Nutritional Supplements and COVID-19: A Research Summary
Since COVID-19 emerged across the globe in early 2020, many researchers have examined the role of micronutrients including vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc and NAD+ in the prevention and treatment of disease symptoms.
Vitamin C is recognised as safe and effective in the treatment of infections and oxidative stress. Research into the value of vitamin C against COVID-19 suggests it can support cellular defences.
High dose vitamin C reduced the time spent in ICU and in conjunction with corticosteroids and thiamine led to reduced mortality. Vitamin C has repeatedly been shown to be effective against oxidative stress in respiratory diseases, and against the ‘cytokine storm’ response that frequently leads to death in COVID-19 patients.
A study in China showed that patients in a critical condition given high doses of vitamin C improved oxygenation and all patients in the trail were eventually discharged from hospital.
Vitamin D is known for its role in immune function, boosting the innate immune system and helping to suppress damaging proinflammatory cytokines.
Data suggests that vitamin D deficiency increases susceptibility to COVID-19 among key groups including the elderly, the obese and those who smoke.
A recent study showed that people with low vitamin D levels are 1.77 times more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19, while other research shows that low vitamin D levels make it more likely that a patient will be hospitalised with COVID-19.
Zinc is found in every human tissue and is involved in nearly every biochemical pathway, including immune responses. Zinc deficiency is associated with numerous infections, including pneumonia. Its apparent effectiveness against viral infection suggests that it could aid in the control of RNA viruses such as the one that causes COVID-19.
NAD+ is essential to cellular metabolism and is made in the body from precursors known as B3 vitamins.
Several studies have shown a link between NAD+ depletion and the severity of COVID-19, and researchers continue to investigate how B3 and NAD+ supplementation may assist in the prevention and treatment of severe COVID-19 symptoms.
As the pandemic continues, new and more effective treatments are urgently needed.
Micronutrients such as B3, C and D vitamins, NAD+ and zinc are widely available and their relative safety is well understood. Large scale trials are needed to determine the full extent of the benefits of these nutrients in the fight against COVID-19.
At PIM we have a particular interest in the role of micronutrients in our health and wellbeing. Contact us to learn more.