July 19, 2018 – Vitamin C and Sepsis


Anchor lead: Why would vitamin C be important in treating sepsis? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Sepsis, an overwhelming infection and inflammation that is the third leading cause of death, may respond to use of three drugs: vitamin C, thiamine, and steroids. That’s the hypothesis being tested in a randomized, prospective study underway now. Jeremiah Hinson, an emergency medicine physician at Johns Hopkins and one of the study’s leaders, explains why vitamin C is important.

Hinson: For vitamin C human beings and primates and guinea pigs are actually the only mammals that don’t make vitamin C and have difficulty storing vitamin C. and so during stress reactions for all other organisms they increase their levels of vitamin C and we’re unable to do that. If you take a look at patients who come into the hospital with sepsis and have higher mortality, they tend to have lower levels of vitamin C at the time of admission to the hospital and then a large proportion of the patients who have septic shock meet criteria for scurvy, which is severe depletion of vitamin C.   :32

Hinson says all three drugs are administered intravenously and have shown impressive results in previous research. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.