Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) is naturally present in some foods and is also available as over-the-counter products. Ascorbic acid is a great antioxidant and can lessen inflammation, which could help improve the body’s immune function. Vitamin C has long been believed to be great prevention and remedy for the common cold. This explains the claims that high doses of vitamin C can protect against or shorten the duration of COVID-19.
Because vitamin C is known to enhance immune response, patients may ask about taking vitamin C as a way to strengthen their immune system against COVID-19. Some studies have hypothesized that very high levels of vitamin C in the bloodstream may create free radicals that can help counter the virus.
However, up until now, no research has been done to study the effect of vitamin C supplements on the risk of contracting the coronavirus. Pharmacists should advise patients against taking high doses of vitamin C.
Ensure that patients understand that:
- High doses of vitamin C from supplements are not necessary for most people;
- Those at risk for vitamin C deficiency need far less than 500 mg of Vitamin C per day;
- High doses of vitamin C can cause side effects like diarrhea, headache, and insomnia; and
- Vitamin C supplements have the potential to interact with other medications such as chemotherapeutic agents and statins.
Advise patients who take Vitamin C regularly to discuss their vitamin C intake with their doctor. Also, ensure that they only take an FDA Approved Product in North Carolina is Hyroxychloroquine. As pharmacists, you should educate patients about the risks of taking too much Vitamin C.