Vitamin C and sepsis: The genie is now out of the bottle

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vitamin-c-therapy(NaturalHealth365) The enormous effectiveness of vitamin C in helping to resolve any of a wide variety of infections comes as no surprise to anyone who has made at least a minimal effort to study the large body of peer-reviewed literature addressing this topic. However, the overall number of healthcare practitioners and laypersons who are familiar with the therapeutic capacity of vitamin C still remains relatively small.

Furthermore, both the medical press and the general press have persisted in not reporting this incredibly vital information to consumers. Quite the opposite, the press has consistently generated misleading articles “supported” by bold-faced lies, basically asserting that vitamin C is not only ineffective, it can also be toxic and might damage the kidneys, along with possibly causing an array of other medical problems.

The suppressed truth about vitamin C

The established facts reveal that vitamin C has no defined toxicity at any level of intake, is not costly, and alleviates many conditions that remain largely unresponsive to mainstream medicine. When compared to toxic, expensive, and often minimally effective prescription medicines, it should not be difficult to understand why the value and efficacy of vitamin C therapy has always remained unacknowledged, and even suppressed by those entrusted to report the truth.

Physicians, medical publications, and the media must always be open to new information, regardless of how it might impact vested financial interests.

Recently reported in the mainstream media, both on television and in print, Dr. Paul Marik from the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia had been using a protocol in his intensive care unit (ICU) patients diagnosed with advanced sepsis and septic shock. Sepsis is a body-wide infection that rapidly evolves to a state of low blood pressure (shock) and multi-organ failure due to both the infection itself and the poor blood flow secondary to the low blood pressure.

Currently, sepsis is the most common cause of death in hospitalized patients, routinely killing 30% to 50% of such patients, and claiming millions of lives around the world every year.

Vitamin C therapy delivers lifesaving results for septic shock patients

Already aware of much of the literature on vitamin C and infection, Dr. Marik decided to try intravenous vitamin C, along with some hydrocortisone and thiamine, on a 48-year-old woman dying of septic shock in his ICU in January, 2016. In Dr. Marik’s own words, he asserted that “I was expecting the next morning when I came to work she would be dead.” He then added, “But when I walked in the next morning, I got the shock of my life,” as the patient was strikingly improved, subsequently proceeding smoothly to a complete recovery.

Dr. Marik, a principled physician who was not going to deny what he and his staff had clearly witnessed, then proceeded to institute his vitamin C/hydrocortisone/thiamine protocol on 47 more consecutive septic patients over the next seven months. He compared the results he achieved with these patients in a retrospective manner with a control group of septic patients treated without his new protocol during the prior seven months, simply looking at the outcome of survival.

Dr. Marik’s results were stunning, to say the least. Only 4 of the 47 patients treated with the protocol did not survive (8.5%), while 19 of the 47 control patients died (40.4%). None of the treated patients developed any organ failure, and all of the treated patients were able to be weaned off of vasopressors (blood pressure-supporting drugs) within roughly 24 hours of starting the protocol.

Furthermore, Dr. Marik also noted that all four of the treated patients who died did not die of sepsis-related shock, but from their underlying conditions. Since this study, Dr. Marik has increased the number of treated patients with severe sepsis and septic shock to 150, and only one from that group went on to die from the sepsis itself. Moving from a 30-50 percent mortality utilizing standard treatment protocols for sepsis to achieving a sepsis-related mortality of less than 1% using IV vitamin C/hydrocortosone/thiamine therapy in this small treatment group is nothing short of miraculous.

If a new drug were developed that could produce these astounding results, it would be labeled a miracle drug.

Saving lives with an inexpensive, SAFE and effective vitamin therapy

In a recent interview, Dr. Marik offered the following observations: “In the doses used, vitamin C is absolutely safe. The package insert lists no complications, side effects or precautions. Patients with cancer have safely been given doses up to 150 grams – one hundred times the dose we give.

In the patients with renal impairment we have measured the oxalate levels; these have all been in the safe range. Every single patient who received the protocol had an improvement in renal function.” (Emphasis mine)  So much for the never-ending assault on vitamin C as representing a threat to the health of the kidneys. Dr. Marik also went on to comment on the complete safety of the hydrocortisone doses used in the protocol, as well as on how inexpensive the total protocol was.

No medical doctor can ignore the lifesaving realities related to vitamin C therapy

Dr. Marik also made the point that critically ill patients have either very low or undetectable vitamin C levels in the blood. This alone would always justify the administration of vitamin C. A scientifically sound argument can be made for the septic patient ultimately dying just because of this profound lack of vitamin C remaining in the body.

Also of note, Dr. Marik used a vitamin C dosage of 1.5 grams IV every 6 hours for 4 days or until discharge from the ICU. Much larger doses of vitamin C have been proven to be just as safe as this dosage, and increasing the dosage of vitamin C should always remain an option if the patient does not promptly improve, or even continues to deteriorate.

Medicolegally speaking, the genie is now out of the bottle. With the publicity given to Dr. Marik’s protocol, especially on television and in videos on the internet, treating physicians are no longer in a position to deny any patient the benefits of such a therapy, or even to say that they have not heard of it. Physicians have an obligation of due diligence in educating themselves on the most current of treatment recommendations for a given condition. This is especially true when the treatment is:

1. Inexpensive
2. Nontoxic
3. Effective

When a treatment is very expensive, significantly toxic, and/or questionably effective, a legitimate medicolegal argument can be made to withhold such a treatment. NONE of these considerations apply to Dr. Marik’s cocktail of vitamin C, hydrocortisone, and thiamine.

Even if subsequent studies show less dramatic results than those achieved by Dr. Marik in his series of septic patients, there is no defense a physician can offer, other than arrogance and pride at being “told” what to do, to withhold this treatment from a patient dying on the ICU and not responding to traditional antibiotics and supportive therapy.

Vitamin C therapy ought to be considered a powerful tool for Western medicine

To be perfectly clear: There can never be an argument that Dr. Marik’s protocol is supplanting or replacing any other indicated treatments. And even if there continues to be debate over how effective Dr. Marik’s protocol might be for sepsis, along with the typical clamoring for “more studies” to quantify that effectiveness, there can be no reasonable debate that any patient should be denied the opportunity to be given an inexpensive and nontoxic therapy – especially when a high chance of death is looming in only a few days or even in a few hours.

When something is cheap and nontoxic, you don’t have to wait years for “definitive” results. Medicine loves being sophisticated and well-defined, but sometimes just knowing that something won’t hurt you while often working is all that is really needed.

Take legal action – if needed

Bottom line: If you have a family member dying of sepsis on an intensive care unit, demand that Dr. Marik’s protocol be immediately instituted. If you are denied this option, make sure your physician understands that immediate legal action to initiate the therapy will ensue, and that the death of your loved one will assure the initiation of a malpractice suit against him/her.

However, only sue the physician in charge, as physicians have a herd mentality and are scared to death of being the sole focus of a malpractice suit or medicolegal challenge.


Levy T (2004) Curing the Incurable. Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins. MedFox Publishing, Henderson, NV.

Marik P, Khangoora V, Rivera R, Hooper M, Catravas J (2016) Hydrocortisone, vitamin C and thiamine for the treatment of severe sepsis and septic shock: a retrospective before-after study. Dec 6 [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 27940189


About the author: Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD is a board-certified internist and cardiologist. He is also bar-certified for the practice of law. He has written 10 books now, generally concentrating on the importance of eliminating toxins and toxin-generating focal infections while bolstering antioxidant defenses in the body, with particular focus on vitamin C. His website is:, which also contains many articles addressing a variety of medical topics. His 11th book, Hidden Epidemic: Silent Oral Infections Cause Most Heart Attacks and Breast Cancers, should be released by August, 2017, and it will be available at, along with the rest of his books.

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  • Pam R

    Awsome article! They cannot deny us access to vitamin C in the hospital anymore.

    • aranyani

      Sure they can. They can even deny us medical care if we don’t agree to be shot up with every vaccination Big Pharma dictates to the CDC.

  • Faye

    Don’t forget the work on Vit.C done by the late, Dr. Robert Cathcart. Also, see
    Anatomy of An Illness by the late Norman Cousins. He cured his disease with Vit. C.

  • Jay Duncan

    Dr. Levy, Thank you so, so much! In the future, it would be wonderful if you could speak to the 25 – 50 gram Vit. C IV doses for dental surgery w/o the hydrocortisone & thiamine – ie; in light of this information, would you be inclined to add these two adjuncts to the sodium ascorbate and if so, with the Vit. C absorption enhancement effect from the thiamine addition suggest that the amount of Vit. C would be reduced? I mention this because Dr. Hal Huggins was adamant that there should be nothing else but sodium ascorbate in the IV Solution (presumably a ringers solution).
    Lastly, with the tendency for steroids to suppress the body’s immune system, and in consideration that it is the immune system that helps remove the heavy metals and other toxins from the body, in what circumstances would it make sense to complement a Vitamin C + Thiamine IV with hydrocortisone for dental surgery?
    Once again, I thank you very, very much for your on-going work and insight concerning the therapeutic use of Sodium Ascorbate! I owe my life to you and Dr. Huggins!

    Jay Duncan

    • Thomas Levy

      Hello Jay,

      Very good questions. I can only tell you what I think at this point in time, as no scientific studies directly addressing these questions have been done yet, to my knowledge.

      Vitamin C and hydrocortisone are probably the two most potent anti-inflammatory agents that exist, and both are natural substances, even though they both can be produced in the laboratory. Studies looking at just hydrocortisone and sepsis with impending septic shock are inconclusive as to how much benefit hydrocortisone alone helps this condition.

      And while I do not believe that vitamin C for shock has been specifically studied, we know that vitamin C clearly can resolve even very advanced infections as a monotherapy. Since vitamin C is very safe and inexpensive, it’s just as easy to give 25 to 50 grams several times daily in a septic patient as it is to use the lesser doses in Dr. Marik’s formula.

      However, Dr. Marik might have discovered a previously unrecognized synergism between vitamin C and hydrocortisone. I certainly would not have expected 1.5 grams of vitamin C four times daily to have the effect that it has been proven to have in Dr. Marik’s protocol.

      Thiamine is fine, but I really doubt it is a major contributor to the results that Dr. Marik has seen with his protocol.

      Regardless, mainstream medicine can no longer claim ignorance of what vitamin C can do, at least as it is administered in Dr. Marik’s protocol, and no physician in the future will have any medical grounds to withhold the protocol from a dying ICU patient. This is the take-away point of the article. Doctors still receive too much undeserved respect and trust from their patients too much of the time, and things will not change, even with the information in this article, until the gloves come off and the legal system intervenes on behalf of the dying patients and their families.

      Dr. Levy

  • Please forget the hydrocortisone, vitamin C, when used correctly (in mega doses), is in itself is potent enough to cure infectious diseases, toxicities and poisonous snake and spider bites… Check out the research by dr. Frederic Klenner, who completely cured children with polio by giving them intravenous vitamin C.
    Also, I know of a patient with a huge wound on his foot, which was about to be amputated. Oral and topical use of sodium ascorbate powder saved his foot..!

    • Rohan Bussell

      Recent studies of Fowler et al have directly tested IV Vit C against
      sepsis. Fowler’s phase 2 trial is ongoing. The results of the phase 1
      safety trial were safe, as Levy says should be expected, and that trial
      confirmed reduction in measures of inflammation, bacterial activity and
      organ damage.

  • Rohan Bussell

    I think a lot of your post runs against the science of how vitamin c. You make a couple of good points, but AA is a potent antioxidant and coenzyme in its own right.
    Avoiding scurvy is made very easy by adequate ascorbic acid intake from natural foods because the flavonoids can have a strong electron donating action. Packer talked about this in his book The Antioxidant Miracle and talked about how Pycnogenol recharges and complements ascorbic acid.
    I seem to remember that Hunninghake described vitamin d3 as the new vitamin c in a talk he was giving, it has to be rememberd that hunninghake also claims to take at least 10g of vit c a day and uses IV Vit C at the Riordan Clinic.

  • Rohan Bussell

    Thanks Dr Levy, I was wondering when you would comment on Dr Marik’s work, its good to see your input.

  • jeffrey_dach_md

    A publication appeared last week in Oncotarget on anti-cancer synergy of Doxycyline and vitamin C, a really huge breakthrough in our quest for effective non-toxic cancer treatment.
    for more see: https://jeffreydachmd. com/2017/06/doxycycline-vitamin-c-anti-cancer-synergy/
    jeffrey dach md

  • Keith Taylor

    I kill sepsis and necrosis with honey and nothing else. The honey is applied to any wound (even very deep burns) instead of a disinfectant, covered with a sheet of plastic and held in place with whatever is available. It is NOT washed off until the wound has healed completely. The wound is uncovered every 24 – 36 hours, more honey poured on and covered again. The result of this treatment is so predictable that it eventually becomes quite boring. The relief experienced by burn patients is incredible: they do not have to take any strong analgesic or narcotic for the pain.
    Some people and animals feel discomfort when it is applied, as it appears to sting them, but it soon subsides and treatment can continue unabated. Although “medical grade” honey and specific types of honey are suggested, I simply use shop-bought honey and achieve astounding results.

  • empiricist2

    Why always sodium ascorbate? Why not mg ascorbate for example? Most are mg deficient. And below John says ascorbic acid binds with D3 receptors. Is this true? And it won’t even cure scurvy?? What happens if you gave large amt of vit D at same time as ascorbate?