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  • Natasha Brice

Spotlight on Vitamin C and its benefits including the fight against COVID-19


Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a vital nutrient and is showing great promise in the fight against COVID-19. Indeed recent research has shown vitamin C being used in hospital to treat this disease.

Vitamin C's contribution to immune defence

Vitamin C contributes to immune defence by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system. Vitamin C accumulates in various immune cells such as neutrophils and phagocytic cells and can enhance their function including their microbial killing action.

Supplementation with Vitamin C appears to be able to both prevent and treat respiratory and systemic infections. I recommend my clients take Vitamin C (along with other vital nutrients I will be covering in this series) to bowel tolerance* daily if COVID-19 is suspected.

Vitamin C also helps your body absorb and store iron so taken with iron rich foods would be very beneficial to someone with anaemia.

Vitamin C has so many functions. The body uses it to make skin, blood vessels, ligaments and tendons. It also uses this vitamin to repair and maintain cartilage, bones and teeth, to heal wounds and to form scar tissue. It is needed by the body to make collagen. Collagen levels start to decline with age contributing to wrinkles and loose skin. Hence why I use Vitamin C as part of my anti-aging protocol with clients in clinic.

Women on an oral contraceptive pill should consider their nutrient status as studies have shown they cause depletions of various vitamins including Vitamin C. Tetracyclines medications also depletes Vitamin C. When faced with a disease such as COVID-19, the evidence (only low in number at present but evidence nonetheless), is showing a positive response when Vitamin C is given, usually intravenously, at very high doses. Other nutrients including Zinc, is also part of this protocol. 

Foods naturally rich in Vitamin C

Unlike some vitamins, unfortunatley your body doesn't produce vitamin C; therefore you need to get it from your diet. Foods that are high in Vitamin C include Blackcurrant, Red and Green Pepper, Guava, Citrus Fruits, Strawberries, Kiwi Fruit, Parsley, Broccoli, Kale, Brussels Sprouts and more.

Research on the use of Vitamin C for specific conditions shows:

Common cold. Taking oral Vitamin C supplements won't prevent the common cold. However, the evidence shows that when people who regularly take vitamin C supplements get a cold, the illness lasts fewer days and symptoms are less severe. 

Eye diseases. Taking oral Vitamin C supplements in combination with other vitamins and minerals seems to prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD) from worsening. Some studies also suggest that people who have higher levels of Vitamin C in their diets have a lower risk of developing cataracts.

I recommend Liposomal Ascorbic acid in my clinic, that is where the ascorbic acid is encapsulated in liposomes (fat droplets) for excellent absorption without bowel discomfort. It is more expensive but worth using in extreme health challenges.

In some people, long term use of oral Vitamin C can cause kidney stones; other side effects of long term use includes: nausea, diarrhoea and skin flushing. 

Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin meaning a dose is effective for around 6 hours. Therefore doses should be divided throughout the day. Being water soluble, means it is not stored in your body like a fat soluble vitamin and any excess is excreted in urine. 

Tell your doctor that you're taking Vitamin C supplements before having any medical tests. High levels of Vitamin C might interfere with the results of certain tests, such as stool tests for occult blood or glucose screening tests.


Interactions

Possible interactions include:

  • Aluminium. Taking Vitamin C can increase your absorption of aluminium from medications containing aluminium, such as phosphate binders. This can be harmful for people with kidney problems.

  • Chemotherapy. There is concern that use of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, during chemotherapy might reduce the drug's effect.

  • Protease inhibitors. Oral use of vitamin C might reduce the effect of these drugs.

  • Warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven). High doses of vitamin C might reduce your response to this anticoagulant.

  • Statins and niacin. Taking Vitamin C with niacin, which might benefit people with high cholesterol, could reduce niacin's effect.


What is the recommended Vitamin C dose? 1-3 years - 400mg/day 4-8 years - 650mg/day  9-13 years - 1200 mg/day 14-18 years - 1800 mg/day (including pregnant and breastfeeding females) With so many delicious foods rich in this vital nutrient, what are you eating to ensure you and your family are getting your daily dose?

*Dosing to bowel tolerance literally means to the point of 'loose stool'. It does not mean diarrhoea. For most adults that dose is around 10-15g. 

This information is only intended to identify modalities that may boost your immune system. It is not meant to recommend any treatments against COVID-19 or any other disease. Always consult your doctor prior to starting any of these protocols. 

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