Can Vitamin C Help Fight Viral Infections?

Vitamin C for Viruses | Nava Health
Medically Reviewed
April 23, 2020

Written By: Director of Nutrition for Nava Health Laura Kelly, MA, MS, CNS, LDN

Can Vitamin C Help Fight Viral Infections? Vitamin C Benefits

Looking for ways to stay healthy while you are staying at home? Feeding your body with the right foods is one of the best ways to do just that.

Here are some tips and recipes on how to boost your health with vitamin C!

If you are looking for more ways to improve your health during these unprecedented times, we also offer video and phone appointments with our nutrition team and medical practitioners.

Call us at 1-800-762-6282 to schedule an appointment to find out other ways Nava can support you in these unprecedented times. Contact us today.

Health Benefits of Vitamin C for Viruses

We have all heard that vitamin C can help reduce the duration and severity of the common cold and influenza, but it does that and so much more! Studies show that higher circulating vitamin C is associated with lower risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease and stroke. Vitamin C is also an essential cofactor in numerous enzymatic reactions such as the biosynthesis of collagen, carnitine, and neuropeptides. Vitamin C is truly a super nutrient!

Vitamin C Fights Viruses

In fact, right now doctors around the world are using IV vitamin C to help fight the effects of COVID-19. This is because vitamin C plays a role in regulating the immune “storm” that happens in some people in the late stages of the disease. When this storm surge occurs, inflammatory substances such as cytokines are activated causing a cascade of events that can lead to the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and hypoxia (low oxygen levels in the blood).

Research has shown that vitamin C for viruses (when used for that purpose) plays a role in gene expression controlling transcription factor HIF-1α, which mediates our response to hypoxia. It also inhibits the activation of NLRP3 inflammasomes reducing the production of interleukin 1 beta (IL-1β), which is a potent pro-inflammatory cytokine that is implicated in the development of ARDS.

Vitamin C and Pneumonia Treatment

In addition, clinical trials currently are looking at the efficacy and safety of vitamin C infusions in the treatment of pneumonia, which is a common complication of COVID-19. Early studies have shown that high doses of vitamin C prevent the “over” activation and accumulation of neutrophils (a type of white blood cell) in the lungs, reducing the severity of vascular inflammation and risk of lung injury.

Vitamin C is considered an essential nutrient because we cannot make it on our own. This means we need to get vitamin C from food and/or supplementation. At NAVA, our IV therapy includes vitamin C as well as other nutrients such as glutathione, another powerful antioxidant that works synergistically with vitamin C. Please give us a call to discuss our different IV blends and their benefits! And as always, if you have questions about this or other preventatives, we can also set up an appointment with one of our nutritionists.

Contraindications of Taking Vitamin C

Individuals prone to kidney stones (hyperoxaluria) do need to be careful about over supplementation with vitamin C and should limit intake to 250-500 mg per day.

Top 10 Foods High in Vitamin C

  • Oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Papayas
  • Lemons
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Kiwi
  • Kale
  • Parsley
  • Yellow Peppers


Strawberry Kiwi Smoothie


  • 1 scoop NAVA vegan protein powder
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • ½ cup peeled kiwi
  • 1 tbsp nut butter or sunflower seed butter
  • Handful kale (without stems)
  • 1 cup diary free, unsweetened milk
  • Optional: ice


Place ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Enjoy!

Orange & Avocado Salad

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tbsps fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsps avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsps sugar or pinch of stevia
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 fresh orange or 2-3 mandarins, peeled
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup (1.5 oz) thinly sliced red onion
  • ½ cup sliced yellow pepper
  • ½ cup diced cucumber
  • 3 cups lettuce greens (romaine, butter lettuce, or arugula)
  • Optional extras: roasted chicken, sunflower seeds or chickpeas


1. Combine orange juice, lemon juice, oil, sugar and salt/pepper and mix until smooth.

2. In a large bowl, add oranges, avocado, red onion, yellow pepper, cucumber and lettuce.

3. Add the dressing to the salad and mix gently. Enjoy!

Vitamin C Information and Resources: