Scientists from King’s College London drew on data from 1.4 million people from the UK, USA and Sweden registered in the COVID Symptom Study app. Study participants answered questions about their health status and what supplements they take and how often. In addition, the application contained information about the test results for COVID-19 users.
Of the 327.7 thousand users of the application in the UK, 175.6 thousand reported taking various vitamins and minerals since the beginning of the pandemic. In this sample, COVID-19 was confirmed in 10.5 thousand people who took supplements, as well as in 13 thousand users who ignored such prevention methods. After the researchers adjusted their findings for other factors, it emerged that four dietary supplements could potentially be associated with a reduced risk of coronavirus infection.
So, taking various probiotics can theoretically reduce the threat of infection by 14%, multivitamins – by 13%, omega-3 fatty acids – by 12%, and vitamin D – by 9%. However, zinc, vitamin C and garlic extract supplements did not seem to have any effect on the likelihood of infection. An analysis of user data from the United States and Sweden showed similar results, the study authors noted.
It is noteworthy that in all countries, the effect of dietary supplements on the risk of infection was found only in women. Scientists have suggested that perhaps the point is not in vitamins and trace elements, but in the fact that women are simply more concerned about their health and more carefully observe all protective measures – they wear masks and observe social distance. It is also possible that women have a stronger immune response to coronavirus and this could potentially be influenced by the intake of vitamins and minerals.
“This is an observational study, not a clinical trial, so we cannot make clear recommendations on whether or not any supplements should be taken and in what doses. Until there is more convincing evidence of their benefits in the fight against coronavirus, we advise you to follow only the official recommendations of the health authorities, “- noted the study authors.