In 2020 the world changed dramatically in a few short months. The global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has ravaged China, shutdown Italy, and ground life in the United States to a screeching halt.
Finding a vaccine to COVID-19 as quickly possible is the top priority for research teams worldwide. As of the publication of this article, a vaccine has not been found for the virus.
Mass speculation about the timeline for a vaccine and conflicting information from officials have led to controversy over the therapies being approved for the treatment of the virus. The World Health Organization (WHO) is backing treatments that were developed as antivirals for other pathologies. Due to the controversy surrounding this “unintended use”, many physicians have had to find alternative treatment options for their patients.
The current WHO-recommended treatment drugs for COVID-19 are antivirals used to combat Ebola and AIDS/HIV. The third option that is also considered to be controversial is a combination of drugs that are used to fight cancer and viral infections. There are still conflicting opinions surrounding the effectiveness of this treatment modality against COVID-19 as well.
One of the most widely used treatments for COVID-19 is Vitamin C, otherwise known as ascorbic acid. Doctors have been administering Vitamin C intravenously as an alternative treatment to the controversial WHO recommended antivirals.
Why Doctors Are Using Vitamin C To Fight COVID-19
The high antioxidant properties of Vitamin C have been found to block the cytokine storms that are associated with organ failure and have been characteristic in the Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) that more progressed COVID-19 patients face in later stages of the illness.
Cytokines are an important part of the immune response, but when a cytokine storm occurs, an overload of cytokines are released into the body. A massive dump of cytokines can be triggered by autoimmune disorders, infection, or other diseases. Cytokine storms can cause organ failure and have been reported in late-stage COVID-19 patients.
The reduction in cytokine storms is thought to be helpful in treating and preventing pneumonia. Pneumonia that develops in the later stages of COVID-19 has been attributed to the high mortality rate of the virus.
Pneumonia causes ARDS and this condition prevents the lungs from receiving enough oxygen, which can lead to death.
Oxidative stress(1) is produced by COVID-19 as well. This stress occurs when antioxidant levels aren’t balanced with free radical levels in the body. When free radicals outweigh antioxidants, organ failure likelihood increases.
What Makes Vitamin C So Effective Against COVID-19It’s been reported that physicians in China are seeing promising results from intravenous Vitamin C treatments for COVID-19. Patients had an increased immune response, reductions in cytokine storms, and increases antiviral activities.
These promising treatment options are beneficial in preventing secondary illnesses that are being associated with increased mortality rates.
Increases in risk for developing sepsis are common for COVID-19 patients. Septic shock is one of the indicators that the disease has progressed to a severe case(2) according to the CDC.
Decades of research have already indicated that Vitamin C is an important part of a viable treatment regime for septic shock.
In addition to being a component in sepsis treatments, high doses of Vitamin C have been shown in studies to be virucidal (destroys inactive viruses).
Antioxidants like Vitamin C have also been shown to reduce inflammation caused by lung-related illnesses(3). This is especially helpful in COVID-19 treatment plans because of the harmful inflammatory responses that are exasperating the breathing problems that require patients to be put on ventilators.
Studies have shown that patients treated with ascorbic acid while recovering from influenza showed rapid improvement.
Vitamin C has been used for treating a wide variety of ailments and is considered to be a safe, effective, and cost-efficient treatment way to boost immune function, fight a variety of illnesses, and most recently has been lauded as an alternative to more controversial therapies.
Lacking the proper enzymes to produce Vitamin C, humans must rely upon food and supplements to get the benefits that this powerful antioxidant delivers.
COVID-19 causes dramatic injuries to the lungs of patients who survive the virus and is so dangerous because of the trauma that the lungs endure throughout the illness.
Vitamin C has been shown in clinical trials to be effective in fighting both influenza and ARDS. While researchers are hard at work looking for a vaccine, Vitamin C is being touted as a safe and favored treatment option for many in the medical community.