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Chinese doctors study vitamin C for treating coronavirus infections
By Arsenio Toledo // Mar 13, 2020

Researchers from China report that they have successfully treatment coronavirus patients with doses of vitamin C. In a statement, the medical team from Xi’an Jiatong University described how coronavirus (COVID-19) patients who were suffering from severe coronary pneumonia -- a complication of the virus -- recovered after being given extremely high doses of vitamin C.


The National Institute of Health recommends a daily intake of 90 mg and 75 mg of vitamin C for adult men and women, respectively. The team from Xi’an Jiaotong University, on the other hand, recommends 50 to 100 mg of vitamin C per kilogram of body weight (mg/kg) per day, injected intravenously, and up to 200 mg/kg per day for severe and critically ill patients.

The team recommends the administration of vitamin C to critically ill patients and those with severe neonatal pneumonia, or if the coronavirus patient is an infant who has developed a lung infection. Vitamin C should be given as soon as possible after the COVID-19 patient is admitted to the hospital. They also mentioned how early applications of vitamin C could have a strong antioxidant effect on the virus, potentially reducing inflammatory responses and improving endothelial function. They believe that numerous studies showed how much vitamin C is needed to have a positive effect on patients. (Related: ICU no longer – a daily dose of vitamin C proven to reduce ICU times.)

They also noted how their past experience with other patients shows that high doses of vitamin C can not only improve antiviral levels in critical patients but also possibly prevent and treat acute respiratory distress and acute lung injury.

Furthermore, the Shanghai Medical Association put out a statement expressing their findings on how to treat COVID-19. With the help of over 30 experts on the treatment of pneumonia caused by coronavirus and with data gathered from over 300 patients, they recommend the administration of high doses of vitamin C even for “light and ordinary” COVID-19 patients, or those who are asymptomatic or only experience mild symptoms.

Retailers report surge in demand for vitamin C

It seems that Chinese people understand how important vitamin C is for their health because Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com and other retailers of supplements are reporting a surge in demand for health-supporting products, including vitamin C effervescent tablets.

Two traditional Chinese medicines, ban lan gen (Isatis tinctoria) and xiao chai hu tang (a formula made from several herbs), are also seeing a big upswing in demand. These supplements are reportedly useful for helping to prevent fever, cold and other respiratory concerns.

JD.com reports that the coronavirus outbreak is causing a surge in the consumption of health supplements. They believe their higher sales can be attributed to consumers who prefer to order supplements online instead of walking to supermarkets and pharmacies to get their vitamins, where they can risk exposure to the virus.

Given the spike in sales for products like vitamin C that support the immune system, suppliers are also working around the clock to be able to meet demand. DSM, a vitamin C manufacturer with a production facility in Jiangshan in eastern China, is one such supplier.

Jiang Weiming, president and group vice president of DSM China, said in an interview, “Demand has been robust as vitamin C plays an important role as an immune system booster. A strong immune system is not only an important defense line to prevent infection, but also the key to controlling the disease’s development and restoring health after infection.”

While many manufacturing companies shut down their operations in mainland China during the extended Lunar New Year holiday, DSM China took advantage of the coronavirus outbreak by remaining operational during this period. Their Jiangshan facility continued producing approximately 25 kilotons of vitamin C per day, both of which are for global export, as well as for sale in the domestic supplement market.

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