You may have noticed the vitamin C portion of the supplement aisle looking empty these days or have seen social media reports that vitamin C may help with COVID-19.
Although physicians and researchers are researching the effects of high-dose intravenous (IV) vitamin C on the new coronavirus, no supplement, including vitamin C, can prevent or treat COVID-19.
Important Note: No supplement can cure or prevent diseases. It is particularly important to realize with the 2019 coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic that no supplement, diet, or other lifestyle change other than physical distancing, also known as social distancing, and good hygiene practices will protect you from COVID-19.
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a vitamin required in the bones for your body to shape blood vessels, cartilage, muscle, and collagen. Vitamin C is also important in the healing process of your body.
Vitamin C, an antioxidant, can help protect your cells from the effects of free radicals, molecules created when food is broken down by your body or exposed to tobacco smoke and radiation. In heart disease, cancer and other diseases, free radicals may play a role. Vitamin C also helps absorb and store iron in your body.
Since vitamin C is not produced by your body, you need to get it from your diet. In citrus fruits, berries, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, sprouts from Brussels, broccoli and spinach, vitamin C is included. Vitamin C, usually in the form of capsules and chewable tablets, is also available as an oral supplement.
The recommended daily amount of vitamin C for adult men is 90 milligrams and for adult women is 75 milligrams
How does Vitamin C affect Immunity?
Your immune health is affected by vitamin C in many ways. Its antioxidant activity, which can help strengthen your immune system, can minimize inflammation.
By improving collagen development, vitamin C also keeps your skin healthy, helping the skin act as a functional barrier to prevent harmful compounds from entering your body. The skin's vitamin C can also encourage wound healing.
The vitamin also increases phagocyte function, immune cells that can "swallow" harmful bacteria and other particles.
It also stimulates the growth and spread of lymphocytes, a type of immune cell that boosts circulating antibodies, proteins that can attack the blood from foreign or harmful substances.
Vitamin C does not seem to make you any less likely to catch a cold in studies of its efficacy against viruses that cause the common cold, but it can help you get over a cold quicker and make the symptoms less serious.
Vitamin C and COVID-19
It is important to remember that vitamin C is not yet a standard part of the COVID-19 treatment plan because there is still a lack of evidence.
While high doses of IV vitamin C are currently being tested to see if it can improve lung function in people with COVID-19, there is no evidence that high doses of supplements of oral vitamin C can help with the disease. They can, in fact, cause complications such as diarrhea.
Do you need to take Vitamin C Supplement?
The use of oral vitamin C supplements to prevent COVID-19 is currently not confirmed by any evidence.
The length and severity of colds caused by other viruses can be reduced by vitamin C, but this is not a guarantee that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 will have the same effect.
Additionally, vitamin C is a vitamin that is soluble in water. It dissolves in water, ensuring that your body does not retain excess quantities, but instead absorbs them through your urine. Taking more vitamin C does not mean that more is being absorbed by your body.
High-dose supplements with vitamin C can also induce diarrhea, as they can signal the body to draw water into your digestive tract and out of the cells.
In addition, while high-dose vitamin C appears to be promising for treatment with COVID-19, these doses were extremely high and were not taken orally through IV. In addition, it was administered only in situations severe enough to require hospitalization.
To Sum It Up
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that keeps the proper functioning of your immune system.
There is, however, no indication that oral supplements with vitamin C can help treat or prevent COVID-19.
Make sure you're eating a variety of fruits and vegetables to get enough of immune-strengthening vitamin C in your diet.
While there is no treatment for COVID-19 at the moment, preventive measures such as physical distance and good hygiene will help protect you from disease growth.