A study by an international team of researchers has found a relationship between the use of supplements and a lower incidence of Covid-19 infections in women who take certain types of vitamins, pick up Science Alert.
The study, published in BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health, took data from an app launched by health sciences company Zoe in early 2020 called Covid-19 Symptom Study App, which asked participants a wide range of questions, including whether they were consuming foods rich in vitamins such as probiotics, garlic, fish oils, multivitamin compounds, vitamin D, vitamin C, or zinc. They also asked if they had been tested for SARS-CoV-2 and what the results were.
A total of 445,850 people from the UK, the US and Sweden had answered the questionnaire before July 31, 2020, giving the team a wealth of data to analyze.
In the UK, where the vast majority of respondents were, just under half took some form of supplement. About 6% of those who took supplements tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, while 6.6% of those who did not take supplements tested positive. That is a difference of around 2,500 people.
“In the UK segment, users who regularly supplemented their diet with multivitamins had a lower risk of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 at a 13%, while taking vitamin D had a lower risk in a 9%; those taking probiotics had a lower risk in a 14% and with omega-3 fatty acids, patients had a lower risk in a 12%“the researchers wrote.
“There were no significant associations in those who took zinc, vitamin C or garlic supplements, “the study notes instead.
Once the team divided the results by gender, for men there were no differences related to supplements, while for women the results were present in all ages and BMI groups.
The results were also slightly different between the US and Sweden: they found that omega-3 supplements did not appear to help Swedish women, and probiotics and vitamin D They seemed to help American men.
“In the largest observational study on SARS-CoV-2 infection and the use of dietary supplements to date in more than 400,000 application users from three different countries, we show a significant association between users of omega-3 fatty acid, probiotic, multivitamin or vitamin D supplements and a lower risk of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection, “wrote the team.
“Women who buy vitamins may also be more health conscious than men, such as having more use of face masks and more hand washing. In fact, in our data, we found that women tended to wear a mask more often than men, “they added.
After all that, the results show a very modest difference; For example, taking vitamins alone reduced the absolute risk of contracting Covid-19 by less than 1% in UK study participants.
But at the population level, even a small percentage can save lives, so it’s important to find out if it’s really the vitamins that make the difference. Therefore, the researchers have requested a large clinical trial to test the potential effects in a more controlled environment.