Antiviral effects of ascorbic and dehydroascorbic acids

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Antiviral effects of ascorbic and dehydroascorbic acids

Post Number:#1  Post by ReCverin » Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:38 am

In the present study, ascorbic acid weakly inhibited the multiplication of viruses of three different families: herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), influenza virus type A and poliovirus type 1. Dehydroascorbic acid, an oxidized form of ascorbic acid and hence without reducing ability, showed much stronger antiviral activity than ascorbic acid...
Furuya A. et al. Antiviral effects of ascorbic and dehydroascorbic acids in vitro. Int J Mol Med 22(4) 541-545 (2008)

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Re: Antiviral effects of ascorbic and dehydroascorbic acids

Post Number:#2  Post by ofonorow » Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:53 pm

Thank you. This is a very interesting report, and while in vitro (test tube) it may have some validity in the body, as large amounts of ascorbic acid will become DHA during the normal course of events. (It is interesting that at least one function of glutathione in cells is supposedly to recylce DHA back to ascorbate.)

There is some reason vitamin C is effective against viruses, and increased vitamin C leading to higher serum levels is more effective.

My own theory was that the vitamin C was helping to replenish glutathione levels (GSH) in cells, and that this known property of vitamin C was perhaps the primary avenue in which vitamin C acts (through GSH) to inactivate and cure viral infections. This report seems to open up the possibility that increased levels of the oxidized DHA may be playing a role.
Owen R. Fonorow, Orthomolecular Naturopath

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Re: Antiviral effects of ascorbic and dehydroascorbic acids

Post Number:#3  Post by majkinetor » Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:09 pm

In this study, we showed that ascorbic acid inhibits the
multiplication of several viruses of widely different structures
and replication strategies. Characterization of the mode of
action of ascorbic acid and dehydroascorbic acid suggests
that either free radical formation or direct binding, or both, is
responsible for the antiviral activity of these two reagents.
The effect of these reagents on cell viability suggests that the
antiviral effect of ascorbic acid is, at least in part, a secondary
result of the cytotoxic effect of the reagent
. The antiviral effect
of dehydroascorbic acid is possibly due to its binding to the
virus or molecules involved in viral replication


Fig. 2 shows the effects of ascorbic acid on the relative
virus yields of these three viruses, when the cells infected with
either of the viruses were incubated in the medium containing
various concentrations of the reagent. The multiplication of
all three viruses was similarly sensitive to the reagent. The
virus yield decreased as the reagent concentration was
ncreased and, in the presence of 30 mM of the reagent, the
yields of these viruses were approximately one tenth of those
n the absence of the reagent. These results clearly show that
ascorbic acid inhibits the multiplication of viruses of widely
different structures, i.e., regardless of enveloped or non-
enveloped, double-stranded DNA or single-stranded RNA
genome, and regardless whether the replication and tran-
scription of the viral genome occur in the nucleus or in the
cytoplasm of the infected cells.
It is noteworthy that the
antiviral activity of the reagent was apparently independent
of the type of cells since the multiplication of influenza virus
was examined on MDCK cells (derived from canine kidney
cells) while that of HSV-1 and PV-1 was on HEp-2 cells
(derived from human cervical carcinoma).
Reducing activity vs. oxidizing activity of ascorbic acid.

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Re: Antiviral effects of ascorbic and dehydroascorbic acids

Post Number:#4  Post by ofonorow » Fri Jun 24, 2011 7:54 am

Yes, I think this is important, however it is a test tube study, and as we have seen, different results are observed depending on whether blood, instead of water is used, etc.

By the way, according to Sherry Lewin, the half-life of DHA is very short, "only a few minutes in aqueous solution." Section 1.2.5.4 Stability of the dehydroascorbic entity (page 17, Vitamin C: Its Molecular Biology and Medical Potential.) I am not a chemist. Given her diagrams, it seems that if GSH isn't available to recycle DHA "quickly" back to ascorbic acid, that it breaks down per the diagram.

If it is DHA working its magic against viruses, then its very short half-life might help explain why so much vitamin C as ascorbic acid is necessary for the effect.
Owen R. Fonorow, Orthomolecular Naturopath

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Re: Antiviral effects of ascorbic and dehydroascorbic acids

Post Number:#5  Post by ReCverin » Sun Jun 26, 2011 11:13 pm

I agree with you, Dr. Fonorow, that too much weight should not be placed on an in vitro study such as this. I wanted to share this just because of my personal interest in dehydroascorbic acid and the fact that this forum has a section on the effects of vitamin C in infectious diseases. It is interesting, though, that these researchers showed strong antiviral activity of DHAA and suggested a mechanism of action that is quite different than has been speculated to date.

One thing that I find particularly interesting about this study: they showed that a solution of ascorbic acid, with iron to catalyze the conversion to DHAA, had stronger antiviral effect than did a solution of DHAA prepared from commercially available, powdered DHAA. Presumably these solutions were of equal concentration. They attribute the stronger effect of the AA + iron solution to the possibility of a pro-oxidant, cytotoxic effect. But there is a very interesting, alternate explanation that they did not mention and of which they were possibly not aware. It is known that the commercially prepared, powdered DHAA is a dimer. Wechtersbach et al have shown that when this product is dissolved in pure water (exactly as these researchers describe), the solution contains substantial proportions of various dimer forms in addition to the naturally-occurring monomer form. Therefore the solution actually has a considerably lower concentration of the monomer than expected based on the weighed-in amount.

It is entirely conceivable that the AA + iron solution actually produced a substantially higher concentration of the naturally-occurring monomer form than did the solution they prepared from the powdered DHAA. If that is true, then it would argue even more strongly in favor of the anti-viral activity of natural DHAA.

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Re: Antiviral effects of ascorbic and dehydroascorbic acids

Post Number:#6  Post by majkinetor » Mon Jun 27, 2011 4:24 am

I think this is valuable study, no matter its in-vitro setup. It would be very hard to do such study in vivo given the different kinds of viruses used. The in vitro concentrations of ascorbate used are to my knowledge physiological.

About iron + AA, they say that it turns AA to pro-oxidant role and it might be that antiviral activity is due to cytotoxic effect. I think Levy noted the same thing in Optimal Nutrition for Optimal Health or Curing the Incurable.

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Re: Antiviral effects of ascorbic and dehydroascorbic acids

Post Number:#7  Post by ofonorow » Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:38 am

Thank you for this contribution. Very interesting.
One thing that I find particularly interesting about this study: they showed that a solution of ascorbic acid, with iron to catalyze the conversion to DHAA, had stronger antiviral effect than did a solution of DHAA prepared from commercially available, powdered DHAA. Presumably these solutions were of equal concentration. They attribute the stronger effect of the AA + iron solution to the possibility of a pro-oxidant, cytotoxic effect. But there is a very interesting, alternate explanation that they did not mention and of which they were possibly not aware. It is known that the commercially prepared, powdered DHAA is a dimer. Wechtersbach et al have shown that when this product is dissolved in pure water (exactly as these researchers describe), the solution contains substantial proportions of various dimer forms in addition to the naturally-occurring monomer form. Therefore the solution actually has a considerably lower concentration of the monomer than expected based on the weighed-in amount.

It is entirely conceivable that the AA + iron solution actually produced a substantially higher concentration of the naturally-occurring monomer form than did the solution they prepared from the powdered DHAA. If that is true, then it would argue even more strongly in favor of the anti-viral activity of natural DHAA.


p.s., I don't know if you have any interest, but if you wrote this up as a letter to the Editor (your original idea as far as I can tell), I can help you get it published in the Townsend Letter. Send me PM if interested.
Owen R. Fonorow, Orthomolecular Naturopath

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Re: Antiviral effects of ascorbic and dehydroascorbic acids

Post Number:#8  Post by OxC » Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:10 pm

I didn't realize it until recently, but the authors of the 2008 study discussed above, involving the
Antiviral effects of ascorbic acid and dehydroascorbic acids in vitro

published a follow-up study in 2010 further characterizing the
Antiviral effects of dehydroascorbic acid
Douglas Q. Kitt, founder of ReCverin LLC, sellers of stabilized dehydroascorbic acid solutions.


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