Do vitamin D, zinc and other supplements help prevent COVID-19 or speed up healing? -Harvard Health Blog

The appeal of safe natural remedies is undeniable. This is true for ancient and new diseases such as the common cold, especially when there is no known cure. Therefore, it is necessary to have a great interest in COVID-19 supplements, whether it is prevention or treatment.

Indeed, zinc, melatonin, vitamin C, vitamin D, and other supplements have been widely prescribed since the first few days of the pandemic.

But do they work?

Why supplements may help prevent or treat COVID-19

Although science can prove whether a drug is effective, we may not always know why. When antibiotics were first discovered in the 1920s, little was known about the biology involved. However, the lack of explanations for their benefits has not prevented doctors from recommending these highly effective treatments.

If it is not clear whether the drug is effective, then biologically reasonable-this is why the drug is reasonable and easy to understand should Work-raise possible expectations.

So, what suggests that vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc and melatonin might help fight any viruses?

  • Vitamin C is an antioxidant and has long been considered a key participant in healthy immune function.
  • Zinc may have Antiviral activity, Either by improving immune cell function against viral infections or by reducing the ability of the virus to reproduce.
  • Some evidence (see This research with This research) Indicates that the combination of vitamin C and zinc may limit the duration and severity of cold symptoms.

Vitamin D and melatonin are different.Although there is also evidence that Vitamin D with melatonin It may have a positive effect on immune function, but no specific antiviral effect has been confirmed.

Is there any evidence that supplements are helpful for COVID-19?

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

For example, some observational studies have linked lower blood vitamin levels to a higher risk of testing positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 (see This research with This one). However, such studies cannot prove that vitamin D can protect people from infection.In addition, a randomized controlled study of people with moderate to severe COVID-19 Who received high doses of vitamin D Unhelpful.

Similarly, Research on Zinc and Vitamin C in 2021 Proved to be of no benefit to patients with mild COVID-19. In this study, patients whose symptoms did not require hospitalization were randomly assigned to receive treatment.

  • Vitamin C only, 8,000 mg per day ( Recommended daily amount 75 mg per day for women and 90 mg per day for men)
  • Zinc only, 50 mg per day ( Recommended daily amount Is 8 mg/day for women and 11 mg/day for men)
  • Both doses are supplemented with the above doses
  • Nothing to add.

The researchers found that compared with other similar patients who did not receive supplements, patients who received supplements (either alone or in combination) did not improve or recover faster.

Supporters of melatonin for COVID-19 Encourage researchers to experiment Supplement, but so far, there is no convincing evidence of benefit.

Even if there is no convincing evidence, why not use them?

Despite doubts about the overall benefits of these supplements, many doctors began to prescribe them regularly in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The possible logic is that little is known about how to best treat this new infection, and the long-term safety record of these supplements, why not?

However, there are many dangers to consider. These include side effects, allergic reactions, interactions with other medications, the cost of unnecessary supplements, and the danger of overdose. E.g:

  • High doses of vitamin C may cause diarrhea or upset stomach. There are also concerns that high-dose vitamin C supplementation may interfere with blood thinners or cholesterol-lowering drugs.
  • High doses of vitamin D Can cause severe symptomsFor example, stomach upset, kidney damage and pancreatitis can even be life-threatening.

In other words, people who are undernourished should Accept supplements. Zinc zinc or Vitamin D Defects are not uncommon and can lead to poor immune function. Therefore, even if there is no specific evidence linking the use of supplements to people who improve COVID-19, these supplements may be suitable for people who suspect or have a confirmed deficiency. For example, people who are rarely exposed to sunlight and have low dairy products in their diet may suffer from vitamin D deficiency. A simple blood test can confirm or rule out vitamin D or zinc deficiency.

If you do take supplements, then unless your doctor advises otherwise, it is safest to take them according to your body’s recommended daily amount (see this information). Suitable for people over 51 years oldAnd put this information in A full range of supplements).

Bottom line

Based on science, there are reasons to wish to supplement vitamin C or D, zinc or melatonin may Help fight COVID-19. Although there is no evidence that they actually work, further research may show that in some cases or in different doses or doses of supplements there are benefits. Therefore, it is worth keeping an open mind.

At the same time, we should not deny the results of negative studies just because the results are not what we hoped.To that moment prevention or deal with For COVID-19, I will rely more on the recommendations of the CDC rather than unproven supplements.

Please consult your doctor before starting supplementation. Ask about the dosage, other medications you are taking, and other health conditions. The last thing you need to do is to take a supplement that does more harm than good.

Follow me on twitter @RobShmerling

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