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SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, stimulates the innate immune system, causing systemic inflammation that damages the lungs. Evidence suggests that those with the most severe cases of COVID are made sicker not by increased viral replication, but by unregulated inflammation. New evidence suggests that high dose intravenous vitamin C decreases inflammation, symptom severity, and death due to COVID-19.

Vitamin C is essential for proper immune regulation. White blood cells produce harmful chemicals to attack pathogens and carry large amounts of vitamin C to neutralize the free radicals these attacks generate. Without enough vitamin C in the body, inflammation can cause severe damage to host tissues or even death.

The authors of the study enrolled 56 ICU patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe pneumonia. They assigned participants to receive either high-dose intravenous vitamin C (24 grams per day for seven days) or a placebo (water). The authors of the study monitored the participants for inflammation, disease severity, and death.

Participants in the high-dose intravenous vitamin C group experienced a statistically significant improvement in lung function, as measured by blood oxygen content, over seven days. They also exhibited a statistically significant decrease in blood concentrations of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-6. Participants with multiple organ dysfunction were less likely to die.

High dose intravenous vitamin C therapy was found to be safe in this small pilot study, but the authors advised that further research is needed to confirm its benefits for COVID-19. These results have been shared in a preprint report, meaning they haven’t been peer reviewed yet. It is also important to note that intravenous vitamin C can result in blood concentrations that are 30 to 70 times higher than the same oral dose, so these results cannot be used to support the use of oral vitamin C supplements for SARS-CoV-2 or any other infection.

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