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Vitamin C to the Rescue? By Mrs Vera West
Of course, this is not medical or health advise, merely reporting news, but vitamin C is a favourite amongst people from our side of politics to fight bugs. The establishment say that vitamin C is of only limited use in dealing with flues and the common cold, but that does not phase me, as I shove down spoonful’s of it, probably too much for my ageing kidneys. However, the Chinese are investigating the role that C may play in tackling the corona bug.
“In China, a study is under way to see if high doses of vitamin C can help fight off coronavirus (officially known as COVID-19). Scientists at the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University are testing its effects on 120 patients who have the virus, giving them daily infusions of 24g of vitamin C for seven days. Results have not yet been published. The dosage being used in China is around 60 times as much as the NHS daily recommended amount and 24 times the amount trialled against colds in reviews by Cochrane. In tests, vitamin C has worked against every virus — if given in sufficient concentration, says Dr Levy. Dr Mike Skinner, a virologist at Imperial College London, says we won’t know vitamin C’s value against coronavirus for some time, and says the dose being tested is ‘massive’. ‘They’re doing the trial,’ says Dr Skinner ‘Let’s see if it has any benefit.’”
Americans are not going to be outdone here in C research:
“Seriously sick coronavirus patients in New York state’s largest hospital system are being given massive doses of vitamin C — based on promising reports that it’s helped people in hard-hit China, The Post has learned. Dr. Andrew G. Weber, a pulmonologist and critical-care specialist affiliated with two Northwell Health facilities on Long Island, said his intensive-care patients with the coronavirus immediately receive 1,500 milligrams of intravenous vitamin C. Identical amounts of the powerful antioxidant are then readministered three or four times a day, he said. Each dose is more than 16 times the National Institutes of Health’s daily recommended dietary allowance of vitamin C, which is just 90 milligrams for adult men and 75 milligrams for adult women. The regimen is based on experimental treatments administered to people with the coronavirus in Shanghai, China, Weber said. “The patients who received vitamin C did significantly better than those who did not get vitamin C,” he said. “It helps a tremendous amount, but it is not highlighted because it’s not a sexy drug.” A spokesman for Northwell — which operates 23 hospitals, including Lenox Hill Hospital on Manhattan’s Upper East Side — said vitamin C was being “widely used” as a coronavirus treatment throughout the system, but noted that medication protocols varied from patient to patient. “As the clinician decides,” spokesman Jason Molinet said. About 700 patients are being treated for coronavirus across the hospital network, Molinet said, but it’s unclear how many are getting the vitamin C treatment. The vitamin C is administered in addition to such medicines as the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, the antibiotic azithromycin, various biologics and blood thinners, Weber said. As of Tuesday, New York hospitals have federal permission to give a cocktail of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin to desperately ill patients on a “compassionate care” basis. President Trump has tweeted that the unproven combination therapy has “a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine.” Weber, 34, said vitamin C levels in coronavirus patients drop dramatically when they suffer sepsis, an inflammatory response that occurs when their bodies overreact to the infection. “It makes all the sense in the world to try and maintain this level of vitamin C,” he said.”
Ok, will do. There is also research suggesting that the hormone melatonin may help, and explain the low infection rate of children who are oozing with this sleep hormone, while people like me have to finish this article then crawl on down to the chemist to get my melatonin script filled. (Oh no, the price has gone up, now I can’t buy paint!)
“Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D., senior research scientist at MIT, also recently brought the potential role of melatonin to my attention, specifically in regard to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. In an email to me, Seneff explains: “I just figured something out about COVID-19 and glyphosate. Upper respiratory infections are a high risk for people who have a deficiency in mannose binding lectin (MBL). MBL has a long sequence in the protein that looks like collagen (GxyGxyGxy...): GINGFPGKD GRDGTKGEKG EPGQGLRGLQ GPPGKLGPPG NPGPSGSPGP KGQKGDPGKS. I just discovered that there are two lung surfactant proteins (A and B) which also have this GxyGxy pattern in their stalks. Here's the relevant sequence in lung surfactant protein A: GSP GIPGTPGSHG LPGRDGRDGL KGDPGPPGPM GPPGEMPCPP GNDGLPGAPG IPGECGEKGE PGERGPPGLP. Here's what UniProt says about this protein: ‘In presence of calcium ions, it binds to surfactant phospholipids and contributes to lower the surface tension at the air-liquid interface in the alveoli of the mammalian lung and is essential for normal respiration … Can recognize, bind, and opsonize pathogens to enhance their elimination by alveolar macrophages.’ I would wager that glyphosate disrupts the collagen-like stalk of the lung surfactants preventing them from binding to and clearing the COVID-19 virus … I was wondering why the elderly are suffering much more from sepsis and cytokine storm during COVID-19 infections. A significant difference in older patients compared to younger patients is their melatonin levels. Another good insight and treatment approach?”
Melatonin Ameliorates Cytokine Responses
In her email, Seneff goes on to cite a 2014 study13 in the Journal of Pineal Research which, like the Journal of Critical Care paper, points out that melatonin accumulates in mitochondria and has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity that could be useful in the treatment of sepsis. Melatonin is derived from serotonin, which in turn is derived from tryptophan, one of the three aromatic amino acids that are products of the shikimate pathway. Glyphosate famously disrupts the shikimate pathway in weeds, and this is believed to be the main mechanism by which it kills the weeds. Our gut bacteria also produce tryptophan via the shikimate pathway, so glyphosate can be expected to reduce the bioavailability of tryptophan as a precursor to melatonin. The study mentioned above was a Phase 1 dose escalation study in healthy volunteers to evaluate the tolerability and health effects of melatonin at various dosages. They also assessed the effect of melatonin in an ex vivo whole blood model mimicking sepsis. No adverse effects were reported for dosages ranging from 20 milligram (mg) to 100 mg, and the blood model testing revealed melatonin and its metabolite 6-hydroxymelatonin “had beneficial effects on sepsis-induced mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress and cytokine responses …” The authors further explain: “Oxidative stress in patients with sepsis has been consistently described over the last 20 years. Mitochondrial dysfunction initiated by oxidative stress drives inflammation and is generally accepted as playing a major role in sepsis-induced organ failure.
It has been recognized that exogenous antioxidants may be useful in sepsis, and more recently, the potential for antioxidants acting specifically in mitochondria has been highlighted. We showed previously that antioxidants targeted to mitochondria, including melatonin, reduced organ damage in a rat model of sepsis. Exogenous melatonin has potent antioxidant activity, and it accumulates throughout cells, particularly in mitochondria. Metabolites of melatonin also have antioxidant activity, and products from the reactions with oxidant species are also antioxidants. In vitro models of sepsis show that melatonin and its major hydroxylated metabolite, 6-hydroxymelatonin, are both effective at reducing the levels of key inflammatory cytokines, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial dysfunction. In rat models of sepsis, melatonin reduces oxidative damage and organ dysfunction and also decreases mortality. The dose needed for antioxidant action is thought to be considerably higher than that given for modulation of the sleep–wake cycle, but the actual dose required in man is unclear, particularly because the major bioactive effects of oral melatonin in the context of inflammation are likely to be mediated primarily by metabolite levels.”
Ok, we got all that. I really like how the biomedical folk have made use of a creative rendering of the alphabet.