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Vitamin C, Zinc Offer No Help in Fighting Covid19: Peer‑Reviewed Study

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Feb 19, 2021

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Image Credit: The Tribune

Vitamin C and zinc supplements — demand for which has soared amid the global pandemic — does not help cure or alleviate the symptoms of Covid19, a new peer-reviewed study has found. The results were so conclusive, researchers ended the study early.

It is the first randomized clinical trial to test the two supplements under medical supervision. The 214 non-hospitalized Covid19 patients who participated in the trial were divided into four groups: one group took Vitamin C supplements in addition to receiving standard care like rest, hydration, and fever medicines; the second took zinc in addition to receiving standard care; the third group took both supplements on top of receiving standard care; and the fourth group took neither supplement, but only received standard care.

Published in the journal JAMA Network Open, the supplements’ effects were so unimpressive that the study was stopped early after the researchers noted no significant difference among the groups. “Unfortunately, these two supplements failed to live up to their hype,” Dr. Erin Michos, an associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the U.S., who was not involved in the study, wrote in an editorial accompanying the research.


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Even increasing the dosage of the supplements failed to alleviate the effects of Covid19. Instead, high doses led to unpleasant side-effects. “More adverse effects (nausea, diarrhea, and stomach cramps) were reported in the supplement groups than in the usual care group,” Michos noted.

Earlier this month, a report found that since the pandemic began, sales of vitamin C supplements in India grew by 110% compared to 2019, and sales of zinc supplements grew by 93%.

In addition, research has yet to conclusively prove whether vitamin or zinc supplements can offer protection from Covid19. But that hasn’t stopped people from purchasing these supplements en masse. As a result, practitioners report treating patients suffering from the adverse effects of consuming too many supplements. “It is unfortunate to see people putting themselves at the other health risks in the name of consuming immunity boosters,” Dr. Gaurav Jain, a consultant at the Delhi-based Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, told The Print, warning the public to not consume supplements “without proper consultation, especially if one is already suffering from another disease.”

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Written By Devrupa Rakshit

Devrupa Rakshit is an associate editor with The Swaddle. She is a lawyer by education, a poet by accident, and a painter by shaukh. She has her own podcast called #DateNightsWithD on Spotify. You can find her on Instagram @devruparakshit.

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