Researchers at the University of Otago in Christchurch, New Zealand are teaming up with intensive care specialists to study whether intravenous infusions of vitamin C could be a life-saving treatment for patients with sepsis.
The plans for this study build on work carried out by Dr. Paul E. Marik, an intensive-care physician at the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia, in the United States. Responsible for the deaths of up to 8 million people globally each year, sepsis is currently the leading cause of death among hospitalized patients.
In a study published in the journal Chest in 2017, Dr. Marik and colleagues describe how, based on the use of an intravenous combination of vitamin C, vitamin B1, and the hormone hydrocortisone, their approach saw just 4 deaths among the 47 patients who received it.
Pointing out in another paper that around 40 percent of ICU patients with septic shock have extremely low serum levels of vitamin C consistent with a diagnosis of scurvy, and that the remainder of sepsis patients similarly have insufficient levels, Dr. Marik explains how the clinical benefit of vitamin C in these conditions is synergistically enhanced by the inclusion of vitamin B1 and low-dose corticosteroids. Noting how most clinicians are unaware that primates and guinea pigs are the only mammals that are unable to synthesize vitamin C in their bodies, he says the inability to generate their own vitamin C makes humans very susceptible to dysfunction in a variety of biochemical pathways that are vital for surviving a critical illness such as sepsis. Clearly, the ideas behind this work bear numerous parallels to the pioneering scientific research of Dr. Rath.
To learn more about Dr. Marik’s work, we recommend reading a fascinating interview with him that we recently published on our website.