According to Northwell Health spokesperson, large doses of vitamin C, among other meds, are being given to patients in the ICU at some hospitals in New York who have the coronavirus.
The vitamin is given intravenously in quantities far over the RDA which is 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women, according to the NIH.
Peter McCaffery, professor of Biochemistry at the Aberdeen University in the UK explains that fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A and D can be toxic when taken in large doses; however, vitamin C is reasonably safe because it’s easily expelled from the body.
And, intravenous vitamin C is relatively safe when it’s applied by a clinician.
But, Taking Vitamin C in Large Doses Can’t Protect You from COVID-19
McCaffery hopes that this or any other new ideas may be of aid.
However, he emphasizes that taking big doses of this vitamin is unlikely to protect us from the virus, unless you’re deficient in this vitamin, which is usually very rare in a normal diet.
And, there’s not enough solid clinical data to back up the benefits of the intravenous vitamin C as a therapy or prevention for COVID-19.
According to Mayo Clinic, some amount of vitamin C is necessary to perform bodily functions, from the formations of blood vessels and other tissue to the iron absorption.
But, in bigger doses, this antioxidant can potentially lead to side effects like diarrhea, abdominal ache, and nausea.
The Role of Vitamin C in the Body’s Healing Processes
However, important in this case, this vitamin has a role in the body’s healing processes.
It can keep us safe from free radicals present in cigarette smoke, air pollution, and fried foods. They’ve been linked with chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and cancer.
McCaffery notes that even if intravenous vitamin C shortens or cures the disease, it will only be a stop-gap before the therapy goes to vaccines and they take over.
Andrew Weber, a pulmonologist and critical-care specialist associated with the two Northwell Health facilities in Long Island notes that the patients he treats in the ICU from the coronavirus are given 1500mg of intravenous vitamin C.
Weber further explains that this dosage is given three to four times on a daily basis.
Weber emphasizes that this regimen of treatment is based on experimental therapies given to people with the virus in Shanghai, China.
There, it was concluded that the patients who were given vitamin C felt much better than those who didn’t take it.
Weber points out that the levels of vitamin C in coronavirus patients reduce significantly when they have sepsis, an inflammation which happens when a body begins to overreact to an infection.
So, for him, it makes sense to keep the vitamin C levels up.
The randomized study which began on February 14th in the Zhongnan Hospital in Wuhan, China has 140 participants and it’s expected to be finished by the 30th of September, 2020.