Doctors Use Vitamin C to Combat COVID-19

We have always been big fans of vitamin C. It can boost the immune system and help shorten the length of an illness. Now, doctors are using it as a tool to fight COVID-19.

It must be noted that, while vitamin C boosts the immune system, it cannot in and of itself prevent you from becoming ill. But, it can help your body be its healthiest, which helps avoid illness. Moreover, studies have shown that it can shorten the duration of a cold by 18 percent and reduce symptoms.

Doctors in Shanghai saw positive results using vitamin C supplements to help COVID-19 patients. Dr. Andrew Weber, a pulmonologist and critical-care specialist in Long Island, gave patients 1,500 milligrams of vitamin C three or four times a day. “The patients who received vitamin C did significantly better than those who did not get vitamin C,” he said. “It helps a tremendous amount, but it is not highlighted because it’s not a sexy drug.” The dosage is more than 16 times the amount suggested by the National Institutes of Health.

When people get sick, the first thing in their body that actually gets depleted is vitamin C,” said Dr. Steven Katz, a naturopathic physician in Scottsdale, AZ. Giving your body back the vitamin C you’ve lost helps your body fight. However, he advises against taking it orally in amounts above 2,000 milligrams a day. Meaning, that to get the best results and “the most bang for your buck,” it has to be given by an IV.

The CDC and WHO say that there is no evidence that it can prevent or cure COVID-19. While it makes sense that it cannot stop COVID-19, knowing that a healthy immune system can aid us in preventing infect, or lessening the impact is reason to consider adding it to your healthy routine.

There is, as of yet, no vaccine for, or drug against, COVID-19. While vitamin C may not be a solution, every tool for aiding health and wellbeing should be considered. Research is being performed to see the full effects of vitamin C on the virus. However, a thorough study takes time, and there won’t be full results released until Sept. 30.

There is some reason to hypothesize that some vitamins and supplements could reduce the risk and severity of COVID-19 because of benefits seen for other viral or respiratory disease,” said Dr. Walter Willett of Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. However, he did add, “It is critical to emphasize that the focus of preventing COVID-19 should be social distancing, washing hands and not touching our faces.”

While vitamin C is not a talisman against infection, its benefits shouldn’t be underestimated. There isn’t a broad consensus among doctors about its effectiveness. Doctors do, however, agree about the best practices for remaining healthy: wash your hands frequently, don’t touch your face and remain socially distanced from other people. Those three factors are your best way to protect yourself. A healthy immune system is part of prevention, but the best way to stop the spread, and lower your risk, is to avoid people who might be carrying the virus. It can be asymptomatic, and people might not even realize that they have it. So, take all safety measures seriously.

But, if patients are seeing results from vitamin C, we are all for it. While people are scared and doing everything in their power to avoid illness, any boost has its benefits. Your first line of defense is handwashing, social distance and not touching your face. Lowering your risk of becoming ill if you do come in contact with it is just as important.

Speak to your doctor to know if vitamin C is right for you, and if adding it to your usual routine is healthy and safe.
March 27, 2020
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