Intravenous vitamin C treatment does not help sepsis patients

December 14, 2022

A randomized controlled trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine has quashed the theory that intravenous vitamin C could prevent death and organ damage in patients with sepsis. 

Sepsis is the body's extreme response to an infection, which can lead to organ failure and death. It was hypothesized that the antioxidant effects of vitamin C might help counteract the oxidative stress caused by sepsis. However, previous smaller studies of vitamin C treatment in patients with sepsis have had mixed results. 

This international clinical trial of 872 patients in the ICU with sepsis found that those who received high doses of vitamin C had a higher risk of death or lasting organ dysfunction compared with those who received a placebo. Dr. Salmaan Kanji, Rebecca Porteous and Irene Watpool were co-authors on the paper and played a key role in the trial.

Funding: Lotte and John Hecht Memorial Foundation

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