Can Vitamin C combat the Coronavirus?

  • 14 Feb 2020
  • Reading time 6 mins
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The answer is probably yes, based on the evidence I’m going to show you - but we won’t know for sure until studies are done. Three are now underway right now, two giving those with SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), testing positive for coronavirus, intravenous vitamin C - up to 24 grams a day, for 7 days 1. One is giving 4-8grams of oral vitamin C to those with moderate or severe symptoms. At the end of this blog, I’ll tell you what to do.

The logic for these trials, and the use of high dose vitamin C for ANY viral infection and pneumonia-like respiratory crisis is explained by Dr Cheng in Wuhan province, in this short statement on youtube . He says ""Vitamin C is very promising for prevention, and especially important to treat dying patients when there is no better treatment. Over 2,000 people have died of the COIV-19 outbreak and yet I have not seen or heard large dose intravenous vitamin C being used in any of the cases. The current sole focus on vaccine and specific antiviral drugs for epidemics is misplaced." Here's the logic for this trial, but also for you for ANY viral disease, which includes colds and flu. Let’s start with what happens at a cell level, then look at the actual studies giving people vitamin C in high amounts, orally or intravenous, and what happens regarding their symptoms and recovery time.

Vitamin C, if blood levels. are high, is a profound anti-viral agent. Since it is water-soluble it stays in the blood for a few hours before being excreted, hence it needs to be taken frequently during the day to maintain high blood levels. Viruses use an enzyme, neuramidase, to infect cells. The body fights back by increasing interferon, and other immune defences. Vitamin C both inhibits neuramidase 2 , increases interferon 3 and inactivates many viruses so far tested, including HIV by up to 99% 4, in cell studies when infected cells are exposed to high enough levels of vitamin C , but levels that have no toxicity to the cell.

The most common drug given to those with SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), testing positive for coronavirus, is osemaltivir, a neuramidase inhibitor. In a study infecting cells with Asian bird flu “Antiviral properties were comparable to those of conventional drugs (amantadine and oseltamivir); however, the nutrient mixture (high in vitamin C) had the advantage of affecting viral replication at the late stages of the infection process.” say the study authors.

Vitamin C actually has a dozen mechanisms for supporting immunity but I won't go into them now. These were well established by my mentor, the late Dr Linus Pauling, twice Nobel Prize winner, probably the greatest chemist of all time. Read about him here. He noted that primates, including us humans, don't make vitamin C, and that animals who do are remarkably resilient to viral infections and massively increase their production under viral attack - often above 20g a day equivalent. He proposed taking 1 gram an hour if under viral attack until symptoms abate.

Now let’s look at the evidence of high dose given to those with viral infections – colds and flu. Prof Harri Hemila's published the most recent review of all human placebo controlled trials.5 Here’s the conclusion: ‘Regularly administered vitamin C has shortened the duration of colds, indicating a biological effect. Two controlled trials found a statistically significant dose-response, for the duration of common cold symptoms, with up to 6-8 g/day of vitamin C. Thus, the negative findings of some therapeutic common cold studies might be explained by the low doses of 3-4 g/day of vitamin C.

Three controlled trials found that vitamin C prevented pneumonia. Two controlled trials found a treatment benefit of vitamin C for pneumonia patients. One controlled trial reported treatment benefits for tetanus patients.’ He has since published a meta-analysis on its use in Intensive Care Units showing that ‘In six trials, orally administered vitamin C in doses of 1⁻3 g/day (weighted mean 2.0 g/day) reduced the length of ICU stay.’ 6 What we need is studies giving 1 gram an hour, not a day.

Another study involving 463 students may be more relevant for you. When they got a cold or flu they were either given 1 gram of vitamin C an hour, for the first 6 hours, then 3 grams a day, or decongestants and pain killers. Those given vitamin C reported 85% less symptoms.7

There are two other natural agents, non-toxic to cells, that have consistently good evidence of both an anti-viral effect and reducing severity and duration of colds and flu, namely zinc and black elderberry extract.

Zinc: A meta-analysis of seven studies giving high dose zinc concludes that ‘The mean common cold duration was 33% shorter for the zinc groups’.8

Black elderberry: A placebo controlled trial of black elderberry, by the virologist who discovered interferon, giving black elderberry extract to those with flu reported a halving in recovery time.9 In a second trial of 60 patients with flu those taking black elderberry cut recovery time by four days compared to placebo.10


If I get any symptoms of a cold or flu or any viral infection I take:

  • Either a powder or pill giving me a combination of 1 gram of vitamin C, plus 3mg of zinc, plus 50mg of elderberry extract, and I take this EVERY HOUR until symptoms have gone.
  • Practically, for example during the night, you can double the dose and take every 2 hours.
  • In most cases symptoms go within 12 to 24 hours. In 24 hours you will have taken 24 grams of vitamin C, 72mg of zinc and 1200mg of black elderberry extract.

This will give you the levels used in these studies. Please note that 24 grams of vitamin C over 24 hours is the same amount being used in the IV study underway on the coronavirus. This amount of vitamin C may give you looser bowels.

For children under age 12, divide dose by body weight. Eg if the child is half your weight halve the dose. As a rough guideline I’d give 250mg a day to children aged 3 to 8 for general health, and 250mg an hour if under viral attack, or up to bowel tolerance level.

Keep yourself hydrated, drink lots of water, ginger tea, keep warm, have hot baths and rest.

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