Many people take vitamins, minerals and various natural products in order to strengthen their immunity and prevent diseases. Such habits experienced a “peak” with the pandemic of the new coronavirus.
Various supplement companies have used this period for intensive advertising campaigns. Public opinion was inevitably influenced by the promotion of certain supplements by public figures, as well as by people who already had experience with Covid-19 disease.
Can supplements from your locker prevent and help treat a new coronavirus infection?
Given that the disease caused by the coronavirus is completely new, researchers have not yet had enough space, ie time to conduct more extensive experiments that will give optimal, reliable results. This would mean that there is currently insufficient evidence that any supplementation can safely serve as a prevention or cure for Covid-19.
The recommendations now given by physicians are based on available research on immunity and its optimal maintenance, as well as experiences with previous infectious diseases.
In addition, in brief, what science has so far established about the three most common supplements associated with potential help with Covid-19.
Also called sun vitamin, because it is the only vitamin that can be synthesized by the body itself, under the action of UV rays from the sun. This vitamin is one of the most studied supplements. Food sources are usually fish and dairy products, as well as some other fortified products.
Why could it help with Covid-19?
This vitamin is also a hormone that helps and strengthens the body’s immune response.
A 2017 BMJ meta-study found that regular vitamin D supplementation can significantly help prevent respiratory infections, especially in people who are deficient in it.
However, it is important to emphasize – research does not claim that if you have vitamin D in normal levels, the extra amounts will make a difference.
However, the vast majority of the population, even though we are a sunny country, suffers from vitamin D deficiency. Unfortunately, a study from Macedonia shows that vitamin D is synthesized only in the summer months and only if we are exposed to the sun in the hottest part of the day (from 10 to 3 o’clock). For these reasons, it is very likely that you are deficient in this vitamin, so it is good to supplement not only to prevent Covid-19, but also to prevent a number of other risks associated with vitamin D deficiency. Read more about this vitamin, why we need it and who is at risk of deficiency in one of our previous articles: Vitamin D – THE KEY to over 4000 cellular processes!
Although dosage recommendations are individual and should be determined after analysis and consultation with your doctor, the general recommendation is that 600 to 800 IU (international units) per day would be optimal. The safe daily limit is 4000IU.
What do we know so far about vitamin D and Covid-19 infection?
So far there are only a few studies that directly examine whether vitamin D makes any difference compared to Covid-19.
In May of this year, in the journal BMJ Nutrition, Prevention and Health, scientists published a meta-analysis whose conclusion was a recommendation for vitamin D supplementation for people with disabilities, as a preventive measure.
Zinc is the second most abundant “trace mineral” in the human body, right after iron.
Its presence is determined in over 100 different enzymes in the body.
It is a powerful mineral that we need for the proper function of thyroid hormones, sex hormones and to maintain normal blood glucose (insulin) levels. Helps in the metabolism of the breakdown of carbohydrates for energy, but also in maintaining the health of the skin and nails. It also plays an important role in cell division and growth, wound healing, etc.
In addition, it is known that zinc “fights” with harmful compounds that are constantly formed in the body as a result of various reactions – free radicals.
This antioxidant effect has a positive effect on overall human health, as well as on immunity.
What do we know so far about zinc and Covid-19 infection?
In June of this year, researchers from the University of Aachen, Germany, based on the findings of their study, strongly recommend supplementation with zinc for prevention and Covid-19, especially if there is a deficiency of the mineral.
In addition, some previous research has shown that taking zinc reduces the risk of death from pneumonic infections, but also helps prevent the virus from entering the body in general, slowing down its replication (multiplication).
A study from September this year, from Covid hospitals in Barcelona, Spain, gives us quite indicative results. Namely, among 249 infected patients, those who survived the coronavirus had significantly higher concentrations of zinc in the blood plasma or on average around 63mcg / dl, while those who lost the battle with the virus had an average plasma zinc of 43mcg / dl.
According to doctors at a clinic in Cleveland, USA, who analyzed the known facts about zinc supplementation, this mineral can help reduce the duration of Covid-19 infection, but also the severity of the symptoms that appear. This is especially true for people who have been found to be deficient in this mineral.
At the same clinic, there are currently several studies that should give us clearer information about the effect of zinc on Covid-19 infection, ie its symptoms, the need for hospitalization (course of the disease), the effect of combining with other supplements, such as vitamin C etc. The results are expected very soon.
Read more about this important mineral in one of our previous articles: Without Zinc there is no IMMUNITY !.
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid has a really long list of important roles in the body. It is naturally found in fresh foods (fruits and vegetables), especially in peppers, tomatoes, citrus fruits, berries, kiwis, etc.
Why might this vitamin help with Covid-19?
Vitamin C is a very powerful antioxidant that contributes to reducing the processes of chronic inflammation in the body, but it is also an important element for maintaining the optimal state of our immunity.
Unlike the previously mentioned supplements (vitamin D and zinc), this vitamin, which is present in many foods (and we have a tradition of supplementing it), is rarely deficient in the general population.
Studies on its effect on various infectious diseases give different results. While some find positive effects, others say that vitamin C supplementation does not make any positive changes.
A summary analysis from China, which summarizes the known facts about vitamin C and some other potential supplements for Covid-19, gives encouraging results. Namely, clinical studies show that people taking this vitamin have a reduced risk of pneumonia, which indicates a potential preventive effect on lower respiratory infections (one of the most common severe symptoms of Covid-19).
A scientific paper from Belgium concludes that this vitamin can help prevent respiratory infections and “suppress” strong inflammatory reactions that can lead to more severe symptoms.