Why vitamin C won't 'boost' your immune system against the coronavirus

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Mar 10, 2020
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1) According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, if you are consuming vitamin C orally, whether in food or in supplements, you see 100% absorbtion of the nutrient at doses up to 200mg. Once your dosing exceeds 500 mg, you see fractionally less absorbtion of any vitamin C you consume past that point. Once vitamin C concentrations in your blood plasma reach max capacity, additional vitamin C is largely excreted in the urine.
True, but these studies were done in healthy young volunteers. The LPI recommendations, for example, are to maintain health - not treat disease (how do I know this? I helped write them!). We don't know what happens in people who are sick. While not the most reliable source, Robert Cathcart did show a very unusual phenomenon of increased bowel tolerance for vitamin C during illness. To my knowledge, this has never been adequately followed up in clinical trials.

2) IV administration of vitamin C bypasses this restriction and allows higher doses of the nutrient to be sustained in the blood. Historically, researchers have proposed that vitamin C supplementation, in general, could be used to treat pneumonia because the condition is a common complication of scurvy, which results from vitamin C deficiency. Since then there have been anecdotal accounts, case studies, and preliminary clincal trials attempting to use IV vitamin C to treat pneumonia, with mixed or ineffective results (see here). In other cases, when vitamin C appeared to help somewhat, I've seen that the treatment is sometimes combined with other interventions, so it's difficult to discern the effect of vitamin C in isolation (see here).
Because intravenous vitamin C does allow for high amounts of the vitamin to enter the blood, it can have different effects than high supplemental doses. Intravenous vitamin C - for example - it thoughts to act as a pro-oxidant in cancer patients.

As for supplemental doses of vitamin C in pneumonia, Harri Hemilä did a review of that topic back in 2013.

3) In the context of this study, shared by @vedhogger, the IV vitamin C they're describing as "high-dose" is only a 50-200mg dose, which seems in line with standard vitamin C supplementation. In addition, they are recommending that course of treatment when treating patients with mild or no symptoms (assuming my Chinese to English translator is accurate). In other words, in this context, it seems as though the treatment team is ensuring that patients receive enough vitamin C to maintain normal immune function.
This link is recommending "vitamin C is administered at a dose of 50 to 100 mg/kg per day" for light cases and up to "100 to 200 mg/kg daily" for those experiencing a cytokine storm. If we assume that that average male weights 70-75 kg, that's talking about doses up to 15 grams per day.

However, on this point I do agree with you: a recommendation by a medical association does not mean the treatment is working. YouTube videos do not count as evidence, nor do "press releases" by the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service
 
Mar 10, 2020
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If SARS is also from the coronavirus family and more virulent than COVID19, it stands to reason that a therapeutic dose of vitamin c would also have some effectiveness against viral pneumonia stemming from COVID19.
Did you read this paper? The only evidence cited is in cultured chicken cells. Not enough to make a recommendation other than "Do this trial in a human being"
 
Mar 16, 2020
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Did you read this paper? The only evidence cited is in cultured chicken cells. Not enough to make a recommendation other than "Do this trial in a human being"

Did you?
There are a myriad of other human studies too (which others here have pointed out, so I'm not going to repeat them).


'There is also evidence indicating that vitamin C may affect pneumonia.3 In particular, three controlled trials with human subjects reported a significantly lower incidence of pneumonia in vitamin C-supplemented groups,6 suggesting that vitamin C may affect susceptibility to lower respiratory tract infections under certain conditions. The possibility that vitamin C affects severe viral respiratory tract infections would seem to warrant further study, especially in light of the recent SARS epidemic'
 
Mar 10, 2020
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I did indeed. And nowhere in that small letter (not a clinical trial) did Dr. Hemila suggest that vitamin C does kill coronavirus or suggest how it should be used.

He did say, however, that "it warrants further study" and I completely agree. I want more clinical trials more than anything!
 
Mar 16, 2020
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I did indeed. And nowhere in that small letter (not a clinical trial) did Dr. Hemila suggest that vitamin C does kill coronavirus or suggest how it should be used.

He did say, however, that "it warrants further study" and I completely agree. I want more clinical trials more than anything!

The trials suggest that vitamin c may be effective at mitigating the more severe effects of lower respiratory infections such as viral pneumonia.

Here was my original claim:
'it stands to reason that a therapeutic dose of vitamin c would also have some effectiveness against viral pneumonia stemming from COVID19.'

If the claim here is that vitamin c is useless, then debunk the studies that strongly suggest that it is not.
That's all you need do (if you can).
 
Mar 16, 2020
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'He did say, however, that "it warrants further study" and I completely agree. I want more clinical trials more than anything!'

Come now.
Vitamin c cannot be patented, therefore there will never be large amounts of money poured into any large studies in this area.

But you're right. It does warrant further study, hence, it's important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater and simply assume that 'vitamin c can't/won't boost ones immunity against the corona virus'.
There's more evidence suggesting that it can than it can't but of course (like you say), more studies would be desirable.
 

SHaines

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Nov 12, 2019
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Howdy folks,

Please keep in mind that arguing with other folks on the Internet rarely comes to an amicable end, so we ask that we all consider what is being discussed in the original post.

Vitamin C is not harmful when taken. There's no question that it's a vitally important part of living as a healthy human. If you take vitamin C supplements, we're not trying to stop you.

However, there is currently no thoroughly vetted clinical testing to say that vitamin C alone will stop anyone from getting, spreading, or growing ill from the coronavirus.

To take it in the doses required for the kind of extra added protection people hope for, they need to get it intravenously. This means that most people looking to pursue this option would need to have it administered by a medical professional in a hospital or doctor's office, which is not an ideal situation during a pandemic where social distancing is needed to slow the spread.

Vitamin C is great, it's necessary, and it's even beneficial for living our daily lives, but we won't consider it a treatment until we have much more than the currently available supporting evidence.
 
Mar 16, 2020
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Howdy folks,

Please keep in mind that arguing with other folks on the Internet rarely comes to an amicable end, so we ask that we all consider what is being discussed in the original post.

Vitamin C is not harmful when taken. There's no question that it's a vitally important part of living as a healthy human. If you take vitamin C supplements, we're not trying to stop you.

However, there is currently no thoroughly vetted clinical testing to say that vitamin C alone will stop anyone from getting, spreading, or growing ill from the coronavirus.

To take it in the doses required for the kind of extra added protection people hope for, they need to get it intravenously. This means that most people looking to pursue this option would need to have it administered by a medical professional in a hospital or doctor's office, which is not an ideal situation during a pandemic where social distancing is needed to slow the spread.

Vitamin C is great, it's necessary, and it's even beneficial for living our daily lives, but we won't consider it a treatment until we have much more than the currently available supporting evidence.

We weren't arguing. We were debating the topic in a civilised way (as adults do) and we basically arrived at the same conclusion.

I don't agree that intravenous injection is the only method.
Personally I have found that taking very small doses often mitigates any unwanted side effects of an upset stomach and I have warded off many viruses this way.
I'm not advocating this or suggesting it- it's simply my own experience.

All I'm suggesting is that others do their own research and be proactive about their own health choices.
 

SHaines

Administrator
Staff member
Nov 12, 2019
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But you're right. It does warrant further study, hence, it's important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater and simply assume that 'vitamin c can't/won't boost ones immunity against the corona virus'.
There's more evidence suggesting that it can than it can't but of course (like you say), more studies would be desirable.
That's a fair point. When so much misinformation is out there it becomes important to make sure that existing evidence is given proper weight, because conspiracy theorists live between the lines.

Our post is discussing the topic in that context. People read things from friends on Facebook and think they've stumbled upon secret knowledge. Vitamin C may eventually prove to be incredibly helpful, but we're waiting for the clinical trials to show that before we ask people to try it for themselves. If those studies show the benefits very clearly, we'll revisit the topic in the original article.

Medicine is evolving quickly, so we can never fully predict where things are heading in the years ahead. We just ask that people not jump to conclusions too early and let the science guide the treatment.
 
Mar 16, 2020
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Medicine is evolving quickly, so we can never fully predict where things are heading in the years ahead. We just ask that people not jump to conclusions too early and let the science guide the treatment.

In light of the fact that few other options appear to be available, there certainly seems to be very little risk of harm.

As to conspiracy theories, it is no 'theory' that little money will ever be poured into any sizeable studies on vitamin c. Which drug company would fund such a study when none could patent it?

It's also no theory that pandemics keep the CDC, WHO etc in business, so it's not conspiracy to suggest that they're unlikely to fund such a study either.

But we do have studies..albeit limited in number.
And in the absence of evidence to debunk them, I ask, what is the harm in doing one's own research and being proactive about our own health choices?
To even loosely suggest that vitamin C won't/is incapable of boosting one's immunity is completely misleading.
 
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Mar 10, 2020
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That's a fair point. When so much misinformation is out there it becomes important to make sure that existing evidence is given proper weight, because conspiracy theorists live between the lines.
I am a vitamin C researcher. I know the science well, enough to say that there's much out there we don't understand. I will agree with anyone who says we need more study, but disagree with anyone who knows how it works for everyone.

I will gladly agree with EternalFlame79 on personal health (and lack of funding). Will vitamin C help you? I don't know - try it out. We all need to balance risk vs. reward. But understand that making definite statements for everyone is not within the power of the science at the moment.

Those that tell you differently are likely selling something.
 
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SHaines

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Nov 12, 2019
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I am a vitamin C researcher. I know the science well, enough to say that there's much out there we don't understand. I will agree with anyone who says we need more study, but disagree with anyone who knows how it works for everyone.

I will gladly agree with EternalFlame79 on personal health (and lack of funding). Will vitamin C help you? I don't know - try it out. We all need to balance risk vs. reward. But understand that making definite statements for everyone is not within the power of the science at the moment.

Those that tell you differently are likely selling something.
^ This is why I love forums so much. People can talk, share perspectives, potentially disagree, hash out differences, and find common ground. I appreciate all of you who hang out here to read, learn, educate others, and be generally awesome.

It's also no theory that pandemics keep the CDC, WHO etc in business, so it's not conspiracy to suggest that they're unlikely to fund such a study either.
Just to be extraordinarily clear, this is a textbook conspiracy theory. It's an accusation, made without evidence, against a group of doctors and scientists who've worked for decades to combat and treat illnesses around the world.

Now, if your claim is that vitamin C will literally cure every potential illness, then I could see making the leap to saying that studying vitamin C would hurt the money in medicine. My assumption is that you're not making that claim. So, if vitamin C just helps reduce symptoms of some illnesses, then these oganizations would substantially benefit from being the first one to prove as much.

They could then spend time and effort stopping the many, many, many illnesses that remain, all while preventing all the negative repercussions of our current global pandemic.
 
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Mar 10, 2020
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[Please see my longer comment below for an in-depth explanation. Additionally, please refer back to the original article if you want to read the studies I reference within the article itself. They are hyper-linked.]

This article does not suggest that vitamin C is "of no use." Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that supports the body's ability to combat invasive pathogens, in general, and this includes COVID-19. However, there is no evidence that taking vitamin C supplements - in any dose or form of administration - can completely prevent you from catching COVID-19.

In terms of treating COVID-19 with high-dose vitamin C, there is at least one ongoing clinical trial testing that application, which I cite in the article. But again, these are highly preliminary studies, and they are mostly based on the compiled research about vitamin C and the common cold. The commenters are correct in that some studies have explored the use of high-dose vitamin C for pneumonia, a possible complication of COVID-19, but the results have been mixed and the studies limited.

If you have particular studies in mind that you're referencing, feel free to link.
Thank you very much for the reply :) I will indeed go back to the original article and have a re read. Some of your responses have made me want to read more about this topic. Would also like to apologize if my comment seemed harsh, which seems to when I re-read it again. Again thanks for the reply and insights :)
 
Mar 14, 2020
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3) In the context of this study, shared by @vedhogger, the IV vitamin C they're describing as "high-dose" is only a 50-200mg dose, which seems in line with standard vitamin C supplementation. In addition, In addition, this treatment appears to be recommended only for people with mild symptoms (assuming my Chinese to English translator is accurate). In other words, in this context, it seems as though the treatment team is ensuring that patients receive enough vitamin C to maintain normal immune function.
In these 2 studies regarding using IVC Therapy to assist in treating 'septic shock' caused by pneumonia, which Alpha A. "Berry" Fowler, III, M.D. is lecturing on, by "high dose" they mean 200mg/kg (of body weight)/24hr period. So, if you weigh 150lbs, that's 68kg x 200mg = 13,600mg IN 24 HOURS, not 200mg/24h.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXs5Xzr6qCI

It doesn't seem that you comprehend the studies because you state this: "[What] they're describing as "high-dose" is only a 50-200mg dose, which seems in line with standard vitamin C supplementation."

That is NOT what any of the papers I have read or lectures I have watched mean by "high dose".

One thing that is noteworthy in Dr. Folwer's studies is that 'high dose' ORAL vitamin C does not increase the amount of Vitamin C in the blood as effectivly as IVC (plasma levels of ascorbic acid were only able to be elevated to high levels via IV).

Also worth a read is this paper VITAMIN C, TITRATING TO BOWEL TOLERANCE, ANASCORBEMIA, AND ACUTE INDUCED SCURVY by Robert F. Cathcart, III, M.D. hosted on-line here: http://www.doctoryourself.com/titration.html

In Dr. Cathcart's paper, "high dose" means between 15,000mg-200,000mg (15-200 grams) of Vitamin C per 24h period.


This paper is a Medical Hyphosis based on his treatments of "over 9000 patients", but you can find the Clinical Studies supporting it in the Refrence section of the paper.

What's more, if you notice on the main orthomolecular.org website, if you click "Contribute," the link will lead you to a website called the Riordan Clinic where you can buy supplements and lab tests of varying sorts. That in and of itself should raise your suspicions as to whether these articles are disseminating the best scientific information available, or are primarily aimed at trying to sell you something.
Great point about "people trying to sell you something". Seeing as how 1lb (454 grams) of crystal vitamin C is only around $20 and a single visit to the doctor is hundreds of dollars... I think that is EXACTLY why there is any bad press or smug dismissal of the use of Vitamin C as a preventative measure.

I am far more skeptical of any doctor stating that there are not proven benefits of supplemental Vitamin C.

"Vitamin C is extremely unlikely to help people fight off the new coronavirus."

That is a blatant lie.

Vitamin C is absolutely proven to HELP fight off infections... and it is highly likely it also helps prevent getting infections in the first place.

"It is well established that certain symptoms are associated with an almost total lack of vitamin C within the body. Symptoms of scurvy include lassitude, malaise, bleeding gums, loss of teeth, nosebleeds, bruising, hemorrhages in any part of the body, easy infections, poor healing of wounds, deterioration of joints, brittle and painful bones, and death, etc."

What is debatable is how helpful it can be and what doses are required for it to be helpful.

Howdy folks,

Please keep in mind that arguing with other folks on the Internet rarely comes to an amicable end, so we ask that we all consider what is being discussed in the original post.

Vitamin C is not harmful when taken. There's no question that it's a vitally important part of living as a healthy human. If you take vitamin C supplements, we're not trying to stop you.

However, there is currently no thoroughly vetted clinical testing to say that vitamin C alone will stop anyone from getting, spreading, or growing ill from the coronavirus.

To take it in the doses required for the kind of extra added protection people hope for, they need to get it intravenously. This means that most people looking to pursue this option would need to have it administered by a medical professional in a hospital or doctor's office, which is not an ideal situation during a pandemic where social distancing is needed to slow the spread.

Vitamin C is great, it's necessary, and it's even beneficial for living our daily lives, but we won't consider it a treatment until we have much more than the currently available supporting evidence.
Not true. It would only need to be taken via IV if people get really sick.

It is highly likely that:

1) Taking 1000mg-3000mg a day will ensure everyone has the max levels of Vitamin C already present in the body.

2) That if one does get ill, that increasing this amount until one reaches bowel tolerance can help diminish the symptoms and speed healing.

This article starts off:

"Vitamin C is extremely unlikely to help people fight off the new coronavirus."

That's a proven lie. It is proven that someone with scurvy is MORE susceptible to all illnesses (including the coronavirus).

True, but these studies were done in healthy young volunteers. The LPI recommendations, for example, are to maintain health - not treat disease (how do I know this? I helped write them!). We don't know what happens in people who are sick. While not the most reliable source, Robert Cathcart did show a very unusual phenomenon of increased bowel tolerance for vitamin C during illness. To my knowledge, this has never been adequately followed up in clinical trials.



Because intravenous vitamin C does allow for high amounts of the vitamin to enter the blood, it can have different effects than high supplemental doses. Intravenous vitamin C - for example - it thoughts to act as a pro-oxidant in cancer patients.

As for supplemental doses of vitamin C in pneumonia, Harri Hemilä did a review of that topic back in 2013.



This link is recommending "vitamin C is administered at a dose of 50 to 100 mg/kg per day" for light cases and up to "100 to 200 mg/kg daily" for those experiencing a cytokine storm. If we assume that that average male weights 70-75 kg, that's talking about doses up to 15 grams per day.

However, on this point I do agree with you: a recommendation by a medical association does not mean the treatment is working. YouTube videos do not count as evidence, nor do "press releases" by the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service
They do when the YouTube video is like this one (which shows all the evidence and describes the details of the clinical study):
View: https://youtu.be/HXs5Xzr6qCI


Here is an article written by Dr. Harri Hemilä published in Nutrients worth looking at (a bit more substantial than one of his letters):


The 2013 paper mentioned by Alex Michels was updated in 2016: https://www.mv.helsinki.fi/home/hemila/CP/


_____

Regarding an earlier comment I made about the "nocebo effect" of the Original Post, here is a substantial review of the reality of the nocebo effect: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4804316/

From the Methods section of that review:

We conducted a review of articles relevant to the nature, mechanisms, medical management, and ethical issues of nocebo effect.

The PubMed, Pascal, Embase, Web of Science, and International Pharmaceutical Abstract databases were searched for English and French language articles published from 2003 to July 2014, using the following terms: “nocebo,” “nocebo effect,” and “nocebo effects.”

The search was extended by a manual search of the references cited in pertinent recent articles and reviews. Articles were screened for relevance based on the title, abstracts, and keywords.

Eighty‐six articles were selected and reviewed. Among them, 23 relate concrete examples of nocebo effect, 34 are about the mechanisms of the nocebo effect, 11 about the implications of nocebo effect, and 6 are considering solutions to manage it.
This article is very likely going to be a source of a nocebo effect around Vitamin C for most people who are not able to comprehend the more subtle elements of the studies that have been done, or who aren't going to take the time to look deeper because "LIVESCIENCE" is perceived as a source of 'expert opinions'.
 
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Mar 17, 2020
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The purpose of taking vitamin C is to combat the illness not necessarily to 'boost' anything. Those 'scientific findings' could have been subjects who consumed a fair amount of C before instead of those who were deficient. Don't try to dismiss Linus Pauling. Did you even check with the Pauling Institute?
 

Lutfij

Moderator
Jan 29, 2020
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@Christopher Theodore You might want to consider refraining from multiposting on a thread, with minutes or an (six)hour(s) apart from your initial post(while having no one else post in between) when you can easily edit you prior post to include information.

I've already edited your prior posts to include them in one post(including quotes) + Please stop spamming the same video, one is enough to get the message across.
 
Mar 14, 2020
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@NicolettaLanese while you are considering changing your article (and many hope you do), it would be awesome to see you do 2 things:

1) Debunk the minor error in the opening statement of http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v16n04.shtml and errors in http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v16n14.shtml

2) Also debunk the other 'debunkers' because they are making similar errors about Vitamin C studies that were pointed out by many people posting here:



 
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Jan 24, 2020
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How many oranges do you have to eat to absorb 500 mg of Vit C? Just curious.

Sheesh, 200 milligrams, really? That's a joke dose, enough to prevent scurvy. Let's look into the 1000's of studies showing the safety and efficacy of vitamin C and support for the immune system.
I've been taking 5,000 - 10,000 milligrams a day for the last 30 years, and very few colds.
Intravenous vitamin C is the real hammer on pathogens, starting at 20,000 milligrams a day.
At what level does Vitamin C become toxic?
 
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Mar 14, 2020
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This is a great video where Dr. Marik rebuked Tomoki Fujii, PhD, of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan, when they presented findings from the VITAMINS Trial at the Critical Care Reviews 2020 meeting, on January 17 in Belfast, Northern Ireland for their 'bogus' trial.

They give their presentation first, and after it, Dr. Marik speaks about how they did NOT follow his protocol (which he and many other doctors have had success with), and explains the reasons why their trial was bogus.

After that, there is a great Q & A session.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sF2ktY00dqs
 
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Mar 10, 2020
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A couple quick comments:
There are NO published clinical trials on IV vitamin C and coronavirus(es). The trials in China are ongoing, so it's hard to say things are working until you apply a proper scientific analysis (again, press releases are not scientific evidence)

Do I want the studies on IV vitamin C to work? Absolutely. Let's give them a chance - heck, let's do them here in the US!

Oranges have about 50-60mg of vitamin C each, depending on the variety. Tangerines have much less. Bell peppers have much more.

Vitamin C is destroyed by heat, light, and oxygen. Don't expect to get much from cooked vegetables or meat.
 

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