Combining vitamin C and anti-malarial drugs

vitamin C and anti-malarial drugs

There are so many debates about combining anti-malarial drugs and Vitamin C. Different researches have proven that combining both vitamin C and anti-malarial drugs might actually be harmful in the treatment of malaria.

It has also been observed that taking vitamin A-rich fruits such as grapefruit, oranges with artesunate, and amodiaquine can cause a reduction in the effectiveness and potency of the medication. Ascorbic acid inhibits the anti-plasmodial action of ellagic acid and ketones.

How Vitamin C affects anti-malarial drugs

Vitamin C has a known anti-oxidant property. This means it donates electrons to the radicals found in the body mopping up free radicals. In an actual sense, malaria causes oxidative stress in the patient so vitamin C is supposed to reduce oxidation due to its anti-oxidant property. In the presence of glutathione, this mechanism actually happens because ascorbic acid works against heme-mediated cell toxicity.

However, in malaria, there is an absence of glutathione. This is due to the presence of parasites in the red blood cell causing oxidative stress. Hence, ascorbic acid will tend to react with iron compounds causing an increase in the generation of hydrogen peroxide or hydroxyl radical. The increased oxidative stress causes lipid peroxidation of red blood cells. This will tend to increase hemolysis and decreased viscosity of blood in malaria. The higher the dose of ascorbic acid, the higher the decrease in the activity of anti-malaria drugs.

As we posted earlier, vitamin C absorbs non-heme iron, a process that is good in the prevention of anemia but not malaria treatment. Vitamin C renders malaria drugs especially ACTs (Artemisinin-based combination treatments) less effective. ACTs such as Artemether / Lumefantrine are the first-line recommended by WHO (World Health Organisation) in the treatment of uncomplicated malaria. ACTs require heme for activation. And the source of that heme is the malaria parasite’s heme biosynthesis pathway.

See also  Diclofenac and Ibuprofen: which one is better?

An iron deficiency that causes anemia has also been found to favor malaria treatment. Though the mechanism is poorly understood, it is widely believed this is due to increased red blood cell death and subsequent clearance from the body.

Post Disclaimer

The information contained in this post is to provide pharmaceutical and health information only. The information is provided by our qualified writers and reviewed by qualified healthcare professionals. We make sure the information here is not misleading, deceptive, or encourages any illegal behavior. Our information is up-to-date, insightful, and correct.

However, we do not encourage you to self-medicate or abuse any form of medication. It is strictly recommended that you consult your doctor when you have any symptoms of ill-health.

About Vincent Jo, B. Pharm

A trained and fully licensed pharmacist by the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria. Vincent has four years experience as a pharmacist. He is a researcher and content writer for several blogs, forums and magazines focusing on health

View all posts by Vincent Jo, B. Pharm →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *