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NMU – 176 Intravenous Vitamin C in Covid-19 Treatment: China Study

Lifestyle Medicine Update No 176 (October 7, 2020)

with Dr. James Meschino

 

Topic: Intravenous Vitamin C in Covid-19 Treatment: China Study

Source: Chinese Journal of Infectious Diseases

 

In previous updates, I have explained the role that vitamin C plays in supporting immune system function and helping to guard against the life-threatening cytokine storm associated with severe respiratory tract infections. This brings is us to this very interesting publication from the Chinese Journal of Infectious Diseases published in 2020. As the abstract states “As the experience in the Shanghai prevention and control of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) accumulated and the understanding of the disease gradually deepened, after absorbing domestic and foreign experience, Shanghai Clinical Treatment Expert Group for COVID-19 detailed and optimized the treatment approach, and issued an expert consensus statement on the etiology and epidemiology, clinical characteristics and diagnosis, and the treatment of COVID-19.”

What is fascinating to read in their paper entitled, Comprehensive treatment and management of coronavirus disease 2019: expert consensus statement from Shanghai, is the inclusion of intravenous vitamin C therapy, as part of the recommended treatment protocol, for patients with mild Covid-19 symptoms and for patients with moderate and severe Covid-19 symptoms. The recommendation for the use of intravenous vitamin C is largely based on a study they conducted of 358 total Covid-19 patients, of which fifty of these patients had moderate to severe Covid-19 infections. The results showed that all of the patients who received intravenous vitamin C therapy, as part of Covid-19 treatment, improved, none of them died, and it shortened their hospital stay by 3-5 days compared to the non-vitamin C treatment group. The consensus panel recommends using 50-100 mg/kg of body weight of vitamin C infused continuously over a 24-hour period for hospitalized patients with Covid-19 and higher doses (200 mg/kg) to help control cytokine storm in patients with more severe disease (also infused continuously over a 24-hour period). For a person weighing 154 lbs (70 kg), this translates into a total vitamin C daily intravenous dosage of up to 7,000 mg (7gm) and for patients experiencing a cytokine storm – 14,000 mg (14 gm). Some other authorities who have used vitamin C to help combat respiratory infections suggest a daily dosage of up to 25,000 mg (25 gm) of intravenous vitamin C.

As the Covid-19 studies become available here in North America and in other Western developed countries, it will be interesting to see how many treatment centers are incorporating the Chinese recommendations into their treatment protocols regarding the use of intravenous vitamin C. How might vitamin C be helpful? Well, many immune cells are dependent on vitamin C for optimal functioning. During an infection, vitamin C is used up much faster, and thus, vitamin C depletion occurs more easily.  With vitamin C depletion the immune system becomes weakener and greater free radical damage (oxidative damage) occurs in the lungs and internal organs. There is also a greater release of NET’s (neutrophil extravascular traps), which are known to trigger a cytokine storm. As such, continuous intravenous infusion of vitamin C provides immune cells with a constant and adequate supply of vitamin C,  which helps optimize their viral-fighting capabilities, decreases free radical damage to lung tissue, and reduces the secretion of cytokine storm-inducing NET’s from neutrophils.  This understanding of vitamin C physiology is the reason why doctors in China chose to study vitamin C in the first place.

I have included the references for this information in the text below.
References:

1. Comprehensive treatment and management of corona virus disease 2019: expert consensus statement from Shanghai. Chinese J Infect Dis, 2020 http://rs.yiigle.com/yufabiao/1189815.htm

 

2. Anderson PS. Intravenous ascorbic acid for supportive treatment in hospitalized Covid-19 patients. International Society of Orthomolecular Medicine 2020, 35 (1) https://isom.ca/article/intravenous-ascorbic-acid-for-supportive-treatment-in-hospitalized-covid-19-patients/

 

Eat Smart. Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

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