Vitamin C has been making quite a comeback recently. For a humble water-soluble vitamin that many associate with oranges and pretty much take for granted, it’s certainly attracting new interest. And for very good reason. Far from being a one trick pony, vitamin C, like so many nutrients, is multi-action and punches well above its humble weight in terms of health benefits. While it's essential so is needed for our survival, its relevance with the current Covid-19 epidemic gives it hero status amongst vitamins!

We humans have lost the ability to make vitamin C in our bodies in an evolutionary mutation to ensure our survival. It’s thought that as vitamin C is able to block the fat-storing metabolic effects of fructose and also lower uric acid (which is also a powerful extracellular antioxidant), the genetic mutations in L-gulono lactone oxidase and uricase gave us a survival advantage.

However, as our early diets contained large amounts of vitamin C there was no concern for health even though our ancestors had to deal with life-threatening infectious disease assaults. Today is a different story in terms of our vitamin C status. Vitamin C is so vital to the body that we can recycle and concentrate the amount needed in particular parts of the body. This really becomes important when dealing with acute infection or sepsis.

Too many people today are existing in a very vitamin C depleted state, then suffering low-grade systemic inflammation arising from metabolic dysfunction (like most people with underlying diseases). It’s particularly important now to recognise the importance of this situation as it’s linked to a greater risk of severe Covid symptoms. If you are low in vitamin C and you've got low-grade systemic inflammation (i.e. you're chronically diseased like most over-65s), you’ve got a big disadvantage before you even start. If you are then low in vitamin D and A and minerals like zinc, magnesium and selenium, your immune system is even further handicapped.

The good news is there are now a number of promising trials being conducted using vitamin C, including one big multi-centre trial. The REMAP-CAP trial features some big name doctors and scientists who might give some real traction to increased use of intravenous vitamin C in critical care facilities assuming positive results.

Making sure you have enough vitamin C in your diet and through oral supplementation is very important. Not just to prevent scurvy, but to ensure that you can power your immune cells (like natural killer cells, macrophages, neutrophils and lymphocytes), but also to make enough nitric oxide to keep your blood flowing, your blood pressure normal and preventing clotting. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is also needed to make glutathione, one of our most important antioxidants, critical for immune function, which in turn is needed to make lymphocytes. When you don’t have enough glutathione in the body your numbers of lymphocytes can drop dramatically in a matter of days.

Based on the work on vitamin C and sepsis by Professor Paul Marik and others, and supported by the increasing body of encouraging work coming out of the early trials on vitamin C and Covid, there’s now a really good reason to take vitamin C very seriously as both a preventative and a therapeutic agent to protect us from the new coronavirus.

This week we bring you two videos

The first is an interview by ANH's Mel Aldridge with renowned British health journalist and author, Jerome Burne, talking about why you should have two C’s on your mind at the moment - vitamin C and the coronavirus. You can also read Jerome Burne's latest blog, 'Big Vote of Confidence in Vitamin C as Viral Fighter. Now Being Tested' (5 May 2020) on his blog site, Health Insights UK.  

 

And the second is a short video looking at vitamin C’s multi-action mechanism and why you want to make sure you have sufficient levels, particularly at this time.

 

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