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When I Catch the Coronavirus (COvid-19)
High Dose Vitamin C at Home (and Zinc and Prone Lying)

by Matthew Ford 3rd October 2020 (original 7th April 2020)
© Forward Computing and Control Pty. Ltd. NSW Australia
All rights reserved.

Legal Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and nothing in this article should be considered as recommending any particular course of action to anyone else.

Coronavirus Symptoms - Use a Thermometer and Pulse Oximeter
NIH Treatment guidelines – Vit C, Vit D, Zinc
Preventive Use of Masks
Why High Dose Vitamin C?
High Dose Vitamin C – Side Effects
Hydroxychloroquine more deadly than Coronavirus
Why Zinc?
Prone Lying
Avoid Sugary Foods
What form of Vitamin C to Take
Preparations to Take Before I Catch Coronavirus
Recipe for Liposomal Vitamin C - 12gm daily dose for one person

Update 3rd October 2020 – NIH.GOV summary for treating Covid with Zinc, Vit D, Vit D, Use of Masks for prevention.
Update 3rd September 2020 – Random UK study discontinues use of hydroxychloroquine as is not effective. Sources of Zinc
Update 6th July 2020 – WHO discontinues hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir treatment as is not effective
Update 16th June 2020 – USA FDA withdraws emergancy approval of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine
Update 7th June 2020 – UK trial shows no benefit using hydroxychloroquine on patients
Update 26th May 2020 – WHO temporarily suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns published in Lancet
Update 19th May 2020 – Added Covid Toes symptom
Update 1st May 2020 – Updated symptoms
Update 22nd April 2020 – Hydroxychloroquine more deadly than Coronavirus
Update 21st April 2020 – added symptoms, zinc, prone lying, sugar


Treatment of Coronavirus (Covid-19) with High Dose Vitamin C is safe. It is currently used to treat Coronavirus in hospitals and high dose Vitamin C has been shown to help the body fight the effects of viruses. Zinc is also know as an anti-viral and is also being used the treatment of Coronavirus. I will also be lying on my stomach/side while recovering from the Coronavirus. In the mean time I will be wearing a mask when I go out and working on improving my diet. An whole orange a day, Vit D (sun exposure or table) and oysters a few time a week (for the zinc)

The coronavirus will continue to infect people until either

  1. there is a widely available vaccine (not for at least 18months) OR

  2. 'herd immunity' is achieved, i.e. 60% or more of the surviving population (of the world) have been infected and have recovered and have immunity.

Coronavirus Charts for various countries

So without a vaccine, 60% or more of the population will catch the virus and the virus will be around for a long time. "If we controlled the rate to 10,000 infections per day in Australia, it would take 5.7 years (to develop herd immunity).", Flinders University Professor of Medicine Nikolai Petrovsky said. (local copy here)

This means there is a better then 50% chance I will catch Coronavirus. The only question is when and what I will do when that happens.
I will be making Liposomal Sodium Ascorbate, (see recipe below) and when I contract the virus I will start with 15gm (12gm equiv Vitamin C) daily and continue while there are virus symptoms. I will also supplement with 25 to 50mg of zinc, or more if I start loosing sense of smell or taste. Starting now I am eating a 100gm of oysters a few times a week for natural high source of Zinc

Coronavirus Symptoms – Use a Thermometer and Pulse Oximeter

Fever is usually the first symptom to arrive 38degC (100.4F), or higher in more severe cases. In most cases it arrives with a cough, usually a dry cough.
About 40% of cases experience extreme fatigue. Other symptoms include loss of taste/smell, eye infections and stomach ache.

The US government CDC (local copy here) says a Cough or Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
at least two (2) of the following
Repeated shaking with chills
Muscle pain
Sore throat
New loss of taste or smell
can appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to COVID-19. The CDC stresses that this list is not all-inclusive.

Covid Toes (local copy here) are also being reported. These are chilblain like rashes on the toes

Three symptoms to start self-isolation – A dry cough, A high temperature, Shortness of breath (local copy here)

Patients can have “breathing fast, .. relatively minimal apparent distress, despite dangerously low oxygen levels and terrible pneumonia on chest X-rays.” (local copy here) “Patients compensate for the low oxygen in their blood by breathing faster and deeper — and this happens without their realizing it. This (is) silent hypoxia ..” “By the time patients have noticeable trouble breathing and present to the hospital with dangerously low oxygen levels, many will ultimately require a ventilator.” “All patients who have tested positive for the coronavirus should have pulse oximetry monitoring for two weeks, the period during which Covid pneumonia typically develops. All persons with cough, fatigue and fevers should also have pulse oximeter monitoring even if they have not had virus testing, or even if their swab test was negative, because those tests are only about 70 percent accurate.”

Patients with severe cases are more likely to have shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, and fluid in their lungs. Mild cases can develop into severe cases if the viral infections in patients’ respiratory tracts worsen.
Critical cases will need medical care from a hospital, often in the Intensive Care Unit. These patients can exhibit respiratory failure, septic shock, and organ failure.

You can purchase relatively inexpensive finger blood oxygen meters (search for “pulse oximeters” or “SpO2 monitors”) They are not particularly accurate, but if you check daily, they can alert you to a drop in your blood oxygen from what your reading usually is. This can be an early indication that you have contracted the coronavirus and that it is effecting your lungs.

I am taking my temperature every morning and checking my blood oxygen using an SpO2 monitor.

NIH Treatment guidelines – Vit C, Vit D, Zinc

The USA NIH has a page summarising Covid treatments. (local copy of Adjunctive Therapies -- Zinc VitD, Vit C here as at 3rd Oct 2020)
Note: The almost all the Covid studies referenced and summarized concern sever cases that are admitted to hospital. NIH is undecided about the effectiveness of VitD and VitC in sever hospitalized cases and wary about Zinc supplemention. My aim here is to not get to the sever stage of Covid so I am working on having a healthy diet before hand and boosting my intake if I show symptoms.

Vit C – The NIH says there is “insufficient data .. to recommend either for or against the use of vitamin C for the treatment of COVID-19 in non-critically ill patients” Their reason is “Because patients who are not critically ill with COVID-19 are less likely to experience oxidative stress or severe inflammation, there is no compelling reason to use vitamin C in this setting.” But I think that is missing the point that these patients may well already be being supported by adequate VitC and general diet. As noted below there does not appear to be any downside to using high dose Vit C to support body's defences
Vit D – A large percentage of the population are deficient in Vit D (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_D_deficiency). So some controlled sun exposure or VitD supplement seems reasonable to maintain general health. If in doubt ask your doctor for a test.
Zinc – The NIH is wary about supplemental Zinc which is why I am including Oysters in my diet as a natural source as opposed to supplements.

Preventive Use of Masks

Does Virus Dose or Load Predict How Sick You Get With COVID-19? reports how epidemiological data from cruise ships and meat packing works indicates that masks could reduce viral inoculum (ingested virus) -- and as a result, decrease the severity of illness. So while health authorities have been promoting wearing masks to prevent asymptomatic Covid carries from infecting others, there is anecdotal evidence that wearing a mask can reduce your exposure the viral infection and the severity of your illness. That is you get a small dose that you body's defences can handle.

Wearing a mask is generally recommended when dealing with a known Covid suffer. The problem is that when you go out you do not know who as has Covid and is asymptomatic. So wearing a mask is a wise general precaution. Here in Australia, where here are so few cases circulating in the community, the health authorities are not recommending you wear a mask. However I still wear one when I go out or when someone comes to the door.

I use a simple flat disposable expanding mask (not the N95 ones) and bake in the oven for 30mins at 80 degC and reuse it. Cloth masks you can wash on a hot cycle and put on the line in the sun. Remember the aim here is not to completely sterilise the mask to avoid viral contamination, just to reduce the level of viral load to a level the body's natural defences can handle.

Why High Dose Vitamin C?

High dose Vitamin C is the safest, most effective, home treatment available. High dose Vitamin C is already being used in China (Wuhan) and New York as part of the treatment protocol for Coronavirus. See the Shanghai Medical Association protocol (google translated version here) and the NewYork Post report (local copy here) and the report in The Sun (local copy here) These hospitals are giving Intravenous Vitamin C in doses of 6 grams to 10 or more grams per day and a number of clinical trails (e.g. NCT03680274, NCT04264533, NCT04323514, NCT04344184) have been started testing 10gm and 24gm/day of vitamin C, for up to 7 days, on Covid-19 patients. Liposomal Vitamin C is the home alternative which is more effective than IV Vitamin C gram for gram. (local copy here)

There are large number of papers on using Vitamin C for virus-induced respiratory infections. For example, “The effectiveness of vitamin C in preventing and relieving the symptoms of virus-induced respiratory infections” (local summary copy here) used 6 grams initially (1gm / hr) when symptoms were reported and then 3 grams daily there after. Overall, reported flu and cold symptoms in the test group decreased 85% compared with the control group after the administration of megadose Vitamin C. A review of 21 placebo-controlled studies (local copy here) on using >=1gm/daily Vitamin C showed that Vitamin C reduced the duration of episodes and the severity of the symptoms of the common cold by an average of 23%

While it does not appear that high dose Vitamin C will prevent me catching the virus, “Certainly, when it comes to infections or a virus such as flu, it is accepted that vitamin C is part of the immune response and quickly becomes depleted. It helps by encouraging the production of white blood cells that fight disease, attaching themselves to, and killing, invading microbes.” (The Daily Mail) (local copy here)

So I will only be taking High Dose Vitamin C while I am actually fighting off the Coronavirus. Otherwise I will continue with a healthy diet with a whole Orange a day and only a small supplement of Vitamin C, 500mg (0.5gms) to 1000mg (1gms) daily.

High Dose Vitamin C – Side Effects

High Dose Vitamin C has only three documented side effects, diarrhea or nausea which is not dangerous, a risk of kidney stones that does not apply in this case, and iron accumulation for a few individuals which can be avoided by changing the diet. It is practically impossible to hit the LD50 [median lethal dose] of vitamin C in humans which is 770,000 mg (770 grams or ¾ Kg).

Diarrhea and Nausea

The most common symptoms of excessive vitamin C intake are diarrhea and nausea. (local copy here). This is the body's way of letting me know it has enough Vitamin C and is getting rid of the rest.

For healthy people, 2 grams a day of Vitamin C is about the limit, however when ill, the body becomes deficient in Vitamin C and will accept much more, 12 grams or more a day. Dosages of up to 30grams a day have been reported without diarrhea or nausea. (Cathcart RF. Vitamin C, titrating to bowel tolerance, anascorbemia,and acute induced scurvy. Med Hypotheses 7: 1359-1376, 1981). The symptoms of diarrhea or nausea are a guide as to when my body has had enough Vitamin C.

Kidney Stones

Consuming too much vitamin C has the potential to increase the amount of oxalate in your urine, thus increasing the risk of developing kidney stones. (local copy here). However the point to note here is Excess vitamin C is excreted from the body as oxalate When my body needs the extra Vitamin C there will be little or no excess to excrete as oxalate and so no risk of developing kidney stones over the few weeks I will be taking high dose for.

This study from New Zealand (local copy here) followed 157 adults for 12 months after they had been given treatments of high dose (15 grams to 25grams) IV Vitamin C combined with 1 to 2 grams oral. No renal stones were reported by any patients in the study, despite 8% of the patients having a history of renal stones. It should be noted that all the subjects where receiving the Vitamin C treatment for medical conditions, i.e. their bodies needed the Vitamin C and so did not excrete it.

Iron Accumulation

Individuals with conditions that increase the risk of iron accumulation in the body, such as hemochromatosis, should be cautious with vitamin C supplements because Vitamin C binds with non-heme iron, making it much easier for your body to absorb. (local copy here). If I had that condition, I would consult with my doctor and modify my diet to reduce my dietary iron intake for the few weeks I was taking high doses of Vitamin C.

Contra Indications to taking High Dose Vitamin C

Individuals taking medications should consult with their doctor as Vitamin C is contra indicated in some cases. In particular Vitamin C interferes with chemotherapy drugs by diminishes their effectiveness at destroying cells. Individuals who are pregnant, young children, and anyone taking blood thinning medications should discuss vitamin C therapy with their doctor before beginning although you will find that most doctors have very little experience with this protocol. Individuals who have the inherited glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency should also consult their doctor.

Hydroxychloroquine more deadly than Coronavirus

Update: A large randomized study in the UK (local copy here) finds Hydroxychloroquine showed no benefit.
Update: The WHO discontinues the trial of hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir for use with COVID-19
Update: The USA FDA has withdrawn the emergency approval (local copy here) of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for use with COVID-19 based on the results of various trials.
Update: A large study in UK (local copy here) “concluded that there is no beneficial effect of hydroxychloroquine in patients hospitalised with COVID-19.”
Update: A Lancet paper (local copy here) reports that coronavirus patients who took hydroxychloroquine or its related drug chloroquine were more likely to die or develop an irregular heart rhythm that can lead to sudden cardiac death, compared to those who did nothing.

Unlike Vitamin C, Hydroxychloroquine is very dangerous and has a long list of dangerous side effects, more than can readily listed here. See this link for the side effects of hydroxychloroquine (a local copy here).

Hydroxychloroquine has also had adverse results when used to treat coronavirus. A report by the Guardian (local copy here) noted “patients who were treated with the (hydroxychloroquine) drugs fought off coronavirus no more quickly than those who didn’t get it. Indeed, one patient given hydroxychloroquine severely worsened in condition while four patients on the medicine developed signs of liver damageand “it shouldn’t be used by anyone with the exception of 'serious forms of hospitalization and on the collegial decision of doctors and under strict medical supervision' ”. Another study using hydroxychloroquine to treat Coronavirus (local copy here) has been halted due to patients developing “heart rhythm problems, and trends suggested more deaths were occurring in that group”.

A recent study (local copy here) (SMH report, local copy here) (CNBC report, local copy here) “found no evidence that use of hydroxychloroquine, either with or without azithromycin, reduced the risk of mechanical ventilation in patients hospitalized with Covid-19.” More over an “increased overall mortality was identified in patients treated with hydroxychloroquine alone.” That is patients given hydroxychloroquine were more likely to die. Also the researchers did not track hydroxychloroquine’s side effects, which can be significant.

So I would not take hydroxychloroquine if it was offered to me. (However it improves the absorption of Zinc, see below, but there are other less toxic alternatives.)

Why Zinc?

There is “some evidence that zinc has some antiviral activity” (local copy here). However then main reason I am including zinc is that it appears that the Coronavirus ejects the iron molecule from the red blood cells, which then causes the observed low oxygen levels in patients, and that the free iron uses up the body's zinc reserves which results in the loss of smell and/or taste. Zinc supplementation stimulates the red blood cell formation (in rats) (local copy here) so taking a zinc supplement should help replace those red blood cells made inactive by the virus as well as restoring the zinc levels depleted by the free iron.

This effect of the virus on the red blood cells helps explain why there is interest in anti-malaria medicines. Zinc supplements are commonly prescribed in association with anti-malaria treatments.

The recommended dosing for the common cold is “One zinc gluconate or acetate lozenge, providing 4.5-24 mg elemental zinc, dissolved in the mouth every two hours while awake when cold symptoms are present.” However for loss of taste/smell, “140-450 mg of zinc gluconate in up to three divided doses daily

This article has references for the general benefits of zinc (local copy here)

Zinc is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth in amounts not larger than 40 mg daily. Routine zinc supplementation is not recommended. Single doses of 10-30 grams of zinc can be fatal. See also the Special Precautions & Warnings: which lists a number of common conditions that result in low zinc. If I was taking any medications I would check with my doctor. Some antibiotic and rheumatoid arthritis medications need to take separately from the zinc. i.e. the zinc needs to be take 2hrs prior.

This page from the US Dept of Health discusses Zinc. Oysters are a high natural source of Zinc. 85gm of oysters provide approx. 74mg of Zinc.

The zinc supplement I will take is oysters split over three meals to restore the reserves depleted by the action of the virus and help replace those red blood cells made inactive by the virus. Initially 100mg daily (split over 3 meals) at the onset and then more if the virus symptoms are severe and/or I loose my sense of taste/smell. Supplemental Zinc in large doses does have side effects it can inhibit copper absorption so I will only be taking these extra quantities while I am recovering. However Oysters are also high in copper. For now I am eating 100gm tin of Oysters a few times a week in expectation of catching Covid

Zinc can be difficult to absorb. Quercetin assists in the uptake of zinc (as does hydroxychloroquine which may explain the why it was reported as a COVID treatment. However due to hydroxychloroquine's side effects, noted above, I will be avoiding it)

Prone Lying

Recent reports suggest that lying on your stomach makes breathing much easier. There are reports of blood oxygen stats going from 69%-85% (low) to 94% (95% is normal) just by rolling the patient over from their back on to lying on their stomach for 5mins (What Doctors on the Front Lines Wish They’d Known a Month Ago) (local copy here). By using prone lying, 75% of the patients avoided the need to be put on a ventilator. In that reported case the patients where put on pregnancy mattresses with cut outs for the tummy and head. This is now being taught to Australian Hospital staff (local copy here).

Prone side lying has long been used by chest physiotherapists. Using larger pillows, larger than shown below, to raise the upper body may be more comfortable.

I will be lying pone either on my stomach or ¾ side while recovering from the coronavirus.

Avoid Sugary Foods

My personal experience is that sugar and sugary foods, e.g. soft drinks, sweets, candy, sweet biscuits/cakes, etc, encourage virus and bacterial infections. After decades of sore throats and sinus infections, I found they disappeared once I radically reduced my sugar intake.

So I will be avoiding sugar (not even a little chocolate) while recovering from the conronavirus.

What form of Vitamin C to Take

Vitamin C for home use comes in a number forms. Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Calcium Ascorbate and the Liposomal versions of these. The Liposomal form is Vitamin C emulsified with Lecithin. Of these I will avoid Calcium Ascorbate as it can lead to a Calcium overload. That leaves Ascorbic Acid and Sodium Ascorbate and their Liposomal versions.

I will be making my own Liposomal Vitamin C using Sodium Ascobate, see the recipe below. It is also available commercially, but is expensive.

In order of increasing effectiveness per gram, the types of Vitamin C are:-
Ascorbic Acid (acidic)
Sodium Ascorbate. (buffered/non-acidic) You can make your own Sodium Ascorbate from Ascobic Acid and Baking Soda. See How to Make Sodium Ascorbate At Home (local copy here)
Liposomal Ascorbic Acid (acidic, more effective than IV Vitamin C). See recipe below
Liposomal Sodium Ascorbate. (non-acidic, more effective than IV Vitamin C). See recipe below

Ascorbic Acid and Sodium Ascorbate are not a readily absorbed as their liposomal version so I would need to take more of them. Increasing the daily amount until I get diarrhea or nausea and then back off a little

If all I had was Ascorbic Acid or Sodium Ascorbate, and I did not have any Lecithin to make the Liposomal verions, I would start with 6 to 8 grams mixed in water until it completely dissolves. Store in a dark place and drink through out the day. For Ascorbic Acid I would use a straw to protect my teeth from the acid. The body needs to work harder to neutralize the acidity of Ascorbic Acid, so Sodium Ascobate is preferred. See How to Make Sodium Ascorbate At Home (local copy here)

In my case I will be using Lecithin to make Liposomal Sodium Ascorbate, and when I contract the virus I will start with 15gm (12gm equiv Vitamin C) daily and continue while there are virus symptoms

Preparations to Take Before I Catch Coronavirus

  1. Stock up with 2-3 weeks of food and any medication I need so I don't have to go out while ill

  2. Stock up with ~250grams Sodium Ascorbate and ~500grams lecithin (from Sunflowers, see below for alternatives), per person, to take high dose Liposomal Vitamin C daily for 2 to 3 weeks while I have the virus and sufficient zinc tables.

Recipe for Liposomal Vitamin C - 12gm daily dose for one person

Liposomal Vitamin C is Vitamin C emulisfied with Lecithin in the ratio of 1 to 2.2 by weight. That is 12grams Ascorbic Acid to 26grams Lecithin, or 15grams Sodium Ascorbate to 33grams Lecithin. Either Sunflower Lecithin powder, preferred, or Soy Lecithin granules can be used. Some people have an allergy to one or the other of these types of Lecithin.

There are a number recipes for making your own liposomal Vitamin C, e.g. How to Make Liposomal Vitamin C At Home (local copy here) or search for “liposomal vitamin c recipeCommercial liposomal Vitamin Cs contain alcohol, so some of the recipes replace some of the water with Vodka.

Below is the recipe I use. I use a blender and an ultra sonic cleaner, but it can be made with just a blender. Vitamin C is destroyed by sunlight so I keep it and the any mixture I make in a dark place.

Ingredients for one days' Liposomal Vitamin C for one person

15gm Sodium Ascorbate (or alternatively 12gm Ascorbic Acid)
33gm Lecithin (26gm Lecithin for 12gm Ascorbic Acid)
Water 390mL (preferably distilled) (alternatively 110mL Vodka and 280mL water for 12% alcohol)
Glass container to hold 500mL

Process for making Liposomal Vitamin C

If using Lecithin granules, I soak them in some of the water for 2hrs (in say 120mL water of the 390mL total)
Dissolve the Vitamin C in the remaining water in the glass container.
Add the dissolved Vitamin C and Lecithin to the blender and blend on slow speed for 2mins. Remove and place in fridge.
If not using an ultra sonic cleaner, I re-blend 4 or 5 times cooling the mixture down in the fridge between each blend.
If using an ultra sonic cleaner, place the jar with the blended mixture in the cleaner surrounded by water and run for 3 mins x 5 times, shaking between each run.

I store the mixture in the fridge to be consume through the day with extra water a needed. I would actually make a few days worth at a time as it keeps in the fridge for a week or so.

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