Okay, just a little pin prick.
September 19, 2006 8:20 AM   Subscribe

Is edetate disodium really necessary when preparing sodium ascorbate for injection?

These instructions specifiy a small quantity of edetate disodium be added into the mix. Wouldn't edetate calcium disodium be a better choice? Wouldn't the best choice be to not use a chelating agent at all?

Any input welcome. Thanks.
posted by bh to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
My guess is that it's being suggested as a preservative (bacterial growth inhibitor) and pH buffer, not as a chelator.

My guess is also that, because you linked to a site about orthomolecular medicine, that you were mistakenly assuming that it was included for some kind of health-related "chelation" effect.

Orthomolecular medicine is quackery; there's no medically accepted reason to inject vitamin C, ever. I think following these directions is an extraordinarily bad idea.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:53 AM on September 19, 2006

The problem is you're question implies that some sort of legitimate normative statement can be made about intravenous Vitamin C infusion, which remains fringe science to say the least. There is by no means enough rigorous published data on the matter, but from what I'm gathering taking the internet at face value (which I wouldn't), Dr. Cathcart has been infusing people for a very long time with his preparations, and appears to be one of very few physicians who does so. So if you're gung-ho on actually doing this (which is something I personally can't recommend), you're probably better off following to the letter an approach which has been previously tried with reportedly no major complications.

Do realize that even Cathcart in your link reports flank pain with these infusions and others have reported kidney failure (in the form of calcium oxalate nephropathy), as well as profound hypoglycemia following administration of high-doses of Vitamin C. So I would recommend carefully looking into the signs and symptoms of both of these potential complications before you consider doing this. Also, drink plenty of fluids and eat well, and have additional sources of sugar on hand just in case.

On a broader note, I have to wonder what it is you're using IV ascorbate infusions for. Even fringe supporters don't advocate chronic intravenous infusions. Moreover if this is empiric treatment for the common cold or other viral infection, I have to question whether you've thought carefully about the risks and benefits of what you're considering.

Again though, regarding your main question about preparation of sodium ascorbate, I don't think there's any known "right" answer in the scientific sense.
posted by drpynchon at 11:56 AM on September 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: ikkyu2 - I've seen it mentioned in some formulations but not in others, with no actual indication of the purpose. I did think it might have something to do with chelation (which I am not looking for), but I could not find anything to back that up. This particular preparation is listed in multiple places, and appears to be similar to some commerically available formulations. I do agree that this may be a bad idea in larger dosages, but proper testing with smaller dosages is something I have considered.

drpynchon - Thanks for the elaborate response. I'm well aware of the potential for hypoglycemia, and it is cause for concern. I need to read more on the oxalate nephropathy, as I haven't been able to conclude if the vitamin C was causitive in the (very few) cases I have read.

The reason is something I'd rather not get into right here, but I'm happy to discuss it via e-mail if anyone really needs the reasoning behind it.
posted by bh at 12:27 PM on September 19, 2006

I'll add my voice to this being a really bad idea. I find nothing impressive about the person's website. His switch back and forth between ml and cc as though that were meaningful, his suggestion that all of this is very bactericidal (?). Unless your plan is to survive this therapy and start a lawsuit, I recommend against it. The sodium EDTA is at 1 g strength in the 500 ml. The sodium ascorbate is way above isotonic. You are getting a huge amount of sodium, 30 g in the 500 ml solution (recommended daily allotment is 500 mg).
I think where you are going with the notion of "shouldn't it be calcium EDTA?" is right. You are going to chelate out your blood calcium.

Why is the EDTA there at all? I don't know, but junk science doesn't need reasons.

For what it's worth, I teach a lecture on herbal medicines and advocate some.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:32 PM on September 19, 2006

For god's sake, don't do this. Please. But if you're going to anyways, don't add the EDTA. It's there as a metal chelator, but in contrast to the quackery of chelation therapy, it's also an anticoagulant, since that process depends on calcium. However, citrate will do the same thing and it's less likely to fuck you up.

By the way, I'm explicitly recommending that you do not do what you reference above, so I take no responsibility for anything that happens, whether or not you self-induce hypocalcemia.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 6:45 PM on September 19, 2006

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