Authors: Holford P, Carr AC, Zawari M, Vizcaychipi MP

PMID: 34833042 PMCID: PMC8624950 DOI: 10.3390/life11111166


Severe respiratory infections are characterized by elevated inflammation and generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) which may lead to a decrease in antioxidants such as vitamin C and a higher requirement for the vitamin. Administration of intravenous vitamin C to patients with pneumonia and sepsis appears to decrease the severity of the disease and potentially improve survival rate. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection causes pneumonia, sepsis and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in severe cases, and is referred to as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Patients with COVID-19 infection also appear to have depleted vitamin C status and require additional supplementation of vitamin C during the acute phase of the disease. To date there have been 12 vitamin C and COVID-19 trials published, including five randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and seven retrospective cohort studies. The current level of evidence from the RCTs suggests that intravenous vitamin C intervention may improve oxygenation parameters, reduce inflammatory markers, decrease days in hospital and reduce mortality, particularly in the more severely ill patients. High doses of oral vitamin C supplementation may also improve the rate of recovery in less severe cases. No adverse events have been reported in published vitamin C clinical trials in COVID-19 patients. Upcoming findings from larger RCTs will provide additional evidence on vitamin supplementation in COVID-19 patients.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV2; acute respiratory distress syndrome; clinical trials; intravenous vitamin C; pneumonia; randomised controlled trials; sepsis; vitamin C.