Vitamin C – can it save sepsis patients?
Sepsis is an extreme inflammatory reaction of the body’s immune system in response to severe infection. It is a leading cause of death, claiming around 300,000 lives per year in the USA.
Sepsis can be a complication of viral infection, such as influenza or coronavirus.
A study of 167 sepsis patients in intensive care units showed that those receiving high dose intravenous vitamin C had significantly improved chances of surviving.
Half of the patients were randomly selected to receive vitamin C infusions every six hours for four days. Patients who did not receive vitamin C had a 46% risk of death within a month, while those receiving vitamin C had a significantly improved risk of 30%.
After the four days of treatment, 19 standard-car patients had died, while only four of the patients treated with vitamin C died. Nine of the vitamin C patients were able to leave the ICU during the treatment, while only one of the other patients could leave.
A follow-up appointment after 30 days found that patients receiving vitamin C had spent 11 days out of ICU, compared to eight days from the standard care group. Over 60 days, the vitamin C group enjoyed a full week less in ICU.
“When you take vitamin C orally you cannot develop any kind of a meaningful blood level of vitamin C – not even in massive doses,” said lead study author Dr. Alpha Fowler III, professor of medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University. He points out that by giving vitamin C intravenously, it is possible to reach blood levels 3000 times higher than possible by taking the vitamin orally. “And at that point it's no longer just a vitamin. It becomes a very potent anti-inflammatory agent. And that is what's saving lives.”
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