Vitamin C: Why Is It So Important During The Ongoing Pandemic?
For the last few days, every media outlet that Manavi opens is talking about taking vitamin C as a supplement. There are even claims floating around social media regarding how vitamin C supplements can be lifesavers during the ongoing pandemic.
Manavi doesn’t know what to believe in. Are vitamin C supplements really that beneficial? Can taking vitamin C really help her beat the COVID-19 pandemic? Can any supplement even prevent or treat COVID-19?
If you have heard similar claims and you are confused just like Manavi, then you are in the right place. Because today, we will be examining all of these claims and help you figure out why vitamin C is so important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What is Vitamin C?
Before jumping into how vitamin C affects your immunity or how taking it as an oral supplement is beneficial for your health, let’s look at what vitamin C actually is. Simply put, vitamin C is an essential nutrient that has several roles to play in your body.
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant which means that it can neutralize free radicals or unstable compounds in your body. Vitamin C can also help prevent or reverse cellular damage caused by radical compounds.
This vitamin also plays an active role in biochemical processes that are related to the immune health of an individual. According to experts, the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin C is 90 mg per day. This amount is increased by 30 mg for breastfeeding women. For people who smoke, the DV for vitamin C is 125 mg per day.
How Can I Fulfill My Daily Vitamin C Requirement?
It is actually very easy to meet your daily vitamin C requirement as long as your diet includes different fruits and vegetables. For example, a cup or 160 grams of cooked broccoli will provide 112% of the daily recommended value. Similarly, a single medium-sized orange will provide 77% of the daily vitamin C value.
The Importance of Vitamin C
The different ways in which vitamin C can affect your body are:
- Vitamin C and Your Immune Health
Vitamin C has antioxidant properties that can help in decreasing inflammation. This will further improve the immune functions of the body. Other benefits of vitamin C in relation to the functioning of the immune system include:
- It keeps skin healthy by boosting collagen production. This will further allow the skin to function as a stronger and more functional barrier to keep harmful compounds from entering the body
- Vitamin C also plays a vital role in promoting wound healing
- The activity of phagocytes, immune cells that can ‘swallow’ harmful bacteria, and other particles is also boosted
- This vitamin promotes the growth and spread of lymphocytes, which is a type of immune cell that increases the circulation of antibodies
- Helps in the growth of proteins that attach harmful and foreign substances present in the blood
- Vitamin C decreases the likelihood of an individual suffering from cold
- It also helps individuals recover faster from conditions like cold and makes the symptoms less severe
- Some studies also show that high dose or IV vitamin C can reduce lung inflammation in severe respiratory illnesses caused by H1N1, also known as swine flu, and other viruses in both humans and animals
This being said, you should also not take high doses of vitamin C as it can cause side effects like diarrhea.
- Vitamin C and COVID-19
According to a study carried out by the Shanghai Medical Association, the use of high dose vitamin C can be used to treat individuals hospitalized with COVID-19. This study was published in the Chinese Journal of Infection Diseases. Other ways in which vitamin C is beneficial for treating COVID-19 include:
- Higher magnitudes of vitamin C can also be used to improve lung function. This can help in keeping patients off of mechanical ventilation or life support
- Another 2019 review of research found that consuming both oral and IV high dose vitamin C treatment can help people admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) for critical illnesses
- In the same study, it has shown that vitamin C doses can help in reducing ICU stay lengths by a total of 8%
- The duration of mechanical ventilation can also be shortened by 18.2%. This study has been approved for further clinical trials to get a more conclusive answer in relation to the effectiveness of IV vitamin C in hospitalized people with COVID-19
Manavi is amazed by all of these benefits. And she wants to jump and purchase as much vitamin C as possible. However, this is not the right choice and Manavi should not hoard vitamin C.
This is because vitamin C is not yet a standard part of the treatment plan for COVID-19. A lot of evidence is still lacking and needed before a concrete decision can be made regarding the same.
Should I Buy Vitamin C Supplement?
Manavi is confused now. Should she buy vitamin C supplements or not? On one hand, there are so many benefits of vitamin C. And on the other hand, there are negative consequences of taking higher doses of vitamin C. So, what should she do?
The honest answer is that you can take oral vitamin C supplements. And if you are worried about taking higher doses of this vitamin, then you don’t have to worry about it as vitamin C is soluble in water.
What we mean by this is that any extra quantity of the vitamin will automatically dissolve in water and will not be stored in your body. The extra amount will be eliminated through your urine.
This means that irrespective of how much vitamin C you consume, it won’t be retained in your body. Further, the vitamin C doses that can cause negative consequences cannot be taken orally. Instead, it is given through IV.
How Do I Choose a Vitamin C Supplement?
Manavi is now sure that she wants to buy a vitamin C supplement. But what supplement should she choose? And what if you also want to buy a vitamin C supplement?
Ideally, you and Manavi should only choose a vitamin C supplement that is high quality and of the correct dose. The supplement should be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Also, make it a point to purchase vitamin C supplements from reputed organizations. If you have any other concerns related to your vitamin C supplement, then contact your medical expert.
Get Vitamin C Supplements
Manavi is rushing to the market to get vitamin C supplements. Are you?