By Rob Verkerk PhD, founder, executive and scientific director
If you’re a human, gorilla, chimp, fruit bat or guinea pig (among the few species that have lost the ability to make vitamin C within the body), you live in the northern hemisphere, and you’re not taking vitamin C more than once a day, you’re likely to be putting yourself at unnecessary risk from respiratory infections.
If you’re older, or you suffer from underlying conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes or obesity, these could be life threatening. Covid-19 is but one virus, of over 200, known to infect the human airway and cause respiratory diseases.
Not only can we not make our own vitamin C, we also don’t get anything like enough from our diet. More than that, our vitamin C requirement increases 10 times or more when our immune system is challenged by infection.
But there’s more still. There’s mounting research on the importance of high dose vitamin C as an adjunct therapy for those seriously ill with covid disease – and, those who suffer the worse impacts from the disease, have very low vitamin C status. Their circulating levels of vitamin C are so low – they’re likely to be firmly within the levels that cause the vitamin C deficiency disease, scurvy. Yes, scurvy may be a historic disease, but it’s very much with us in this modern world in which the vitamin C content of our industrialised food supply is so low that, for most of us, our only option is now to take vitamin C as a supplement. Or if we get really sick, have it administered intravenously by forward-thinking medics.
This all sets the scene for why a global campaign – something we’re thrilled to be a part of – is so necessary and why it’s been launched this week, on the back of a review article published in the journal Nutrients that puts all the arguments and science in one, neat place.
That makes it harder for those who’re not keen to accept that a humble vitamin, like vitamin C, has so much to offer, at such low cost, and with such an extraordinary safety profile. Put as simply as we can: taking vitamin C as a preventative and then, upping your intake if you’re infected, is a no brainer. So is using vitamin C intravenously for those with acute respiratory infections, or sepsis, in critical care.
So much so, that we argue – given the now available evidence – that doctors and other health professionals who avoid recommendations on vitamin C in relation to covid disease prevention and treatment, should be considered medically negligent.
International Vitamin C campaign launches this week
On 7th December, a landmark paper on the importance of vitamin C was published. Lead author and instigator of the international campaign is none other than nutritionist and best-selling author Patrick Holford. Patrick has pulled together many of the leading scientists and clinicians working with vitamin C and other vitamins, including Dr Paul Marik, leading the Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance in the US, and Ass Prof Anitra Carr from the University of Otago in New Zealand, both of whom have been working with vitamin C in both sepsis and covid-19 patients.
I’m honoured to have been asked by Patrick to join the scientific advisory board and act as campaign advisor for the newly launched Vitamin C 4 Covid campaign.
How to C sense
Our asks are fourfold:
Make sure you’re taking optimum amounts and forms of vitamin C for prevention. Check out the website and our video above for more information.
Sign the petition on the campaign website if you’re a concerned member of the public or a health professional.
Share this as widely as you can so we have enough support from the petition to put pressure on health authorities to include vitamin C in public health messaging, as well as increasing awareness of the benefit and almost zero risk of vitamin C among critical care doctors as an adjunct therapy
Please donate to the campaign – so we can help finance professional PR activities to maximise impact.