Not only is vitamin C vital for immunity in general, when we are stressed out on an ongoing basis, it is the nutrient we use up the most. When we overuse our adrenal glands we burn through a number of nutrients, vitamin C being one of the most important ones, needed for adrenal support, and for the thyroid and immune system to do their job. We cannot make vitamin C inside the body, we can only obtain it from food and supplements, and because it is water soluble, we pee it out fairly fast too so it does need be topped up regularly.
The star of the show right now is the ascorbic acid form which is in fact (usually) the most readily available and cheapest supplemental form. The foods that contain the most ascorbic acid are (if you can get hold of them at the moment!) bell and sweet peppers, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, strawberries, pineapple, oranges, kiwis and lemons. We generally do get enough from food to prevent scurvy but we do not get enough for immune support when facing a virus.
Ascorbic acid as a supplement is generally safe even in high doses and is considered superior to the akalised ascorbate versions (sodium/calcium/magnesium ascorbate) in the scenario we currently face. Sodium ascorbate is used for the IV form because ascorbic acid is too acidic to go directly into the blood but IV vitamin C can supply much higher doses. In hospitalised cases both forms are recommended. Specialists and doctors in China and Hong Kong working with patients who have the virus, in association with reliable British and American nutritional medicine sources, (where they have prevented an increase in recorded cases), monitored the effects of orally administered ascorbic acid vs the ascorbate supplements and ascorbic acid levels were higher. Ascorbic acid is recycled and reused inside the body but we do need a constant flow of it to the body to manage the virus’ activity.
The power of ascorbic acid is that it increases haemoglobin, our oxygen carrying molecule (reduces the life threatening breathing effects of the virus) and nitric oxide, the molecule that relaxes our blood vessels, causing them to widen and improve circulation (hypertension and heart disease are underlying illnesses that are often present with complications). The virus destroys both haemoglobin and nitric oxide. Ascorbic acid is certainly worth considering as a supplement. 1-3g per day maintenance to reduce the effects of the virus should you catch it. Individual cases vary so ideally you should take it to bowel tolerance and then lower it slightly (generally the more your body needs, the more it will tolerate), if you get viral symptoms and struggle with breathing take 3-5g asap then 2g every hour – seems like a lot but your body will need it. Patients in China experienced increased shortness of breath when they reduced ascorbic acid intake when they weren’t ready to.
Ascorbic acid is a synthetic, acidic supplement which can be tough on the stomach for some. It’s best to take it in a powdered form mixed in water or juice regularly throughout the day. If you’d rather take more in one go (ideally a lower, constant, regular intake is better) always take it after you’ve eaten. If you experience gastric reflux when taking ascorbic acid this is usually because your stomach acid is low not because there’s too much. In this case take a glass of warm water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in it beforehand so you have some acid to digest it.
There are some important cofactors that help to recycle vitamin C inside the body. Glutathione the master antioxidant is the most important, more info on that here. The best type of supplement is liposomal glutathione or the cheaper component of glutathione, N-Acetyl Cysteine. You can also get glutathione by growing your own broccoli sprouts in a jar indoors – easy! You can add them to smoothies, salads and soups, just make sure the seeds are organic and airloom if possible. More on broccoli sprouts here. Other important nutrients that help ascorbic acid to work in the body are niacin otherwise known as vitamin B3 and alpha lipoic acid, the dihydrolipoic form.
Please note if you are on medications you must check with your doctor / NT before taking any supplement – this is your responsibility. Those who take BP and/or heart disease medication must ensure they regularly check their BP at home whilst taking high dose ascorbic acid because as I said, it dilates the blood vessels and BP could go too low. Low BP is <90/60.
Please note, ascorbic acid is not a preventative but if taken in the right amounts regularly has shown to greatly reduce symptoms of the virus and could avoid a trip to hospital. In hospitals in the US and China, intravenous vitamin C has helped with serious cases. As far as I am aware the NHS is not using it with patients here. This information does not replace any personalized advice or recommendations you may have received from your doctor. Please do not stop taking any of your prescribed medications unless advised by your doctor.