Vitamin C and Respiratory Infections

What Do We Know About Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient in humans. Without it we die.

Most animals internally produce their own vitamin C; humans do not so we need to obtain it from the diet or other external sources  (supplements). It is a water-soluble vitamin and cannot be stored in the body.

Severe deficiency may develop within three weeks of very low intake. This can result in a sub-clinical form of scurvy that can be manifested in increased susceptibility to infections. This is often shown initially by easy bruising.

Diets lacking in fruits and vegetables (such as a low-carbohydrate diet) often do not provide enough vitamin C.

Functions of vitamin C

  • Needed for manufacture of collagen
  • Helps the body fight infections, repair wounds
  • Act as antioxidant
  • Enhances iron absorption.

Primary food sources:

Fruits: guava, oranges, lemons, limes, strawberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, kiwi fruit

Vegetables: broccoli, green and red peppers, collards, tomato, potatoes, ready to eat cereals (fortified)

FYI: The RDA for vitamin C is 15-75 mg/d for children, 75 mg/d for adult women, 90 mg/d for adult men, and 85 to 120 mg for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

The Tolerable Upper Limit is 2000 mg/d. Oral Intakes of 1 gram or more a day can cause nausea, cramps, and diarrhea and may increase the risk of kidney stones.

Impact on Infections

Some studies show that in common infectious diseases, supplemental vitamin C lessens the severity and duration of symptoms.

In severe respiratory diseases such as bronchitis or pneumonia, vitamin C has been shown to reduce symptoms and shorten hospital stays. Some studies report rapid clearance on chest x-rays of patients with lung infections, following intravenous vitamin C treatment.

From the Linus Pauling Institute (LPI) at Oregon State University comes this:

“March 13, 2020 – The Linus Pauling Institute is closely watching the clinical trials with intravenous (IV) vitamin C and COVID-19-related pneumonia with great interest. However, there currently are no available data to show vitamin C can prevent or successfully treat COVID-19 infections. Once the trial data are available for review, the LPI will comment on the efficacy of IV vitamin C in COVID-19.

In 1970, Dr. Linus Pauling, Nobel Prize winner,  published Vitamin C and the Common Cold, a book that revolutionized the way the world viewed vitamin C and infectious disease. Dr. Pauling believed that increasing the daily dose of vitamin C could help the body mount a strong immune response when confronted with a respiratory infection.

Many people worldwide have reported better health after taking large amounts of vitamin C. To date, clinical trials have shown that vitamin C supplements can shorten the duration of the common cold. However, there are no data to suggest that vitamin C supplements can stop respiratory infections in the general population.  Results from trials with participants undergoing heavy physical activity indicate a benefit of oral vitamin C on common cold incidence. There are no such trials on influenza or coronavirus.

The LPI continues to advocate for rigorous research on both oral and IV vitamin C for treating both inflammation and infection. Yet, the facts are that there have been few rigorous studies on vitamin C and respiratory infections. Clinical trials with IV vitamin C and coronavirus-related pneumonia are currently underway in China. These trials are of great interest to the LPI, and we will monitor them closely.

Meanwhile, the LPI recommends taking these steps to support a healthy immune system: Eat a healthy diet and ensure that you meet the recommended intakes of all micronutrients, especially vitamins A, C, D, E, as well as zinc

Oregon State University has established a COVID-19 website to provide detailed and updated information; links to OSU, local, state and federal resources; and some frequently asked questions. Please regularly check this website for important updates.”

Source: Nutrition Now, Brown, Seventh Edition

Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University

Wearing a Mask?

FYI: What does wearing a mask have to do with FOOD, FACTS & FADS? Absolutely nothing! However,  I thought it was prudent to pass it along,  You may not agree, but there has been a lot of controversy recently as to whether to wear a mask or not due to the virus that continues to plague our lives. Sometimes it’s easy to just think that since there is less talk about COVID in the news, the virus magically will disappear – but alas, it is still out there, last I heard.

I don’t consider myself to be an infectious disease expert or public health official – but I do have a strong background in microbiology/immunology due to the fact I have a Masters Degree in Microbiology and I taught a course titled “Etiology of Infectious Disease” for several years. I also have  worked in academia in the department of Microbiology/Immunology at another major university where I participated in organizing and preparing for publication a textbook titled “Basic Medical Microbiology.

I have read several articles about the success of the Japanese with the viral spread, which in my opinion. gives a lot of credit to the benefits of wearing masks. Therefore, the following article just makes sense.  Stay safe!

Sally Feltner, MS, PhD

CLICK HERE.

 

 

 

 

Is Vitamin C a Valid Treatment for COVID19?

Just read an extensive article concerning the claims that intravenous vitamin C  therapy could be a valid treatment for COVID19. This therapy has been around for decades or at least since the 1970’s when the Nobel Prize winner, Linus Pauling promoted its oral use for curing or preventing the common cold and even as a cancer treatment. Proponents have once again emerged with the same claims concerning COVID19 virus treatment and/or cure with Intravenous vitamin C.

Bottom Line: There is no evidence that this occurs. According to one physician of Orthomolecular Medicine: “if you test people with pneumonia, Influenza or COVID19, you can measure and see that their vitamin C levels are low”; this tells us little if nothing.

Orthomolecular medicine promotes the premise that extremely high doses of natural substances help the body to address illness. For example, the Daily Value for vitamin C is only 90 mg/day (more than enough to prevent scurvy).  In orthomolecular medicine, at least 1500 mg/day would be required and more is better. Fortunately, vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and is commonly excreted from the body in urine. However, there are side effects at high doses that include diarrhea and other gastrointestinal issues.

A clinical trial in China is investigating the claim of intravenous vitamin C therapy and COVID19;  and it will be interesting if we hear any positive results when the study concludes next year.

Here are the facts as we know them.

CLICK HERE.