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Nutrition in Medicine Research Group Research

The Nutrition in Medicine Research Group carries out translational nutrient-based clinical studies with the aim of having a positive impact on patient health outcomes and quality of life.

Critical illness and septic shock

ICU monitor screen image thumbWe have shown that critically ill patients, particularly those with septic shock, have severely depleted vitamin C status, despite recommended intakes. This indicates enhanced requirement for the vitamin during inflammatory and infectious conditions.

We are currently administering intravenous vitamin C to patients with septic shock to assess the effects on patient health outcomes and quality of life as vitamin C has been shown to support the cardiovascular system and other organ systems.

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Infection and immune function

Lungs illustration thumbVitamin C supports the immune system and has important roles to play in immune cell function. We are carrying out observational and interventional studies in immune-compromised patients and patients with severe infections, such as pneumonia, which is one of the major causes of sepsis. If we are able to attenuate the symptoms of severe infection, this may decrease the likelihood of sepsis developing and improve patient outcomes and quality of life.

Pneumonia and sepsis are major complications of severe COVID-19. For more information about the role of vitamin C in COVID-19 see the Vitamin C and COVID-19 Research Resource.

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Review articles and commentaries

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Mood and cognitive health

Brain illustration thumbThe brain and neuroendocrine glands contain the highest levels of vitamin C in the body indicating an important role for the vitamin in the nervous system. We are currently carrying out observational studies investigating the vitamin C status and biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress in patients with  mood disorders.

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Metabolic health

Fingerprick test thumbIndividuals with diabetes mellitus are under enhanced inflammatory and oxidative stress. Our research shows that they have lower vitamin C status. We are currently carrying out observational and interventional studies to determine vitamin C status in severe diabetes and effect of vitamin C and micronutrient supplementation on inflammation in people with obesity and metabolic dysregulation (metabolic syndrome).

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Patient quality of life

Woman holding a model heart thumbAcute and chronic illnesses can dramatically impact on patients’ quality of life. Furthermore, various drugs, such as those used during cancer chemotherapy, can also impact negatively on quality of life.

We have carried out a number of case studies showing dramatic improvement in quality of life of oncology patients administered intravenous vitamin C. We are currently carrying out a randomised controlled trial to improve the vitamin C status and quality of life of myeloma patients undergoing conditioning chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation.

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Global health and nutrition

Global Health thumbPeople in low-middle income countries (LMIC) tend to have depleted nutrient status due to inadequate dietary intakes of essential nutrients and related comorbidities which increase requirements for specific nutrients, such as vitamin C. These factors may increase their risk and morbidity from COVID-19. Elderly are particularly at risk of severe COVID-19, therefore, we plan to assess the vitamin C requirements of elderly people. People with obesity (itself considered a global pandemic) are also at higher risk of severe COVID-19, and have higher requirements for vitamin C. This is currently not taken into account in the setting of global dietary intake recommendations for vitamin C (see our in-depth reviews below).

Current research

Published research

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