At a time of uncertainty like this, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, when information circulates freely without proper control of its truthfulness, it is even more important to pay attention to what is read, and perhaps shared, on social media.

One of the news articles suggests that taking vitamin C can not only cure COVID-19, but even prevent it, but is that so? We discuss this with Dr Michele Lagioia, Medical Director of Humanitas.

Vitamin C doesn’t cure or prevent coronavirus infection

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin that our body is unable to accumulate and store, and must, therefore, be taken with food. It is involved in various metabolic reactions and in the biosynthesis of amino acids, hormones and collagen and is known for its antioxidant effect.

Vitamin C also contributes to the prevention of cancer, strengthening our immune system and hindering the synthesis of carcinogenic substances, particularly in the stomach. Its help is also indispensable in the fight against free radicals.

Its importance is therefore not in question, but its role in the recovery from the coronavirus is unfounded.

Vitamin C does not hurt unless it is abused. The risk of fake news like this is that people take too much vitamin C, risking hypervitaminosis and subsequent disorders of the kidneys, stomach and digestive system in general.

It should also be remembered that vitamin C has no therapeutic properties in the treatment of flu symptoms and therefore cannot be of any help in the prevention or treatment of a cold. At most, it could shorten the flu episode, but one must be careful not to abuse its consumption.