New research led by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in Twickenham suggests intravenous vitamin C may ameliorate symptoms of COVID-19 infection.

Researchers carried out a literature review that focuses on vitamin C deficiency in respiratory infections, including COVID-19, and the mechanisms of action in infectious disease, including support of the stress response, its role in preventing and treating colds and pneumonia and its role in treating sepsis and COVID-19.

They concluded that the evidence to date indicates that oral vitamin C (2-8 g/day) may reduce the incidence and duration of respiratory infections and intravenous vitamin C (6-24 g/day) has been shown to reduce mortality, intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital stays and time on mechanical ventilation for severe respiratory infections.

“Given the remarkable safety of vitamin C, frequent deficiency among patients with COVID-19 and extensive evidence of potential benefits, the current treatment is justified on compassionate grounds pending more COVID-19 clinical trial data becoming available, not only for intravenous use within ICUs, but also orally with doses between 2 and 8 g/day in hospitalised patients due to increased need when fighting a viral infection, as concluded in recent reviews,” the authors say.

They suggest that people in high-risk groups for COVID-19 mortality, and at risk of vitamin C deficiency, should be encouraged to supplement with vitamin C daily to ensure adequate levels at all times, and to increase the dose when virally infected to up to 6-8 g/day.

Whether or not this will prevent conversion to the critical phase of COVID-19 has yet to be determined.

Holford P, Carr AC, Jovic TH, Ali SR, Whitaker IS, Marik PE, Smith AD. Vitamin C-An Adjunctive Therapy for Respiratory Infection, Sepsis and COVID-19. Nutrients. 2020;12(12). doi: 10.3390/nu12123760. PMID: 33297491 View full text