Suppose you’ve received the dreaded diagnosis and you’re evaluating your options for treatment. While friends and family may be urging you to go the conventional route, you believe there must be a better, less toxic way than ‘destroy to heal.’ Here’s a glimpse into that other, often hidden world.
Dr. Nathan Goodyear started out as a gynecologist and pelvic floor surgeon. Once out of residency, however, he noticed that a lot of what he had been taught in medical school didn’t work. Then, in 2006, he developed pheochromocytoma, a rare type of tumor that develops in the adrenal gland, causing it to excrete high amounts of norepinephrine, which, in turn, causes extremely high blood pressure and heart rate.
That experience pushed him to make the transition into the field of cancer research. For the past 5 1/2 years, he’s been working with Brio-Medical, a holistic cancer clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, and for the past six months, he has served as its medical director. He works with four other physicians—two medical doctors and two naturopathic physicians.
Goodyear is a firm believer in the benefits of vitamin C in cancer treatment. Coincidentally, we’re both scheduled speakers at the Vitamin C International Consortium Institute’s annual conference in Tampa, Florida, on Sept. 9 and 10.
He says the current approach to cancer has some significant limitations. Places like Brio-Medical are working to find better approaches.
“The conventional approach seems to follow the logic ‘destroy to heal,’ and I just don’t know where that really occurs in nature outside conventional cancer treatment. Healing has to be your focus and goal to achieve healing. You have to heal to heal. Our healing strategy focus in cancer is to tap into the body’s designed capacity to heal itself through the targeting of the root causes,” Goodyear said.
“When you look at holistic natural therapies, there’s this assumption by many, including conventional medicine, that we are just throwing darts up on the wall and hope they stick.
“But in actuality, we’re following the science of genomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, and immunomodulomics. This is the future of medicine that’s here now, and we’re being incredibly specific and targeted for the dysfunction within the cancer, but with natural holistic or integrated therapy.”
Examples of Holistic Therapies for Cancer
Examples of holistic therapies used for cancer include vitamin C in combination with artemisinin or artesunate (a primary malaria medication). This combo is very good for prostate and breast cancer in particular. Curcumin and melatonin both also have significant anticancer effects. Goodyear likes to combine hyperthermia with high-dose vitamin C and curcumin.
“Studies have shown that when you give vitamin C with whole-body hyperthermia, you actually achieve a higher plasma ascorbic acid concentration. So that’s going to impact the fight against cancer more,” he said.
One key point to be made about holistic oncology is that the earlier you start this kind of treatment, the better. Unfortunately, most patients who seek alternative strategies have already done tremendous damage to their bodies, particularly the immune system, with one, two, or even three rounds of chemo, which really impairs your body’s ability to heal naturally.
“If we can get them earlier in the process … before they get conventional chemo and/or radiation, the impact is huge,” Goodyear said.
“Before you destroy the immune system, one can actually heal with the immune system. I can’t tell you how many ladies with breast cancer have been able to preserve their breasts with this cancer healing strategy. You can actually heal the body, not destroy it. That is a novel concept because when you destroy the immune system through conventional therapy, you’re going to see cancer recur and spread.”
How Cancer Kills
Typically, it’s not the initial cancer that kills you. What kills is when the cancer spreads (metastasizes) to other areas of your body. This kind of cancer is typically treated with whole-body therapies, some of which, such as chemotherapy, can have devastating and fatal effects.
“The literature is very clear—especially in the last five to 10 years—that 90 percent of morbidity and mortality associated with cancer is when it spreads,” Goodyear said. “Thankfully, research has provided a good understanding of how this chemotherapy and radiation-induced metastasis process occurs.
“Maximum tolerated chemotherapy actually induces the mechanisms to spread the cancer. In breast cancer, maximum tolerated chemotherapy will reduce the primary tumor, yet at the same time, cause it to spread to distant locations in the body.”
Other cancer therapies, such as radiation therapy, can also cause cancer. Sometimes even the surgeries to remove cancer and even biopsies to test for it can lead cancer to metastasize.
“A lot of people that come to us, they’re so surprised. They ask, ‘Why didn’t I know about this? Why didn’t I know that surgery can cause metastasis? Why didn’t I know chemotherapy and radiation can cause metastasis?’”
Vitamin C Basics
The story of vitamin C demonstrates that the devil is in the details. Roughly 50 years ago, Linus Pauling demonstrated that intravenous (IV) vitamin C (10 grams per day for 10 days) improved cancer survival. Later, researchers at the Mayo Clinic tried to reproduce the results but didn’t use IV vitamin C. They instead gave 10 grams orally and found no benefit.
In the academic battle that followed, Mayo won and for the next several decades, the conventional thought was that vitamin C doesn’t work. That began to change in about the year 2000, when Dr. Ping Chen, a conventional oncologist, started looking into vitamin C and publishing papers on its pharmacokinetics.
Since then, there has been a combination of pushback against the idea that vitamin C works on the one hand and, on the other, growing research that points to vitamin C’s effects being as powerful as any drug.
Vitamin C Is Natural but Has Drug-Like Effects
Vitamin C does have drug-like effects, and I like to refer to it as a pharmaco-mimetic, but it’s still a natural biological molecule that can’t be patented and hence can’t be a drug. Also, to be clear, there are distinct differences between whole food vitamin C and ascorbic acid.
They really have two very different purposes. Whole food vitamin C isn’t suitable for the treatment of cancer, but does wonders for general health support, as it interacts favorably with copper and iron in your cells and mitochondria. I only recommend and use high-dose IV vitamin C in cases of acute infection or illness, as it does have very potent “drug-like” effects.
“It’s actually inducing metabolic changes and epigenetics,” Goodyear said. “That’s the great thing about natural therapies. Conventional medicine will take an approach to kind of throw a monkey wrench into the body’s physiology to shut everything down … without a holistic perspective of how that affects the whole body. It’s a very compartmentalized approach.
“A holistic approach is like a pebble thrown into a calm pool in the morning. Its effects ripple throughout the physiology of the body. That is the beauty of natural therapies.
“Now in cancer and sepsis … when we’re dealing with the major dysfunction found in cancer, where things have metabolically, genetically, immunologically gone off the rails, we have to come in and really work to turn the tide. That’s where the intravenous vitamin C delivery is required. That’s where the sodium ascorbate comes in because that’s the only way we’re going to be able to change that tide.”
Oral Versus IV Vitamin C
When treating cancer, IV needs to be used because you simply can’t take the high dosages required orally. Doses of more than 10 to 20 grams of ascorbic acid will cause loose stools when taken orally, but IV administration bypasses the limitation of the gut. It also allows the vitamin C to get directly into the blood to the extracellular fluid, into the tumor microenvironment, to penetrate the tumor and saturate the entirety of the tumor.
If you feel like you’re coming down with an infection, such as a flu or cold, oral vitamin C is plenty adequate. Oral dosing of vitamin C, using a non-liposomal product, can double your blood level of vitamin C. Using liposomal vitamin C—which is what I’ve been recommending for years—can increase it threefold to fivefold—up to about 300 micromolar. So, liposomal vitamin C can make a big difference.
However, when you’re dealing with cancer, you need a minimum of 1,000 micromolar, or 1 millimolar, in the extracellular fluid to kill cancer cells, which is why you really need to use IV. In the case of large tumors or significant cancer spread, much higher plasma concentrations are required.
While the dosage is highly individual to each patient, as a general benchmark, Goodyear typically starts at 1.5 grams per kilogram, which for the average person would be somewhere between 100 and 200 grams per dose, three times a week.
So to be clear, I don’t advise taking ascorbic acid for daily vitamin C requirements. I strongly suggest that you use whole food vitamin C, which is far superior as a daily source.
Actions of Vitamin C
Vitamin C has a wide variety of effects, which can be generally classified into the following: genomic, epigenomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, metabolomic, and immunomodulatomic.
“The point here is that vitamin C is not just directly killing cancer cells, what we would call cytotoxic effects. Vitamin C is actually working to change the metabolism of the cancer,” Goodyear said.
“What that means is, it creates an energy crisis. It actually depletes the body of certain intermediates that make it so this cancer, which is addicted to sugar, cannot use [the sugar] efficiently to make energy, so it … dies. It also depletes [the cancer] of its ability to detoxify.
“So to be specific, research shows that vitamin C depletes the cancer of reduced glutathione. And getting rid of that glutathione in that cancer eliminates its ability to handle the high oxidative stress that this pro-oxidative vitamin C therapy induces, which kills the cancer cell.
“It also disrupts how cancer makes energy. And it’s fascinating because everybody looks at this and they ask, ‘Well, how will this affect my healthy cells?’ This is the paradigm changer with vitamin C.
“The environment—as much as the dose, as much as the delivery, as much as the tumor saturation—the environment encountered by that vitamin C dictates the result as much as the dose itself. So you can induce a pro-oxidative effect, a detoxification crisis, an energy crisis, in cancer cells, and healthy cells do just fine.”
Using Pro-Oxidation to Kill Cancer Cells
When you think of vitamin C, you’re probably thinking it’s an antioxidant, which is true. But in high doses only available through IV, it actually becomes a pro-oxidant, and that’s what allows it to kill cancer cells and gives it its antiviral and antibacterial properties.
“And there’s plenty benefits of that. That’s why it’s so helpful in viral and bacterial infections. It’s countering that cytotoxic burst found in infection. It’s donating an electron and becomes oxidized [which neutralizes oxygen],” Goodyear said.
He noted that this is why vitamin C can help people with sepsis, including COVID-19 sepsis, and the cytokine storm that causes most of the fatal lung damage resulting from severe COVID.
“Its different effects are dictated by the different environments—it can become pro-oxidative,” Goodyear said.
When vitamin C is pro-oxidative, it has a helpful effect on cancer patients.
“It’s delivering the oxidative stress to the tumor and creating it through hydroxyl free radicals, hydrogen peroxide, superoxide anions,” he said.
Melatonin for Cancer
Goodyear also uses melatonin for cancer treatment and monitors patients’ melatonin levels to ensure proper dosage. Typically, patients will start off with IV melatonin at a dose of 10 to 20 milligrams daily for two weeks to get the level up as quickly as possible while simultaneously taking oral melatonin at a dose of about 60 milligrams per day. The oral dose is then adjusted based on body weight and other parameters.
“Ideally, your blood level is supposed to peak at around midnight. So with that in mind, if you’re going to do the oral dose, you want to take the highest dose right before bed, maybe 45 minutes before, and then right before bed,” he said.
“The other doses, if you’re going to do it three times a day, would be maybe 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. You really want to keep it away from solar noon. Otherwise, you’re going to [impair your] chronobiology.”
Goodyear said they try to adjust the dosing of melatonin so it harmonizes with the patient’s sleep cycle, but the first priority is the cancer.
“When patients come to us, so many of them are in an advanced stage, so in that acute setting, we have to use these therapies in combination and sequence, together, to really turn the tide against the cancer.”
What Kind of Results Can You Expect From Holistic Oncology?
Goodyear said his cancer clinic sees mostly patients with metastatic cancer who have already had treatment.
“In those patients, in a six-week or maybe eight-week cycle, we can see a significant reduction in tumor burden,” he said.
“Our goal is no evidence of disease, but we’re going to typically see—in most of our patients, well over 50 percent—a significant reduction in that tumor burden while they’re here with us. The after-care is very important to continue that process. What we’re talking about here is at least a 50 percent reduction in the tumor that you can see clinically, through labs and through imaging.
“Many of our patients will come in where the breast is a whole tumor, [or] their spine lights up like a Christmas tree. So it’s not like we have a patient coming in and they have a small little nodule, OK? These are patients that have failed chemotherapy twice or more, [have had] surgery, radiation [and the cancer] recurred, not just once, but often two or even more times.
“It’s a tough spot to be in, but if we can set a goal of ‘no evidence of disease’ and see a 50 percent reduction in these patients, hey, that’s something that we can work with because we’re not destroying the body; actually we’re working to heal the body.”
As mentioned earlier, most of the patients have destroyed much of their bodies’ innate healing ability through repeated toxic treatments, which makes holistic treatment far less effective. Once chemotherapy damages your immune system, it becomes extraordinarily difficult to treat it.
I know how panic-stricken one can get when given a cancer diagnosis, but if you’re in the early to mid stages, you have virtually nothing to lose by going holistic first. Your chances of total remission will be far greater than waiting until all other treatments fail, and you may be able to save your breasts and other parts of your body that would otherwise be cut out.
A Case History
To make his point, Goodyear offers the case history of a woman with bilateral breast cancer who had been told she needed a bilateral mastectomy, bilateral radiation with chemo, and lymph node dissection—six to 12 months of brutal and toxic treatments that would have left her disfigured.
“When I was talking to her before she came, I said, ‘Let me tell you my approach. Since you’ve not had any treatment, if we take this in a healing perspective and through a holistic integrative approach, you may just save your breasts, and you may negate the need for any of those other harmful therapies.’
“And in fact, now she’s over two years out—cancer-free, no breasts removed, no lymph nodes removed. So here is a person who was headed down that road that would be life-changing in a negative way. We hit the pause button.
“She took a chance to think; she took a chance to read. And then she said, ‘You know what? I want a different approach.’ We addressed it with a holistic evidence-based, integrative approach … and now she has both breasts and she’s living cancer-free.
“She even had COVID and did great. … When the immune system is not destroyed, things work so much better, and full-dose chemo destroys the immune system.”
Goodyear and I cover a lot more ground in this interview than I’ve summarized here, so I encourage you to listen to the full interview online. You can also find more information at Brio-Medical.com.