• How Are Vitamin C Levels Impacted in COVID-19 Patients? - Chromatography Explores

HPLC, UHPLC

How Are Vitamin C Levels Impacted in COVID-19 Patients? - Chromatography Explores

Sep 18 2020

Vitamin C is an important antioxidant with many different functions in the human body. It is important that we maintain the vitamin C levels in our bodies to ensure we have a healthy life. There are many ways that the vitamin C levels in our body can be reduced, from not eating the right foods to illness. It has been found that vitamin C levels are reduced in patients suffering from certain respiratory illnesses including sepsis-related acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

It has been found that a significant number of patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus behind the current Covid-19 pandemic, have developed ARDS. So, could patients with ARDS due to coronavirus disease 2019 have a vitamin C deficiency? In research published in the journal Critical Care the researchers present the answer. The research letter - Vitamin C levels in patients with SARS-CoV-2-associated acute respiratory distress syndrome – shows how chromatography is helping in the fight against the latest global pandemic Covid-19.

What is acute respiratory distress syndrome?

Acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS is a condition where the lungs cannot provide enough oxygen to the body’s organs. It is a serious, life-threatening condition that usually means people end up in an intensive care unit on a ventilator. One in three people with ARDS often die because of ARDS or the underlying condition. Often, ARDS is a complication of an existing health condition meaning sufferers are often in hospital when they develop the syndrome. ARDS can quickly progress and start if the patient has pneumonia or an infection – for example Covid-19.

ARDS develops when the lungs become inflamed. The inflammation causes fluid, from blood vessels, to collect in the tiny air sacs called alveoli that work to transfer oxygen from the lungs to the blood supplying the body’s organs. If the alveoli are full of fluid, they cannot transfer oxygen and hence the oxygen supply to the blood supply and organs can drop dangerously low. There is no specific test for ARDS, so physicians use blood oxygen levels and x-rays to help diagnose the condition.

Getting low on vitamin C

Vitamin C is a nutrient that most people should have in an abundance. It is easy to get enough vitamin from a healthy balanced diet to help protect cells, help wound healing and maintain healthy skin, bones, and blood vessels. But if Covid-19 patients get ARDS, does this compromise their vitamin C levels?

In the study carried out in Spain, researchers analysed the vitamin C levels of plasma in patients with ARDS and Covid-19 using high-performance liquid chromatography with a photodiode detector. The use and optimisation of HPLC is discussed in the article, Troubleshooting Retention Time Changes in (U)HPLC – a Systematic Approach. The study found that vitamin C levels were undetectable in more than 90% of patients with ARDS Covid-19. Does vitamin C reduction have implications in the treatment of Covid-19? More research is needed.


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