Coronavirus: Multivitamins and probiotics may have a ‘protective effect’ against covid

Coronavirus: Multivitamins and probiotics may have a ‘protective effect’ against covid

There is finally a glimmer of light at the end of the very long and dark tunnel that is 2020. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is set to be deployed to over-80s, healthcare workers and care home residents from tomorrow. The development marks a decisive shift in the fight against coronavirus, signalling the beginning of the end.

With 1.4 million users taking part, it constitutes the biggest study to date on vitamin supplementation and COVID-19 risk.

“We looked for any correlations between taking supplements and reporting testing positive for COVID-19 using a PCR or serology test, or having symptoms predictive of COVID, said lead researcher Dr Cristina Menni.

She continued: “We found that multivitamins, vitamin D, omega-3, and probiotic supplements all had a small protective effect against testing positive for the virus,” she says.

“By contrast, we saw no protective effect at all for the other supplements we looked at like vitamin C, garlic, and zinc.”

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However, when Cristina and her team broke down their results according to gender, an interesting pattern emerged.

“We found that multivitamins, vitamin D, omega 3, and probiotic supplements all modestly helped protect women, but we didn’t see the same consistent protective effect for men. That was a surprising result,” said Cristina.

Cristina explained that the supplements may offer more protection for women because of the differences in immune systems between males and females.

“It may also be down to reporting bias, with one gender reporting their supplementation more accurately, or another factor that we haven’t been able to adjust for,” she suggested.

It is worth nothing that while the study found a small correlation between supplements and reduced COVID-19 risk, this doesn’t confirm that supplements are actually responsible.

According to the researchers, people who take vitamins and other supplements may also be more likely to take better care of their overall health and engage in steps to avoid the virus, like wearing masks and frequent hand washing.

This so-called ‘healthy bias’ could explain why people who took supplements were less likely to catch the virus, they said.

“If our results were only a reflection of the healthy bias effect, we would expect to see an effect from all the supplements we looked at, but we only see a protective effect from multivitamins, vitamin D, omega-3 and probiotics,” said Cristina.

Coronavirus – key symptoms

One of the most robust strategies against catching coronavirus and spreading it remains symptom awareness.

According to the NHS, the main symptoms to watch out for are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

“Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms,” explains the health body.

If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus:

  • Get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible.
  • You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.

Published at Mon, 07 Dec 2020 17:50:00 +0000