Vitamin C in COVID-19 Prevention

Vitamin C in COVID-19 Prevention

This is not medical advice. This is a petition to federal and state governments to urgently publish recommendations for vitamin C intake as a prevention measure against COVID-19.

Introduction

Can vitamin C prevent or alleviate symptoms of acute respiratory tract infections, including COVID-19? (Gorton & Jarvis, 1999) reported 85% decrease of cold and flu symptoms in the test group taking vitamin C, compared with the control group, not taking vitamin C. The test group took vitamin C prophylactically and over the course of disease at 3,000 mg per day (1,000 mg x 3), and an increased dose of 6,000 mg (1,000 mg x 6, hourly) on the first day of symptoms onset. This specific regimen is important: taking a moderate amount of vitamin C prophylactically and during illness, and a larger dose on the first day of symptoms onset.

There is a caveat. The dosage in this study is 1.5-2 times higher than what doctors feel comfortable recommending to the public, as far as I see. Nevertheless, the research reviewed below supports the conclusion that 1.5-2 times lower doses help against broad class of ARTI, including colds and flu, although expectably less. COVID-19 is an acute respiratory tract infection (ARTI). The reasonable assumption is that what helps against multiple prior viral ARTI would help against COVID-19. 

Vitamin C Role in the Immune System

Vitamin C does not prevent infection, but it helps the immune system combat it. It has been shown to alleviate symptoms, sometimes to the point where symptoms are not detectable. Thus, a person can feel as if s/he never got sick, since no symptoms ever presented, and may count this as having prevented the illness.

Vitamin C, at its normal level 70 μmol/L, is a necessary part of the immune system.  Excess vitamin C intake (over 200 mg/day) is normally excreted in urine. But when a body experiences physiological stress, it consumes the vitamin C present in the blood and thus, needs an increased intake (Hemilä, Vitamin C and Infections, 2017). All existing studies agree on this point. Observations have shown that in such conditions even many grams of vitamin C per day are neither excreted nor accumulate in blood.

 (Hemilä & Chalker, 2019) listed several studies, showing that vitamin C levels drop in patients hospitalized with acute respiratory infections to less than 10-35% of the normal level. (Carr, 2017) found that all ICU patients in one hospital had less than on third of the normal vitamin C level.

The rationale behind discovered Vitamin C supplementation

When a person gets a viral respiratory infection, the body starts fighting it using the vitamin C present in the blood. That decreases vitamin C levels in the blood, impairing the immune system, even before the symptoms appear. But if it regularly receives extra vitamin C, it stops excreting it, but consumes in fighting the infection. In the most successful regimens (Ran, 2018), symptoms are used as a signal that the body requires even more vitamin C in order to maintain normal vitamin C blood levels while consuming more of it in fighting the infection. That justifies increased intake of it on the first symptomatic day and until the body overcomes the virus. This time might be shorter than the period for which symptoms exist. The first symptomatic day might have a special significance, possibly because it is when the body have not produced enough antibodies specific to the virus.

Safety

The human body has natural safety valves for vitamin C. First, excess of it is removed in urine. Second, it typically causes diarrhea before getting close to potentially dangerous levels.

(National Institute of Health, 2020) confirms safety of vitamin C:

Vitamin C has low toxicity and is not believed to cause serious adverse effects at high intakes. The most common complaints are diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramps, and other gastrointestinal disturbances due to the osmotic effect of unabsorbed vitamin C in the gastrointestinal tract.

Possible Vitamin C Regimen

This is a possible Vitamin C regimen against COVID-19, for adults.

Some doctors recommend taking the higher dose only on the first day of symptoms onset. The dose is for an average 70 kg person. Those weighing much more or less should adjust proportionately. Older and non-healthy persons (i.e., the most at-risk group) should consult their physicians

Possible contra-indications: some kidney diseases, chemotherapy and radiation treatments, cholesterol lowering drugs,  diabetes in postmenopausal women (National Institute of Health, 2020). For other people, diarrhea is a sign to decrease or stop taking vitamin C.

It is not expected to completely protect against the Wuhan coronavirus or to approach the effectiveness of HCQ + Zn prophylaxis.

I remind that this is not medical advice, but a starting point for CDC/NIH/FDA and state governments to develop the medical advice.  Follow your doctor’s recommendations.

Vitamin C Controversies and Misconceptions

Some confusion surrounds the use of vitamin C because different amounts are used for different purposes and produce different results. The officially recommended minimum intake of vitamin C 75-90 mg per day is just that – the minimum, established long ago to prevent scurvy. Many people exceed this amount simply by eating ordinary food; a medium orange contains 70 mg of vitamin C.

 Studies with vitamin C supplementation of less than 1 g/day have shown little or no effect on respiratory infections. This was a cause of the confusion among medical professions. At such amounts, “control” group’s vitamin C intake was not controlled and might have exceeded the amounts taken by the intervention group. Also, low level vitamin C supplementation might provide benefits too low to detect. That might have caused confusion among medical professionals. Further, most studies gave vitamin C either prophylactically or during illness, but not both (Hemilä, Vitamin C and Infections, 2017).

On the high end, mega-doses of vitamin C (like tens of grams per day), delivered intravenously in hospital settings, is successfully used in treatment of many serious diseases and conditions, including late stages of severe cases of COVID-19. They are used for patients with sepsis (Kashiouris, 2020) and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Such doses and associated treatments are beyond the scope of this article.

Thus, this review is only concerned with vitamin C doses of 1 – 3 g/day prophylactically, and 3 – 6 g/day during ARTI. Such doses have been shown helpful in easing ARTI, and safe for almost all people.

Studies Review

Peer Reviewed Papers

(Hemilä, 2017) is a meta-analysis of multiple studies. It concludes that vitamin C is helpful against many infections, especially the common cold. The study suggests a linear dose – effect function up to 6-8 g/day.

(Hemilä & Chalker, 2019) is another meta-analysis. In 12 trials, totaling 1766 patients , vitamin C, given during the time of treatment, reduced ICU stays by an average of 7.8%. The vitamin C doses were relatively small, 1-3 g/day. (In four studies, higher doses were used, but those studies were either excluded from the meta-analysis (Dingchao 1994) or given very low weight in the calculations (Tanako 2000, Fowler 2014, Zabet 2016)). In this studies vitamin C was given too little too late.

(Marik & Hooper, 2017) explains that vitamin C acts like a “stress hormone”. Most vertebrates synthesize their vitamin C and increase its production during physiological stress. Humans, as well as primates and guinea pigs, are exceptions to this rule. Therefore, we need to obtain vitamin C from food or supplements, and we may need to increase our intake in times of physiological stress.

(Colunga Biancatelli, Berill, & Marik, 2019) explains concepts behind vitamin C antiviral benefits. Unfortunately, they cite a 2013 review by Hemilä et al., which did not find benefits of vitamin C supplementation, as explained above. The more recent meta-analysis (Hemilä, Vitamin C and Infections, 2017) has firmly established evidence of such benefits.

(Ran, 2018) is a review, showing benefits of taking daily vitamin C supplements before and increasing the dosage when common cold occurs. It proposes a regimen of taking 1 g/day prophylactically while healthy and 3-4 g/day while having a cold.

Non peer reviewed sources

Drugs.com:

Beneficial effects of vitamin C supplementation have been reported for

Elderly people with acute respiratory infections

Recurrent acute respiratory distress syndrome

Reducing the severity and duration of the common cold

Reducing the length of hospital stay and symptoms in elderly patients with pneumonia

Reducing the duration of mechanical ventilation in people in ICU

Preventing the common cold in people who are vitamin C deficient

Preventing the incidence of pneumonia in people who are vitamin C deficient.

Studies have shown that excretion of vitamin C is decreased during infections, such as the common cold, suggesting that more is utilized during times of need.

COVID-19: Prevention and Treatment, Vitamin C (cihs.edu, Michelle Fauver, Ph.D.):

If you choose to supplement with vitamin C as a preventive, you might want to start with 2 grams a day administered orally

To use vitamin C supplementation as a treatment for colds or flus (remember we still have the flu going around), the best results have been obtained by administering 6-8 g (6,000-8,000 mg) immediately upon appearance of the first symptoms, then continuing that dose daily until the symptoms subside.

8 g/day is likely to cause diarrhea.

Remarks

  • The effect of prophylactic doses of vitamin C in COVID-19 infection have not been quantified. But even if the effect were small (and there is no reason to think that it is small), when the infection spreads exponentially, it decreases the exponential coefficient. It is a possibly large impact, at a miniscule cost, with almost no risk. Further, vitamin C seems to help the immune system to decrease the viral load even if it does not alleviate the symptoms.
  • Taking vitamin C is not the only helpful prophylactic measure receiving less attention than it deserves.  Another research piece shows similar benefits of cod liver oil, used in this country for hundreds of years, or its equivalent – a diet rich in wild caught salmon or mackerel.
  • Physiological stress is not the same as psychological stress. I do not know whether lockdowns and forced social isolation cause physiological stress.
  • While it is not the role of the federal government to recommend diets and vitamin supplements, Google and Facebook delete and hide information about potentially effective COVID-19 prophylactics and treatment, if it does not come from WHO or a government. Thus, to allow such information to reach the public, the federal government should either rein in Google and Facebook, or itself make the recommendations.
  • I prefer the name Wuhan coronavirus the COVID-19 pathogen. This is where the virus was detected first. The name SARS-CoV-2 is associated with SARS of 2003, which had a much higher mortality ratio. This association is misleading and causes unnecessary panic.
  • To avoid the appearance of bias, I excluded from this review most known enthusiasts of the vitamin C. I also did not rely upon the peer-reviewed Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, although it is a recognized medical journal, and included in multiple indexes.
  • It is impossible not to mention Linus Pauling in this article. I do not know whether he was right or wrong about vitamin C. It might be that some of his ideas were correct, but explanation and/or clinical recommendations were not.
  • A medical group of Eastern Virginia Medical School, headed by Dr. Paul Marik, has developed and published its own COVID-19 prophylactic regimen, including vitamin C, Zinc, and Quercetin. It is occasionally mentioned in comments on this site.

References

Carr, A. (2017). Hypovitaminosis C and vitamin C deficiency in critically ill patients despite recommended enteral and parenteral intakes. Critical Care. Retrieved from https://ccforum.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13054-017-1891-y

Colunga Biancatelli, R. M., Berill, M., & Marik, E. P. (2019). The antiviral properties of vitamin C. Expert Review of Anti-infective Therapy. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14787210.2020.1706483

Gorton, H., & Jarvis, K. (1999). The effectiveness of vitamin C in preventing and relieving the symptoms of virus-induced respiratory infections. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/S0161-4754(99)70005-9

Hemilä, H. (2017). Vitamin C and Infections. Nutrients. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9040339

Hemilä, H., & Chalker, E. (2019). Vitamin C Can Shorten the Length of Stay in the ICU: A Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. Retrieved from https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/11/4/708

Kashiouris, M. (2020, January 22). The Emerging Role of Vitamin C as a Treatment for Sepsis. Nutrients. Retrieved from https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/2/292/htm

Marik, P. E., & Hooper, M. H. (2017). Vitamin C and Sepsis, Response. The Chest Journal. Retrieved from https://journal.chestnet.org/article/S0012-3692(17)31252-7/fulltext

National Institute of Health. (2020, February 27). Vitamin C. Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/

Ran, L. (2018). Extra Dose of Vitamin C Based on a Daily Supplementation Shortens the Common Cold: A Meta-Analysis of 9 Randomized Controlled Trials. BioMed Research International. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/1837634

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135 thoughts on “Vitamin C in COVID-19 Prevention

    • I have not had the flu or cold in 17 years, and I always use vitamin c shock when symptoms begin. Before that I had my annual. The trick is to take it right away before the virus settles properly in the body. I also cured bronchitis with the same technique. (I smoke). No, I’m not vaccinated. Six tablets and follow up with a few more after an hour. The symptoms usually disappear after an hour. Have no problems the day after. I do not know how vitamin C works if you first get really sick … of course, but am reasonably sure it will help then as well. At least curb the disease. Thanks for this article. More people should know this

    • I want to add something to my comment. 5-6 tablets of vitamin C can cause (not always) a little loose stomach, but what is a trip to the toilet instead of one to two weeks in bed? I say this so you do not do it right before giving a lecture or go on the bus … I also do not know if it had worked with less vitamin C. Independence and good tests are needed on this. I also never use antibiotics, so when antibiotics do not work on anyone I would recommend trying a powerful vitamin C cure. The first time about 17 years ago I had no vitamin C available, but I had Panax Ginseng and remembered that it could help as well. Then I also took six tablets and the symptoms disappeared, but as mentioned I have only tried that once… Our body can withstand a lot of both. How about a combination?

  1. It is common sense that vitamine C is needed for a good immune system. But it would indeed be good if this advice would also be given by national and federal health agencies.

    And while they are at it, they should include vitamine D as well.

      • yup nopatents no moneynot interested.
        tht said merk patented a synth version of B6
        then tried to have ANY other forms natural etc in supplements banned for “infringing” its crummy patent.
        China makes almost all the global supply of vit c btw.
        and COQ10 as well.
        RDA of Vit Care et at the minimum possible to prevent scurvy etc
        we humans cant make it(nor do Guineapigs)
        and smarter medicos now use Vit C with chemo etc as it stops the damage to kidneys etc especially from the drugs
        ditto smarter vets use it in snakebite dogs n horses cows etc IV SubCut
        or oral as least preferable
        search NZ SARS patients Vit C cure there was a youtube
        pob removed cos the truth upsets some lilpetals

    • Federal health agencies should also warn everyone about the dangers of lying face down on pavement with a 200 lb police officer’s knee on your neck.

      • resisting arrest which can end up with you lying on your face with a knee on your neck …

        • dark lord… hand cuffed and lying face down with other police officers at scene to assist…. you’re an idiot.

        • The 911 call was for Floyd passing conterfeit twenty dollar bills and being intoxicated and acting strangely.
          Not saying that any of this justified what happened but the resisting arrest statement is valid … if Floyd hadn’t resisted and just got into the back of the police car he would still be with us.

          • There in lies the heart of the matter. Floyd never resisted arrest. Watch the video from a nearby camera. Floyd is certainly unhappy, but the very big man gives no physical resistance. Then as two officers escort him to a squad SUV Floyd stumbles as they walk him off of the sidewalk curb. Floyd is such a big man that the two officers holding him on either side are also taken to the ground by the weight of the man.

            That is how Floyd ends up on the ground while still handcuffed. The officers then over reacted because they thought that Floyd was resisting. The last part is Chauvin, the killer, kneeling on Floyd’s neck when there was no need to do so. How intentional was that act? And did these two have some level of animosity between them from working as bouncers at the same night club?

    • This is a long piece but good – a hand grenade of facts dropped into a room full of idiot politicians.

      LOCKDOWN LUNACY: the thinking person’s guide
      By J.B. Handley 30May2020
      https://jbhandleyblog.com/home/lockdownlunacy

      For anyone willing to look, there are so many facts that tell the true story, and it goes something like this:

      Knowing what we know today about COVID-19’s Infection Fatality Rate, asymmetric impact by age and medical condition, non-transmissibility by asymptomatic people and in outdoor settings, near-zero fatality rate for children, and the basic understanding of viruses through Farr’s law, LOCKING DOWN SOCIETY WAS A BONE-HEADED POLICY DECISION SO DEVASTATING TO SOCIETY THAT HISTORIANS MAY JUDGE IT AS THE ALL-TIME WORST DECISION EVER MADE. Worse, as these clear facts have become available, many policy-makers haven’t shifted their positions, despite the fact that every hour under any stage of lockdown has a domino-effect of devastation to society. Meanwhile, the media—with a few notable exceptions—is oddly silent on all the good news. Luckily, an unexpected group of heroes across the political landscape—many of them doctors and scientists—have emerged to tell the truth, despite facing extreme criticism and censorship from an angry mob desperate to continue fighting an imaginary war.

      • Allan Macrae: Do you have an official source that shows the current mortality rate is closer to 0.1%, given the antibody testing expanding the denominator of # infected? I have not been able to find one recently.

      • Allan,
        Many thanks, I read it all and it is truly shocking. The parallells with climate alarmism are extraordinary: the exploitation of irrational fear and junk computer models in particular.

        When the pandemic started I thought the lockdown – in the UK – was probably for the best. But since then I’ve been becoming more of a lockdown sceptic. Now I’m perhaps 90% sure that the global lockdowns are the real catastrophe. It’s like cutting off a leg to cure a sore foot. Completely barking mad. Just like climate change alarmism, it’s driven by good, old-fashioned fear. Fear is a great motivator. It gets things done.

        Now the damage is done. Let’s hope politicians learn some valuable lessons. For a start, they really need to understand that there’s nothing magical about computer models, they are no more than opinions often based on faulty data.
        But I’m not holding my breath.
        Chris

      • For anyone willing to look, there are so many facts that tell the true story, and it goes something like this:

        Every single “fact” in this blog post is just wrong. It would be funny wouldn’t there so many people out there who believe this delusional misinformation.

      • “Knowing what we know today about COVID-19’s Infection Fatality Rate, asymmetric impact by age and medical condition, non-transmissibility by asymptomatic people and in outdoor settings, near-zero fatality rate for children, and the basic understanding of viruses through Farr’s law, LOCKING DOWN SOCIETY WAS A BONE-HEADED POLICY DECISION SO DEVASTATING TO SOCIETY THAT HISTORIANS MAY JUDGE IT AS THE ALL-TIME WORST DECISION EVER MADE.”

        The key phrase being “knowing what we know *today* about COVID-19”.

        Hindsight is 20/20. It’s easy to say coulda, woulda, shoulda, months after the decision is made. This is called Monday-morning quarterbacking. And this is a ridiculous conclusion seeing as how it is months after the original decision was made to social distance, when we knew nothing about the new unknown, Wuhan virus. It seems the criticism is that we should have known all about the Wuhan virus right from the start. It’s not explain how that would be possible. And the criticism doesn’t address the next unkonwn virus and its handling. I infer that the desire is not to take any mitigating actions in the future and just let the virus rip through society. That sounds like a very reckless, dangerours path to follow.

        All this kind of conversation does is undermine authority for no good purpose since the criticism is invalid. That’s what is being done here.

        If s new virus with the infectiousness of the Wuhan virus and the lethality of the Ebola virus shows up there will be a completely different conversation then. Then, we will be asking why our officials didn’t implement social distancing sooner and tighter.

    • As Dr. Kendrick has stated in his books “no one, ever, has every died of an overdose of any vitamin”.

      The recommendations are based on dietary “experts”. These are the same “experts” which have given the world:
      1. epidemic obeseity
      2. epidemic type 2 diabetes
      3. epidemic heart disease
      4. epidemic metabolic syndrome
      5. epidemic fatty liver disease
      6. epidemic Alzheimer’s disase
      7. entire populations suffering from chronic inflammatory diseases including cancers
      Mostly, follow the “experts” at your peril since it’s all simple opinion and based on epidemiological “studies” which range from fake to ignoring all confounding conditions.

      After all, these are the same “experts” which have given you massive destruction using their models for coronavirues which have been proven to be incredibly wrong; not to mention all their junk science of masking, distancing, and hand wringing while setting up conditions to use their government funded research patents to enrich themselves.

  2. You’d be banished from Twitter or YouTube for this.

    Next, how about Vitamin D? My doctor has me on 4000 IU daily based on serum analysis.

    • Serum analysis is the best way to dial it in. Getting sun will boost your levels way more than 4000 IU… I take 6000IU around cold season and in summer 4000IU.

    • My wife has osteopenia. When first diagnosed, they found she was deficient in vitamin D and prescribed megadoses of vitamin D, until she returned to normal. (She also has to take calcium and another prescription (can’t remember the name) for the calcium deficiency). I think one contributing factor is that my wife avoids the sun at all costs. BTW, I understand that megadoses of vitamin D can build up to a toxic contration in the blood stream, for those not deficient.

    • The problem is we are in this together. Your doctor is informed. The other 10 million doctors are not. We are fighting a war with the covid virus and losing.

      People should not get sick or die from the Covid virus, in this modern age due to a ‘Vitamin’ D deficiency.

      A deficiency is something the body absolutely requires to operate correctly. Correcting a deficiency is the simplest, cheapest, and most effective means of ‘curing’ diseases and stopping the Covid virus.

      ‘Vitamin’ D is a special chemical (protohormone) that our body produces and our body does not operate correctly when it is deficient in this special chemical.

      42% of the US general population and 82% of the US black population are ‘Vitamin’ D deficient.

      If you live in the US and you have dark skin, and you do not take 4000 UI/day ‘Vitamin’ D….

      … you will almost certainly be, significantly more ‘Vitamin’ D deficient, than whites, for your entire life. ‘Vitamin’ D deficiency is the cause of most common diseases, it shortens your lifespan, and will make economic success less likely.

      ‘Vitamin’ D is a proteohormone that turns genes on and off, to control 200 processes in the body.

      It has been found that ‘Vitamin’ D deficient people are 20 times more likely to die from or have serious covid symptoms than ‘Vitamin’ D normal people.

      ‘Vitamin’ D normal people are 50% less likely to get type 2 diabetes, have a more than 60% less chance of getting breast cancer, more than 70% less chance of getting colon cancer, lose 20 to 40 lbs without dieting cause unknown, significant and noticeable reduction in depression people feel better and have more energy. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to dementia and brain loss.

      Obviously, double blind studies to determine the many different ways the ‘Vitamin’ D deficiency is affecting us, is irrational and the Black people are going to be angry when they find out.

      Patterns of COVID-19 Mortality and Vitamin D: An Indonesian Study

      https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3585561

      Vitamin D Insufficient Patients 12.55 times more likely to die

      Vitamin D Deficient Patients 19.12 times more likely to die

      Blacks more than twice as likely to die from covid than the whites in the UK and in the US and that fact could be changed if we told Blacks that they are ‘Vitamin’ D deficient and require 4000 UI/day of Vitamin D for the rest of their lives,..

      … if they live at high latitudes and/or wear clothes and cannot go out in the sun between 10 am and 3 pm, for around an hour per day.

      Blacks more than three times more likely to die from covid than whites, in the UK.

      And the covid death rate in the UK is found to correlate, to how black, the person’s skin is.

      https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-52574931

      https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141022164052.htm

      Finally: Missing link between vitamin D, prostate cancer

      https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960076015300091?via%3Dihub

      Incidence rate of type 2 diabetes is >50% lower in Grassroots Health cohort with median serum 25–hydroxyvitamin D of 41 ng/ml than in NHANES cohort with median of 22 ng/ml

    • Along with Vit D, you must take vitamin K2. K2 regulates the amount of calcium in the blood and keeps it in the bones where it belongs. Vit D without Vit K2 will lead to excess calcium in the blood.

  3. Does Fauci approve?

    We can’t do anything in this country unless it’s endorsed by the Fauci.

      • icisil May 31, 2020 at 7:23 pm: I hope you are not talking about vit D 1 gram… that’s way too much. Maybe 1mg, but even that is probably too much! 25micrograms is 1000IU! 1 gram in 1000,000 micrograms.

        • 1,000mg is a normal daily standard dose
          I take 2 or 3 1k pills per day
          funniest vit C tale?
          neighbour was overdosing madly on it but a cheap nasty version with lots of colourants added
          and?
          he ended up with an orange ring halo like on his silver grey hair
          his wife did same daft overuse of celery seed extract and ended up with foaming spit:-)
          she was using it for fluid reduction(itworked all too well)
          you do have to show some moderation/ sense with ALL things

  4. Vitamin D is as good or better. Lie in the sun for ~20 minutes evey other day. There’s a meter or that. Google Solarmeter Model 6.4 and read about it.

    • Comparing apples and oranges. Both C and D are good for your immune system and there are numerous studies to support that. Take them both and don’t quibble about which is “better”. While you’re at it eat plenty of fruits and vegetables with lots of flavonoid antioxidants, cut back the carbs, especially sugar. Don’t overeat. Fast regularly, which also has a growing body of evidence showing numerous health benefits including an improved immune system. If you smoke, stop. If you drink alcohol, stop. Despite all the weak medical claims about wine and heart health, alcohol is a poison. The grapes are good for you. The alcohol isn’t. And if you’re overweight, lose it. You’ll be a lot healthier, happier, and resistant to viruses of any kind.

      • “If you drink alcohol, stop. Despite all the weak medical claims about wine and heart health, alcohol is a poison. The grapes are good for you. The alcohol isn’t.”

        I’ll take my chances in fighting The Demon head on, thank you.

    • UvMeter May 31, 2020 at 6:56 pm
      Vitamin D is as good or better. Lie in the sun…

      Yesterday was very sunny here in Milwaukee, and I ran the lawn mower in a tee shirt & shorts – a little over an hour. Does that count?

    • I come from a long-line of fair-skinned Caucasians. I take 4,000 UI of Vitamin D daily and stay out of the sun.

      Melanoma kills, too.

      • However, moderate sun exposure (no burning) reduces the incidence of melanoma. See the following link at 52 minutes:- https://youtu.be/v3pK0dccQ38
        Sorry, couldn’t figure out how to get the start time incorporated in the link.

        • “However, moderate sun exposure (no burning) reduces the incidence of melanoma. See the following link at 52 minutes:-” The sun is so anti-cancer, without which we can not live, yet idiots think because too much is bad, that none is good.

  5. Leo, this is interesting material. Can you give us a brief overview of your CV and professional relevance on this topic? Thanks.

    • Ah, the appeal to authority fallacy. Try reading the studies and come to your own conclusions. You don’t have to be an “expert” to read a medical study and understand the conclusions.

    • Leo is not the original source of any of the studies cited. Why does his CV matter?

      Assume he is a journalist. Would his CV matter?

  6. This web site should stick to publishing articles about the climate, and stop publishing articles on medicine, specifically vitamins and hydrochloroquine.

    • Henry Why do you think you are the door keeper. Start your own blog then you can door keep all you want.

    • Nope. Not gonna happen.
      You don’t have to read the Wuhan virus stuff, if it is likely to trigger you.
      Embrace diversity….

    • HP,

      Would you be so kind as to give us a complete and detailed list of the things you don’t like about this site as you spend a lot of time on it and comment often. If we know exactly what triggers you we can try to make you happy! I look forward to your reply.

    • This is Anthony’s blog. He ultimately decides what does and does not go in.
      So, for example, he allows Henry Pool to comment on the dangers of lying face down on pavement even though it has nothing to do with climate change.
      But then, the website is open to lots of other topics anyway – from the “About” page:
      About Watts Up With That? News and commentary on puzzling things in life, nature, science, weather, climate change, technology, and recent news by Anthony Watts”

    • @Henry Pool: Go build your own site that no one will follow. This is a science blog site and you’re way out of line.

    • Why are you reading this post if you’re not interested in the the SARS-2 virus or Covid-19? Who is forcing you to read this?

  7. One of reasons vitamin C works is because it’s an electron donor. Flood the system with electron donors to take out free radicals and ROS.

    Orally, higher serum levels are possible with liposomal vit C than with ascorbate, and I have read that using it and ascorbate together is additive, and produces higher serum levels than either alone.

    • Thus if the lung damage is indeed caused by a product of hemoglobin breaking down, Vitamin C is likely to stave it off some more? Makes sense.

  8. Plus one can also be prophylactically woke by taking moderate, or not, quinine daily. Of course how you doctor your Tonic is up to you.

  9. Your tissues saturate at an equivalent of about 110 mg. per day intake of vitamin C, which can be provided by a healthy diet of fruits. But if you don’t eat a healthy diet, a vitamin pill a day is going to be fine. The evidence that mega-doses “work” is generally countered by studies that show it didn’t work compared to a control group given a placebo, and it has been studied many times since Pauling’s book in 1970. Average of many studies show megadoses reduce the duration of a common cold by 10 hours. Big deal, that could be stop-watch error. /s.

  10. Personal experience suggests caution. I had been taking a gram of C a day for a year or more and suddenly experienced any fruit high in C tasted bad. I stopped all C supplement and limited fruit (it all tasted bad anyway). In about 6 months my taste gradually returned to normal and an orange a day now tastes great.

  11. For an article that claims not to be medical advice it provides extremely detailed
    advice on how much vitamin C to take and when. But with zero indications about how
    such numbers were calculated. How does one know for example that the correct amount is “1000 mg 3-4x on first day of symptoms” and not say 200mg or 2000 mg?

    COVID-19 is a new disease and there has not been time to properly test whether or not
    any proposed treatments work. Reading something on a preprint server and then turning it into medical advice is dangerous and could lead to unnecessary deaths.

    • Ah, at least you are different – most trolls read only the first sentence of an article and then attack the author. You apparently skip the first sentence and just read the rest of the article.

      • LEO states several times that the article is not medical advice but it is seems to be clearly intended as such. Otherwise why state explicitly what doses people should take and mention the weight (70kg) and that the dosage should be changed appropiately if dealing with patients of differing weights.

        • Lawyers expect mega bucks because of their degree/profession. They cause acute economic pain.

    • I’m using C as profilaction many years. Point is to have highest possible levels of C during onset of symptoms. This is somewhere around 20g of C daily, for 100kg. To be on safe side author is mentioning 6g for 80kg. Usually with flu you don’t need to take longer than 2 days. Flu disappears.

  12. “Physiological stress is not the same as psychological stress. I do not know whether lockdowns and forced social isolation cause physiological stress.”

    Stress is stress. See Wiki on Stress Biology. In this area you can trust them. As far as social isolation goes, we spend a great deal of effort to reduce it in the ‘vulnerable’. The reason is that it improves health. With this lockdown, all sources of social contact, from bingo to chatting at the local store, have been removed from a rather elderly community. This is bad for both physical and psychological health. However, having spent a great deal of effort on scaring them, it is necessary to now spend the effort on reassuring them.

  13. There are experts who say that glucose competes with vitamin C for transport in the blood.
    High carbohydrate intake and high blood glucose drive out the vitamin C. Orange juice is self defeating.
    That may be part of why diabetics are most at risk.

  14. From our medical pseudo-experts that appear daily on TV, we have heard NOTHING about prevention. All we have heard is “distancing” and on again off again with facial masks.
    I do not even waste time paying attention to them.
    One columnist in Canada has even suggested that Dr. Tam be fired.

  15. After reading Linus Pauling, at the first onset of a cold symptom I begin 1 gm per hour and continue it for at least 18 hours. Never had a cold doing this in 20 years. The one time I did catch a cold was the symptoms started right before a 16 hour flight. I had a full blown cold by the time I landed, as bad as any I’ve ever had. I bought the fizzy Vit C at the airport and 36 hours later the cold was over. Now I take 12 grams a day with no side effects that I am aware of.

    • I think I got CiVid a few werks ago. My personal starting dose vitamin c was ca 40 grams the first day and after that going down to 10grams. No symtoms of any side effects.
      I also added 100 ug vitamin d and two small bottles of tonic water morning/evening (est 80 mg Chinine) plus 30 mg Zink.
      The symptoms disappeared after one day but came back lightly two days later. Total duration roughly a week. Notice: I didn’t see any use of going to a test.

        • “Subjective” anecdotes never convince the scientist with prior presuppositions. The problem is that no proper consideration or proper trial has been given to Linus Pauling’s central thesis. Instead for the last fifty years “media doctors” have flooded newspapers and TV with lies and half truths about Vit C.
          e.g. 1) It produces the most expensive pee around. (Not true, Vit C actually costs pennies, whereas one beer in England costs Pounds.
          2) It causes diarrhea. (But by no means in all cases, and others might call it a laxative.)
          3) there are no known measurable effects : but all research has acknowledged it shortens a cold ( even when not taking Linus Pauling’s suggested dosage of 6 grams followed by regular intakes hourly of 1 gram ). If you have two days less of a cold, how is that not a measurable effect in killing a cold?

          Now for my anecdotes: my first forty years of life consisted in regular colds usually followed by other infections of the chest etc. Since reading Linus Pauling’s books 29 years ago, I have adopted his procedures and discovered that indeed it kills the cold symptoms within six hours. Though I have also noted his method warns that the lower doses must follow the high dose of 6 grams regularly, or the virus makes an energetic come-back.

          I also have a single more vivid personal example of a mega dose being taken (12 grams followed by another 18 grams over a 24 hour period followed by 10 grams a day) . Two months ago, following three days of a mild fever (101F) and then the sudden onset of streaming cold symptoms, followed by a fever of 104 degrees over a 24 hour period. (I actually took detailed temperature charts during a 36 hour period as I had very disturbed sleep) These high doses killed whatever it was. (This happened two months ago) Being British, no COVID test was taken as only those with severe enough symptoms to hospitalise them were allowed them then. (Now of course the government has finally made COVID tests more available). However, the government have just banned privately marketed antibodies tests (the Abbott tests) which I had only just purchased to verify whether my little health episode was indeed Covid. As the private company no longer is able to process my results, my anecdote remains an unproven suspicion. I will only discover whether I can add this Vitamin C anecdote to the Covid 19 anecdote reservoir when and if the government actually makes antibodies testing available to a 69 year old like me.

  16. Personal experience:
    I’ve taken 4,000, 8,000, even 12,000 milligrams in a day at the onset of a cold and sweated the cold out overnight every time. Problem is that it is an acid and hard on the stomach over time. Even sustained release or Ester-C is difficult today but that was after 30 or 40 years of taking regular vitamin C every day, various amounts. Yes, the urine changes color at higher dosages.

    • Ascorbate doesn’t have the same issue. You can also grind up ascorbic acid tabs and mix it with baking soda. The former is much less hassle.

    • When your urine changes to yellow/orange, you are just pissing away the extra C you have taken. You would be better off just flushing the extra C tabs down the toilet.

      • The body takes what it needs and discards the rest. Better to have the tank full at all times, and know it, than be low when some stressor hits. That’s when symptoms start. And then your piss will turn pale because your body is using more than you’re giving it.

      • Twenty years ago in a respectable British medical journal (a NHS General Practitioners research journal), I read that vitamin C works in the blood not as a “vitamin” but as its chemical name, ascorbic acid indicates as an acid. Briefly, the white blood corpuscles fight against the invading virus but in doing so produce their own waste products in the blood… Eventually the leucocytes own waste products overwhelm the leucocytes themselves and they become ineffective at fighting the virus. Ascorbic acid “burns off” the waste products thus allowing the white corpuscles to do their job of fighting the invading virus.
        I do not know whether this research has been superseded/ disproved as I have seen no reference to it subsequently.

  17. p.s. to my other comment. I think I went 30 years without the cold or flu at all. Younger, with C.
    Younger still. Never missed a day of school. Parents were pretty good about supplements and square meals. It helps your grades. 🙂

    • NAC is good stuff. It’s one of the 3 building blocks of glutathione, which is a hugely important antioxidant, especially in the lungs. It also potentiates interferon production, which is the body’s first defense against viruses.

  18. Don’t forget Vitamin B12 also very important for you immune system.

    The whole point is that it only requires a simple blood tests to tell whether someone is deficient in any of them so they know they need a boost.

  19. Vitamin D has also been recommended to protect against the virus. As people with darker skins do not make enough of it due to living in countries which do not have much sunshine. All dark skinned people should take Vitamin D3 as it is vital for our immune systems and so protects against such viruses.

  20. Malnutrition is always bad. One efficient way to fight malnutrition on a population-wide scale is a public health care system with preventive checkups on a regular basis. No doctor no adjustment with supplements in case of malnutrition.

    But just taking vitamins will not very significantly reduce the death toll on COVID-19 alone. Just not gonna happen. Too many other factors involved of which some might be very likely inherited and not underlying live choices.

  21. …Vitamin D3 as it is vital for our immune systems and so protects against such viruses

    People claim that now all the time but haven’t not looked at the detailed function. The role of vitamin D in the immune system is to repress the immune response and it is therefore very important in the context of autoimmune diseases.

    Fighting viruses… not that much.

  22. Vitamin C does a lot of good things but the jury is out on any extra benefit for viral disease other than it is good to have a healthy body. We get more than enough with a healthy diet and anything extra is wasted hope against the past trials which showed no extra benefits.
    Zinc and Chloroquine at least have a postulated mechanism and some more than anecdotal results.

    When people use excuses like
    “This may mean that more studies with negative results have been systematically included for
    analysis, thereby contributing to the lack of significant positive effect for all but one primary outcome”
    in a review of a Cochrane study essentially showing no real benefit.
    Translation “if you exclude the negative studies you may have a positive effect” it leaves
    a slightly unsatisfactory scientific feeling.

    Look if you like vitamins, take vitamins, but trying to attach benefits without either proof
    or a mechanism is medically not on.
    The idea is well presented, the arguments have a circular consistency but the fact is that this
    article really needed the caveats of alternative medicine and opinion only that were
    attached by the author.

  23. For 2020 the USA has an “excess death” rate about 5.5% (50,331) higher than the previous 4 year average for weeks 1 to 16. As a comparison I checked the first 16 weeks of 2018 compared to the previous 4 year average and it was 7.2% (63,260). I’ll update as more data becomes available on the CDC web site.

    The script and all related files are here if you want to kick the tires:
    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/fh9x5fngmfbeiiu/AAAH-OtOMqiY_R9qqG6YccCRa?dl=0

    Recently Yoram Lass (formerly director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Health) gave an interview and said “total deaths” was the only way to look at it.

    https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/05/22/nothing-can-justify-this-destruction-of-peoples-lives/

    “Mortality due to coronavirus is a fake number. Most people are not dying from coronavirus. Those recording deaths simply change the label.”

    “The only real number is the total number of deaths – all causes of death, not just coronavirus.”

    • TRM-

      I agree with you that total deaths is probably a better way to determine the effect of COVID-19. However I don’t understand what you are trying to say in the first paragraph of your comment. I tried to go to the CDC website to look at the data myself, but like all government websites I’ve looked at, it was maddingly hard to find the data you seemed to be using.

      Would it be possible for you to provide a link to the CDC data you are using, so that data junkies like myself could have a look at it. It might get some discussion going.

  24. Thank you Leo Goldstein and Anthony for this article. Excellent review and excellent reminder that all things government, Facebook, Google, etc., try to prevent us from thinking for ourselves given the evidence – collected according to the scientific method.

    You had a critic above about the topic. I like: About Watts Up With That? News and commentary on puzzling things in life, nature, science, weather, climate change, technology, and recent news by Anthony Watts

    My dr refused a prescription for HCQ; “not tested” “no scientific evidence.” So I am doing my best in preparation for a trip. I like the EVMS recommendations. Thanks for adding to my knowledge on Vit C with all the research articles.

  25. This is criminal misinformation.

    Zinc, Vitamin D, K and Folic Acid are what alleviate a large proportion of the symptoms.

    Taking C just puts stress on your kidneys.

    • If what you write is criminal disinformation then why write it /sark.
      A goat of 80 kg produces ca. 15g of vitmin C from sugar per day. What is the exact reason why a goat needs large amounts of vitamin C while the same amount taken by a human is dangerous.

      I have taken ca. 10 g per day for several years without any side effects. The criminal offence of doctors is to tell the public that the minimum amount required to avoid scurvy is what we need. We need much more than the 70 mg of the RDA. How much 5g, 10g or 18g ( Linus Pauling) is an open question but probably we need at least ca. 50 times the RDA every day.

      The comment else where that all surplus vitamin C is pissed out is roughly as intelligent as telling a patient that he/she drinks too much water because urine is produced.

      Vitamin C is extremely inexpensive so who cares?

  26. An interesting post about Vitamin C turned up at comp.risks. V31no91
    https://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/31/91

    It is far too long to post here. It is a paper on the use of Vitamin C published in August 1949. It discusses dosage and the differences in deliverable types of C. Note that the doses are HIGH for curative use. Starting dose is 1000mg multiple times per day. 1000 mg *of C* is 20,000 IU of C. (An IU of D is much smaller: look it up.)
    Dr. Klenner used C against a range of viral diseases and it worked!
    It appears that high blood levels of D are prophylactic. (Search ‘Indonesia Vitamin D at ssrn.com for a recent and scary paper). C is apparently both prophylactic and curative.
    I am not a doctor, not even on TV, and did not stay in a hotel last night so this advice is worth what you have paid fot it

  27. Back in 1985 I was training at HMS Vernon to be a RN Clearance Diver, during the winter (84/85) there was a high prevelence of a nasty cold/flu bug going round. As most of the other non-diver ratings on the base succumbed to the virus, and the sickbay filled up, questiones started to be asked why non of the Diver ratings were infected.

    Any respiratory virus has serious implications for Divers who mite lose their Special Service Pay if they couldn’t dive due to ‘ears’ (Blocked eustation tube due to excess.mucus) so the task had been put to a group of Diving Dr’s to find the best preventative they could from the literature.

    The recomended solution was to take a high dose of Vit C (8-10g) along with the regular daily recomended dose of Zinc. Enterprizing chaps within the branch requisitioned as much ‘harry limers’ (Powdered lime juice) as possible, we had urns of the stuff all over the diving section, and more at Horsea Island (a satelite base where opperational training took place). Nobody within the beanch lost any Special Service Pay.

    To this day I have a stock of Vit C and Zinc in my medicine cabinet, if I come into contact with anyone with cold/flu symptoms I start chucking down the Vit C and regular dose of Zinc. I’ve only had a cold once since 1985, I was on holliday with no supply of vitamins!

    your Aye, Lurker AB (D) V.D. Scar & Bar

    • Eustachian tube.

      As an undergrad, I participated in Pauling’s attempt at controlled experiments with different dosages. Students make good lab rats. My dose was five grams per day. I caught a cold but got over it quickly.

      • 5gms of what?

        Assume vit C. Make sure to be up on your vit D.

        We’ve learned SO MUCH since the WuFlu that will save lives.
        Taking EGCG green tea, quercetin, small amounts of Zn (10 to 15mg) will make it very hard for any RNA viruses to take hold.

        Vit D is essential esp in winter. I recommend at least 4000 IU. I take 6000IU plus.

        Direct sunlight reduces skin cancer

        Indirect sunlight is not healthy, since the UVB (smaller wavelength) is filtered out, which lets UVA pre-dominate and UVA goes deep, does not tan, and disrupts the DNA. UVA goes through glass and so if you do not get UVB which creates Vit D and brings out melanin which is protective, the UVA is more damaging!!

        Sunscreen is a false safety mechanism. It stops burns, stops UVB (the good stuff) and allows UVA to do its damage deep down.

  28. Good informative post. Vitamin C is very important, as is everything else. I try and eat a couple of oranges a day, just for the fibre, and to try and get a natural input of Vitamin C.

    My Dr. and nutritionist says it is best to obtain all vitamins and nutrients through a good well balanced diet if possible, so should be priority #1, although when known you are or will be in deficit, then supplemental concentrated dosing is the next preferred method.

    Eating a healthy diet is much more than just getting the correct dosage, since it is all about being able to absorb and retain these vitamins and nutrients with the right concentrations of everything else, i.e. fibre, protein, carbs etc since the liver and digestive tract control how such is integrated into proper bodily retention and function. My GP says it is everything else going on at once correctly that assists in having a healthy immune system, such as healthy diet, exercise/sunlight, personal, family and social life, stress and financial factors, just to name some of the more important ones. Mental health also being a top contender to keeping ones body functioning properly, which also requires a healthy balance of all of the above.

    While taking quality supplements may certainly assist assuming they are properly manufactured to begin with, (some vitamin/nutrient manufacturers have been found to be deficient-Made in China crap) this should be a back up plan, and on occasion when getting sick, the time to take supplements to fill in temporally after having tried firstly to having a proper balanced diet and life so that one is already healthy and ones immune system is in tip top shape from the get go. I suppose this is a wholistic point of view, but one that is hard to argue with. But life is hardly or rarely perfect, especially in the depths of winter, or on a lock down pandemic with everything going wrong at once and everyone depressed with the global state of affairs. When all this is very hard to achieve, then is a time to supplement additional vitamins and nutrients to hopefully keep the tank full since staying in perfect shape with everything always firing on all cylinders seems to be a near impossibility for most of us.

    • Your point is well taken, I think. Something I started doing a couple of years ago is consuming 2 to 3 different juiced veggy and fruit powders, with about 50 plus different foods.

  29. The paragraph “Vitamin C Role in the Immune System” unmistakbly implies that Vit C will create more asymptomatic carriers. I’m not sure this is a desirable message.

    “It is not expected . . . to approach the effectiveness of HCQ + Zn prophylaxis.” So HCQ skeptics should expect nothing from Vit C either? This seems like an unnecessary remark.

  30. Thanks for bringing attention to this. I suggest that people who are serious about optimizing their resistance to infections also (in addition to nutrients like C, Zinc etc.) also study the immune-function aspects of hormones (e.g. estrogen melatonin), thymus gland products, heat-shock proteins, digestive health, and activity, at a minimum. Severely at-risk people may also want to investigate Ozone-therapy. There also many compounds that are likely to be beneficial such as quercetin and lithium.

  31. Just tried to share this story on Facebook and they pulled it and banned me from posting for 24 hours. They later pulled back on their “banning” threat in case my posting was a “mistake”

  32. This is a definitely not fake news or some crank e-mail.
    It is a report from a highly qualified doctor Dr Jackie Stone MBChB (cum laude) (UCT), BSc (Med) Hons, (Medical Biochemistry) (UCT)MRCP (UK), D Av Med (UK), FRACGP (Aus), FACAsM (Aus)31st March 2020

    She has had great success with over 50 patients who were suffering from the Corona Virus.
    She is in Zimbabwe where there is little in the way of drugs etc..

    Regards,

    Dennis Hoines

    Attached, fifty recent Covid-19 patients nebulising with silver (Ag+) particles; ALL responded exceptionally well with Ionic Colloidal Silver.

    Dr Jackie Stone, nebulising Covid-19 patients: you can watch her recent 70-min talk on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byxluN5uplc

  33. Sadly, the history of Vit C and the medical profession is full of examples of solid scientific research being ignored, misrepresented, or simply misapplied. One poster above referenced goats and their internal C production. Adult gorillas which, like Homo sapiens don’t synthesize C, consume enough dark green leaves to cover their required 12 to 15 gm of C per day. Much research on the vitamin requirements of primates was done during the 50s and 60s at University of Texas. The head of the Chemistry dept Dr Roger Williams did incredible work with his team. Read the document written by colleagues of the ACS for an eye opening history of his research.

    Among other things, research on guinea pig twins showed that identical twins can vary 100:1 in the amount of C needed for the same blood level. Guinea pig twins are or were produced through mechanically stimulating a fertilized egg causing it to bifurcate.

    • The vitamin C genes of tarsiers, monkeys and apes are broken. Lemurs and lorises retain intact genes.

      Guinea pig and capybara (South American rodents) genes are broken in a different way, and those of some bats in yet another.

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