Providing a vitamin C regimen to ICU patients lowered the average stay by 8% according to meta-analysis research conducted at the University of Helsinki.
The research was carried-out by Dr. Harri Hemilä from the University of Helsinki, Finland, and Dr. Elizabeth Chalker from the University of Sydney, Australia, and published in the magazine Nutrients.
To conduct the research the researchers compared details in 12 relevant controlled trials.
On average, vitamin C administration shortened ICU stay by 7.8%. Moreover, in six of the trials, orally administered vitamin C with an average dose of 2 grams per day reduced the length of ICU stay on average by 8.6%.
The biochemistry of vitamin C is complex; hence, it is probably the most widely-researched vitamin.
Through its epigenetic effects, vitamin C may influence hundreds of genes. In controlled trials, vitamin C has lowered blood pressure, decreased the incidence of atrial fibrillation, decreased bronchoconstriction, decreased pain, decreased glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes, and it has shortened the duration of colds.
Injury causes a reduction in Vitamin C
Very low vitamin C plasma levels are common in hospital patients. Furthermore, vitamin C metabolism is changed in many conditions and usually causes a dramatic decline in vitamin C levels.
Physiological stress such as infections, surgery, traumas and burns have all been proven to dramatically lower vitamin C levels.
Although 0.1 grams per day of vitamin C can maintain a normal plasma level in a healthy person, much higher doses—up to 4 grams per day—are needed for critically ill patients to increase their plasma vitamin C levels to the range of normal healthy people.
Therefore, it does appear that high vitamin C doses are needed to compensate for the increased metabolism in critically ill patients.
In their summary, Hemilä and Chalker stated more research was needed, but that the benefits of high-dose vitamin C supplementation appeared to be extremely beneficial:
“Vitamin C is a safe, low-cost essential nutrient. Given the consistent evidence from the trials published so far, vitamin C might be administered to ICU patients, although further studies are needed to find out optimal protocols for its administration.
“A few common cold studies have indicated that there may be a linear dose response for vitamin C on common cold duration for up to 6 and 8 grams per day. Evidently the dose response for doses higher than 2 grams per day should also be investigated for ICU patients.”
Vitamin C made from whole foods includes constituents and nutrients not found in basic ascorbic acid.
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Article Sources: Nutrients, ScienceDaily.com.