- Vitamin C + COVID-19
Vitamin C Powder (Ascorbic Acid) 100% Pure
Vitamin C is abundant in a variety of fruits and veggies, plus it’s also found in skin care serums and anti-aging products; is a powerful micronutrient and crucial part of our diets. From slowing down skin aging to reducing cholesterol levels, studies have found that vitamin C benefits many aspects of health, from the inside out.
A deficiency in this important vitamin can take a serious toll on your body, causing symptoms like impaired immunity, gingivitis and easy bruising. Conversely, getting enough may help ward off illness and infection, enhance iron absorption, and even reduce the risk of painful conditions like gout.
We know vitamin C may help reduce symptoms and shorten the duration of the common cold and viral pneumonia-related hospital stays. And some in the medical community believe vitamin C holds promise in helping to treat serious viral-related side effects of flu and other viruses.
Interestingly, a 2017 study outlined the case of a 20-year-old woman diagnosed with virus-induced acute respiratory distress syndrome, also known as ARDS. When mechanical ventilation failed, hospital doctors administered a high dose of IV vitamin C that was associated with “rapid resolution of lung injury” and full recovery.
It’s important to note that this was just one case study. And it doesn’t mean we should all seek out mega doses of vitamin C. But it does suggest we should invest more research to investigate how vitamin C and other natural methods could help assist in global outbreaks to possibly save lives.
Keep reading to learn more about the potential vitamin C benefits and side effects, plus how you can make sure to get in your daily dose with vitamin C foods and supplements.
What Is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that is found in many types of fruits and vegetables. It acts as an antioxidant to neutralise free radicals and reduce the risk of inflammation and disease.
Your body also uses vitamin C to synthesise important compounds like collagen, a type of structural protein that makes up connective tissue and aids in wound healing. Vitamin C is also needed for the production of other compounds, such as L-carnitine and neurotransmitters.
Ongoing research has uncovered a multitude of potential vitamin C benefits and has found that getting enough in your diet can help improve skin health, boost immunity and even protect against certain conditions.
This content is strictly the researched opinion of BioHax Australia and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal doctor or health care professional. All viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither BioHax Australia nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their doctor before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.
A recent pubmed article talks about the use of Vitamin C in relation to COVID-19 – “Vitamin C has been studied for many years and we know that it is an important cofactor involved in the formation of blood vessels, cartilage, muscle and collagen in bone and is vital for the healing process. As an anti-oxidant, the vitamin might help protect cells from damage by chemical free radicals. It is thought that these chemicals contribute to heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Possible beneficial effects attributed to vitamin C include reducing endothelial dysfunction, managing hypertension, reducing cardiovascular disease risk, and preventing stroke, certain types of cancer, diabetes, gout and possibly even Alzheimer's disease.
Overall, regular use of vitamin C supplements shortens the duration of the common cold but does not reduce the risk of contracting a cold except in persons undergoing heavy physical stress (e.g. marathon runners, skiers, or soldiers in subarctic conditions) where the incidence of colds is cut in half. Taking vitamin C supplements once cold symptoms have already begun has no proven benefits.2 It is likely that this antiviral effect is why vitamin C has attracted interest as a possible treatment of COVID-19.”
Clinical Trials commenced February 2020
“With the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak now spreading across the world, people are seeking ways in which to potentially protect themselves from the virus or to alleviate its effects once caught. One such means that is being touted online and in the media is vitamin C.
Vitamin C is best known for its antioxidant properties, being able to scavenge damaging reactive oxygen species, thus protecting the body’s cells and tissues from oxidative damage and dysfunction. However, the vitamin also has numerous other important functions within the body, many of which are known to support healthy immune function. During infection, vitamin C levels can become depleted and a person’s requirement for vitamin C increases with the severity of the infection . In severe cases, this may require intravenous administration of gram doses in order to achieve high enough levels in the body to compensate for the enhanced turnover of the vitamin.
As of February 2020, the clinical characteristics of patients hospitalised with COVID-19-related pneumonia indicated that 26% were transferred to the ICU because of complications such as ARDS and shock . A recently published RCT carried out in the USA in 167 patients with sepsis-related ARDS indicated that administration of ~ 15 g/day of IV vitamin C for 4 days may decrease mortality in these patients . An earlier IV vitamin C trial of patients admitted to the ICU with pneumonia included hydrocortisone administration , however, systemic corticosteroid treatment has not been shown to have significant benefits in patients with COVID-19 .
Just recently registered on clincialtrials.gov (Identifier: NCT04264533), a new clinical trial to investigate vitamin C infusion for the treatment of severe 2019-nCoV infected pneumonia has begun in Wuhan, China. This is one of the first RCTs to test the effects of IV vitamin C in patients infected with this virus. In this trial, the investigators will treat 140 patients with a placebo control or intravenous vitamin C at a dose of 24 g/day for 7 days. They will assess requirements for mechanical ventilation and vasopressor drugs, organ failure scores, ICU length of stay and 28-day mortality.
The investigators of the new study hope to complete the trial by the end of September. Although the findings of this trial will be too late for the many thousands of people currently infected with the virus, the study will nevertheless provide valuable information as to the potential mitigation of symptoms by vitamin C during future viral outbreaks.’’
Vitamin C Supplement Benefits
What is Vitamin C good for?
(Via Dr Axe)
1. Holds Powerful Antioxidant Properties
Antioxidants are compounds that play a central role in health and disease. They help fight disease-causing free radicals, minimising oxidative stress and damage to your cells. Studies show that antioxidants may also aid in the treatment and prevention of multiple chronic conditions, including heart disease, autoimmune disorders and even cancer. (1)
Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant in the body, helping prevent the buildup of free radicals to protect your body against disease. This could have far-reaching benefits when it comes to disease prevention, with some studies suggesting that a higher intake of vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables may be associated with a lower risk of many chronic conditions. (2)
2. Helps Prevent Anemia
Anemia is a condition characterised by a lack of healthy red blood cells, resulting in anemia symptoms like fatigue, weakness and chest pain. Although there are many potential factors that can cause anemia, one of the most common is a deficiency in key micronutrients like vitamin B12 or iron.
Vitamin C can enhance iron absorption to help prevent iron-deficiency anemia. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that taking vitamin C with a meal was able to increase iron absorption by up to 67 percent. (3) For best results, combine a serving of iron-rich foods with some foods with vitamin C to bump up your iron intake.
3. Boosts Immunity
One of the most well-known benefits of vitamin C is its ability to improve immune health. In fact, loading up on vitamin C foods is often used as a first line of defense during cold and flu season.
Studies have repeatedly confirmed the immune-boosting benefits of vitamin C. A review published in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism showed that getting enough vitamin C may help reduce symptoms and shorten the duration of respiratory tract infections, such as the common cold. Plus, vitamin C may also help decrease the incidence of other conditions like pneumonia, malaria and diarrhoea as well. (4)
4. Improves Heart Health
Your heart is absolutely essential to overall health. As one of the most important organs in your body, your heart works tirelessly to supply your cells with oxygen and nutrients by pumping blood through your veins.
Incorporating more vitamin C foods into your diet may help protect the health of your heart and prevent heart disease. A review from the National University of Health Sciences made up of 13 studies showed that supplementing with 500 milligrams of vitamin C daily significantly reduced levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. (5)
Similarly, another human study from the University of Southampton found that a higher intake of vitamin C was associated with a lower risk of death from stroke or coronary heart disease. (6)
5. Promotes Glowing Skin
Ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, is a common ingredient found in a wide assortment of skin care products and cosmetics alike. Thanks to its antioxidant content, vitamin C benefits skin health through several different mechanisms.
Because it’s involved in the synthesis of collagen, vitamin C is believed to help slow down skin aging and can also protect against skin damage and free radical formation caused by ultraviolet exposure.
Plus, there may also be some vitamin C benefits for skin lightening and hyperpigmentation; studies have shown that vitamin C may help suppress melanin production to prevent dark spots and patches. (7)
6. Reduces Risk of Gout
Gout is a painful form of arthritis characterised by swollen and stiff joints. It’s caused by a buildup of uric acid in the joints and most commonly affects the foot and big toe.
Studies show that getting more vitamin C helps protect against gout. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine followed nearly 47,000 men over a 20-year period and found that a higher intake of vitamin C was associated with a lower risk of developing gout. (8)
7. Boosts Iron Absorption
One of the top vitamin C benefits is its ability to bump up iron absorption to prevent issues like iron-deficiency anemia. In fact, pairing an iron supplement with vitamin C is one of the best ways to maximise absorption of this essential nutrient. Interestingly enough, one study actually found that consuming 100 milligrams of vitamin C alongside a meal increased iron absorption by a whopping 67 percent.
8. Enhances Brain Function
Some research shows that vitamin C tablets benefit brain health and support healthy aging. For example, studies have actually found that blood levels of vitamin C tend to be lower in people with dementia. What’s more, a study conducted by Utah State University even found that a high antioxidant intake from either food or supplemental sources of vitamin C could slow cognitive delay in older adults. Another study in the Archives of Neurology also showed that the use of vitamin C supplements in combination with vitamin E was associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
There are plenty of foods high in vitamin C, making it super easy (and delicious) to get in your daily dose. Fruits and vegetables, in particular, are excellent ways to boost your intake.
Here are a few of the best sources of vitamin C:
- Kiwi Fruit: 1 cup contains 164 milligrams (273 percent DV)
- Bell Peppers: 1 cup, raw contains 120 milligrams (200 percent DV)
- Orange: 1 cup contains 95.8 milligrams (160 percent DV)
- Strawberries: 1 cup contains 89.4 milligrams (149 percent DV)
- Papaya: 1 cup contains 86.5 milligrams (144 percent DV)
- Pineapple: 1 cup contains 78.9 milligrams (131 percent DV)
- Grapefruit: 1 cup contains 71.8 milligrams (120 percent DV)
- Broccoli: ½ cup, cooked contains 50.6 milligrams (84 percent DV)
- Brussels Sprouts: ½ cup, cooked contains 48.4 milligrams (81 percent DV)
- Mango: 1 cup contains 45.7 milligrams (76 percent DV)
- Tomatoes: 1 cup contains 18.9 milligrams (32 percent DV)
- Spinach: 1 cup, cooked contains 17.6 milligrams (29 percent DV)
Below lists symptoms of Vitamin C deficiency:
A severe vitamin C deficiency can result in a condition called scurvy, which is caused by a disruption in the synthesis of collagen and connective tissues. (13)
In the past, scurvy was incredibly common and even fatal. In fact, scurvy was a major cause of death for British sailors during the 18th century. (14) Today, scurvy is less common but can be caused by underlying conditions that impair nutrient absorption, such as digestive disorders.
One study even found that vitamin C deficiency was detected in seven out of 10 patients with inactive Crohn’s disease, even though four had an adequate intake of vitamin C. (15) Studies also have found that smokers may also be more susceptible to a vitamin C deficiency. (16)
Scurvy can have some serious signs and symptoms, including:
- Slow wound healing
- Bleeding gums
- Easy bruising
- Swollen gums
- Weakened immune system
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Dry, scaly skin
- Swollen joints
- Dry, splitting hair
Treatment of scurvy involves either using a vitamin C supplement or increasing intake of vitamin C foods under the direction of a health care professional.
So can you overdose on vitamin C, and how much vitamin C is too much?
If getting your vitamin C from food sources alone, there is very little risk of getting too much vitamin C. For adults, the tolerable upper intake level for vitamin C is set at 2,000 milligrams daily, which is far more than you’ll get from vitamin C sources in the diet.
It also has a low toxicity and a vitamin C overdose is unlikely to cause serious effects on health, as excess amounts are excreted. Some common symptoms associated with a high intake of vitamin C include diarrhea, nausea and abdominal cramps.
Because vitamin C increases iron absorption, you should consult with your doctor before starting supplementation if you have any conditions that impact iron metabolism, such as hemochromatosis. With these conditions, taking vitamin C could potentially cause iron to accumulate in the body and cause damage to the organs.
Unless advised by your doctor, it’s always best to get your vitamin C from food sources rather than supplements. Not only does this maximise the potential vitamin C benefits, but it can also reduce the risk of adverse health effects associated with vitamin C supplementation, including a higher incidence of kidney stones.
How much do I take?
The recommended intake of vitamin C can vary by age and gender. Here are the recommended dietary allowances for vitamin C according to the National Institutes of Health: (10)
- 0–6 months: 40 milligrams daily
- 7–12 months: 50 milligrams daily
- 1–3 years: 15 milligrams daily
- 4–8 years: 25 milligrams daily
- 9–13 years: 45 milligrams daily
- 14–18 years: 75 milligrams daily for males, 65 milligrams daily for females
- 19+ years: 90 milligrams daily for males, 75 milligrams daily for females
Individuals who smoke need an additional 35 milligrams of vitamin C daily. Vitamin C needs also increase in women who are pregnant and breastfeeding to 85 milligrams and 120 milligrams, respectively.
Much like other antioxidants, such as astaxanthin or beta-carotene, vitamin C supplements are also available and can be found in vitamin C powder, tablet and capsule form. Possible vitamin C tablets benefits include increased immunity, better skin health and a reduced risk of deficiency.
However, unless advised by your doctor, it’s best to get your vitamin C from whole food sources rather than supplementation. Not only can these nutrient-dense foods provide an assortment of other important vitamins and minerals, but there is also a reduced risk of adverse side effects that may come with supplementation, like an increased risk of kidney stones in men. (11)
There seems, though, to be no serious side effects even with high doses of vitamin C. With the exception of a slightly higher risk of kidney stones (in men only), most adults can safely take up to 2,000 milligrams per day of vitamin C and experience very mild stomach discomfort at most. (12)
How do I store Vitamin C?
Supplements, minerals and vitamins are heat sensitive, so you need to keep them refrigerated.
What is the shelf life?
Given it is a pure substance and contains no fillers or binders, it has an indefinite shelf life but may lose potency over time. A safe bet is to consume within a 2-3 year period, or as shown on the label.
Best Vitamins & Minerals for Skin & Immune Support – Dr Josh Axe
We know the importance of a healthy immune system. In fact, there’s never a bad time for supporting a healthy immune system.
Vitamin C is known for its powerful antioxidant properties and the ability to support a healthy immune system. Vitamin C also promotes a healthy skin function and a healthy nervous system.
Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS, is a Doctor of Chiropractic, certified doctor of natural medicine and clinical nutritionist with a passion to help people eat healthily and live a healthy lifestyle. Visit the blog: http://bit.ly/2T6NPBR
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