August 10, 2022

Coronavirus: Vitamin C, zinc do not alleviate COVID symptoms, finds study – Times of India


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Dealing with novel coronavirus symptoms can be a long arduous battle which can span over days and weeks. While there is still no proven remedy or treatment drug to relieve symptoms, the one thing people have been meticulously doing is to increase their intake of immunity-boosting foods, drinks and supplements, crucial during the recovery phase. More commonly, Vitamin C and Zinc have emerged as strong COVID-19 fighters.
Ever since the pandemic grew in proportions, the demand for Vitamin-C and Zinc consumption has also seen an exponential rise, since a lot of people believed that the two nutrients work to supercharge immunity. The two core nutrients have also for long, been thought to be anti-cold remedies. But, all may not be true.

While they are certainly helpful, infection-fighting nutrients, a recent JAMA study has quashed rumours a lot of us may have been believing – Vitamin C, Zinc does not stop or prevent COVID.
According to a recently published study which has been published in JAMA Network Open, consuming potent doses of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and Zinc have not been found to have any sort of effect on COVID recovery or lessening of symptoms.

The team of researchers conducted an open experiment on nearly 214 patients in Ohio and Florida, USA by dosing them with the supplements, which have been labelled crucial in our fight against COVID-19. The group was then put to comparison with the ones who did not receive any additional supplementation.

The patients in focus were given higher doses of these essential nutrients, much more concentrated than the ones generally used by people.
Upon analysis, it was observed that Vitamin-C and Zinc supplementation did not lead to reduced recovery or symptom reduction in any case.

The patients were compared on the basis of severity of six basic symptoms- fever/chills, shortness of breath, cough, runny nose/congestion, loss of taste and fatigue.

The analysis also observed that supplementation did not kick in immunity-boosting benefits right away, and neither did it garner any significant health benefits for sick patients during the 10-day recovery period.
While the study proved a big COVID-19 myth wrong, Vitamin C and Zinc are both potent nutrients which are vital for sustaining body functioning.

Vitamin C and Zinc also contain infection-fighting properties, which is one of the reasons why Vitamin C is actively prescribed to people with a cold, cough or chronic infections. The same extends for benefits of zinc, which a lot of people are surprisingly deficient in.

However, thinking of these nutrients as the perfect immunity boosters may not hold so true.
Remember, a healthy functioning immune system depends on the right balance of food, exercises and reduced stress levels. No single vitamin or supplement can help you achieve better immunity, that, too in a shorter timeline. Therefore. solely relying on Vitamin C, Zinc, or any such supplement may not do much for you.

Problems can also fuel up for people when supplementation is done without following proper advise, or learning about your body’s requirements first hand.
Unmoderated consumption of any nutrient group can be harmful. The same exists for Vitamin C and Zinc supplementation.

It should be noted that excessive consumption of both Vitamin C and Zinc have been associated with gastrointestinal intolerance, dry mouth syndrome, metallic taste. In many cases, too much vitamin C and zinc intake can also lead to malabsorption.

Excess consumption of zinc, studies have proved can also lead to reduced effectiveness of certain drugs and pain-relievers. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to check in with a doctor before starting off on a prophylactic dosage of any supplement.
Remember, we already get a sufficient dose of these important nutrients with the foods we eat on a daily basis. Excess supplementation can create problems.

Adults require anywhere between 65-90 milligrams of Vitamin C a day. Consuming more than specified can create problems.

The recommended daily amount of zinc is 8 milligrams (mg) for women and 11 mg for adult men.
While Vitamin C and Zinc may not be super helpful in fighting COVID-19, other core vitamins, including Vitamin D have now been proven to reduce the risk of COVID severity, catching the infection.

A recent study done in the UK has also found that moderated consumption of Vitamin-D rich foods and supplements can reduce the risk of mortality for COVID-19 patients by upto 60%. While the results are astonishing, the study is yet to be peer-reviewed.

Similarly, recent findings have also suggested that melatonin, which is a natural sleep aid, if produced in the lungs can act as an effective barrier against SARS-COV-2 replication, thereby reducing a person’s chances of catching COVID-19 significantly. Researchers also claim that melatonin may also work as an anti-COVID remedy, which is still under review and subject to clinical studies.
Apart from masks, sanitisers, social distancing, and, of course, timely vaccination, researchers heading the latest JAMA study also asserted the benefits of natural fighters in reducing COVID-19 risk and alleviating symptoms.

It’s crucial to eat a healthy diet to ward off your infection risk. Apart from increasing your intake of superfoods, researchers have identified a healthy anti-COVID diet like the one which has lots of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, seafood, eggs, minimal alcohol and red meat consumption.

Including antioxidant-rich seasonal food may also help. Similarly, cutting off processed food which also is an option that can reduce severity, and comorbidity risk.
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