Glandular Fever and Vitamin C

Practitioner Guidance

The Condition

Glandular fever is an infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus.

Symptoms are similar to the flu (influenza) such as fever, headache, sore throat, tiredness, aching muscles and swollen glands in your neck, armpit or groin area.

Symptoms vary from person to person and can last for several weeks or even months. They can be quite mild or you could feel completely wiped out.

Glandular fever is caused by a virus, so antibiotics are ineffective. Doctors usually recommend paracetamol if you have pain, drinking lots of liquids and rest.

What the Research Says

  • A reduction in virus antibody levels and disease duration with high-dose vitamin C has been shown in a study of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, fatigue, or glandular fever. The positive effects are thought to be because the high levels of vitamin C inhibit the ability of the virus to replicate. Vitamin D also appears to be helpful. 1
  • In a study where intravenous vitamin C therapy was used for people with shingles (another viral illness that can be very painful), doctor’s observations and people’s own pain scores showed significant improvement during their treatment after receiving vitamin C infusions. 2
  • Intravenous vitamin C treatment has been proven in a randomised clinical trial to reduce fatigue. 3

If a patient has the virus and is not recovering as quickly as expected, they could talk with their doctor about vitamin C infusions for the treatment of glandular fever.


1) Effect of high dose vitamin C on Epstein-Barr viral infection. Medical Science Monitor.

2) Intravenous vitamin C in the treatment of shingles: results of a multicenter prospective cohort study. Medical Science Monitor.

3) Intravenous Vitamin C administration reduces fatigue in office workers: a double-blind randomized controlled trial. Nutrition Journal.

The information provided here is only for general reference and cannot replace personalised professional medical advice from a doctor.

Introductory Material

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Vitamin C

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