A new review of COVID-19 hospitalization data by researchers at the University of Toledo found that taking immune-boosting supplements such as vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc does not lower your risk of dying of COVID-19.
Early in the pandemic, healthcare providers tried a variety of micronutrients as potential therapies for the new disease. More recently, supplements have been promoted by some as an alternative to safe and proven vaccines.
However, Dr Azizullah Beran said there is little evidence that these strategies work, despite the enduring interest in them.
“A lot of people have this misconception that if you top up on zinc, vitamin D, or vitamin C, it can help clinical outcomes of COVID-19,” said Beran, an internal medicine resident at the medical school. from the University of Toledo and Life Sciences. “That has not been shown to be true.”
Beran is the lead author of a new paper that significantly reinforces the emerging medical consensus that micronutrient supplements are not an effective treatment for COVID-19.
He and his collaborators reviewed 26 peer-reviewed studies from around the world that included more than 5,600 hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Their analysis found no reduction in mortality in people treated with vitamin D, vitamin C or zinc compared to patients who did not receive any of these three supplements.
Their analysis found that vitamin D treatment may be associated with lower intubation rates and shorter hospital stays, but the researchers say more rigorous study is needed to validate this finding.
Vitamin C and zinc were not associated with shorter hospital stays or a reduced risk of a patient being put on a ventilator.
While the study focused primarily on patients who were already sick and hospitalized with COVID-19 when they received the supplements, the researchers analyzed a smaller subset of individuals who had taken vitamin D before contracting the virus. . They found no significant difference in the death rate for this population either.
The article is published in the journal ESPEN Clinical Nutrition.
“It’s important for people to understand that taking a lot of these supplements doesn’t translate to better results,” said Dr. Ragheb Assaly, professor of medicine at UToledo and lead author of the paper. . “The other important message is that the answer to this disease is the vaccine. Micronutrient supplements will not make up for the lack of vaccination or cause you to need the vaccine.”
The researchers caution that the study should not be interpreted to say that vitamin and mineral supplements are bad or should be avoided, but rather clearly indicate that they are not effective in preventing deaths from COVID. -19.
Beran and Assaly say it’s possible that some malnourished or otherwise micronutrient-deficient COVID-19 patients may benefit from taking supplements, but that’s because their bodies are already lacking essential nutrients — not because the vitamin D or vitamin C are effective against the virus.
“What we’re saying is this: If you don’t medically need these supplements, don’t take them thinking they protect against COVID-19,” Beran said. “They won’t stop you from getting it and they won’t stop you from dying.”
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