Coronavirus treatment: Can Vitamin C prevent or cure Covid-19?
The number of Coronavirus cases around the globe is increasing and so are the rumours surrounding its cure and prevention. Among a majority of fake news and misinformation floating in the public domain and social media is that Vitamin C can help in the prevention and cure of the Coronavirus.
The claims of Vitamin C’s role in direct prevention and cure of the Coronavirus is false and based on unsubstantiated information. However, Vitamin C has a huge role to play in shaping one’s response to illness by helping them increase in immunity.
Vitamin C is a common remedy that some people believe will cure a common cold and flu. Although it helps us maintain good immune function, there’s little evidence that it can prevent or substantially reduce either of these diseases. But in the midst of the novel coronavirus outbreak, some “influencers” are claiming that taking mega-doses of vitamin C can cure COVID-19 (the disease caused by novel coronavirus).
So let’s cut to the chase. Can vitamin C cure the coronavirus? Considering that novel coronavirus belongs to the same family of viruses – coronaviruses – as the common cold and flu, it’s unlikely that taking vitamin C will prevent or cure you of a COVID-19 infection.
Vitamin C is important to maintain “redox” balance in the body’s tissues – these are types of reactions in cells that add or remove oxygen and are essential for many processes such as generating energy in cells. These same reactions, though, can create products harmful to human cells – such as reactive oxygen species, which react with lipids (fat), proteins and nucleic acids. Vitamin C can lessen these harmful reactions. It also helps enzymes build collagen, which is necessary for supporting our body’s tissues.
Although vitamin C doesn’t have miraculous disease-curing properties, some research has also shown it can help the immune system fight off bacteria and viruses. Its role in protecting against viral infections was shown in a recent review which found that immune cells need vitamin C to produce proteins that activate the immune system throughout the body against virus attacks.
Having said that, we can easily obtain sufficient levels of vitamin C in our diet that will keep our immune system fully functional. Vitamin C is plentiful in many fruits and vegetables, including oranges, broccoli, and potatoes. And while it is relatively non-toxic, since its high water solubility makes it easy to excrete from the body, excessive doses can result in unpleasant symptoms such as diarrhoea, nausea, and cramps.