There are numerous health benefits associated with vitamin C, such as it boosts the immune system. Although vitamin C can be used to help with immunity, there’s no evidence of it helping cure common cold or flu, let alone coronavirus. As the experts race to find the cure for COVID-19, there have been increased claims of how mega doses of vitamin C can help cure and prevent the infection. These claims have been shared, posted, and reposted in multiple social media platforms. But before you walk to a store and buy vitamin C, you must understand what it is and how it works in our bodies. Now let’s deep down to the facts and see if indeed vitamin C can be used to cure or prevent coronavirus.
What Is Vitamin C
Vitamin C is also referred to as ascorbic acid and is found in some fruits and vegetables, including dietary supplements. Health benefits associated with it include protection against immune system deficiencies, prenatal health problems, eye diseases, cardiovascular disease, and skin wrinkling. Lack of enough vitamin C in the body leads to scurvy.
Examples of food high in vitamin C include bell pepper, strawberries, kiwifruit, grapefruit, oranges, papayas, broccoli, tomatoes, kale, guavas, and snow peas. Studies show that vitamin C is well tolerated, although pregnant women should take normal doses.
Effects of Vitamin C on Immunity
The immune system is a complex and finely tuned part of our bodies. Vitamin C has antioxidants that decrease inflammation, which enhances immune function. Since coronavirus is said to play around with once immunity, having a strong immune system can help increase your survival rate in case you contract the virus. Additionally, vitamin C increases the activity of phagocytes, these are immune cells that destroy harmful bacteria. What’s more, vitamin C contributes to the growth and spread of lymphocytes, specific immune cells that increases your circulating antibodies. A study done to show the effectiveness of vitamin C against the common cold, the results didn’t indicate how vitamin C can be used to treat cold. Rather it showed how vitamin C helped to increase the recovery rate. Research is being carried out to show how high doses of vitamin C can be used in patients with lung inflammation.
Vitamin C and Coronavirus
Reports say that the Shanghai Medical Association gave a go-ahead to use of high doses of vitamin C to treat patients hospitalized with coronavirus. The reasoning behind this was that high vitamin C doses improve lung function which helps keep patients off life support or mechanical ventilation. Since people with COVID-19 have breathing difficulties, then vitamin C would help reduce that problem. So far, there are two clinical trials, one in Italy and the other one in China, both investigating the effects of vitamin C on the new coronavirus. In China, 140 patients admitted in Hubei with coronavirus and pneumonia, will be given 12 grams of vitamin C via IV. The doctors want to see if this dosage can fight off the disease. Remember, you shouldn’t administer such treatment without a doctor’s supervision since it could be lethal.
In the case of Italy, they are looking to recruit 500 patients who will be taking 10 grams of vitamin C. The recruitment process is still ongoing. However, until now, there is no tangible evidence showing that vitamin C can protect against COVID-19. Stocking foods and dietary supplements rich in vitamin C don’t guarantee that you will not contact coronavirus in case you come into contact with an infected person or surface. The only way to protect yourself from the virus is by maintaining proper hygiene and practicing social distancing.
Vitamin C as A Supplement
Vitamin C is very crucial to our bodies, and taking foods rich in it can protect your body against several diseases. Note that, vitamin C helps shorten the severity of colds caused by viruses, but it doesn’t have the same effect on the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Taking a huge amount of vitamin C doesn’t assure that your body will absorb a lot of it. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin; thus it dissolves in water, meaning the excess amounts of it aren’t stored in the body but are eliminated through urine. Nevertheless, if you choose to use vitamin C supplements, be sure to buy one that’s of high quality. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate supplements the same way as the other pharmaceutical drugs. That said, buy your supplements from reputable companies whose products have been tested. Read the packaging carefully and only stick to the recommended amount.
If you’re undergoing any form of treatment, you must speak with your doctor before taking vitamin C supplements because they can interfere with chemotherapy, radiation treatments, or cholesterol-lowering drugs. While there’s no cure for coronavirus, maintain preventive measures can protect you from developing the disease
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