Latest Breaking News About Vitamin C!
The increasing trend of COVID-19 cases in the country, of late, is worrying. The symptoms can range from mild to serious symptoms that can be life-threatening. It is caused by the strain of coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2 (Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2). There are limited proven treatments for COVID-19. Until a vaccine is made available, we depend very much on our immunity to protect and fight the infection.
Vitamin C is an essential water-soluble nutrient that our body is not able to produce. We depend on supplements and/or our food to provide us with a healthy level of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a potential candidate for the prevention, amelioration of COVID-19 and to complement the treatment in the critical care of COVID-19.1 The levels of vitamin C decline rapidly when the body is under physiological stress. In hospitalized patients, many of whom suffered from acute respiratory infections, sepsis or severe COVID-19, were found to have low levels of vitamin C in their blood.
Studies in a few countries demonstrated that COVID-19 patients have much lower vitamin C level than the normal level seen in a healthy person. This deficiency is known as hypovitaminosis C. People with low levels of vitamin C may be especially susceptible to severe respiratory infections such as COVID-19. In the earlier literature, scurvy (a disease resulted from deficiency of vitamin C) had been associated with pneumonia. Pneumonia is one of the most common complications of scurvy that causes death in those who are low in vitamin C status. A meta-analysis study highlighted that risk of pneumonia is significantly reduced with vitamin C supplementation. Post-mortem investigations conducted in COVID-19 deaths showed a secondary pneumonia phenomenon.
The Amazing Functions of Vitamin C
1. Vitamin C promotes the production of collagen.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It has many important functions and one best-known function is to preserve the lungs’ structural integrity. Inadequate amounts of vitamin C leads to a weakened collagen layer, thus, increasing the risk of viral entry into the body.
2. Vitamin C assists in the production of white blood cells.
In the immune system, vitamin C encourages the production of white blood cells such as macrophages and neutrophils. These immune cells engulf and kill the microbes with ROS free radicals.
3. Vitamin C as an anti-oxidant.
The ROS free radicals are important to ward-off the pathogens. However, excessive production of them may cause some side effects, such as fever, sore throat, coughing or more seriously, lung damage such as pneumonia. Vitamin C modulates the level of ROS free radicals to prevent damages to the host tissue from excessive oxidative damages through its antioxidant property. The critical and fatal phase of COVID-19 occurs with the excessive generations of potent proinflammatory proteins known as cytokines and chemokines. Excessive production of these proinflammatory proteins results in the development of multi-organ failure, as often seen in COVID-19.
4. Vitamin C has an indirect anti-viral property.
The SARS-CoV-2 strain of coronavirus reduces the host’s primary antiviral defence mechanism. Vitamin C has the capacity to destroy or inactivate the viruses. It does this by increasing the key host defence proteins.
5. Vitamin C also enhances cortisol production.
Vitamin C acts synergistically with cortisol, the primary stress hormone, to maintain the immune function and protect the host against excessive tissue and nerve damage associated with inflammation. The new research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the higher the vitamin C level, the lower the inflammation. Higher intakes of vitamin C could cut the inflammation by an astonishing 45%. Supplementation of vitamin C may reduce the conversion from mild infection to the critical phase of COVID-19. It reduces the length of ICU stays, shortens the use of ventilators in critically-ill COVID-19 patients and reduces sepsis death.
Vitamin C with its many beneficial effects such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating effects makes it a potential candidate in the prevention and a treatment option in COVID-19. It is a well-known vitamin in preventing infections and improving the immune responses. A safe short-term high dose of vitamin C (2 to 8g daily) may be recommended to those who are in high risk groups of COVID-19 mortality. Those who are at risk of vitamin C deficiency are encouraged to take vitamin C supplements on a daily basis. They should ensure their levels of vitamin C are healthy at all times and increase the dose when they are infected by a viral infection.
Journal reference:Holford, P.; Carr, A.; Jovic, T.H.; Ali, S.R.; Whitaker, I.S.; Marik, P.;Smith, D. Vitamin C—An Adjunctive Therapy for Respiratory Infection,Sepsis and COVID19. Preprints 2020, 2020100407 https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202010.0407/v1