Review shows vitamin C can dampen COVID-19 symptoms

David Smith, Emeritus Professor of pharmacology at the University of Oxford is presenting the evidence to the National Institute for Clinical Evidence (NICE)

A global review on the effects of vitamin C on COVID-19 has revealed the vitamin can improve patient outcomes.

The review also found many severely infected patients have such low vitamin C levels they are suffering from scurvy.

Results were reviewed from more than 100 studies, including a randomised controlled trial which showed that Vitamin C could cut the death rate of patients in intensive care units by 68%. The patients got vitamin C or sterile water from a drip.

The amount of vitamin C needed to the reduce deaths and time on ventilators in ICUs reportedly ranged between 6 and 24 grams a day.

‘When you get a severe infection, your body uses up vitamin C at a much faster rate in order to support the immune system. That’s because humans are one of the few animals that can’t make vitamin C, so we can’t increase supplies when needed,’ said Dr Carr, Associate Professor at the University of Otago in New Zealand.

Further support for using high doses come from studies showing that most COVID-19 patients coming into ICUs already have very low vitamin C levels.

‘Their levels are often undetectable’ said co-author Prof Paul Marik, Chief of Critical Care Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School. ‘That’s what you see in patients with scurvy. This infection induces scurvy. We can predict how likely patients are to survive by their level of vitamin C’

Vitamin C also dampens the dangerous inflammation that develops as COVID-19 progresses and can be fatal, the paper’s authors say.

Another author on the paper, which is published in Nutrients, is David Smith, Emeritus Professor of pharmacology at the University of Oxford who is presenting the evidence to the National Institute for Clinical Evidence (NICE).

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