March 27 (UPI) -- Vitamin C has been shown to lower blood pressure, glucose levels in type 2 diabetics and instances of atrial fibrillation in patients with these conditions.
Now scientists say the nutrient can also reduce the number of days sick patients have to stay in a hospital.
In fact, patients who took vitamin C cut their time spent in the intensive care unit by nearly 8 percent, according to a study published Wednesday in Nutrients. Additionally, people who orally received an average of two grams of vitamin C reduced the ICU time by almost 9 percent.
"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.
Hospitals often have low supplies of vitamin C plasma on hand due to high patient demand for the nutrient. A healthy person can get by with just 0.1 grams per day of vitamin C, but severely ill patients can lose significant amounts of vitamin C quickly due to burns, infections, surgery and traumas. This may require them to receive up to 4 grams of vitamin C per day.
Although, the researchers say more research needs to be done to figure out which patients can benefit the most, and dosage they'll need.
"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," the authors wrote. "Evidently, the dose-response for doses higher than 2 grams per day should also be investigated for ICU patients."