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Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, Jan 20, 2020

Deathbed Scurvy

Why are some critical care physicians still allowing patients to have scurvy levels of vitamin C?

Commentary by Bill Sardi

(OMNS January 20, 2020) The latest study of intravenously infused vitamin C/thiamine (B1)/cortisone treatment of sepsis (blood poisoning), a deadly malady that is killing over 500,000 hospitalized patients a year, supposedly failed to show any significant survival benefit when compared to cortisone (adrenal stress hormone) alone. [1]

Since Paul E. Marik, MD, of the Eastern Virginia Medical School reported in 2017 a striking reduction in mortality (from 40.4% to 8.5%) in the intensive care unit when vitamin/cortisone therapy was administered (Chest, June 2017) [2], 37 studies were subsequently launched [3] to confirm or dismiss Dr. Marik's results.

Dr. Marik, responding from the Critical Care Reviews Meeting in Belfast, says the most recently published study, known by the diverting acronym "VITAMINS," in the Journal of the American Medical Association (January 17, 2020), [4] does "not reflect real-life experience and may have consciously or subconsciously been pre-designed to fail" (personal correspondence, Jan 18, 2020).

Cookie-cutter approach should be abandoned

A grave error that is continually repeated in modern medicine is to solely apply a cookie-cutter approach to determine how successful (in this case, life-saving) a particular therapy is in a group rather than individualized treatment. The data obtained from these studies are only pertinent to groups, not individuals. Other researchers including Dr. Marik at the Critical Care Reviews meeting practically beg their peers to cease large randomized (blind selection of patients for treatment) studies and to invoke individualized care protocols. [5]

"I spent 15 years gaining expertise in deploying ICU therapeutics with the farcical goal of keeping ascorbic acid depleted patients alive and well without giving them ascorbic acid." (Dr. P.K, Madison, Wisconsin)

Drowning the critical care patient

In particular, Dr. Marik suggests the common practice of injecting large volumes of crystalloid fluid into sepsis patients must be abandoned (it is without scientific basis). [6] Dr. Marik says this practice increases the risk for death among sepsis patients. A survey of his medical colleagues show 62% agree with him. [6]

Dr. Marik asserts excess fluids only "dilute" the clinical benefit, essentially "drowning the sepsis patient in salt water."

A study recently published in the Journal of Intensive Care found 40% of septic shock patients were fluid overloaded which increases organ (kidney, heart) failure. [7]

Dr. Marik underscores this point by noting patients in the "VITAMINS" trial still had high blood lactate levels despite the provision of fluids. High lactate levels indicate cells are deprived of oxygen (hypoxic). [8]

Importance of timing

Dr. Marik notes it is critically important for clinicians to initiate intravenous vitamin C therapy within six hours of their presentation as a sepsis patient, ideally at the time of their first dose of antibiotics.

In the negative "VITAMINS" study, the first dose of intravenous vitamin C was administered 12.1 hours after determination of sepsis criteria, missing the 6-hour window. [9]

Worldwide success

Dr. Marik notes that most non-septic intensive care unit patients are also deficient in vitamin C. One published study reveals the prevalence of vitamin C deficiency is about 7% for the public at large but rises to 47.3% among hospitalized patients. [10] That figure approaches 100% in the ICU.

That in itself is a good reason why hospital intensive care units around the world have employed Dr. Marik's vitamin therapy on over 1000 patients worldwide with reproducible benefits and no reported side effects.

"After introducing vitamin C therapy to the equation, sepsis is no longer a concern of mine. If they are not 'already dead' at arrival, the patients survive. And they survive with their health intact." (Dr. E.V. Volda, Norway)

Bias, unsolicited online tracking, and rebuttal

Another recent study dismissed vitamin therapy for sepsis when 46 factors were measured, but the critical factor, mortality, showed a significant benefit, which suggests bias by investigators. [11] Flawed studies produce flawed results.

Of interest, an online follower of the vitamin C/sepsis story notes that Google News Wire sent him an automatic unsolicited refutation of vitamin C therapy for sepsis. There appears to be a covert effort to quash vitamin C therapy by tracking individual reading lists and matching them with medical databases that publish contradictory studies.

Modern medicine appears to be beholden to flawed science to keep vitamin C therapy out of hospital intensive care units. The consequence is dead patients.

OMNS Editor's note: Dr. Marik and his team have saved lives with an effective sepsis protocol that includes intravenous vitamin C. The next round of studies should use even higher doses, which will likely save still more lives. For the media to disparage, discourage and even dismiss vitamin therapy for sepsis is irresponsible at best and criminal at worst. Sepsis is a major killer among hospitalized patients. Hundreds of research studies have already shown the absolute necessity of supplemental vitamin C for this life-threatening condition. Dr. Marik has intelligently, and compassionately, based his protocol on well-established clinical science. He has saved patients' lives. Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt the person actually doing it.

Decide for yourself:

Dr. Marik's presentation "Hydrocortisone, Ascorbic Acid and Thiamine for the Treatment of Severe Sepsis & Septic Shock" is a free-access download at or













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Editorial Review Board:

Ilyès Baghli, M.D. (Algeria)
Ian Brighthope, M.D. (Australia)
Prof. Gilbert Henri Crussol (Spain)
Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. (USA)
Damien Downing, M.D. (United Kingdom)
Michael Ellis, M.D. (Australia)
Martin P. Gallagher, M.D., D.C. (USA)
Michael J. Gonzalez, N.M.D., D.Sc., Ph.D. (Puerto Rico)
William B. Grant, Ph.D. (USA)
Tonya S. Heyman, M.D. (USA)
Suzanne Humphries, M.D. (USA)
Ron Hunninghake, M.D. (USA)
Michael Janson, M.D. (USA)
Robert E. Jenkins, D.C. (USA)
Bo H. Jonsson, M.D., Ph.D. (Sweden)
Jeffrey J. Kotulski, D.O. (USA)
Peter H. Lauda, M.D. (Austria)
Thomas Levy, M.D., J.D. (USA)
Homer Lim, M.D. (Philippines)
Stuart Lindsey, Pharm.D. (USA)
Victor A. Marcial-Vega, M.D. (Puerto Rico)
Charles C. Mary, Jr., M.D. (USA)
Mignonne Mary, M.D. (USA)
Jun Matsuyama, M.D., Ph.D. (Japan)
Dave McCarthy, M.D. (USA)
Joseph Mercola, D.O. (USA)
Jorge R. Miranda-Massari, Pharm.D. (Puerto Rico)
Karin Munsterhjelm-Ahumada, M.D. (Finland)
Tahar Naili, M.D. (Algeria)
W. Todd Penberthy, Ph.D. (USA)
Dag Viljen Poleszynski, Ph.D. (Norway)
Jeffrey A. Ruterbusch, D.O. (USA)
Gert E. Schuitemaker, Ph.D. (Netherlands)
Thomas L. Taxman, M.D. (USA)
Jagan Nathan Vamanan, M.D. (India)
Garry Vickar, MD (USA)
Ken Walker, M.D. (Canada)
Anne Zauderer, D.C. (USA)

Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D. (USA), Editor-In-Chief
Editor, Japanese Edition: Atsuo Yanagisawa, M.D., Ph.D. (Japan)
Robert G. Smith, Ph.D. (USA), Associate Editor
Helen Saul Case, M.S. (USA), Assistant Editor
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