incurable (Stone, 1972; Smith, 1988, Levy, 2002), I feel it is
always of benefit to health care practitioners who are still a bit
reluctant to freely give large doses of vitamin C to hear of yet
another dramatic case report. In this particular case report, the
viral infection had reached the point of being life-threatening,
even though it was afflicting a young woman who previously had
always been in notoriously good health.

F.M., a 26-year-old massage therapist from Scotland, was in her
baseline state of robust health when she gradually began to notice a
persistent fatigue that lasted for an entire month. Other than this
fatigue, however, she had yet noticed no other problems. After a
month of this fatigue, she then fell ill quite rapidly with classical
flu-like symptoms, including fever, chills, muscle aches and pains,
headaches, and nausea. This syndrome occurred in Denver, Colorado,
the epicenter of a flu epidemic that had already infected over 6,000
people statewide and killed over ten children and infants. She fought
these symptoms as bravely as she could for seven to ten days by
trying to continue her usual activities of going to school. However,
by the time this period had passed, she only had the energy to stay
in bed.

She remained in bed for the next ten weeks, unable to regain enough
energy to take any more than the handful of steps needed to get to
the bathroom and back to bed. She noted that when she even attempted
any greater level of activity, she would subjectively get a return
of fever along with a worsening of her near-constant headaches. She
described her headaches as being so severe that it literally took too
much effort to even keep her eyes open for more than a few minutes
at a time. Fortunately, her nausea was not accompanied by vomiting,
or she likely would not have lasted the three months. As it was,
she went from approximately 100 pounds down to 80-85 pounds when
she was first evaluated and treated.

Her initial physical examination was only really remarkable for her
obvious emaciation and loss of fat and muscle mass. There was no
evidence of enlarged lymph nodes or enlarged liver, as is often seen
in infectious mononucleosis. She did have blood testing suggestive of
a past Epstein-Barr virus infection, but this was not suspected to
be playing any significant role in the development of her present
illness. It is possible this virus may have caused the fatigue
and likely immune compromise that left her even more susceptible
to becoming another flu victim. Routine blood work that included
a complete blood count and biochemistry profile was within normal
limits, including the basic liver function tests.

While I could not remember the last time I made a house call, I
was convinced by the patient's caregiver that hauling her out of
bed and down to my clinic would probably do more harm than good. My
office manager and I brought the clinic to her-the IV, that is. The
first IV consisted of 1,000 cc of lactated Ringer's solution with
50 grams of sodium ascorbate. Small doses of calcium gluconate,
magnesium sulfate, and a complex of B vitamins (without B12) were
added to the bag. This was infused over about three hours. Just
before the bag was empty, six grams of glutathione was added to
complete the infusion. This same regimen was repeated for a total
of six infusions over six days. The last five infusions had no
calcium added, and the sodium ascorbate amount was increased to 100
grams. All of the infusions were clinically uneventful and without
discernible side effects.

The morning following the first IV, the patient noted that her
upper body strength had improved dramatically, although her legs
were still very weak. She also noticed that her headaches were gone
for the first time in three months. The morning after the second
IV she had the energy to walk just a little inside the house. The
morning after the third IV she walked outside for the first time
in three months and enjoyed a little sunshine. Her appetite was
improving and she was eating more as well.

The first three IV's were given at the patient's home. The fourth,
fifth, and sixth ones were given at the clinic. Other than having
easy fatiguability, the patient appeared completely normal when she
walked into the clinic for her fourth IV. She did note, however,
that the night after her fourth IV she did have a brief return of
subjective fever before enjoying a good night's sleep. On days five
and six she felt normal, but the IV's were still given to try to
assure that there was no clinical relapse, as Klenner had noted in
the past when discontinuing the high doses of vitamin C too soon
in the treatment of a significant viral infection. The patient was
also instructed to start taking vitamins C, E, A, and bioavailable
B vitamins on a regular basis orally.

Influenza (the "flu") kills as many as 50,000 to 70,000 people
annually in the United States alone. The even worse news is
that annual influenza deaths have been on the rise, increasing
substantially over the last two decades (Thompson et al.,
2003). However, vitamin C in high enough doses has already been
shown to be very effective at eradicating the influenza virus,
sometimes after serious complications such as encephalitis have
arisen (Klenner, 1949; Magne, 1963).

In this patient, it should also be realized that 100 grams of vitamin
C in an 80 pound body is the equivalent of 250 grams in a 200 pound
body. Furthermore, the dose of glutathione is substantially higher
than given in most centers. Glutathione can be considered as one
of the most important intracellular antioxidants, while vitamin C
operates prominently in both the intracellular and extracellular

While the IV's offered at our center are not prohibitively expensive
for most, many patients might not want to "take a chance" on spending
$1,000 to $1,500 over a five to seven day period for fear of not
getting better. Cost of medical therapy is always a factor, and the
doses of vitamin C and glutathione used here require a charge of $150
to $250 per IV, depending upon the size of the patient. However,
when a patient can go back to work after the first 24 to 48 hours
of treatment, these economics can often make a lot of sense.


Contact Information for Dr. Levy's new office location:
5800 W. Alameda Ave., Unit E
Lakewood, CO 80226
303-750-2121 (answering service)
303-922-7866 (fax)


Klenner, F. (1949) The treatment of poliomyelitis and other virus
diseases with vitamin C. Southern Medicine & Surgery 111(7):209-214.

Levy, T. (2002) Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and
Toxins: Curing the Incurable. Philadelphia, PA: Xlibris
Corporation. (

Magne, R. Vargas (1963) Vitamin C in treatment of influenza. El
Dia Medico 35:1714-1715.

Smith, L. (1988) The Clinical Experiences of Frederick R. Klenner,
M.D.: Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C. Portland, OR: Life
Sciences Press.

Stone, I. (1972) The Healing Factor: "Vitamin C" Against Disease. New
York, NY: Grosset & Dunlap.

Thompson, W., D. Shay, E. Weintraub, L. Brammer, N. Cox, L. Anderson,
and K. Fukuda (2003) Mortality associated with influenza and
respiratory syncytial virus in the United States. The Journal of
the American Medical Association 289(2):179-186.

Copyright 2003 by Thomas E. Levy, M.D., J.D.

All Rights Reserved; Reproduction Permitted only with Acknowledgement
and of the Entire Document