Dr. Paul MarikComplications & Comorbidities

Dr. Paul Marik: Potential Cure for Sepsis

The word sepsis strikes terror into the hearts of most people with HS, and with good reason. Sepsis is responsible for up to eight million deaths around the world each year.

Thanks to Dr. Paul Marik, sepsis may no longer be so scary and those numbers may be greatly reduced.

Dr. Marik had his medical school training and residency in South Africa, earning a medical degree from University of the Witwatersrand. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Critical Care Medicine and has practiced in the United States for twenty-five years.

As head of the General Intensive Care unit at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and a Critical-care physician, Dr. Marik is no stranger to the ravages of sepsis.

It was purely by accident he discovered the right combination to successfully treat the life-threatening condition.

In January 2016, he had a patient with overwhelming sepsis. There was no question she was going to die.

Dr. Marik had just read an article about the benefits of Vitamin C as well as an article on the use of Thiamine (Vitamin B1) in the treatment of septic shock.

“At this point,” he said, “we had nothing to lose.”

He administered a “cocktail” of Vitamin B1, Vitamin C and steroids.

Within days, the patient recovered.

Two more sepsis patients were given the mixture. They, too, recovered.

The medical community has not been quick to accept this new treatment, despite its success.

“Everyone was skeptical,” he said, “and they still are. Journals refused to publish the findings.”

The demand, of course, is that more trials and studies be conducted. That’s easier said than done.

“We couldn’t get funding,” he said. “Thank goodness some philanthropic donors came forward. We now have at least fifteen trials testing this combination.”

The skepticism doesn’t discourage Dr. Marik. He is encouraged by the story of Inaz Semmelweis. Semmelweis was an Austrian physician who was considered insane and institutionalized for suggesting that handwashing could reduce the risk of puerperal sepsis.

Dietary Sources of Vitamins B1 and C
Dietary Sources of Vitamins B1 and C

Handwashing is now considered one of the foremost tools in the fight against spreading harmful bacteria and germs.

There is also the case of Australian scientists Barry Marshall and Robin Warren who found that the bacteria Helicobacter Pylori could cause stomach ulcers. They, too, were ridiculed for what is now a well-established fact.

I asked Dr. Marik something of a loaded question: In theory, if a person susceptible to sepsis takes Vitamin B1 and Vitamin C supplements, is it possible to “ward off” sepsis or, at least, make a case of sepsis less threatening?

A theory difficult to test and even more difficult to prove, it was not the first time the question has been posed to Dr. Marik. His response was twofold.

“If people have a normal diet, they should have adequate levels of Vitamin B and Thiamine. Taking additional supplements would not be beneficial.”

He told me there is no good way to prevent all infections, even with good diet and hygiene.

“The bodies of other species can create Vitamin C when they are stressed,” he said. “Human bodies can not. When humans are stressed, that’s when we need to take Vitamin C. Our bodies also cannot absorb Vitamin C which is why this combination must be administered as an infusion.”

Surprisingly, another familiar supplement may also be beneficial: Melatonin, which is touted for helping with sleep issues, has good immune-stimulating properties.

“Be sensible,” Dr. Marik cautioned. “Take 500-1000 mg of Vitamin C a day, no more. And a milligram of Melatonin.”

His other answer to the question was concise and to the point, “It can’t hurt.”

This blog was first published in the February 2019 issue of the HS Journal. It is used here with permission.

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