High dose vitamin C reduces Epstein-Barr viral infection
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.
The journal Hepatology published an article on May 22, 2013 which revealed an association between reduced vitamin D levels and increased replication of the hepatitis B virus (HBV).
"Vitamin D helps maintain a healthy immune system and there is evidence of its role in inflammatory and metabolic liver disease, including infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV)," noted lead researcher Christian M. Lange of Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Hospital in Frankfurt, Germany. "However, the relationship between vitamin D metabolism and chronic HBV infection remains unknown and is the focus of our present study."
Dr Lange and his colleagues measured serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in 203 chronic hepatitis B patients who had not yet initiated therapy. Vitamin D deficiency, defined as serum levels of less than 10 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) were detected in 34% of the patients and insufficient levels, ranging between 10 and 20 ng/mL, were uncovered in 47%.
Among those with serum hepatitis B DNA concentrations of less than 2,000 international units per milliliter, vitamin D levels averaged 17 ng/mL in comparison with an average of 11 ng/mL among participants with higher viral loads. Additionally, subjects who were positive for hepatitis B early antigen (HbeAg) had lower levels of the vitamin than those who were HBeAg negative. Furthermore, the researchers observed seasonal fluctuations in both serum hepatitis B DNA and vitamin D, with higher levels of one associated with lower levels of the other.
"Our data confirm an association between low levels of vitamin D and high concentrations of HBV in the blood," Dr Lange concluded. He suggests additional research involving the administration of vitamin D as a possible means of controlling hepatitis B infection.
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