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High dose vitamin C reduces Epstein-Barr viral infection

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By Life Extension • • June 10, 2014

High dose vitamin C reduces Epstein-Barr viral infection
Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014. On May 3, 2014, the journal Medical Science Monitor reported a benefit for intravenous vitamin C in patients with high levels of antibodies to the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which has been implicated in chronic fatigue syndrome, Burkett's lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and some autoimmune conditions.

"This is, to our knowledge, the first clinical study of ascorbic acid and EBV infection," announce authors Nina A. Mikirova and Ronald Hunninghake of the Riordan Clinic in Wichita.

The duo evaluated data from 35 men and women diagnosed with chronic fatigue or other conditions who had Epstein-Barr virus antibodies measured before and after treatment with 7.5 to 50 grams of intravenous vitamin C. Thirty-two of the 35 subjects showed improvement following vitamin C treatment. While the level of IgG antibodies to the EBV early diffuse antigen (EBV EA IgG) averaged 80 AU (arbitrary units) before treatment, post-treatment levels averaged 46 AU. Subjects who had five or more vitamin C infusions had a significantly greater percent decrease in EBV antibodies over time in comparison with infected individuals evaluated by the clinic who did not receive intravenous vitamin C, with EBV EA IgG levels showing a decline in association with increasing treatments.

Higher pretreatment plasma ascorbic acid levels were found to be correlated with lower antibody levels. The researchers additionally determined that peak ascorbic acid levels following a given dose of vitamin C were higher among those with lower antibody values, indicating that those with greater infection burdens are significantly vitamin C-depleted and require more of the vitamin to replenish tissue levels. Furthermore, investigation of the subjects' test results uncovered an association between increasing concentrations of serum vitamin D and a reduction in EBV EA IgG.

"The possible mechanisms for this involve the effect of viral infection on cellular glucose uptake rates and increased oxidative stress," the authors explain. "Viruses are thought to increase cellular expression of the glucose transporter: this in turn would increase the rate of ascorbic acid uptake into the cell, since ascorbic acid enters cells as dehydroascorbate via these same glucose transporters."

They recommend further research involving a combination of vitamins C and D and other antioxidants in EBV-infected patients.

Reference: Mikirova N, Hunninghake R.. Effect of high dose vitamin C on Epstein-Barr viral infection. Med Sci Monit. 2014 May 3;20:725-32. doi: 10.12659/MSM.890423.

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