Can Vitamin C Cure COVID 19?
In a rush to find a cure for coronavirus, doctors and scientists have been running around testing every antiviral, antimalarial, monoclonal antibody, and other medications there are possible to fight against the virus. Many believe that Vitamin C can be one of the cures against this disease and physicians have carefully been studying its effects.
Zhi-Yong Peng, MD of the Department of Critical Care Medicine at Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University in his study described Vitamin C as an antioxidant that can prevent cytokine-induced damage to lungs. Cytokines are small proteins that trigger severe inflammation and responds to infections that can cause respiratory diseases or even death. Vitamin C is known to reduce inflammatory reaction and decrease the effects of the common cold and is also known to respond to increased risk and severity of influenza infection which is why researchers have been hopeful that it would have a similar reaction towards COVID-19.
In this article, we are going to review what is Vitamin C, how it affects immunity, how it’s being tried for COVID-19 treatment in a hospital setting, and whether taking an oral supplement is beneficial.
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C also known as ascorbic acid is a vitamin found in many foods and sold as a dietary supplement and is an essential nutrient in the human body and plays several roles. It’s a very strong antioxidant, meaning that it detoxes one’s body and frees it of any unstable compounds and prevents or reverses the damage caused by these compounds on the body. The vitamin is essential for the functioning of several enzymes and important for immune system functioning
The daily requirements of the body for vitamin C is 90 mg per day. It is quite easy to meet the daily need of the body of vitamin C by consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables in your regular diet.
Vitamin C is highly soluble and found in many fruits and vegetables. It is mainly found in sour foods like lemons, oranges, lychees, and many more and, also in kale, spinach, broccoli, and many more. Therefore, it’s easy to fulfill the body’s need for Vitamin C and there is always the option of taking supplements.
How does it Affect Immunity?
The immune system of the human body is strongly nourished by the consumption of several nutrients. Several cells of the immune system in the body can accumulate vitamin C and need the vitamin to perform their task, especially phagocytes and t-cells that allows the mouth to swallow harmful bacteria.
Also, it promotes the growth and spread of lymphocytes, a type of immune cell that increases your circulating antibodies, proteins that can attack foreign or harmful substances in your blood.
The nutrient is also known to be very effective for keeping a healthy skin by boosting collagen production by protecting the body from any kind of harmful compounds entering it and also increases recovery of any kind of wounds.
When it comes to curing a common cold with Vitamin C, results show that consumption of the nutrient might reduce the duration of the illness in a healthy body but it’s not proven as an effective vaccine against the common cold. There’s also evidence from animal research and case studies that high doses of Vitamin C can reduce lung inflammation in severe respiratory illnesses like swine flu and other viruses. At times like these consumption of Vitamin C from its organic source isn’t sufficient and the body needs extra, which is only possible by intake Vitamin C supplement.
But high doses of anything are harmful therefore taking Vitamin C more than the daily need can cause side effects like diarrhea. And the supplement even hasn’t shown very positive results against the common cold.
How it’s being tried for COVID-19 treatment?
In an article published in a Chinese Journal on Infectious diseases endorsed the use of Vitamin C supplement as a treatment for the people hospitalized due to COVID 19 by providing levels more than the daily needs through IV to keep the patient off of life support.
Additionally, a 2019 review found that both oral and IV high dose vitamin C treatment may aid people admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) for critical illnesses by reducing ICU stay length by 8% and shortening the duration of mechanical ventilation by 18.2%.
Normally the body can cope with high doses by reducing the absorption and increase oxalate loss in urine. But people with pre-existing kidney and intestinal diseases can face problems due to the deposition of oxalates that can result in kidney failure.
However, Vitamin C hasn’t been officially made a part of the treatment against COVID 19 it does help reduce the effects of the virus and buy the patient some more days of life. Presently there is no exact treatment against the virus, a combination of medicines is used to cure the disease.
The best prevention against the virus right now is the continuous use of alcohol-based sanitizer or hand wash, covering nose and mouth with face masks and follow social distancing until a vaccine is developed.