From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Vitamin C
Mains level : Coronovirus outbreak and its mitigation
“Vitamin C can help you ward off the novel coronavirus infection”. This has been one of many theories on social media since the outbreak spread globally, but the answer is no.
- Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid and ascorbate, is a vitamin found in various foods and sold as a dietary supplement.
- It is used to prevent and treat scurvy.
- Vitamin C is an essential nutrient involved in the repair of tissue and the enzymatic production of certain neurotransmitters.
- It is required for the functioning of several enzymes and is important for immune system function. It also functions as an antioxidant.
Can it heal COVID-19 or any other infection?
- There is no evidence that vitamin C can prevent an infection.
- Vitamin C is, however, still good for you, and can help the body’s immune system fight the virus if it does infect someone. But again, there is no evidence that it can cure a patient either.
- When the body is fighting an infection, it experiences “oxidative stress”, a process that eventually leads to inflammation in cell tissue.
- Vitamin C not only helps cells fight oxidative stress but also helps clean up this cellular mess by producing specialised cells to mount an immune response.
- Given that vitamin C has never been conclusively established as a cure against the common cold, which is also caused by a coronavirus, experts believe it is unlikely that vitamin C can cure or prevent a novel coronavirus infection.