New study: Vitamin C is a lifesaver for sepsis patients
(NaturalHealth365) Sepsis, a body-wide bacterial infection, is a dangerous condition that can rapidly progress to septic shock and organ failure. With a mortality rate approaching 60 percent, sepsis is currently one of the leading causes of death in critically ill patients in the United States. Now, a new study published in the highly-respected Journal of the American Medical Association has revealed that high-dosage vitamin C can greatly improve the chances of survival of sepsis patients.
Natural health experts have long insisted that vitamin C can help combat a variety of serious conditions, including heart disease and cancer. To learn what the latest study shows about this amazing nutrient’s effects on sepsis, keep reading.
Bombshell finding: High-dose vitamin C can offer lifesaving effects
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 167 participants in seven intensive care units, patients with sepsis and respiratory distress syndrome were given just 50 mg/ kg of vitamin C – every 6 hours – intravenously for 96 hours.
The researchers evaluated organ dysfunction, inflammation and vascular injury in an attempt to find out if vitamin C was a more effective therapy for organ failure than the current standard of care for sepsis. And, this study was published in JAMA in October – yielded intriguing results.
On the one hand, the team found that the vitamin C treatment, after 96 hours, did not significantly reduce markers of inflammation or organ failure (in this particular study, at least). But it had an even more important effect – it seemed to increase the odds of survival.
In other words, when sepsis patients were given vitamin C, fewer died.
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Study: Vitamin C benefits to sepsis patients include lower risk of mortality – and fewer days in the hospital
Researchers found, at the 28-day mark, that 25 of the 84 vitamin C patients died, compared to 38 of the 82 patients on placebo. In other words: nearly half of the placebo group died, while only one-third of the vitamin C patients succumbed.
The vitamin C group also averaged two and a half days less of ventilator use, and spent less time in the intensive care unit. In fact, 25 percent of the vitamin C-treated group made it out of the ICU in a week – while in placebo patients, the average was only 10.2 percent.
The study’s lead researcher, Alpha A. Fowler III, MD, declared that vitamin C therapy could potentially transform the way doctors care for sepsis patients. Dr. Fowler called for more study to further explore the effects of vitamin C on sepsis.
Of course, no discussion of vitamin C and sepsis would be complete without mention of the groundbreaking work of Dr. Paul E. Marik, whose revolutionary sepsis protocol includes – (wait for it!), vitamin C.
Vitamin C-based protocol drastically improves patient survival in additional studies
Dr. Marik, a physician at Eastern Virginia Medical School, treats sepsis with a “cocktail” consisting of vitamin C, vitamin B1 (or thiamine) and hydrocortisone. In a retrospective study published in Chest and involving 47 patients, Dr. Marik reported that 8.5 percent of the vitamin C-treated patients died, as opposed to 40.4 percent of the control patients – a near-miraculous result.
A powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, vitamin C is uniquely positioned to address the oxidative damage and inflammation that are characteristic of sepsis and septic shock. However, high dosages of vitamin C are required, because the very act of being ill drastically diminishes levels in the body.
Dr. Michael H. Hooper, MD, a colleague of Dr. Marik’s, notes that sepsis patients are “remarkably deficient” in vitamin C – and points to the importance of raising levels not only in the blood plasma, but in the vital organs as well. Increasingly, other scientists are confirming the therapeutic effects of vitamin C.
In a recent review published in Current Opinion in Anesthesiology, the authors report that there is an “abundance of plausible data” for the protective effects of vitamin C against “damaging oxidative stress and organ dysfunction in sepsis and septic shock.”
With several clinical trials on vitamin C and sepsis currently underway, additional findings will soon be forthcoming.
The value of high-dose vitamin C therapy goes largely unacknowledged by Western medicine
Of course, no surprise, conventional medicine has been slow to embrace vitamin C therapy – with many practitioners believing that the research is “insufficient” to justify changes in clinical practice. Skeptics point to the small study sizes in the research on sepsis and vitamin C, and the fact that – in Dr. Marik’s protocol, three simultaneous interventions are used.
Some physicians maintain that high dosages of vitamin C can cause kidney failure – although advocates of the treatment, including Dr. Hooper, insist there is “ample” evidence showing that vitamin C is perfectly safe.
Food for thought: How many more lives could vitamin C be saving?
Currently, Western medicine treats sepsis with intravenous fluids, antibiotics and vasopressor drugs. To be clear, no proponent of high-dose vitamin C is urging that the treatment replace existing medical therapy – but, that it should be offered in conjunction.
Certainly, people should not be denied the chance to benefit from this non-toxic and inexpensive option, especially when faced with a life-threatening medical crisis such as sepsis.
Bottom line: If you have a loved one dying of sepsis in an intensive care unit, insist that Dr. Marik’s protocol be immediately initiated. And, if you are denied this option, make sure the physician understands that you will undertake legal action.
As Dr. Fowler recently stated, “We may have found a lifesaving therapy.” And, patients who survived sepsis – after being given the vitamin C protocol – would certainly agree.
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