An Interview with Thomas E. Levy, M.D., J.D.
A few years ago, we had a couple cases of a flesh-eating bacteria bringing fear to many in my part of the world. Two local citizens died and an acquaintance’s life was finally spared after a heroic battle that included having his right leg amputated. At the same time, other neighbors died of sepsis. Citizens were warned not to go in the water for fear of Pfiesteria piscicida-like microorganisms. Pfiesteria piscicida can produce symptoms in people that include skin irritation; memory loss and other cognitive impairments; nausea and vomiting; and respiratory, kidney, liver, vision and immune system problems. I instructed my family that if I should contract a flesh-eating bacterium or even sepsis, they should insist that whomever would be treating me prescribe massive doses of injectable vitamin C. Since most hospitals are unfamiliar with the protocol and would not comply with my desire, I also gave the family the names of a couple of orthomolecular physicians who could help out.
Certainly, most readers are well aware of the protection that the nutrient vitamin C provides against disease, but many of our younger readers were not around during the time when physicians such as Fred Klenner, M.D., and Robert Cathcart, M.D., were curing infections with massive doses of injected vitamin C. To achieve the miraculous cures, blood levels of ascorbate (vitamin C) must be at levels that can be obtained only via injection. This is not a nutritional use of a nutrient, but most readers will want to know about this life-saving resource.
Orthomolecular physicians, of course, are well aware of the miraculous actions of injectable ascorbate. A leading orthomolecular physician and vitamin C expert is cardiologist Thomas E. Levy, M.D., J.D. Dr. Levy was kind enough to chat with us in September 2007 about vitamin C and the prevention of heart disease. Atherosclerosis (i.e., narrowed and blocked arteries), the primary cause of heart death in the world today, is easily prevented and even reversed when enough vitamin C can continually bathe the inner lining of the arteries supplying the heart.
Thomas E. Levy, M.D., J.D., is a board-certified cardiologist and the author of Stop America’s #1 Killer: Reversible Vitamin Deficiency Found to be Origin of ALL Coronary Heart Disease (Livon Books, 2006, ISBN 0-9779529-0-2), Curing the Incurable: Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases and Toxins (Livon Books, 3rd edition, 2009, ISBN-10: 0977952029), plus three other ground-breaking medical books. He is one of the leading vitamin C experts in the world and frequently lectures about the proper role of vitamin C in the treatment of a host of medical conditions and diseases to medical professionals all over the globe.
Passwater: During our last chat, you told us why you became a cardiologist. Since you have been practicing cardiology, you have become one of the world’s most knowledgeable experts on vitamin C. Your book, Curing the Incurable, contained over 1,200 scientific references addressing vitamin C and its incredible properties as a broad-spectrum antibiotic and a universal antidote. Please remind our readers what drew your interest to vitamin C.
Levy: I suppose this is where the forces of fate and destiny took a very active role in my life. Just over 15 years ago, I met Hal Huggins, D.D.S., M.S., the leading anti-mercury amalgam dentist in the world. At the time, Dr. Huggins had a clinic in Colorado Springs, where patients from literally around the world came to him for the removal of mercury amalgam and other forms of dental toxicity.
In working as a medical consultant to Dr. Huggins’ clinic, I became very impressed quite rapidly with the amount of improvement that a diverse array of patients achieved in a very short period of time when their dental toxicity was appropriately addressed and removed. And, it was in these patients that Dr. Huggins always gave 35–50 grams of vitamin C intravenously during the multi-hour sessions in the dental chair. The absolutely sickest of patients, including many who were wheelchair-bound, would immediately feel fabulous after extended periods of dental work.
I certainly never before had seen patients with different advanced degenerative diseases get several teeth extracted on one side of the mouth and promptly feel so good that they wanted to go out and eat a steak with the remaining teeth the same evening of treatment. It wasn’t too long before I realized that these intravenous infusions of vitamin C must have been giving some very amazing effects inside the bodies of these very ill patients. I then realized that my life as a physician could never and would never again be the same. I had to find out and report on all that I could scientifically gather about toxins, vitamin C and health. It was a direct result of these experiences with Dr. Huggins and vitamin C that my first book, Uninformed Consent: The Hidden Dangers in Dental Care (Hampton Roads Pub. Co., 1999, ISBN 1571741178, 9781571741172) was co-authored with Dr. Huggins in 1999.
Passwater: Your book, Stop America’s #1 Killer, makes a compelling scientific case for vitamin C protecting against heart disease. What I especially liked was the way that you presented the evidence like the lawyer and scientist that you are. Has your book and its teachings had any effect on other cardiologists or medical scientists?
Levy: While I have received substantial positive feedback from that book, I really can’t say with any certainty how many cardiologists have changed the way they practice, or how many scientists and researchers now think about heart disease in a different way. I think the book effectively substantiated and even expanded a bit on the work of Pauling and others. Also, I feel the book certainly has enough scientifically based information to change in any doctor’s opinion regarding how best to manage coronary artery disease, as long as that doctor is willing to give the book proper consideration. I am hoping to set up and implement a protocol that will prove, angiographically, that coronary artery atherosclerosis is a substantially reversible, and often “curable,” disease the vast majority of the time. Whenever that occurs, a reassessment of the information in that book by many should result, I suspect.
Passwater: What I want to chat about this time is vitamin C and its ability to cure various infections. Note, I did say “cure” as you point out in your latest book, Primal Panacea (MedFox Publishing, 2011, ISBN 9780983772804). Why did you choose that title?
Levy: Quite simply, I chose that title because I didn’t want to understate what should be properly and accurately stated. The definition of “panacea” is literally that of a “cure-all,” and “primal” indicates that it was there from the start and designed by nature to deal with whatever infections or toxins the body encounters. Although our bodies, in contrast to most other animals, have lost the ability to synthesize vitamin C in the liver, it still remains clear that vitamin C is nature’s choice for restoring and maintaining health. Vitamin C does cure, or help to cure, a wide array of infections for which modern medicine offers little to nothing of substance in the treatment of those conditions. The documentation for my “assertions” is solid, and I believe the reader should not be subjected to exaggerated, overblown conclusions anymore than he or she should read understated conclusions when the evidence clearly shows that vitamin C can repeatedly achieve and cure conditions for which modern medicine still offers very little.
Passwater: You have witnessed many miraculous cures using vitamin C in your own practice, but let’s start out with a dramatic case that was documented on the 60 Minutes television show in New Zealand.
Levy: The 60 Minutes piece in New Zealand, Living Proof?, can be viewed on the front page of my Web site, www.peakenergy.com. While the response of this intubated, comatose patient who was deemed terminal after an extended fight with the H1N1 swine flu was certainly very dramatic, it is equally important to appreciate that it was not an unexpected result to anyone who understands the excess oxidative stress associated with all infections and the ability of vitamin C to neutralize and reverse that existing excess oxidative damage, as well as to block further excess oxidative stress from occurring. As long as irreversible tissue and organ damage have not already occurred prior to initially receiving properly dosed vitamin C, a full recovery should be anticipated and should shock nobody.
Passwater: In your practice, you have successfully treated West Nile virus, acute Lyme disease, chronic infectious mononucleosis and even hemorrhagic dengue fever. What were the results?
Levy: The results were dramatic and consistent. Using high doses (50–100 grams at a time) of vitamin C intravenously, two cases of West Nile virus and two cases of chronic infectious mononucleosis were completely resolved in three to four days, even though all four individuals had been very ill for months. Two were students who had already dropped out of college due to incapacitating fatigue and malaise. One 15-year-old girl in Colombia, South America presented to me with dengue fever, while already demonstrating blood in the urine. This young lady was completely cured in two to three days by taking a total of 10–15 grams of liposome-encapsulated vitamin C orally during that period. As well, four to five days of high doses of vitamin C intravenously resolved a case of acute Lyme disease. But take note that this was an acute presentation; chronic cases of Lyme are more resistant to all forms of therapy than the acute cases.
Passwater: How about sepsis? Sepsis, sometimes called septic shock or blood poisoning, is a severe illness in which the bloodstream is overwhelmed by bacteria. Sepsis is caused by a bacterial infection that can begin anywhere in the body. Immune chemicals released into the blood to combat the infection trigger widespread inflammation, which leads to blood clots and leaky vessels. The result is impaired blood flow, which damages the body’s organs. In sepsis, blood pressure drops, resulting in shock. Major organs and body systems, including the kidneys, liver, lungs and central nervous system, stop working properly. The incidence of sepsis has increased considerably since the late 1970s. In 2000, the number of patients with a diagnosis of sepsis was approximately 660,000, increasing about 9% per year since 1979 (1). Now, severe sepsis is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, striking about 750,000 Americans yearly (2). It’s been estimated that between 28% and 50% of these people die—far more than the number of U.S. deaths from prostate cancer, breast cancer and AIDS combined (3). Some experts believe that sepsis may be the leading cause of death worldwide.
You discuss this pandemic in your book. What should readers know about sepsis and vitamin C?
Levy: Probably the most important thing to realize about sepsis is that it is massive in scope, causing an enormous increase in oxidative stress throughout the body. As such, and to my knowledge this is not widely appreciated, sepsis carries a very poor prognosis because it induces a body-wide acute scurvy, and very little reduced (non-oxidized) vitamin C is available to deal with the underlying infection. Even for clinicians who do not embrace or understand the impact of vitamin C in the treatment of infections in general, vitamin C in a reasonable dosage should always be part of the treatment of sepsis just to deal with the resultant induced acute scurvy. For clinicians wanting proof of this, obtaining plasma vitamin C levels will show little or no detectable vitamin C once sepsis is well-established, and they will have solid grounds for administering vitamin C. Furthermore, follow-up plasma vitamin C levels will also provide justification for the higher doses of vitamin C required to routinely cure the patient, since plasma vitamin C levels will remain subnormal to undetectable if suboptimal amounts of vitamin C are given.
Passwater: Before you, physicians including Drs. Fred Klenner, Robert Cathcart and Hugh Riordan had reported dramatic results using injectable ascorbate (vitamin C). While their work was legendary, there are many people today who have not heard of their results with injectable vitamin C.
Levy: Yes. Dr. Klenner undoubtedly led the way, as no physician, to my knowledge, had any idea of the value of high doses of vitamin C before he began his work. Dr. Cathcart treated very many patients over a practice of many years, reproducing much of Dr. Klenner’s work, while adding his own important contributions, which included the demonstration that oral vitamin C alone could accomplish a great deal, if dosed adequately and for a long enough period of time. Dr. Riordan added his own significant contribution, which was to repeatedly show how effective properly dosed vitamin C, particularly in intravenous form, could benefit and even occasionally cure a wide variety of cancers.
Passwater: But, critics claim that these are only rare isolated cases, not scientific studies.
Levy: Such critics are either woefully uninformed, or they may well have an agenda to undermine the acceptance of vitamin C, which could certainly replace or make irrelevant a great deal of expensive and often toxic prescription drugs. Either way, it can be reasonably asserted that there is no nutrient or vitamin that has been researched more in the history of medicine than vitamin C. Well over 50,000 significant studies on vitamin C have been published on PubMed over the past 50+ years.
Furthermore, these same critics persist in making assertions that so little of what vitamin C can do has been established by “randomized, placebo-controlled, and double-blind” clinical trials, while ignoring the fact that the same standard is not met by most prescription drugs. Also, such assertions attempt to ignore that such clinical trials are not the only way to establish the effectiveness and safety of any given medicine and/or nutrient. Even when vitamin C therapy is given and resolves 95–100% of infectious disease patients in a few days, it is denigrated as an “anecdote, ” even when the typical course of such a disease virtually never resolves when treated by traditional medicine.
It is important to remember that when a doctor administers something, makes an educated clinical evaluation and then publishes that information, that is a “case report,” not an anecdote. Many prescription drugs would do well to have that “little”
degree of validation.
Passwater: Are there many studies on vitamin C and disease treatment?
Levy: Absolutely. In addition to Dr. Klenner, who led the way, many other clinicians have added their experience to the medical literature. But it is important to note that the response of most infections and toxin exposures to properly dosed vitamin C is so dramatic, there simply do not exist clinical trials of patients with life-threatening conditions being denied vitamin C therapy for the purpose of a double-blinded or placebo-controlled study. No clinician in his or her right mind would deprive a patient of the life-saving abilities of vitamin C to achieve this end. Also, very many incredibly impressive papers end with the authors suggesting that “more research” is needed before vitamin C can actually be recommended for treating a condition that it has been documented to repeatedly cure, particularly considering the lack of toxicity of vitamin C. What are the authors really thinking or recommending? I couldn’t tell you for sure; you decide.
Passwater: In spite of so many miraculous cures using injectable vitamin C, why is this simple and inexpensive procedure not widely used by orthodox medicine as it is in orthomolecular medicine?
Levy: As mentioned, critics commonly assert that there are no vitamin C studies, not even bothering to make their falsehoods more believable by stating the equally ridiculous assertion that there might be “very few” studies of use to the clinician. Somewhat akin to this, critics like to assert that there is no evidence that vitamin C even has any significant clinical value at all. Then, after assailing vitamin C from these two angles, the most-repeated, and equally false assertions, continue to appear, namely that vitamin C is either not safe in general, or that it causes kidney stones. This, of course, always completely ignores the fact that there is no established toxicity level of vitamin C that someone can ingest, or the fact that in patients with normal kidney function, vitamin C actually prevents kidney stone formation and even helps to resolve pre-existing stones.
Critics also like to say that vitamin C needs are met when a properly balanced diet is consumed, which completely ignores the entire body of work of what Dr. Klenner demonstrated with larger amounts of vitamin C. The assertion is also made that supplementation with vitamin C just “makes expensive urine.” Of course, nothing is completely absorbed, but the critics like to abandon science or just make trite, irrelevant comments whenever possible to make a joke rather than make a scientific point.
Finally, perhaps most maddening is the assertion often heard that, “If vitamin C worked, we’d all be using it.” It’s really hard to make a straightforward response to a statement so completely devoid of intellect. Modern medicine, collectively, will not use vitamin C, and then its many practitioners use that refusal as an argument against trying it!? Oh, well, so much for science-based medicine…
Passwater: Do we know why ascorbate is so effective against infections?
Levy: Yes. Nearly all pathogens accumulate iron in their cytoplasm, which they need in order to proliferate. This accumulation allows vitamin C, via the increased iron levels, to ultimately donate more electrons to the peroxide present inside these pathogens. This biochemical sequence, known as the Fenton reaction, allows the very highly reactive hydroxyl radical to form from the breakdown of peroxide. This hydroxyl radical rapidly oxidizes what is next to it. When up-regulated enough, with high enough levels of iron inside the pathogens, the Fenton reaction generates enough hydroxyl radical to result in their “auto-destruction.” Also, vitamin C supports and stimulates the immune system in many different ways, which helps to resolve any infections that are present.
Passwater: What protocol do you recommend for using injectable ascorbate?
Levy: I have developed what I call the Multi-C Protocol, which can be used to maximize the clinical impact whenever the doctor feels vitamin C therapy is indicated:
1. Three to five grams of liposome-encapsulated vitamin C orally daily, for optimal intracellular support (www.livonlabs.com).
2. Multigram doses of sodium ascorbate powder taken several times daily in juice or water up to or reaching bowel tolerance, to neutralize the commonly present toxic gut and flood the extracellular spaces with C.
3. Several grams of ascorbyl palmitate daily, as a form to reach fat-soluble areas (www.lef.org).
4. 50 to 150 grams of vitamin C IV to “kick start” the suffusion of C into the body several times weekly at first; this can be further optimized with five to 10 units of Humulin regular insulin mixed into the IV bag.
The liposome-encapsulated oral vitamin C is especially effective as monotherapy, especially if the patient has difficulty paying for repeated IVs.
The insulin added to the IV bags of vitamin C is what I call the HEAT form of ascorbate therapy (Hormone Enhanced Ascorbate Therapy). The insulin allows a tremendously increased delivery of vitamin C to the intracellular area. I feel strongly that any clinician should not consider vitamin C a “failure” for a given patient until this full protocol has been used, in the event that a partial application of this protocol does not produce the desired results. However, it should also be emphasized that any regular dosing of multi-gram amounts of vitamin C in any form will often result by itself in the desired clinical result.
Passwater: Is injectable ascorbate available today for U.S. physicians? There was a scare not too long ago that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was preventing the sale of injectable ascorbate.
Levy: It wasn’t a scare. It was quite calculated, and the situation is very serious. Not too long after the airing of Living Proof? on New Zealand’s 60 Minutes program, FDA shut down the mass production of injectable vitamin C by McGuff Pharmaceuticals, which was the company name clearly visible on the vials of vitamin C featured on that program. Since then, FDA has “allowed” vitamin C orders to be separately “formulated” by the McGuff compounding pharmacy, as well as by other compounding pharmacies in the United States. Merit Pharmaceuticals also sells injectable vitamin C, although, to my knowledge, all of that vitamin C is produced by Bioniche Pharmaceuticals in Ireland. All of these “interventions” by FDA have only served to make injectable vitamin C more expensive, which would represent a good initial goal for FDA, as it always appears the agency will do anything to make Big Pharma happier. However, it would still be wonderful if FDA would stop its apparent agenda to ultimately ban vitamin C, although I doubt this is likely. Probably the “best” ultimate outcome will be that vitamin C ends up being available only through prescription. Things are happening very rapidly on this front, and ready access to vitamin C, along with nearly all other supplements, may end as we know it before 2012 is over.
Passwater: How can readers order your book?
Passwater: Dr. Levy, thank you for chatting with us once again and for giving us the life-saving information in your books, Curing the Incurable: Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases and Toxins, Stop America’s #1 Killer! and Primal Panacea. Many of us take vitamin C supplements, but it is critical to have the knowledge of injectable vitamin C and special forms of vitamin C, such as liposome-encapsulated, for treatment if the need ever arises. WF
Dr. Richard Passwater is the author of more than 45 books and 500 articles on nutrition. Dr. Passwater has been WholeFoods Magazine’s science editor and author of this column since 1984. More information is available on his Web site, www.drpasswater.com.
1. G.S. Martin et al., “The Epidemiology of Sepsis in the United States from 1979 through 2000,” N. Engl. J. Med. 348, 1546–1554 (2003).
2. D.C. Angus et al., “Epidemiology of Severe Sepsis in the United States: Analysis of Incidence, Outcome and Associated Costs of Care,” Critical Care Med. 29 (7), 1303–1310 (2001).
3. K.A. Wood and D.C. Angus, “Pharmacoeconomic Implications of New Therapies in Sepsis,” PharmacoEconomics. 22 (14), 895-906 (2004).
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, April 2012