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February 11, 2020
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Richard Daystrom PhD
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Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, Feb 10, 2020


How Vitamin C Reduces Severity and Deaths from Serious Viral Respiratory Diseases

by Andrew W. Saul, Editor:

(OMNS February 10, 2020) Most deaths from coronavirus are caused by pneumonia. Vitamin C has been known, for over 80 years, to greatly benefit pneumonia patients.

In 1936 Gander and Niederberger found that vitamin C lowered fever and reduced pain in pneumonia patients. [1]

Also, in 1936, Hochwald independently reported similar results. He gave 500 mg of vitamin C every ninety minutes. [2]

McCormick gave 1000 mg vitamin C intravenously, followed by 500 mg orally every hour. He repeated the injection at least once. On the fourth day, his patient felt so well that he voluntarily resumed work, with no adverse effects. [3]

In 1944 Slotkin and Fletcher reported on the prophylactic and therapeutic value of vitamin C in bronchopneumonia, lung abscess, and purulent bronchitis. "Vitamin C has greatly alleviated this condition and promptly restored normal pulmonary function." [4]

Slotkin further reported that "Vitamin C has been used routinely by the general surgeons in the Millard Fillmore Hospital, Buffalo, as a prophylactic against pneumonia, with complete disappearance of this complication." [5]

According to the US Centers for Disease Control, there are about 80,000 dead from annual influenzas, escalating to pneumonia, in the USA. Coronavirus is a very serious contagious disease. But contagion to a virus largely depends on the susceptibility of the host. It is well established that low vitamin C levels increase susceptibility to viruses. [6]

Vitamin C lowers mortality

It is one thing to be sick from a virus and another thing entirely to die from a viral-instigated disease. It must be emphasized that a mere 200 mg of vitamin C/day resulted in an 80% decrease in deaths among severely ill, hospitalized respiratory disease patients. [7]

"Vitamin C is effective in reducing duration of severe pneumonia in children less than five years of age. Oxygen saturation was improved in less than one day." [10]

A single, cheap, big-box discount store vitamin C tablet will provide more than twice the amount used in the study above.

And yes, with vitamin C, more is better.

Frederick R. Klenner and Robert F. Cathcart successfully treated influenza and pneumonia with very high doses of vitamin C. Klenner published on his results beginning in the 1940s; [8] Cathcart beginning in the 1960s. [9] They used both oral and intravenous administration.

A recent placebo controlled study concluded that "vitamin C should be included in treatment protocol of children with pneumonia so that mortality and morbidity can be reduced." In this study, the majority of the children were infants under one year of age. By body weight, the modest 200 mg dose given, to tiny babies, would actually be the equivalent of 2,000-3,000 mg/day for an adult. [10]

Although many will rightly maintain that the dose should be high, even a low supplemental amount of vitamin C saves lives. This is very important for those with low incomes and few treatment options.

We're talking about twenty cents' worth of vitamin C a day to save lives now.



1.Gander and Niederberger. Vitamin C in the handling of pneumonia." Munch. Med. Wchnschr., 31: 2074, 1956.

2.Hochwald A. Beobachtunger fiber Ascorbinsaure Wirkung bei der Krupposen Pneumonia." Wien. Arch. f. inn. Med., 353, 1936.

3. McCormick WJ. Have we forgotten the lesson of scurvy? J Applied Nutrition, 1962, 15:1 & 2, 4-12. https://www.seleneriverpress.com/historical/have-we-forgotten-the-lesson-of-scurvy/

4. Slotkin & Fletcher. Ascorbic acid in pulmonary complications following prostatic surgery." Jour. Urol., 52: Nov. 6, 1944.

5. Slotkin GE. Personal communication with WJ McCormick. December 2, 1946.

6.Saul AW. Nutritional treatment of coronavirus. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, 16:6, Jan 30, 2020. http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v16n06.shtml (22 references and 50 recommended papers for further reading)

7. Hunt C et al. The clinical effects of Vitamin C supplementation in elderly hospitalised patients with acute respiratory infections. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 1994;64:212-19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7814237

8. Klenner FR. Observations on the dose and administration of ascorbic acid when employed beyond the range of a vitamin in human pathology. J Applied Nutrition 1971, 23:3&4. http://www.doctoryourself.com/klennerpaper.html

9. Klenner FR. (1948) Virus pneumonia and its treatment with vitamin C. J South Med Surg 110:36-8. https://www.seanet.com/~alexs/ascorbate/194x/klenner-fr-southern_med_surg-1948-v110-n2-p36.htm .

Klenner, FR. (1951) Massive doses of vitamin C and the virus diseases. J South Med and Surg, 113:101-107.

Klenner, FR. (1971) Observations on the dose and administration of ascorbic acid when employed beyond the range of a vitamin in human pathology. J. App. Nutr., 23:61-88.

All of Dr. Klenner's papers are listed and summarized in: Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C (ed. Lendon H. Smith, MD, Life Sciences Press, Tacoma, WA, 1988. This book is posted for free access at http://www.seanet.com/~alexs/ascorbate/198x/smith-lh-clinical_guide_1988.htm

 Cathcart RF. (1981) Vitamin C, titrating to bowel tolerance, anascorbemia, and acute induced scurvy. Med Hypotheses. 7:1359-76. http://www.doctoryourself.com/titration.html

Cathcart RF. (1993) The third face of vitamin C. J Orthomolecular Med, 7:197-200. Free access at http://www.doctoryourself.com/cathcart_thirdface.html

Additional Dr. Cathcart papers are posted at http://www.doctoryourself.com/biblio_cathcart.html

10. Khan IM et al. (2014) Efficacy of vitamin C in reducing duration of severe pneumonia in children. J Rawalpindi Med Col (JRMC). 18(1):55-57. https://www.journalrmc.com/volumes/1405749894.pdf

Recommendations for further reading:


A coronavirus pandemic can be stopped with the immediate widespread use of high doses of vitamin C. Preventing and treating severe respiratory infections with large amounts of vitamin C is well established. There has been a lack of media coverage of this therapeutic approach against viruses in general, and coronavirus in particular. (A Chinese language edition is also freely available.)

The nutritional treatment of coronavirus is presented, with dosage specifics, in this protocol endorsed by physicians on the editorial board of the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service.

Exactly how to administer intravenous vitamin C to a hospitalized patient with a viral illness, by Atsuo Yanagisawa, MD, Japanese College of Intravenous Therapy. (Here is the IV vitamin C protocol in Chinese).

Instructions on how to take high oral doses of vitamin C during illness, by Robert F. Cathcart III, MD. This paper contains the doctor's answers to many questions about the therapeutic use of vitamin C.

Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine. Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness. For more information: http://www.orthomolecular.org

Find a Doctor

To locate an orthomolecular physician near you: http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v06n09.shtml

The peer-reviewed Orthomolecular Medicine News Service is a non-profit and non-commercial informational resource.

Editorial Review Board:
  1. Ilyès Baghli, M.D. (Algeria)
  2. Ian Brighthope, M.D. (Australia)
  3. Richard Cheng, M.D., Ph.D. (USA)
  4. Gilbert Henri Crussol (Spain)
  5. Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. (USA)
  6. Damien Downing, M.D. (United Kingdom)
  7. Michael Ellis, M.D. (Australia)
  8. Martin P. Gallagher, M.D., D.C. (USA)
  9. Michael J. Gonzalez, N.M.D., D.Sc., Ph.D. (Puerto Rico)
  10. William B. Grant, Ph.D. (USA)
  11. Tonya S. Heyman, M.D. (USA)
  12. Suzanne Humphries, M.D. (USA)
  13. Ron Hunninghake, M.D. (USA)
  14. Michael Janson, M.D. (USA)
  15. Robert E. Jenkins, D.C. (USA)
  16. Bo H. Jonsson, M.D., Ph.D. (Sweden)
  17. Jeffrey J. Kotulski, D.O. (USA)
  18. Peter H. Lauda, M.D. (Austria)
  19. Thomas Levy, M.D., J.D. (USA)
  20. Homer Lim, M.D. (Philippines)
  21. Stuart Lindsey, Pharm.D. (USA)
  22. Victor A. Marcial-Vega, M.D. (Puerto Rico)
  23. Charles C. Mary, Jr., M.D. (USA)
  24. Mignonne Mary, M.D. (USA)
  25. Jun Matsuyama, M.D., Ph.D. (Japan)
  26. Dave McCarthy, M.D. (USA)
  27. Joseph Mercola, D.O. (USA)
  28. Jorge R. Miranda-Massari, Pharm.D. (Puerto Rico)
  29. Karin Munsterhjelm-Ahumada, M.D. (Finland)
  30. Tahar Naili, M.D. (Algeria)
  31. Todd Penberthy, Ph.D. (USA)
  32. Dag Viljen Poleszynski, Ph.D. (Norway)
  33. Jeffrey A. Ruterbusch, D.O. (USA)
  34. Gert E. Schuitemaker, Ph.D. (Netherlands)
  35. Thomas L. Taxman, M.D. (USA)
  36. Jagan Nathan Vamanan, M.D. (India)
  37. Garry Vickar, MD (USA)
  38. Ken Walker, M.D. (Canada)
  39. Anne Zauderer, D.C. (USA)


  • Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D. (USA), Editor-In-Chief
  • Editor, Japanese Edition: Atsuo Yanagisawa, M.D., Ph.D. (Japan)
  • Robert G. Smith, Ph.D. (USA), Associate Editor
  • Helen Saul Case, M.S. (USA), Assistant Editor
  • Michael S. Stewart, B.Sc.C.S. (USA), Technology Editor
  • Jason M. Saul, JD (USA), Legal Consultant


Comments and media contact: drsaul@doctoryourself.com OMNS welcomes but is unable to respond to individual reader emails. Reader comments become the property of OMNS and may or may not be used for publication.

Click here to see a web copy of this news release: http://orthomolecular.activehosted.com/p_v.php?l=1&c=135&m=139&s=d5b040d064b0fb9c266b0569b012c20d

This article may be reprinted free of charge provided 1) that there is clear attribution to the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, and 2) that both the OMNS free subscription link http://orthomolecular.org/subscribe.html and also the OMNS archive link http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/index.shtml are included.

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