Can vitamin C supplements (and gorging ourselves on oranges and lemons) help us prevent coronavirus?

From drinking a lot of water, to gargling with vinegar or stopping using the right hand, many are the hoaxes that come to us daily with more or less pilgrim systems to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The last one, a couple of WhatsApp message chains. In one of them, doctors from Hospital das Clínicas and Hospital São Domingos in Brazil They recommended taking vitamin C and juices to prevent the coronavirus (the doctors at that hospital have already denied that the chain of messages was theirs). In the other, an unidentified person (just saying he was an otolaryngologist) gave recommendations to the population to prevent coronavirus and among them was take vitamin C supplements. What happens to vitamin C and why do we think about it every time we want to strengthen our defenses?

Sorry: Vitamin C neither protects nor cures a cold

Popular belief that vitamin C is our weapon of mass destruction against winter colds and viruses seem to be written on fire in our DNA. However, all the studies that have been attempted to demonstrate this premise are controversial and their results are confusing.

In a general way, and although it is not considered fully proven in scientific circles, it is believed that large doses of vitamin C can help reduce the duration of a common cold, but no matter how much vitamin C we take we cannot avoid or become infected or sick, its only more or less proven effect is to make the transit through the disease more bearable … and that in a few cases.

A study in which 642 athletes participated, skiers and soldiers who exercised in a cold environment and who were given a vitamin C supplement found that, in them and under these conditions, supplements they did reduce the chance of catching a 50%. In contrast, another study of 11,000 people with normal activities who were given a vitamin C supplement was unable to discern whether it was of any use or not.

Vitamin C is very rich, but against the coronavirus, so far, it has not been shown to do anything.

And it is that the probability that taking large amounts of vitamin C helps to make colds shorter varies greatly from person to person (for example, if you take vitamin C and smoke, it does not help you, because smoking a single cigarette removes 25 mg of vitamin C from the body, all with an orange).

Also, we cannot gorge ourselves on vitamin C without turning the remedy into something worse than the disease. From 2,000 mg causes problems Stomach in most of the population and neither people with kidney diseases nor pregnant can take vitamin C supplements.

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Can we then take vitamin C against the coronavirus?

It is a virus, it is wintry and causes flu-like symptoms with which we are familiar. It is logical that intuitively we all think that taking a vitamin C supplement right now can help us prevent disease. But those supplements and this vitamin have already been tested by thousands of studies over decades against seasonal diseases and caused by viruses like this without conclusive results.

That is why we advise you to eat oranges if you want, because it is a delicious food, that you can store and full of virtues that they will help you during quarantine, but to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, what you must do is fulfill what we know does work: maintain social distance, cough by covering your mouth with a disposable tissue, disinfect the house and wash your hands frequently.

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