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Review of 12 intervention trials concludes vitamin C works for symptomatic Covid-19

By Irish Pharmacist - 02nd Dec 2021

Vitamin C food sources cartoon vector illustration. Antioxidant in fresh fruits, vegetables. Greens flat color object. Healthy vegetarian diet. Vegan food isolated on white background

A review of 12 vitamin C studies, including five randomised, controlled trials, was published recently in the journal Life, showing that this simple, cheap vitamin can, and is, saving lives when given in the right dose, said the authors.

It has long been known that vitamin C is important for immunity and sales of both oranges and vitamin C tablets have risen sharply during the Covid pandemic. But the question remained as to whether vitamin C can actually treat or prevent Covid infection, or prevent it from becoming serious. A review of 12 studies, including five ‘gold standard’ randomised, controlled trials, has shown that this simple vitamin can, and is, saving lives when given in the right dose, according to the authors.

VitaminC4Covid is a team of vitamin C experts including Dr Marcela Vizcaychipi from the Faculty of Medicine at London’s Imperial College, and Associate Prof Anitra Carr, who heads the Nutrition in Medicine group at the University of Otago, where they have been monitoring all Covid-related studies on vitamin C.

The studies show that Covid patients have depleted vitamin C levels, often to the level found in scurvy, and need substantial doses to recover. Dr Vizcaychipi has been giving Covid and non-Covid patients in their Intensive Care Units up to 6 grams of vitamin C intravenously. The dosage is dependent on the severity of disease and the amount needed to correct deficiency, as indicated by vitamin C urine sticks (when available).

“Vitamin C is certainly one of multiple factors that contributes to better outcomes and speed of recovery. It should be standard practice. We have not had any safety issues at all,” said Dr Vizcaychipi. The researchers said the review shows is that “intravenous vitamin C may improve oxygenation parameters, reduce inflammatory markers, decrease days in hospital and reduce mortality, particularly in the more severely ill patients”.

No adverse events have been reported in any published vitamin C clinical trials in Covid-19 patients, they added

The review also shows that high doses of vitamin C tablets upon infection may also keep people out of hospital through increasing their rate of recovery. According to Prof Carr: “Oral doses of 8 grams per day have been shown to increase the rate of recovery from symptomatic infection by 70 per cent.

For more critically ill patients, trials using doses of 6-24g a day intravenously have shown positive benefits in terms of increased survival, and reduced hospital stay, improved oxygenation or reduced inflammation.”

The review of the 12 studies, including the five randomised controlled trials, is available at www.vitaminC4covid.com/12trialreview.

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