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COVID-19 and Vitamin C

As COVID-19 becomes more part of our daily routine, many people struggle with frustration around what can be done to minimise infection.

3 weeks ago, we addressed the market, and atop of the preventative strategies was hygiene.

As simple as this sounds, a strong repeatable hygiene discipline is critical in one’s overall preventative strategies.

With no COVID-19 cure available, one typically finds themselves looking for alternatives, to which social media has been agas with potential remedies and cures from complete nonsensical to others with some proven or evidentiary support for strengthening one’s immune system. Something we touched on in the aforementioned address to market was Vitamin C.

Our own TGA recognises via allowable claims that Vitamin C as an important nutrient for healthy/normal immune function. Notwithstanding, one of our Vitamin C products has allowable claims* inclusive of:

  • May assist in the management of upper respiratory tract infections. [Warnings S and COLD required]
  • For the symptomatic relief of recurrent upper respiratory tract infections. [Warnings S and COLD required]
  • Treatment of symptoms of mild infections of upper respiratory tract. [Warnings S and COLD required]
  • For the symptomatic relief of upper respiratory tract infections. [Warnings S and COLD required]
  • Relief of symptoms of mild upper respiratory infections. [Warnings S and COLD required].

*As extracted from the ARTG Public Summary for Medlab’s Manuka-C.

Certainly, there are a multitude of variations when it comes to Vitamin C, from flavours, to dosage forms and concentrations.

For cold and flu minimisation the evidence suggests about 6 gms (orally) over the course of the day, delivered by smaller repeated/frequent doses.  Bolus dosing of oral Vitamin C potentiates what is called a Vitamin C flush, which is a more so polite term for exceeding bowel tolerance; and medically speaking, this is not something you actively wish to promote.

Beyond this, bolus dosing of Vitamin C has been known to cause gastrointestinal issues and liver and kidney function issues – thus is always best to offer advice to potential patient’s prior administration. 

Last and most notable are the issues of absorption, most people either are unaware or have forgotten that the human body tightly regulates tissue and plasma concentration of oral Vitamin C. The US National Institute of Health (NIH) quote that approximately 70-80% of oral Vitamin C is absorbed at moderate intakes of 30 – 180mg/day, dosage beyond this decrease’s absorption percentage significantly, with excessive Vitamin C excreted in urine. Notably, oral Vitamin C has a plateau of about 250mg per dose.

Whilst Vitamin C is by no means a cure to COVID-19, there is an argument for regular dosing throughout the day to feed one’s immune system as a preventative measure. But know, any preventative measure must be taken alongside health advice from the State and Federal Health Ministries. If patients are symptomatic, they should get tested.

In the meantime, the best we can do is support one another, share our science and help steward patients to correct, pragmatic choices  - we have the ability to use our knowledge to help reduce the fear and frustration in the local community.

Prepared by Members of the MEDLAB Medical Team.

If you would like any more information regarding the contents of this article or have any questions you can head to our Virtual Clinic to book a free 20 minute consultation with one of our experienced Naturopaths.

 

References:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/cold-and-flu/can-vitamin-c-prevent-a-cold

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10543583

https://www.livescience.com/coronavirus-vitamin-c-myth.html

https://www.cochranelibrary.com/es/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD013292/full/es

https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/vitamin-c-for-common-cold#1

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/does-vitamin-c-help-with-colds

https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=228745

https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=228745

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/vitamin-c/faq-20058030

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/side-effects-of-too-much-vitamin-c

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326249

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/whats-the-right-amount-of-vitamin-c-for-me

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0306987781901262

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7321921

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/vitamin-c-flush

https://www.ebs.tga.gov.au/servlet/xmlmillr6?dbid=ebs/PublicHTML/pdfStore.nsf&docid=274057&agid=(PrintDetailsPublic)&actionid=1

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/

 

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