A Virginian doctor recently claimed to have found that vitamin C could be an essential part of treatment for sepsis, a life-threatening complication of infection when the pathogenic load and immune response are too great. As sepsis kills thousands every year, including over 44,000 in the UK, it's time to take notice of the power of vitamin C.
Dr Paul Marik, a critical care specialist, says he came up with the treatment as a last resort when a 48-year-old woman arrived with a case of sepsis that would have otherwise killed her. Her kidneys and lungs were failing, but after his "outside the box" treatment, she left the hospital after two days. His treatment? An injected infusion of vitamin C, a low dose of steroids, and vitamin B1, also known as thiamine. While other experts believe that this is "too good to be true", he has already published some results of his own research showing that this was not a once-off miracle. In this retrospective, before-after clinical study, 47 consecutive patients were treated with this infusion over a seven month timeframe, and were compared with 47 untreated patients from the previous seven months. The treated group only had a mortality rate of 4 out of 47 patients (8.5%), compared to 19 out of 47 (40.4%) in the control group. This is about an 80% reduction! No patients in the treated group developed progressive organ failure. All treated patients also stopped needing vasopressors, after an average of 18 hours. The control patients used them for an average of 54 hours, a bit over two days. Although these findings were described as preliminary and in need of larger follow-up studies, they were clinically significant and seen as a way to prevent organ failure and death from sepsis.
The dismissal of this case as "too good to be true" is also infuriating because of just how far research on vitamin C and infections goes back to. In an article from over sixty years ago, a doctor describes studies and cases of vitamin C injections resolving a range of infections. One case, which was similar to prior research, saw a young girl's chickenpox disappear in a day or two as opposed to the typical "seven to nine days". Children with polio and encephalitis from severe cases of mumps and measles were also described as having rapid, uneventful recoveries after beginning vitamin C injections. Even a baby recovered from measles in 60 hours, without developing a rash or having to deal with a fever for long. Many studies and case reports on vitamin C and infections came in the decades after, including three controlled studies analysed in a review showing an 80% drop in pneumonia incidence. In another of several hundred young adults, vitamin C administration cut cold and flu symptoms by 85%. Even a report on New Zealand's 60 Minutes, of a man saved from viral pneumonia with vitamin C, after doctors initially refused to administer it, seems to have failed to change the pharmaceutical drug-only public opinion on the vitamin. However, despite all of the censorship and narrow-mindedness of the public, there is real hope for the future when it comes to using natural medicines in the fight against infections, whether they be deadly or just inconvenient.