Study: Vitamin C improves sepsis survival rates
09/28/2020 // Virgilio Marin // Views

A recent study published in the journal JAMA suggests that vitamin C may be beneficial for people with sepsis.

Researchers examined the effect of vitamin C on organ failure, a common complication of sepsis that often leads to death. They found that it lowered mortality rates among patients with sepsis and reduced how long they stayed in the hospital.

While more research is needed, the team said that vitamin C treatment can transform patient care. It can potentially save lives and cut hospital costs, especially as sepsis is a major contributor to healthcare expenses in the United States.

“While further research is needed, the results from our preliminary study are encouraging,” said first author Dr. Alpha A. Fowler III, a professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine.

Vitamin C offers promising treatment for sepsis

For the study, the researchers randomly selected 167 sepsis patients across seven sites. These patients were given either vitamin C or a placebo intravenously every six hours for four days.

After 28 days, the researchers found that the placebo group had a 46 percent mortality rate while the vitamin C group’s mortality rate was just 30 percent.

The team did not find any significant effect on sepsis-related organ failure, but the vitamin C therapy did seem to reduce the duration of hospitalization. On average, the vitamin C group spent seven days in the ICU and 15 days overall in the hospital while the placebo group spent 10 and 22 days, respectively.

“This therapy could potentially transform the way we care for sepsis patients,” said Fowler. “We may have found a lifesaving therapy.”


According to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, sepsis is one of the leading causes of death in the country, with up to 300,000 deaths from sepsis reported each year. It’s a life-threatening condition caused by the body’s response to an infection, which may progress into septic shock. When that happens, blood pressure drops drastically, potentially leading to death.

Although a treatment for sepsis exists, some patients are not able to survive from the disease. Hospital costs from sepsis are also sky-high; sepsis accounted for 24 billion dollars of the country’s total hospital costs in 2013, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Moreover, sepsis hospitalization is 70 percent more expensive than typical hospitalization.

“Taking care of a septic patient in the ICU costs tens of thousands of dollars each day,” added Fowler. “Improving clinical outcomes for sepsis means significant cost savings for the U.S. health care industry.” (Related: Vitamin C is the safest and most effective way of eliminating the threat of sepsis.)

Sepsis expert incorporateed vitamin C in landmark sepsis treatment

Dr. Paul Marik, a critical-care physician at the Eastern Virginia Medical School, popularized what’s known as the “Marik protocol.” It involves a cocktail of substances, including vitamin C, that’s used to treat sepsis.

He came up with the protocol in 2016 when he had a patient who was critically ill with the disease. He had recently just read an article detailing the benefits of vitamin C, as well as thiamine, for those undergoing septic shock. Hard-pressed, he took a chance and administered a cocktail of vitamin C, thiamine and corticosteroids. To his relief, the patient recovered within days. He gave the cocktail to two more patients and they too recovered from the disease.

Despite these glowing results, Marik was met with skepticism within the medical community; journals refused to publish his findings while medical institutions refused to grant him funding for further research.

Still, Marik vouches for the use of vitamin C. In fact, the protocol is still in use in his hospital, because of it’s low-cost and the safety of the substances it uses. has more on alternative treatments for sepsis.

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