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Mechanical ventilation – a therapeutic measure used to assist or replace spontaneous breathing – is an important strategy used to treat people experiencing respiratory failure. A recent meta-analysis found that vitamin C treatment shortened the duration of mechanical ventilation among patients in the intensive care unit.

The investigators looked at the findings from eight trials involving 685 patients. They found that vitamin C shortened the duration of mechanical ventilation an average of 14 percent. But the investigators noted major differences in the effect of vitamin C between the trials, with the greatest benefit observed among patients who were on mechanical ventilation for the longest duration – the patients who were most critical. In five trials involving more than 470 patients requiring ventilation for more than 10 hours, providing 1 to 6 grams of vitamin C per day shortened ventilation time an average of 25 percent.

These findings indicate that vitamin C shortens the duration of mechanical ventilation, especially among critically ill patients.

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