A new systematic review published in the journal Nutrients considers the feasibility of using high-dose intravenous (IV) vitamin C in the treatment of post-viral fatigue and so-called ‘long COVID’. Reviewing 9 clinical studies involving a total of 720 participants, the authors found that treatment with vitamin C resulted in a significant reduction in fatigue. Other symptoms such as sleep disturbances, lack of concentration, depression, and pain were also frequently alleviated. Noting that vitamin C deficiency has been demonstrated in COVID-19 and other acute severe infections, the authors suggest that high-dose IV administration of this vital nutrient may be a suitable treatment option for patients afflicted with these conditions.
The review describes how fatigue often occurs as a symptom of diseases such as cancer and autoimmune conditions. Similarly, post-viral fatigue is associated with a variety of infectious diseases and is increasingly coming into focus in relation to ‘long COVID’. While most people who contract the coronavirus can generally expect to make a full recovery, some experience symptoms lasting weeks or months after the initial infection has gone. Extreme tiredness is especially common in long COVID. With this symptom being difficult to treat using conventional medicine approaches, the review authors say there is an urgent need for effective treatment options.
The review authors chose to focus on studies using IV vitamin C, as opposed to oral supplements, as this approach helps ensure higher levels of the nutrient. Three of the nine studies they examined used IV vitamin C in doses higher than 50 grams per day, two studies used 10 grams per day, three used 7.5 grams per day, and one used approximately 3.5 grams per day. Diseases focused on in the studies included cancer, herpes zoster infection, allergies, and others.
Despite the different underlying diseases, vitamin C achieved a significant reduction in fatigue in almost all the studies examined. Problems such as physical and cognitive dysfunction, shortness of breath, insomnia, and pain were also frequently alleviated. Notably, fatigue was even significantly reduced in studies using the lowest IV doses. The review authors say this means that very high doses do not seem to be necessary for improving quality of life.
Nevertheless, in addition to demonstrating the impressive effectiveness of vitamin C in treating fatigue, the studies examined in this review also testify to the nutrient’s remarkable safety. In two of the studies, the IV dose was calculated based on bodyweight and ranged between 0.8 and 3.0 grams per kilogram. For a person weighing 75 kilograms, this translates into a dose of between 60 and 225 grams per infusion. To put this in context, a dose of 225 grams is equivalent to an astonishing 250,000 percent of the typical 90 milligrams per day government recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin C. The fact that such a dose can be given via IV infusion proves vitamin C is an incredibly safe nutrient.
With a UK survey suggesting about one in five people have symptoms of long COVID five weeks after an initial coronavirus infection, and one in seven after twelve weeks, there is clearly a need for effective, safe treatment options to be found. If used alongside a science-based combination of synergistic micronutrients, high-dose vitamin C has remarkable potential to improve patients’ quality of life.