Vitamin C could be one of the effective choices for the treatment of COVID-19. In the absence of a specific treatment for COVID-19, there is an urgent need to find an alternative solution to prevent and control the replication and spread of the virus.COVID-19 spreads worldwide with pandemic. Currently, there is no registered treatment or vaccine for the disease.
The immune system is strongly influenced by the intake of nutrients. Andrew W. Saul, the editor of Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, asserts that the coronavirus pandemic can be dramatically slowed, or stopped, with the immediate widespread use of high doses of vitamin C. Furthermore, recent systematic review summarizes that COVID-19 has been reported to cause lower respiratory tract infection, so vitamin C could be one of the effective choices for the treatment of COVID-19.
What is Vitamin C? Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin also called ascorbic acid. It is a powerful antioxidant, is essential for synthesis of collagen, supports immune function and protects against infection. Vitamin C is produced only in non-humans (e.g. primate species, guinea pigs, fishes, birds). Human bodies cannot make vitamin C. We must get it from our food and from supplements. The external supplement of vitamin C becomes a must for us humans. The main source of vitamin C is mainly found in fruits and vegetables.
What do we know about Vitamin C and viruses from previous research?
Frederick R. Klenner, MD was the first physician who aggressively used vitamin C to treat disease, back in the early 1940’s. He successfully treated chicken pox, measles, mumps, tetanus and polio with huge doses of the vitamin C.
A virus is a small parasite that cannot reproduce by itself. A virus is a microscopic package of genetic material surrounded by a molecular envelope. The genetic material can be either DNA or RNA. The antioxidant property of vitamin C promotes a reducing environment in the bloodstream and tissues, enhancing the body’s response to oxidative stress from inflammation, thereby helping to fight microbes and viruses that propagate in stressful conditions. Vitamin C has specific antiviral effects. It inactivates the RNA (ribonucleic acid ) or DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) of viruses, or in the assembly of the virus.
Furthermore, vitamin C is involved in enhancing several functions of the immune system: 1) helps prevent cells from being infected by a virus, 2) stimulates the activity of antibodies, 3) in mega doses has a role in mitochondrial energy production, 4) enhance phagocyte function and in this way remove viral particles, 5) enhance B-cells, T-cells, NK cells, cytokine production, 6) improves the immune response from vaccination.
Three human controlled trials had reported that there was significantly lower incidence of pneumonia in vitamin C-supplemented groups, suggesting that vitamin C might prevent the susceptibility to lower respiratory tract infections under certain conditions.
How much vitamin C to take?
Each person’s need for vitamin C differs because of differences in genetics and individual biochemistry. The daily need for ascorbate to maintain health for an adult varies between 2,000 – 20,000 mg day, in divided doses. For children the vitamin C intake should be reduced in proportion to body weight. Vitamin C is widely distributed in all the body tissues.The effective therapeutic dose is based on clinical observation and bowel tolerance (the amount that can be absorbed from the gut without causing loose stools).
Precaution: The amount of Levothyroxine (medication prescribed for hypothyroidism) absorbed is simultaneously affected by many gastrointestinal disorders, food, and drugs. Vitamin C can increase the absorption of levothyroxine, especially in patients with impaired Levothyroxine absorption. Increase in the pH in the stomach can result in reduced absorption of Levothyroxine.
The dietetics’ specialist of Mayo clinic states that too much dietary vitamin C is unlikely to be harmful. Though high doses of vitamin C might cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, abdominal cramps, headache, or insomnia. Please, first contact your health care professional for advice if considering taking higher doses of vitamin C.
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