In small clinical trials held in February, Vitamin C has shown promising results in treating some of the symptoms that are associated with COVID-19. Researchers hypothesize that Vitamin C can potentially improve the prognosis(1) in patients who are diagnosed with severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) related to COVID-19.
Vitamin C (aka ascorbic acid) is a powerful antioxidant that studies have shown helps to prevent sepsis-related complications for COVID-19 patients as well. Some small studies have concluded that Vitamin C is thought to be an effective way to combat influenza and the common cold through the supplement’s antioxidant properties.
There is still much research that needs to be done in order to gain more insight into the full preventative and treatment possibilities that Vitamin C can provide in the race to stop COVID-19, but researchers are optimistic about the results they’ve seen so far.
Vitamin C, Underlying Health Conditions, and COVID-19
COVID-19 alone is a virus that can be dangerous to anyone who contracts it. When you have a pre-existing underlying illness or one that is brought on by the virus, the risk for complications that lead to an extreme and rapid decline in health is exasperated exponentially.
The most common pre-existing underlying conditions that are associated with increased susceptibility to being exposed to the virus are asthma, heart conditions, diabetes, liver disease, and kidney disease. Being obese or smoking can also have a negative impact (2)on the body’s ability to fight off the illness.
Illnesses that are a byproduct of COVID-19 infection like pneumonia or bronchitis(3) also put patients at risk for developing complications that can increase mortality rates.
Pneumonia is one of the most widely reported illnesses linked to COVID-19 so far. The link between pneumonia and sepsis(4) is well known, making sepsis a secondary illness that COVID-19 patients are then more susceptible to as well.
Sepsis and sepsis-related shock have alarmingly high mortality rates of us to 40% and even higher(5) for more at-risk demographics.
A major cause of sepsis is an infection in the body like pneumonia or a urinary tract infection. The body’s immune system essentially goes into attack mode to fight off these infections, effectively turning the patient’s body into a battleground. This state of unrest in the body can lead to the organs shutting down, putting the patient’s life at risk(6).
While research is still ongoing for many new studies involving Vitamin C and COVID-19, the supplement is known to be an effective treatment for treating and preventing sepsis-induced inflammation and increases the production of natural killer cells as part of the body’s immune response.
Staying Healthy During COVID-19
Physicians all agree that COVID-19 is dangerous no matter what, but those who are healthy going into a positive COVID-19 diagnosis are more likely to recover than those with compromised immune systems.
Here are the top ways to stay healthy during the COVID-19 shelter in place order:
- Exercise - Exercise has been shown to have both positive effects on both physical and mental health. Maintaining an exercise routine can ease mental stress and improves cardiovascular health.
- Diet - Proper nutrition is linked to better immune response rates(5). In particular, Vitamin C and D deficiencies were related to COVID-19 related illnesses and complications.
- Supplements - For those with inadequate food sources for nutrients, supplements can compensate for deficiencies. Experts have hypothesized that potential food shortages could lead to the need for supplements in some areas.
It’s important to note that while there is no vaccine for COVID-19 yet, there are only ways to prevent the potential spread of the virus. The CDC recommends regular hand washing, avoiding public gatherings, and maintaining social distancing if out in public. Stay up to date with the latest recommendations for COVID-19 here.