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Vitamin C May Help With Shorter ICU Stays

2 weeks, 2 days ago

1303  0
Posted on Sep 03, 2019, 4 p.m.

A study published in the journal Nutrients suggests that administration of vitamin C may help to shorten the length of a patient being in the intensive care unit by on average 8%.

Researchers from the University of Sydney and the University of Helsinki evaluated whether vitamin C influences the length of stay in the intensive care unit, as well as duration of mechanical ventilation drawing on data from 18 earlier clinical trials supporting vitamin C supplements improving overall patient health and metabolism improvements involving 1,766 patients. 

Analyzing data found that on average vitamin C administration decreased stays in the ICU by 7.8%. Oral administration of an average dose of 2 g per day in 6 trials reduced the length of stay in an ICU on average 8.6%; and patients needing mechanical ventilation in 3 trials for more than 24 hours receiving vitamin C had reduced duration of mechanical ventilation by 18.2%.

“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,” the Australian and Finnish researchers said.

Based on their findings the researchers concluded because of the positive effects of vitamin C on medical conditions and the body of evidence for low vitamin C levels and increased vitamin C metabolism in the critically ill, vitamin C shortened ICU stay and other practical outcomes without any restriction on specific medical conditions that caused the stay in the intensive care unit.

Those in the hospital often have low vitamin C levels, vitamin C metabolism is changed in many conditions involving physiological stress such as burns, infections, trauma, and surgery, among others, causing levels to drop significantly. 

Healthy people can maintain a normal plasma levels with 0.1 g per day of vitamin C, critically ill patients can require up to 4 g per day to increase plasma vitamin C levels to normal levels, for this reason high vitamin C doses may help the critically ill to make up for the increased metabolism. 

BMC published a study finding that recommended levels of vitamin C for critically ill patients are not high enough. The study examined plasma vitamin C levels for ICU patients who were critically ill, suffering with sepsis, or severe heart problems to assess how vitamin C levels vary depending on patient status and determine if normal ICU nutritional support was enough to meet the needs of the critically ill. 

Despite having an average daily intake of 125 mg of vitamin C per day, and 200 mg in those receiving IV nourishment the patients had low blood vitamin C levels that were only one third of what would have been expected with the supplementation. Those with septic shock were significantly lower than others, and they had higher levels of inflammation. 

Based on their findings the team concluded that critically ill patients require over 2,000 mg of vitamin C every day to normalize plasma levels, which may be increased to 3,000 to raise the nutrient to saturation levels. 

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