Vitamin C & COVID 19

There are numerous trials on cold/flu prevention through nutrition and supplements. Although nobody really knows how these apply to COVID-19. As I have said in previous newsletters enough sleep, stress management, and a diet low in processed food have a better risk: benefit ratio.

The most effective strategies are handwashing, and not touching your eyes/nose/mouth, etc. Did you know only 5% of people wash their hands long enough (20 seconds) to remove infection-causing germ?

COVID-19 differs from the viruses that cause the flu or the common cold. The viruses that cause the flu are from the family Orthomyxoviridae, while the virus that causes COVID-19 is from an entirely different family: Coronaviridae. As for the common cold, around 50% of cases are caused by rhinoviruses, which aren’t closely related to coronaviruses. And while around 15% of colds are indeed caused by certain types of coronaviruses, the most common of those differ from the virus that causes COVID-19 in various ways (they notably limit themselves to the upper respiratory tract).

Nobody knows how well cold/flu supplement trials apply to COVID-19. There are a few supplements that people commonly ask me about for cold and flu. I have already written about Vitamin D, but there is also moderate evidence for cold or flu (not the novel coronavirus!) for the supplementation of Vitamin C.

Vitamin C can reduce the duration of cold symptoms if you’ve started taking it regularly before falling sick. This seems especially true for athletes and older people. There is a clinical trial of IV vitamin C for severe COVID-19-induced pneumonia underway. However, it should be noted that a single study is very preliminary evidence, so even if it finds some benefit, more studies will be required for confirmation before the treatment can be recommended.

Kale, mustard greens, watercress, chard, and spinach (as well as most other leafy greens) are all great vitamin C foods to add to your diet. The fruit containing the most vitamin C is papaya, with a whopping 168.08 milligrams for one medium fruit. Strawberries, pineapples, oranges, kiwi and cantaloupe also top the list. Some examples of very good sources are also sweet potato and blueberries, leeks, apricots and celery.

Please do not take any supplements before consulting a healthcare professional.

Thank you for reading

Fiona Waring 
Dip Nut, BSc. (Hons), MSc PHN, ANutr 

Nutritional Therapist
M: +44 07957 267 964

‘Registered with the Association for Nutrition –