A meta-analysis of 26 studies involving more than 5600 COVID-19 inpatients found that taking immune enhancing micronutrients, such as L-Ascorbic acid, vitamin D and zinc, did not reduce the risk of death from COVID-19.
A new review of COVID-19 hospitalization data by researchers at the University of Toledo found that taking immune boosting supplements such as L-Ascorbic acid, vitamin D and zinc did not reduce the risk of death from COVID-19.
In the early days of the pandemic, health care providers tried various micronutrients as potential treatments for new diseases. Recently, supplements have been promoted by some as safe and reliable alternatives to vaccines.
However, Dr. Azzula Belan said that although people have always been interested in these strategies, there is little evidence that they are effective.
Beran, a resident physician in the School of Medicine and Life Sciences of the University of Toledo, said: "Many people have the misconception that if they take a large amount of zinc, vitamin D or L-Ascorbic acid, they can help improve the clinical results of COVID-19." "This has not yet been proved to be true."
Beran is the main author of a new paper, which significantly strengthens 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, including more than 5600 hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Their analysis found that patients taking vitamin D, L-Ascorbic acid or zinc did not have a lower mortality rate than those not taking these three supplements.
Their analysis did find that vitamin D treatment may be related to lower intubation rate and shorter hospital stay, but the researchers said that more rigorous research is needed to verify this finding.
L-Ascorbic acid and zinc were not associated with shorter hospital stay or reduced ventilator use.
Although the study focused on patients hospitalized with COVID-19 infection after taking supplements, the researchers also analyzed a small number of people who had been taking vitamin D before they were infected with the virus. They found no significant difference in mortality among this population.
This paper was published in the journal Clinical Nutrition ESPEN.
"It is important for people to understand that taking large quantities of these supplements will not lead to better results," said Dr. Ragheb Assaly, a professor of medicine at Utrecht University and senior author of the paper. "Another important message is that the answer to this disease is vaccine. Micronutrient supplementation cannot make up for the lack of vaccination, or make you do not need a vaccine."
The researchers cautioned that this study should not be interpreted as saying that vitamin and mineral supplements are bad or should be avoided, but rather as clearly indicating that they cannot effectively prevent COVID-19 death.
Belan and Asali said that some patients with malnutrition or lack of micronutrients in COVID-19 may benefit from taking supplements, but this is because their bodies already lack essential nutrients, not because vitamin D or L-Ascorbic acid is effective against viruses.
"What we want to say is: If you don't need these supplements medically, don't think they can prevent COVID-19," said Belan "They will not prevent you from getting it, nor will they prevent you from dying."