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Current Affairs

Can Vitamin C prevent or cure Coronavirus infection?

Date: 23 March 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Can vitamin C help you ward off the novel coronavirus infection? This has been one of many theories on social media since the outbreak spread globally, but the answer is no.

 

Background

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid and ascorbate, is a vitamin found in various foods and sold as a dietary supplement. It is used to prevent and treat scurvy. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient involved in the repair of tissue and the enzymatic production of certain neurotransmitters.

 

Details

  • There is no evidence that vitamin C can prevent an infection. Vitamin C is, however, still good for you, and can help the body’s immune system fight the virus if it does infect someone. But again, there is no evidence that it can cure a patient either.

  • When the body is fighting an infection, it experiences “oxidative stress”, a process that eventually leads to inflammation in cell tissue.

  • Vitamin C not only helps cells fight oxidative stress but also helps clean up this cellular mess by producing specialised cells to mount an immune response.

  • Given that vitamin C has never been conclusively established as a cure against the common cold, which is also caused by a coronavirus, experts believe it is unlikely that vitamin C can cure or prevent a novel coronavirus infection.

  • While vitamin C is good for the body’s immune system, too much of it can be harmful. Excessive vitamin C can be damaging to the stomach and kidneys.

  • There is also no evidence that supplements like zinc, green tea and echinacea are beneficial to prevent coronavirus.