Vitamin C and Immunity Against Covid-19
Covid-19 or corona viruses are a viruses’ family that do cause illness ranging from the common cold to more diseases like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, coronaviruses are transmitted between animals and people which does mean that they are zoonotic.
Common symptoms of Covid-19; respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties and in some cases the infection could cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and it may lead to death.
There are some basic recommendations that we should do to prevent infection spread such as; regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meet and eggs and avoiding the close contact with anyone who does show symptoms of respiratory illness even if it is just coughing or sneezing.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 in December 2019, it did start and continued to spread and this did highlight the urgent need for immunization and for a cure as the best approach for now is by taking preventive action or by following precautions.
The severity of the COVID-19 disease does range from asymptomatic to severe respiratory infections that could lead to death, this does indicate the existence of factors that do influence the severity of the disease one of these factors is our immune system.
As per researchers, nutrition does play a pivotal role in maintaining the balance of the immune system, deficiencies in micronutrients do not affect immune homeostasis and do increase individual sociability to infection, there is a confuse do occur regarding the type of supplementation recommended or the ideal dosage and actual indications that do boost immunity.
Vitamin C which is also known as ascorbic acid, is one of the known super nutrients and it is easy to get, humans cannot synthesize ascorbic acid because they do not have the specific enzyme needed for that but we need to get the Vitamin C from an exogenous source or aka food.
Vitamin C do play a role in maintaining our immune system and this through the Vitamin C’s antioxidant ability, collagen synthesis or through strengthen immune cells directly in the fight against the COVID-19 infection.
Although, it has been well established the role of Vitamin C in our immune system but the Vitamin C’s effectiveness is still debated regarding reducing the risk of respiratory tract infections, there were studies that did indicate that 200 mg or more of Vitamin C daily was effective in improving the duration of the common cold and also the reduced duration of respiratory tract infections was observed in children from three months up to 18 years old, but to date the recommended dose to prevent the COVID-19 is from 100 up to 200 mg of Vitamin C.
This dose of Vitamin C can be achieved by eating some food as fruits and vegetables but people who do smoke may do need an upper dose of antioxidant vitamins due to their highly oxidative stress, the treatment of established infections does require higher dosages of Vitamin C to compensate for the inflammatory demand.
In the management of COVID-19 for example, the Association of Indonesian Clinical Nutrition Specialists does recommend 1 gram of Vitamin C daily for mild cases and 4 grams followed by 1 gram every 8 hours for critical case, this may mislead the public as they do take that as therapy guidelines not as prophylaxis.
High doses of Vitamin C can not only be a waste of money but it also has side effects if you do use it without indication, Vitamin C intake has been proposed as a risk factor for the formation of the kidney stone, this does mean that there is a risk of kidney stones in the Vitamin C supplementation specially for 1000 mg or more per day and this caution applies only to the Vitamin C’s supplements but not to Vitamin C naturally found in foods.
So, it is recommended to get the nutrient requirement from the natural food sources during this time and if you could not do this and the supplementation was necessary or required, then it will be preferred to consume a combined supplementation of Vitamins and other minerals which is known as multiple micronutrient supplementations (MMN), as this MMN do have a lower dose.
Also, along with all that doing regular moderate intensity exercise, avoiding smoking, having healthy mind, practicing hygiene and sleeping adequately do also contribute to our immune balance as people with specific health conditions are advised to have medical personnel before they do take any supplementation.