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01.04.2020 Feature Article

Vitamin C and Coronavirus: Scientific Review

Raphael Nyarkotey Obu
LISTEN APR 1, 2020

Find below what I know based on scientific reviews:

According to Karina Lichtenstein via MedicineNet Health News: In a mad dash to discover effective treatment for the novel coronavirus, doctors and scientists are testing existing antivirals, antimalarials, monoclonal antibodies, and other medications against COVID-19. Now Chinese teams are adding vitamin C to the list of potential therapies.

ZhiYong Peng, MD of the Department of Critical Care Medicine at Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University recently registered a phase 2 clinical trial on ClinicalTrials.gov to test the efficacy of vitamin C infusions for the treatment of severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) associated with the novel coronavirus.

The study description notes that vitamin C is an antioxidant that may help prevent cytokine-induced damage to the lungs. Cytokines are small proteins released by cells, which trigger inflammation and respond to infections, according to MedicineNet author William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR. Severe lung inflammation with COVID-19 may result in respiratory distress and even death.

The clinical trial description states that vitamin C reduces the inflammatory response, and both prevents and shortens the duration of the common cold. The description further states that insufficient vitamin C is related to an increased risk and severity of influenza infections. The team aims to see if vitamin C has similar effects against viral pneumonia associated with COVID-19.

However not all experts agree. MedicineNet content reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian, MD states, "Your immune system does need vitamin C to work right. But extra won't help you avoid a cold. It may make it go away faster or not feel as bad – if you were taking it before you got sick."

Currently, there are no effective targeted antiviral medications for COVID-19. The main treatment consists of supportive therapy to manage symptoms.

Participants in the experimental group will receive 24 grams of IV vitamin C per day for 7 days. That's more than 260 times the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin C for adults and children age 4 years old and up, which is 90 mg per day.

In a series of YouTube videos released within the last two weeks, Richard Cheng MD, PhD, Chinese Edition Editor of the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service states there are at least three clinical trials in China studying the effects of high-dose IV vitamin C for the treatment of COVID-19. He mentions the Shanghai Medical Association has released an expert consensus statement on the comprehensive treatment of COVID-19 where they endorse the use of high-dose IV vitamin C for the illness.

To the best of his knowledge, Dr. Cheng said the so-called "Shanghai Plan" published on March 1 is the first and only official government guideline for using vitamin C for something as serious as the novel coronavirus. He said there is a push to get additional Chinese hospital groups to study oral liposomal vitamin C for treatment of the virus because oral forms can be administered rapidly and widely to large numbers of affected patients.

Dr. Cheng states that the principle investigator of the first high-dose IV vitamin C trial in China has told him that the preliminary results of the study are promising. The investigator said the administration of 24 grams per day to COVID-19 patients leads to significant reductions in inflammation. Dr. Cheng said this is notable because massive inflammation in the lungs and potentially other organs may be fatal in the illness.

MedicineNet author Betty Kovacs Harbolic MS, RD adds that vitamin C is generally safe but, "Large doses of vitamin C may cause stomach upset and diarrhea in adults and have been reported to cause kidney stones."

Will vitamin C be effective to prevent and treat novel coronavirus? Hopefully, ongoing studies will provide the answer. Vitamin C is one of my favorite nutrients as it does a lot of good things to the body beyond treating scurvy. One of them is an excellent immune booster, but if taking vitamin C in supplement form, one pill a day will not work. Vitamin C increases iron absorption, which is OK in most, especially menstruating women (not a problem in men too, just get ferritin, transferrin, and liver panel levels checked) UNLESS the person has Iron overload in the body, a conditioned called hemochromatosis. If iron overload is suspected, stay away from vitamin C.

Dr. Geo Espinoza, one of the world renowned Naturopathic Physicians had this to say on Vitamin C “Wait, I heard most vitamin C is urinated out of the body, so it’s not worth taking,” you are thinking, “isn’t vitamin C just expensive urine?”

He further provided the answer: Yes, the kidneys control how much vitamin C stays in the body and how much is urinated out. When there are high amounts of vitamin C going through the kidneys, the body, in its great wisdom, gets rid of what you don’t need.

That’s why vitamin C consumption should be spaced out to no more than 500mg at a time. At that amount, most vitamin C stays in the body to do the work it does.

So, while, yes, some vitamin C comes out in your urine, you should take enough to saturate your cell with this essential nutrient.

“Keep in mind you also pee out most of the water you drink. Should you stop drinking water”? For prevention, he postulated, take 500mg of vitamin C two times a day.

If fighting an infection take – 500mg of vitamin C EVERY two to three waking hours. That sums up to about 4000 to 5000mg a day.

Your stools may soften a little when taking high amounts of vitamin C. That’s not a big deal – it will normalize when you scale back. Intravenous (IV) vitamin C at about 20grams is currently a major treatment for COVID-19 in China and clinical trials on this approach have begun, to be accessed at https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=228745. Vitamin C infusion also began for COVID patients in one hospital in New York. (March 25, 2020), to be accessed at https://www.newsweek.com/new-york-hospitals-vitamin-c-coronavirus-patients-1494407. For an expert resource on IV vitamin C for viral infections and COVID, then, Dr. Paul Anderson’s website to be accessed at https://www.consultdranderson.com/iv-vitamin-c-for-hospital-use-for-covid-19/ provides the answer

In The USA, According to one article by Rosie Mccall , 2020 titled New York Hospitals Are Using Vitamin C To Treat Some Coronavirus Patients” to be accessed at https://www.newsweek.com/new-york-hospitals-vitamin-c-coronavirus-patients-1494407. According to the author, Large doses of vitamin C are being administered to patients in intensive care at certain hospitals in New York, Newsweek has confirmed with a spokesperson for Northwell Health. They confirmed reports that patients testing positive with COVID-19 were in some cases being treated with large doses of vitamin C—among other drugs—at their clinics.

The antioxidant is being administered intravenously in quantities far exceeding the daily recommended dose, which is 90 milligrams for men and 75 milligrams for women as recommended by the National Institutes of Health.

Fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A and D, can be quite toxic at high doses, but vitamin C is reasonably safe as it is easily excreted, Peter McCaffery, Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Aberdeen in the U.K., told Newsweek. It is also known that intravenous vitamin C is relatively safe when applied under clinical supervision, McCaffery added.

"I have to hope that this, or any new idea, may help," McCaffery said. "Just to reiterate though, taking large doses of vitamin C tablets would be very unlikely to protect you from COVID-19—unless you were actually vitamin C deficient, which with a normal diet is quite rare."

The effectiveness of intravenous vitamin C as a treatment for—or buffer against—COVID-19 is not established with solid clinical evidence. Rumors spreading online about vitamin C's potential to treat the symptoms of coronavirus, or even prevent them from developing in the first place, have been debunked.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a certain amount of vitamin C is needed to perform various bodily functions, from forming blood vessels and other tissue to the absorption of iron. In high doses the antioxidant has the potential to cause adverse reactions, such as nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

But perhaps most significantly in this case, the vitamin plays a role in the body's healing process. It can protect cells against harmful free radicals, which are found in cigarette smoke, air pollution and fried foods among other things, and may cause a number of health problems, including cancer and heart disease.

Aside from observations, there is little scientific data on how large doses of vitamin C might affect COVID-19.

There have been studies looking at its effectiveness against the common cold, some cases of which are caused by another virus from the broader coronavirus family. Some of the more promising studies suggest it can lessen the severity of common cold symptoms and reduce the number of days it takes to recover.

Specifically, a 2013 review by Hemilä H and Chalker E titled Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold published in the journal Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews. analysis of 29 studies involving more than 11,000 people was published in 2013 examining the effects of vitamin C on common cold symptoms. The researchers found supplements reduced the duration of colds in adults by 8 percent and in children by 14 percent. The most noticeable effects were seen in people who are extremely active, such as marathon runners, where the duration of colds was essentially halved.

Researchers are looking at what benefit, if any, vitamin C might have on COVID-19 patients. Scientists at Zhongnan Hospital in Wuhan, China, have begun a clinical trial to determine just that, but no results have yet been published. The completion date is scheduled for the end of September, 2020, when they hope to have shown that vitamin C reduces the inflammatory effects of the disease in the lung. If successful, this action would be, in part, due to the antioxidant effect of vitamin C, said McCaffery. "Even if intravenous vitamin C works to shorten or cure COVID-19, it will likely only be a stop-gap before therapies directed at the virus, such as vaccinations, take over," he wrote in a piece for The Conversation.

For an expert resource on IV vitamin C for viral infections and COVID, then, Dr. Paul Anderson’s website to be accessed at https://www.consultdranderson.com/iv-vitamin-c-for-hospital-use-for-covid-19/ provides the answer

This article is based the interpretation of the scientific articles I have read on the Coronavirus and Vitamin C. This is not meant to replace medical advice.

The author is a distinguished researcher, practitioner and an honorary Professor of Naturopathic and Holistic Medicine-Vinnytsia State Pedagogical University, Ukraine, President of Nyarkotey Collge of Holistic Medicine and currently LLB Law/MBA student. He is the formulator of FDA approved Men’s Formula for Prostate Health & Immune booster, Women’s Formula for general wellness Nyarkotey Hibiscus Tea for Cardiovascular Health & wellness. Can be contacted by 0241083423/0541234556.

Raphael Nyarkotey Obu, PhD
Raphael Nyarkotey Obu, PhD, © 2020

Prof Raphael Nyarkotey Obu is an honorary professor of holistic medicine-Vinnytsia State Pedagogical University, Ukraine and the President of Nyarkotey College of Holistic Medicine, Tema Community 7, Post office. Column Page: RaphaelNyarkoteyObu

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