Is Vitamin C Beneficial to the COVID-19 Patients?

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By Surajit Kumar Saha August 21, 2020

Corona viruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERSCoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A new strain of corona virus which is not previously identified in human is the novel corona virus (nCoV).

Corona viruses are zoonotic means they transmitted between animals
and humans. Respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and
breathing difficulties are some common symptoms of infection. In severe cases infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. Standard recommendation to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth, nose, when coughing and sneezing, avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of showing respiratory illness, wearing mask.

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Globally, 22,862,465 cases and 797,117 deaths have been reported
by 20th august, 2020. Despite of so many therapeutic approaches like convalescent plasma therapy, development of monoclonal antibody, adjuncts include zinc, chloroquine and hydroxycholoroquine (whose efficacy has not been proven for COVID-19), still it is totally depend on vaccine to get rid of this pandemic.

So like those approaches, I would like to discuss about the role of vitamine C coupled with COVID-19 infection, prevention, and treatment. People are taking vitamin C as a supplement or consume foods reach in vitamins.
Vitamin C was made famous by Dr. Linus Pauling. Vitamine C has been studied for many years and we know that it is an important cofactor for the formation of blood vessel, cartilages, muscle and collagen in the bone and is important for the healing process. It is also known as important anti-oxidant which helps to protect cells from damage by free radical. It may have some beneficial role to heart disease, cancer and other diseases. It can also improve immunity by accumulates in phagocytic cell neutrophils, can enhance chemotaxis, phagocytosis, generation of reactive oxygen species and ultimately microbial killing.

Overall regular use of vitamin C supplements shortens the duration of common cold but do not reduce the risk of contracting cold. Taking vitamin C supplement once cold symptoms have already begun has no proven benefits. It is likely that this antiviral effect is why vitamin C has attracted interest as a possible treatment of COVID-19. The recommended daily allowance for vitamin C intake is 90 mg for adult men, 75 mg for adult women and additional 35 mg for smokers of either gender.

Guava contains 228 mg /100 g of vitamin C, similarly kiwifruits have 93 mg/100g, bell paper contains 128 mg/100 g, orange 53mg/100 g, and papaya has 61mg /100 g, tomato 23 mg /100g of vitamin C.

To investigate its therapeutic potential only blind clinical trial is essential.
Previously so many trials are performed but according to a recent trials study in 2019 shown that the length of the ICU stay was reduce d by 7.8% in patients receiving vitamin C and also 8.6% decrease in the mechanical ventilation in oral dosage of 1-3 g/day. To conclusively determine whether the Vitamin C therapy is beneficial for the treatment of COVID-19 a double blind placebo-controlled study has been designed on February, 2020. In the study, intravenous administration of either 12 gm of vitamin or placebo will be given to the patient with severe pneumonia due to COVID-19 infection twice a day for 7 days. The study is projected to complete by September 30, 2020. Trials are also carried out with adjuncts like zinc, vitamin D, hydroxycholoroquine and quercetin. So clinical benefits of vitamin C has not been established yet.

So, I would like to conclude that vitamin C may or may not be come up as a
potential therapeutic for COVID-19 but can help to boost your immunity. There are no evidence yet whether it will prevent COVID-19 infection.

Let’s meet the author: Surajit Kumar Saha

Graduation- B. Pharm from BCRCP, Durgapur
Post graduate – M. S. (Pharm.) in Pharmacology and Toxicology (Pursuing)
National Institute of pharmaceutical education and research, Mohali

REFRENCES-
• William Simonson. Vitamin C and corona virus. Elseiver. May 8,2020.41.(3); 331-332.
• Hemila H, Chalker E. Vitamin C can shorten the length of stay in the ICU: a metaanalysis. Nutrients. 2019;11:1–30.
• Fowler AA, III, Truwit JD, Hite RD. Effect of vitamin C infusion on organ failure and biomarkers of inflammation and vascular injury in patients with sepsis and severe acute respiratory failure: the CITRIS-ALI randomized clinical trial. JAMA. 2019;322(13):1261–1270.
• Anitra C Carr and Silvia Maggini.Vitamin C and Immune function. Nutrients. Nov 3,2017, 9(11); 1211.
• Mongelli L, Golding B. New York hospitals treating patients with vitamin C. NY Post. March 24, 2020.
• World Health Organization, http://www.emro.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus/about-covid-19.html.

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