We’ve all heard the old wives’ tales whenever one feels under the weather: making chicken soup, eating garlic, and of course, taking Vitamin C. There have been a myriad of personal anecdotal accounts of taking Vitamin C that would alleviate symptoms of everything from a flu to a common cold. With the increased amount of interest surrounding Vitamin C and its benefits, especially during this global pandemic, we definitely want to look into the role that it plays in our body and the potential benefits that it has, especially concerning viral infections.
Vitamin C’s Discovery and Early Use
In the early twentieth century, researchers were in search of a substance in which the deficiency of would lead to scurvy. Oftentimes, scurvy was associated with pneumonia and it was thought that said substance would also help inhibit the effects of pneumonia altogether. Casimir Funk, who would go on to be the originator of the word “vitamin” described how an epidemic of pneumonia in the Sudan in the early 1900’s disappeared when antiscorbutic (consisting of Vitamin-C) treatment was applied to people that had scurvy.
Role of Vitamin C In the Body
Vitamin C is an antioxidant and when given at high doses either orally or via IV, it can prevent toxicity from ROS (Reactive oxygen species) and viruses. Vitamin C can also help support intracellular antioxidants such as GSH (glutathione). Vitamin C also helps support the immune system by growing and fostering the activity of immune cells such as macrophages and lymphocytes, which help the body fight an infection. It also helps in the absorption of iron as well in the metabolism of biochemicals including carnitine. This makes it important for recovery from damage that is caused by viral or bacterial infections. Research has shown that vitamin C also neutralizes free radicals, which can cause damage to cells if there are too many of them. All in all, Vitamin C has an important role in the body’s day to day functions as well as long-term benefits, as well as disease prevention. It has antioxidant qualities, helps with the formation of proteins, assists in healing wounds and forming scar tissue, and also helps to absorb iron.
High Dose Vitamin C Benefits
When the body is under extreme stress such as through SARS or surgery, the level of Vitamin C can drop so that it can’t perform its function as an antioxidant either directly or indirectly. Taking oral vitamin C supplements of 20,000 mg/day or even 50,0
00 – 100,000 mg/day can still be tolerated because the body is helping to fight off inflammation that causes the levels of vitamin C to be depleted. In severe cases when a lung infection forms (cytokine storm) produces reactive oxygen species (ROS) that can be treated with 30-60g of vitamin C. This causes the promotion of enhanced chemotaxis of white blood cells.
Vitamin C and COVID-19
In light of recent news, there’s been some promising data that has shown the effectiveness of Vitamin C in COVID-19 cases. Vitamin C levels can drop rapidly with respiratory infections caused by COVID-19, and medical teams are administering Vitamin C to patients to maintain a healthy level of it. This article from Nutra Ingredients titled “Hospital turns to high-dose vitamin C to fight coronavirus” describes the role that vitamin C plays in the fight against COVID-19. There are also several clinical trials that are currently being administered and are underway that hope to illustrate the effectiveness of Vitamin C infusion for the treatment of COVID-19. This particular clinical trial that started on February 14, 2020 and is estimated to complete on September 30, 2020 hypothesizes that vitamin C can help improve the prognosis of patients with SARI (severe acute respiratory infection) caused by COVID-19. It is one of many studies recently launched in combating the new disease.
High-Dose Vitamin C IV Therapy
Healthy Aging Medical Centers offer High-Dose Vitamin C IV Therapy for those that are interested in boosting their immune systems and experiencing the benefits of it. It also offers a comprehensive Functional Medicine in New Jersey that helps patients prevent disease and actively care for their health. They look at the body as a whole and maintain optimal levels of health for their patients.