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Do vitamins D, zinc, and other supplements help prevent or accelerate COVID-19 healing? – Harvard Health Blog

Do vitamins D, zinc, and other supplements help prevent or accelerate COVID-19 healing?  – Harvard Health Blog

The appeal of natural and safe treatments is undeniable. It is true for conditions of old age, such as the common cold, and for new diseases, especially if they do not know a cure. It is therefore reasonable to note that there would be a great deal of interest in COVID-19 supplements as a prevention or treatment.

In fact, zinc, melatonin, vitamin C, vitamin D and other supplements are usually given from the first days of the pandemic.

But do they work?

Why supplements can help prevent or treat COVID-19

While science can show whether medication is effective, we may not always know why. When antibiotics were discovered in the 1920s, understanding of the biology involved was limited. The lack of an explanation for their benefit did not encourage the doctor to recommend these highly effective treatments.

If it is unclear whether a drug works, it is a biological credibility, which is the logical and well-understood reason for the drug. should work – increases the hope you can have.

So what suggests that vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, and melatonin may help work against the virus?

  • Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is promoted as a key agent in healthy immune function.
  • It may contain zinc antiviral activity, both by improving the function of immune cells that fight virus infections, and by reducing the ability of viruses to multiply.
  • Some evidence (see this study and this study) suggests that the combination of vitamin C and zinc may limit the duration and severity of cold symptoms.

The cases of vitamin D and melatonin are different. Although they prove it Vitamin D. and melatonin may have positive effects on immune function, a specific antiviral effect remains unproven.

What is the evidence that supplements for COVID-19 are helpful?

Although COVID-19 is a new disease, several clinical trials have examined the possibility that supplements may be effective. And, unfortunately, most of the evidence is not convincing.

For example, some observational studies link lower blood vitamin levels to a higher risk of COVID-19-positive virus (see this study and this). But research like this cannot prove that vitamin D protects people from infections. In addition, a randomized controlled trial of people with COVID-19 Those who received high doses of vitamin D. he showed no benefit.

At the same time, 2021 study on zinc and vitamin C. has not shown any benefit for people with mild COVID-19. In this study, they were assigned to randomly pick up symptoms that did not require hospitalization

  • Vitamin C alone, 8,000 mg / day ( recommended daily intake is 75 mg / day for women and 90 mg / day for men)
  • zinc only, 50 mg / day ( recommended daily amount 8 mg / day for women, 11 mg / day for men)
  • two supplements in the above doses
  • no add-ons.

Researchers have found that people who receive supplements, individually or in combination, have no improvement or faster recovery in symptoms compared to similar patients who do not receive supplements.

Supporters of melatonin for COVID-19 they have encouraged researchers to conduct tests There is no credible evidence of this benefit, but so far.

Even without convincing evidence, why not take it anyway?

Despite questions about the overall benefit of these supplements, many doctors began prescribing COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic in the usual way. It might have been logical to know how to treat this new infection with so little and a long safety path for these supplements, why not?

But there are important risks to consider. These include side effects, allergic reactions, interactions with other medications, the cost of unnecessary supplements, and the risk of taking too much. For example:

  • High doses of vitamin C can cause diarrhea or stomach upset. There has been concern that high-dose vitamin C supplements may interfere with blood solvents or cholesterol-lowering medications.
  • High doses of vitamin D. can cause severe symptomssuch as stomach disorders, kidney injuries and pancreatitis, and can be life-threatening.

Yes, people with nutritional deficiencies should receive accessories. Zinc or Vitamin D. deficiencies are not uncommon and can contribute to poor immune function. Therefore, even without specific evidence linking the use of supplements to people with COVID-19 improvement, these supplements may be appropriate for people who suspect or confirm a deficiency. For example, exposure to the sun and a person on a low-dairy diet are more likely to be deficient in vitamin D. A simple blood test can confirm or rule out vitamin D or zinc deficiency.

If you take supplements, it is safest to follow the daily amounts your body needs unless your doctor advises otherwise (see this information For those over 51 years of age, and this information a full range of accessories).

Bottom line

Based on science, there are reasons to be hopeful for supplements like vitamin C or D, zinc or melatonin may support in the fight against COVID-19. Although there is no evidence yet that they do, additional research may show an advantage in certain situations, or with a different formulation of the dose or supplement. So it’s worth keeping an open mind.

In the meantime, we should not dismiss the findings of the negative studies, just because the results were not what we expected. Then prevents or treats COVID-19, I would rely on CDC recommendations rather than unproven supplements.

Before starting supplements, ask your doctor. Ask about the dose, other medications you are taking, and other health conditions you have. The last thing you want to do is take a supplement that does more harm than good.

Follow me on Twitter @RobShmerling

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