When you were a child, your parents possibly tried to cure your colds with natural remedies, including orange juice, to increase your body's vitamin C stores. But can vitamin C really help you fight viruses?
The COVID-19 pandemic has made millions of victims worldwide. Researchers are testing several substances that could help us fight the disease, including natural substances like vitamins. In this article, we´ll discuss the role of vitamin C supplements in the treatment and prevention of COVID-19 disease and other viral infections.
Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid. It has several important functions in the body. Vitamin C helps to protect the cells, it maintains the health of the skin, blood vessels, bones, and cartilage, and it also participates in wound healing. You can get vitamin C from citrus fruit, peppers, strawberries, broccoli, and potatoes. In general, adults aged 19 to 64 need 40mg of vitamin C a day; this vitamin deficiency can lead to scurvy. It is not recommended to intake large amounts of vitamin C (more than 1,000 mg per day), because it can cause health problems.
Can Vitamin C help you fight COVID-19?
COVID-19 is characterized by an intense inflammatory process that impairs the lung's function. Vitamin C could help in the treatment of the disease due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Vitamin C can also stimulate the immune system to kill viruses and other pathogens. High doses of vitamin C reduce the severity and duration of symptoms from the common cold. Also, one study has shown that vitamin C increases the resistance of chick embryo tracheal organ cultures to avian coronavirus infection. Clinical studies had shown a lower incidence of pneumonia in patients taking vitamin C supplements, suggesting that it might prevent the susceptibility to lower respiratory tract infections (such as COVID-19) under certain conditions. One study was conducted with 150 COVID-19 patients. Half of them received vitamin C
(12 g of vitamin C/50 ml every 12 h for 7 days at a rate of 12 ml/hour) plus standard treatment, and the other group received standard treatment alone. Patients who took vitamin C became symptom-free earlier and spent less time hospitalized. However, there was no difference in mortality or need for mechanical ventilation. Besides the promising results, more clinical studies are needed to establish a link between vitamin C supplementation and an improvement in COVID-19 symptoms. There is also a need to determine the best form of administration and dosage to maximize the benefits. Always talk to your doctor before starting any treatment.
Should you get vitamin C supplements? Unfortunately, not everyone can get all of their nutrients from food, specially older people or people with certain medical conditions. That is why supplements are a good alternative.
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