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Apocalypse Shopping Vibes

Updated: Apr 19, 2020

Gold star to whoever can figure out what this price trend is for! Toilet paper? Nope. Surgical masks? NOPE. Sorry to disappoint with yet another edition of ‘apocalyptic shopping’, but this is the U.S ORANGE JUICE price per pound since December of 2019. C’mon. people. Y’all have made orange juice one of this year's top performing assets.[1]

Everyone has heard their mother tell them to drink a bunch of OJ and take their Vitamin C supplements to prevent them from getting sick, but is there any truth to this? Let’s dive into the science here. A systematic review of 29 trials, the majority of which were randomized and double-blind, found that in the general population, Vitamin C supplementation failed to reduce incidence of the common cold.[2] However, after having contracted a cold, vitamin C supplements have been shown to reduce the severity and duration of upper respiratory tract infections.2

Now maybe you’re thinking that novel coronavirus is, well, novel, and that maybe chugging a jug of OJ everyday could reduce your chances of getting it. Sorry, folks. Although there have been some studies suggesting that high dose intravenous Vitamin C may be beneficial in early stages of COVID-19 related sepsis, there is no evidence suggesting that drinking OJ or taking supplements prevents disease incidence.[3,4,5]

In general though, it’s good to keep in mind that vitamin C is neither produced nor stored by your body, so intake via diet/supplements is necessary to glean its benefits.[6] And, there are in fact immune boosting benefits of Vitamin C based on its functions as an antioxidant and cofactor in innate and adaptive immune responses.[7] So while you should ensure that you’re incorporating sufficient Vitamin C intake into your regular diet, chugging a gallon of OJ might not be the most useful ‘see a chug, send a chug’ at the moment.

Primary Author:

Divya Chawla

B.Sc. Medical Science | Western University

MPH Candidate | Dartmouth College


Shruthi Patchava, Arushi Krishnan, Minda Liu, Monica Nguyen

MPH Candidates | Dartmouth College


1. Rabouin D. Coronavirus fears drive up orange juice prices. Published 2020 March 25. Accessed 2020 March 25. 2. Hemila H, Chalker E. Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD000980. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000980.pub4. 3. Erol, Adnan. (2020). High-dose intravenous vitamin C treatment for COVID-19. 10.31219/ 4. Li J. Evidence is stronger than you think: a meta-analysis of vitamin C use in patients with sepsis. Crit Care. 2018;22(1):258. Published 2018 Oct 11. doi:10.1186/s13054-018-2191-x 5. Fowler Iii AA, Kim C, Lepler L, et al. Intravenous vitamin C as adjunctive therapy for enterovirus/rhinovirus induced acute respiratory distress syndrome. World J Crit Care Med. 2017;6(1):85–90. Published 2017 Feb 4. doi:10.5492/wjccm.v6.i1.85 6. Vitamin C. MedlinePlus Trusted Health Information for You. Updated 2020 March 23. Accessed 2020 March 25. 7. Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients. 2017;9(11):1211. Published 2017 Nov 3. doi:10.3390/nu9111211

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