Vitamin C doses may shorten ICU stay: Study

In six trials, orally administered vitamin C with an average dose of 2 grams per day reduced the length of ICU stays on average by 8.6 per cent. (File photo for representation)

Administering vitamin C to patients in intensive care unit (ICU) can help shorten their stay, scientists say.

The researchers from the University of Sydney in Australia and the University of Helsinki in Finland carried out a systematic review of vitamin C for ICU patients.

They identified 18 relevant controlled trials, and 12 of them were included in the meta-analysis on the length of stay. On average, vitamin C administration shortened ICU stay by 7.8 per cent.

In six trials, orally administered vitamin C with an average dose of 2 grams per day reduced the length of ICU stays on average by 8.6 per cent.

"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," researchers said.

"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 six and eight grammes per day," they said.

"Evidently the dose-response for doses higher than two grammes per day should also be investigated for ICU patients," they added.

Given that vitamin C has shown diverse effects on medical conditions, it may influence practical outcomes such as the length of ICU stay, irrespective of the medical conditions affecting a patient, scientists say. 

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