All over the world vitamin C is known as a health saviour, in fact we spend more than £880 million on vitamin C supplements globally. Now doctors in China are looking into it's effectiveness against coronavirus.
Vitamin C helps us fight infections
It is accepted that vitamin C is part of the body's immune response - it helps by aiding in the production of white blood cells that fight disease. There is a commonly held misconception that vitamin C prevents the onset of colds and flu but doses of over a 1000mg will shorten the duration of a cold by 8%. So in other words, vitamin C won't decrease the frequency at which you come down with the sniffles but it certainly does help the body fight them off.
Healthy adults are recommended by the NHS to consume 40mg of vitamin C on a daily basis - this can be consumed very easily in the foods we eat, a medium sized orange for example contains nearly double that quota at 70mg.
While vitamin C has many well known health benefits, scientists are now looking at it to treat other conditions such as memory less, sepsis, metabolic issues and most recently coronavirus.
A study is currently underway in China that is looking to see if high does of vitamin C can help fight off COVID-19. Scientists at the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University are analysing its effects on 120 patients who have positively tested for the virus. The dosage consists of 24g daily for 7 days, however the results are yet to be published.
Scientists are hopeful that vitamin C could be the answer
The dosage used in this study is massively more than the NHS recommend, 60 times higher in fact and 24 times higher than that trialled against colds in reviews by Cochrane.
Scientists appear hopeful at the prospect of the vitamin being the answer to what looks set to become a pandemic.
Dr Mike Skinner, a virologist at Imperial College London, says we won’t know vitamin C’s value against coronavirus for some time, and says the dose being tested is ‘massive’. ‘They’re doing the trial,’ says Dr Skinner ‘Let’s see if it has any benefit.’
The NHS warns that taking extremely large amounts (more than 10g per day) of vitamin C can cause stomach pain, diarrhoea and flatulence. There is no known toxicity level however, as the body simply excretes what it can't use due to its water solubility.