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Vitamin C does not help treat severe COVID-19

For several decades, vitamin C has been claimed to treat all kinds of diseases and conditions, but science has never supported its effectiveness. More recently, there have been claims that vitamin C can prevent or treat COVID-19. At least for severe COVID-19, vitamin C doesn’t do anything according to new clinical studies.

Since people may come across one of these internet websites that make false claims about vitamin C and COVID-19, I think that a review of this new research would be useful to the reader. As I usually do, I will take a look at the research, critically analyzing it for the reader.

cut oranges
Photo by Anna Tukhfatullina Food Photographer/Stylist on

Vitamin C and COVID-19 paper

In a paper published on 25 October 2023 in JAMA, Neill K. J. Adhikari, MDCM, MSc, of the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, and co-authors examined the data from two clinical trials clinical trials known as LOVIT-COVID and REMAP-CAP, both of which examined the effect of vitamin C on severe COVID-19 cases.

Here are their key findings:

  • Among critically ill patients given vitamin C, the median number of organ-support-free days was 7 versus 10 in the control group. This was not statistically significant.
  • Of patients who were not critically ill, the median number of organ-support-free days was 22 days for both the vitamin C and control groups.
  • Survival to hospital discharge in critically ill patients was 61.9% in the vitamin C group versus 64.6% in the control group.
  • Among non-critically ill patients, survival to discharge was 85.1% in the vitamin C group and 86.6% in the control group.
  • For critically ill patients, the posterior probability for efficacy of vitamin C therapy was 8.6%, 91.4% for harm, and 99.9% for futility. In other words, the risk of harm from vitamin C therapy vastly outweighed its effectiveness in treating severe COVID-19.
  • The posterior probabilities for non-critically ill patients were 17.8% for efficacy, 82.2% for harm, and 98.1% for futility. Again, the harm from vitamin C therapy was much greater than its effectiveness.

Because of the high level of harm and futility, both clinical trials were stopped early.

The authors concluded:

Although the allure of vitamin C may continue to tempt clinicians, the results from the harmonized LOVIT-COVID and REMAP-CAP trials should lead clinicians to use therapies that have been demonstrated to be beneficial in patients with COVID-19 as opposed to one that is almost certainly ineffective and potentially harmful.


Once again, one of those “miracle” treatments for COVID-19, like ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, failed to actually do anything in treating the disease. Vitamin C just doesn’t do anything for any disease except preventing scurvy.

If you want to prevent COVID-19, then get the vaccine and keep your mask on. Eating a dozen oranges to keep your vitamin C levels up isn’t going to help.


  • LOVIT-COVID Investigators, on behalf of the Canadian Critical Care Trials Group, and the REMAP-CAP Investigators; Adhikari NKJ, Hashmi M, Tirupakuzhi Vijayaraghavan BK, Haniffa R, Beane A, Webb SA, Angus DC, Gordon AC, Cook DJ, Guyatt GH, Berry LR, Lorenzi E, Mouncey PR, Au C, Pinto R, Ménard J, Sprague S, Masse MH, Huang DT, Heyland DK, Nichol AD, McArthur CJ, de Man A, Al-Beidh F, Annane D, Anstey M, Arabi YM, Battista MC, Berry S, Bhimani Z, Bonten MJM, Bradbury CA, Brant EB, Brunkhorst FM, Burrell A, Buxton M, Cecconi M, Cheng AC, Cohen D, Cove ME, Day AG, Derde LPG, Detry MA, Estcourt LJ, Fagbodun EO, Fitzgerald M, Goossens H, Green C, Higgins AM, Hills TE, Ichihara N, Jayakumar D, Kanji S, Khoso MN, Lawler PR, Lewis RJ, Litton E, Marshall JC, McAuley DF, McGlothlin A, McGuinness SP, McQuilten ZK, McVerry BJ, Murthy S, Parke RL, Parker JC, Reyes LF, Rowan KM, Saito H, Salahuddin N, Santos MS, Saunders CT, Seymour CW, Shankar-Hari M, Tolppa T, Trapani T, Turgeon AF, Turner AM, Udy AA, van de Veerdonk FL, Zarychanski R, Lamontagne F. Intravenous Vitamin C for Patients Hospitalized With COVID-19: Two Harmonized Randomized Clinical Trials. JAMA. 2023 Oct 25:e2321407. doi: 10.1001/jama.2023.21407. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37877585; PMCID: PMC10600726.
Michael Simpson

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