Vitamin C may offer potential life-saving treatment for sepsis

Research led by Dr Karel Tyml and colleagues at the University of Western Ontario and Lawson Health Research Institute shows that vitamin C can not only prevent the onset of sepsis, but also reverse the disease. Sepsis is caused by a bacterial infection anywhere in your body that causes the immune system to go into overdrive. Small blood clots form and can block blood flow to vital organs, leading to organ failure. Because there is no effective treatment mortality rate is about 40% for those with the disease.

Dr Tyml and his team have found that a single large dose of vitamin C early on can prevent the capillaries becoming blocked, which promotes oxygenation and the supply of life supporting materials to organ tissue, and waste collection. A similar dose later on during the disease, when capillaries have already been blocked, can also help to unblock the capillaries and restore blood flow to the affected areas. These positive effects last for up to 24 hours.

Vitamin C is both cheap and safe and can be injected intravenously with no side effects. This will especially benefit developing countries where sepsis is more common but there is less access to and money for expensive drug treatments.

Impaired microvascular perfusion in sepsis requires activated coagulation and P-selectin-mediated platelet adhesion in capillaries
Dan Secor, Fuyan Li, Christopher G. Ellis, Michael D. Sharpe, Peter L. Gross, John X. Wilson and Karel Tyml


Also see Megadose Vitamin C therapy

First Published in December 2010

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