We cannot discuss Antioxidants this month without focusing specifically on Vitamin C! Gazing into the research, Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is the most studied antioxidant in the world.
A brief 'Vitamin C' search on Pubmed.com will find you over 68,000 results, add antioxidants into that search, you get 52,844 papers. Some of those journals go back to 1921! Vitamin C plays a detailed role in the archive due to its ability to prevent and treat many types of infection and disease.
Treating symptoms of the common cold, reducing cholesterol, improving fertility and reducing cancer risk are some outstanding benefits of Vitamin C therapy. Something of the more recent interest is its role in treating viral infections. Most studies use intravenous vitamin C due to its rapid acting role. When we consume a supplement orally, it must go through the stomach and intestines before it is absorbed into the blood. When anything passes orally, the normal functions of digestion will cause it to break down slightly. Stomach acid, bile, digestive enzymes, etc. All play a part.
An intravenous (into the veins) application bypasses that process, so more nutrient is blood available. When it comes to influenza, Vitamin C has long been studied for its powerful effects on reducing symptoms and sickness duration.
A 2013 study found that intravenous Vitamin C was an effective treatment for severe cases of influenza, unlike most pharmaceuticals. During the study, no adverse side effects were reported with the intravenous application, and improvements in severe symptoms improved significantly within 24 hours. After intravenous treatment was complete, patients continued to use Vitamin C orally. Considering most acute influenza symptoms can last up to a week, the rapid recovery from intravenous Vitamin C shows how this type of natural therapy can be used for various viral infections. Another one of those infections is the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), also known as "mono" in North America, and glandular fever in my homeland. EBV symptoms include fatigue, headaches, fever, respiratory issues and a sore throat. Most people don't even show symptoms when infected with EBV, but if you become ill, the long-term effects can be debilitating, even sparking autoimmune issues. This is where intravenous Vitamin C returns to the conversation.
Research shows high doses of intravenous Vitamin C can reduce EBV antibody levels, which can shorten sickness and reduce symptoms.
This is crucial when it comes to avoiding those long-term effects, including autoimmune issues.
Looking through the literature, it appears that intravenous Vitamin C increases the body's cytokine (cell signalling protein) production and reduces the oxidative stress caused by viral infection. Like most natural therapies, intravenous Vitmain C provides the body the foundation to fight the infection, rather than exclusively targeting the virus itself. This is how the organic natural world prefers to engage with us, and we have many of these side effect free options available to us. As always, it is important to work with a Health Professional, especially when considering intravenous nutrition. When attempting to use a researched natural substance for medicinal benefits, following the science is vital. You can't expect the same results seen in intravenous studies, from orally consumed products.
All the best.
Simon Brazier. Dip HN, NNCP