Vitamin C requirements in Severe Infection
Severe infection which results in a systemic inflammatory response (sepsis) is the leading cause of death in critically ill patients. The incidence of severe sepsis is increasing, and the outcome is poor, with mortality rates as high as 30-40%. Current treatment options for sepsis are limited and despite a massive effort in recent years to develop therapies, none has as yet proven successful in reducing mortality in patients with severe infection. Recent studies indicate a potential role for vitamin C in ameliorating severe infections (such as pneumonia) and sepsis. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and has potential anti-inflammatory properties. Preliminary research indicates that patients with sepsis have decreased vitamin C levels, which is likely due to enhanced turnover as a result of the infectious disease process. The purpose of this study is to assess the levels of vitamin C in patients with pneumonia and sepsis over the duration of their stay in intensive care and to correlate these with levels of inflammatory biomarkers. Vitamin C may prove to be a useful biomarker for the severity and progression of sepsis and the extent of deficiency of these patients will indicate requirements and will inform the design of a clinical trial.
Dr Carr’s research speciality is the role of vitamin C in human health and disease. Associate Professor Carr has a background in biochemistry and biomedical research and now carries out translational ‘bench-to-bedside’ studies. She is currently running both observational and interventional studies investigating the bioavailability and health effects of vitamin C. She is particularly interested in the role of vitamin C in the prevention and treatment of acute and chronic diseases such as cancer and severe infection.More About Dr Anitra Carr