Since December 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the lives and livelihood of people across the globe. The disease is continuing to spread highlighting the urgent need for immunization and a cure/vaccine. While we all are desperately waiting for a vaccine, taking preventive and precautionary measures is the only and the most important thing to do right now.
Ever since the novel coronavirus pandemic gained momentum, a round of several rumors started spreading as well. People started doing everything that they read on social media, WhatsApp, and through the word of mouth, as long as it claimed to be a protective shield against COVID-19.
One of the rumors among them was the theory that having vitamin C supplements daily can prevent or treat COVID-19. While research for this is still ongoing, let’s see how solid the proofs are.
In our previous blog we talked about Vitamin C: history, surprising health benefits, and sources, now let’s talk in detail about how exactly can vitamin C help you in fighting the lethal virus.
Vitamin C and COVID-19! What is this fuss all about?
During these times, if you are finding the vitamin C supplements’ shelves empty at the supermarkets, there’s a reason for that! So, is this hullabaloo really worth it?
Vitamin C & immunity
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin, which our body doesn’t produce on its own; meaning, we need to get it into our system through external sources like foods and supplements. Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble essential nutrient, so your body can’t store it, which means, you need to have a daily intake of it to actually let your body exercise its benefits.
According to William Simonson’s (PharmD, BCGP, FASCP) paper on Vitamin C and Coronavirus: “Overall, regular use of vitamin C supplements shortens the duration of the common cold but does not reduce the risk of contracting a cold except in persons undergoing heavy physical stress where the incidence of colds is cut in half. Taking vitamin C supplements once cold symptoms have already begun has no proven benefits. It is likely that this antiviral effect is why vitamin C has attracted interest as a possible treatment of COVID-19.”
Vitamin C speeds up your body’s natural wound-healing process. It is associated with increasing the production of white blood cells (WBCs), also known as the soldiers of the body as these cells help in protecting us from the attack of foreign pathogens like bacteria and viruses.
Vitamin C and COVID-19
Consuming adequate amounts of vitamin C daily helps in boosting one’s immunity and their body’s healing time. However, it doesn’t lower your risk of contracting a viral infection. You’re as much likely to be infected by this virus after having vitamin C-rich foods/supplements daily, as much as another individual with no intake of vitamin C, whatsoever.
A 2020 meta-analysis of nine existing clinical trials compared a group of people who received an IV infusion with a group of controls. The researchers found that, on average, vitamin C shortened the length of mechanical ventilation by 14%.
According to an article: “COVID-19: A brief overview on the role of Vitamins specifically Vitamin C as immune modulators and in prevention and treatment of SARS-Cov-2 infections”, these are the suggested doses of vitamin C for COVID-19 patients and health improvement related to the dose.
|Dose||Body Weight||Improvement in patient’s health|
|High-dose intravenous vitamin C infusions of 200mg in 4 doses||Per kg body weight||Reduce the intensive care by 7.8% and decrease in mortality of COVID-19 patients|
|6 g daily orally||Compared with 200mg/kg||reduce viral infection risk|
|Varied dose of 10 g and 20 g per day, given over a period of 8–10 h||Compared with 200mg per kg weight||Improve oxygenation index and many of COVID-19 patients are discharged by completing this dose.|
Though there is less science behind the statement that “Vitamin C helps in the fight against COVID-19”, it is always better to have a strong immunity in order to keep safe from this lethal virus. With a strengthened immune system, your chances of battling the virus and recovering from it are definitely higher than those with a comparatively weaker immune system.