Vitamin C may treat and prevent sepsis

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A bolus injection of vitamin C may prevent and reverse sepsis, according to recently published research by Canadian investigators.“Our research in mice with sepsis has found that early as well as delayed injections of vitamin C improves chance of survival significantly,” Karel Tyml, PhD, a professor at the University of Western Ontario’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, stated in a university press release. “Furthermore, the beneficial effect of a single bolus injection of vitamin C is long lasting and prevents capillary plugging for up to 24 hours post-injection.”

Plugged capillaries are commonly seen in the organs of patients with sepsis. Blocked capillaries prevent oxygenation and metabolic waste removal, according to the release. Tymal and his colleagues were one of the first to discover the plugging phenomenon using intravital microscopy.

According to Tymal and his colleagues at the University of Western Ontario and the Lawson Health Research Institute, oxidative stress and the activated blood clotting pathway lead to capillary plugging. The investigators discovered that a single bolus injection of vitamin C at the induction of sepsis prevented capillary plugging in mice. In addition, they found that a bolus injection of vitamin C restores blood flow in previously blocked capillaries.The investigators would like to see if the results hold true during clinical testing in humans.

“Vitamin C is cheap and safe,” Tymal stated in the release. “Previous studies have shown that it can be injected intravenously into patients with no side effects. It has the potential to significantly improve the outcome of sepsis patients world-wide. This could be especially beneficially in developing countries where sepsis is more common and expensive treatments are not affordable.”
 

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