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The Case for Vitamin C to Treat Serious Infections

Why do some folks think that high doses of vitamin C will cure anything and everything, including life-threatening infections?

Vitamin C is a cure for scurvy...
Vitamin C is a cure for scurvy…

The usual suspects.

The Case for Vitamin C to Treat Serious Infections

Sure, most of us know that Linus Pauling started the vitamin C craze way back in the 1970s.

But even though it has been shown time and again that high doses of vitamin C have no big health benefits, alternative medicine type folks keep pushing it, even as they advocate against newborns getting much needed vitamin K shots.

IV infusions are not cheap and have no health benefits.

There has even talk that it might help patients with sepsis in the ICU, a treatment that has come up again because of a clinical trial involving COVID-19.

Is it a coincidence that the measles epidemic in Samoa was under control soon after Edwin Tamasese was put in jail?

Will it work?

Some studies are still being done on septic patients in the ICU to see if they benefit from high dose vitamin C infusions.

“VICTAS is a clinical trial to test the combination of Vitamin C, thiamine and hydrocortisone for the treatment of sepsis.. It will be conducted across 30 to 40 major academic medical centers in the United States and will enroll at least 500 patients. All patients in the clinical trial will receive the regular best intensive care available for sepsis, and half of the patients will additionally receive vitamin C, thiamine and hydrocortisone. By testing a large number of patients, the doctors can then see if the group of patients that got the combination of medications did better than the group that did not.”


Other studies have been completed already.

“In patients with septic shock, treatment with intravenous vitamin C, hydrocortisone, and thiamine, compared with intravenous hydrocortisone alone, did not significantly improve the duration of time alive and free of vasopressor administration over 7 days. The finding suggests that treatment with intravenous vitamin C, hydrocortisone, and thiamine does not lead to a more rapid resolution of septic shock compared with intravenous hydrocortisone alone.”

Fujii et al on Effect of Vitamin C, Hydrocortisone, and Thiamine vs Hydrocortisone Alone on Time Alive and Free of Vasopressor Support Among Patients With Septic Shock: The VITAMINS Randomized Clinical Trial

And most show no benefit of high dose vitamin C therapy.

“The results of the clinical trial by Fujii et al in this issue of JAMA, added to the cumulative evidence from 13 different studies performed in 10 different countries, indicate that high-dose vitamin C with or without thiamine and steroids does not provide significant survival benefits for patients with sepsis or septic shock. Given that other studies are forthcoming, there appears to be no immediate justification for adoption of high-dose vitamin C, alone or in combination, as a component of treatment for sepsis. Moreover, use of high-dose vitamin C in combination or alone “just in case” or as a “measure of last resort,” aside from providing no survival benefits, could have several other potential consequences, including diverting funding from needed research to examine sepsis mechanisms and diagnostics; stifling the development of other sepsis therapies; perpetuating false hopes for patients, families, and clinicians; and delaying proven lifesaving therapies such as prompt initiation of antibiotic therapy.”

Andre Kalil on Lack of Benefit of High-Dose Vitamin C, Thiamine, and Hydrocortisone Combination for Patients With Sepsis

Which is too bad, as it would be great if sepsis could be cured or easily treated with vitamin C.

Sepsis is a terrible disease!

But why do folks who are against vaccines get so excited about vitamin C treatments?

That’s simple.

If you can easily treat such serious and life-threatening diseases with a little, or even a lot of vitamin C, then you can feel better about skipping or delaying your vaccines. After all, if you are unvaccinated and get sick, you have vitamin C to fall back on, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

“Prevent infections by following infection control practices (e.g. hand hygiene, catheter removal) and ensuring patients receive recommended vaccines.”

CDC on Sepsis Healthcare Professional Information

The best way to protect yourself from sepsis is to avoid the infections that can lead to sepsis. And getting vaccinated and protected is certainly a good way to avoid infections, even though not all of the germs that cause sepsis are vaccine preventable.

More on Vitamin C

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