- A lot of hype surrounds vitamins and minerals for treating or preventing COVID-19, though little evidence exists.
- Vitamins C and D and zinc may help boost the body's response to the coronavirus, but likely only if you're deficient.
- Dozens of studies are currently investigating the potential use of these supplements on COVID-19 patients.
Can vitamin D help fight COVID-19?<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fefdc4c878af3febac545b6911ac1b66"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Q2nXgeJSJrc?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Evidence for adding more of these vitamins on top of a balanced diet (and barring any deficiencies) is thin, however. Humans have long held a fascination with the idea that more is better. In the case of essential vitamins, it's all about balance. </p><p>A number of pro-vitamin D articles have been bouncing around social media. The argument: quarantining humans results in them not getting enough sunlight, which compromises their vitamin D levels. These opinion pieces are generally arguing against shutdowns, using this heavily-studied supplement as a wedge. </p><p>Vitamin D certainly helps your immune system. Deficiencies <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3308600/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">are linked</a> to increased risk and severity of viral infections: "Interventional and observational epidemiological studies provide evidence that vitamin D deficiency may confer increased risk of influenza and respiratory tract infection." One <a href="https://eje.bioscientifica.com/view/journals/eje/183/5/EJE-20-0665.xml" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">study</a> has linked vitamin D deficiency to difficulties fending off COVID-19. </p><p>If your body produces enough vitamin D, however, you don't need more. As Susan Lanham-New at the University of Surrey in England, <a href="https://www.sciencenews.org/article/coronavirus-covid-19-supplements-vitamins-what-we-know" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">says</a> "If you have enough vitamin D in your body, the evidence doesn't stack up to say that giving you more will make a real difference." Since too much of this vitamin has a negative impact, you want to keep your levels around 600-800 IU per day. Spending <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-from-sun#:~:text=Regular%20sun%20exposure%20is%20the,your%20skin%20is%20to%20sunlight." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">10 to 30 minutes outside a day</a>, a few days a week, is enough to satisfy requirements. Fish (such as salmon, trout, and swordfish) and fortified milk products also <a href="https://health.gov/our-work/food-nutrition/2015-2020-dietary-guidelines/guidelines/appendix-12/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">help you reach</a> these levels. </p><p>Thus far, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7246103/" target="_blank">studies</a> have shown that people deficient in vitamin D could use a boost. There are currently over a dozen studies testing high-doses of vitamin D in newly infected volunteers. As no results have been published, the verdict is still out.</p>
Photo: Right 3 / Adobe Stock<p>Zinc has also been making the rounds, especially in conjunction with other treatments. If you regularly consume oysters, red meat, poultry, or beans, your body is likely sated. Taking zinc while you have a cold <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6457799/" target="_blank">seems to help out</a> (provided you take it at the onset of the illness). Zinc lozenges <a href="https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/10/1/e031662" target="_blank">don't fare as well</a>.</p><p>Zinc was on everyone's mind as an additive to hydroxychloroquine. While the latter treatment <a href="https://www.sciencenews.org/article/covid-19-coronavirus-hydroxychloroquine-no-evidence-treatment" target="_blank">didn't live up</a> to the hype, zinc supplementation <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2020.01712/full" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">bestows immune benefits</a> based on SARS research (which is also a coronavirus). At the moment, it <a href="https://www.ccjm.org/content/early/2020/06/08/ccjm.87a.ccc046" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">appears</a> that zinc reduces the duration of COVID-19, though not the severity of symptoms. Loading up isn't the best idea, as too much zinc <a href="https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-Consumer/#:~:text=Signs%20of%20too%20much%20zinc,the%20%22good%22%20cholesterol)." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">could cause</a> nausea, vomiting, stomach problems, and if taken for an extended duration, lower immunity. But if you start to feel sick, zinc might not be a bad idea. </p><p>Linus Pauling famously—some would say <a href="https://www.vox.com/2015/1/15/7547741/vitamin-c-myth-pauling" target="_blank">infamously</a>—touted the benefits of vitamin C. The two-time Nobel Prize winner went a bit overboard with his passion for this vitamin. That said, due to his work, vitamin C is now extensively studied (and sometimes overused). </p><p>The popular antioxidant provides an immune boost and reduced inflammation, both important when you're battling a virus. While you can take supplements, plenty of fruits and vegetables contain what you need. </p><p>Experts <a href="https://www.sciencenews.org/article/coronavirus-covid-19-supplements-vitamins-what-we-know" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">warn</a> that studies on vitamin C produce contradictory results. As an inexpensive intervention, upping your levels when you have a cold can't really hurt. A dozen or so studies are currently looking at the possibility of using vitamin C to treat COVID patients. As with the previous supplements, too much vitamin C produces unwanted side effects. In the coming months, researchers will have a clearer idea of its potential role in COVID-19 treatment. </p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Facebook</a>. His new book is</em> "<em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08KRVMP2M?pf_rd_r=MDJW43337675SZ0X00FH&pf_rd_p=edaba0ee-c2fe-4124-9f5d-b31d6b1bfbee" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy</a>."</em></p>
Artificial intelligence model detects asymptomatic Covid-19 infections through cellphone-recorded coughs
The researchers trained the model on tens of thousands of samples of coughs, as well as spoken words.
Asymptomatic people who are infected with Covid-19 exhibit, by definition, no discernible physical symptoms of the disease. They are thus less likely to seek out testing for the virus, and could unknowingly spread the infection to others.
Instead of looking forward, we should be consulting the past.
When will the pandemic end? All these months in, with over 37 million COVID-19 cases and more than 1 million deaths globally, you may be wondering, with increasing exasperation, how long this will continue.
Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling has an important favor to ask of the American people.
- Michael Dowling is president and CEO of Northwell Health, the largest health care system in New York state. In this PSA, speaking as someone whose company has seen more COVID-19 patients than any other in the country, Dowling implores Americans to wear masks—not only for their own health, but for the health of those around them.
- The CDC reports that there have been close to 7.9 million cases of coronavirus reported in the United States since January. Around 216,000 people have died from the virus so far with hundreds more added to the tally every day. Several labs around the world are working on solutions, but there is currently no vaccine for COVID-19.
- The most basic thing that everyone can do to help slow the spread is to practice social distancing, wash your hands, and to wear a mask. The CDC recommends that everyone ages two and up wear a mask that is two or more layers of material and that covers the nose, mouth, and chin. Gaiters and face shields have been shown to be less effective at blocking droplets. Homemade face coverings are acceptable, but wearers should make sure they are constructed out of the proper materials and that they are washed between uses. Wearing a mask is the most important thing you can do to save lives in your community.
The images were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and show how prolific coronavirus can become in a mere four days.
Not exactly camera shy<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzg2MjU2MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MDcyMzY5N30.P9-pN3720tOzXNrYTybx3X7qc_7ZO8ZdF15ztj5cgXA/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C52%2C0%2C52&height=700" id="dc41e" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="dd5152d7ead13cca82f0f19be988f538" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Another image of novel coronavirus. This one shows the virions 10 times closer than the above image.