Taking high doses of vitamin C and zinc will not help fight of COVID-19, researchers have said.
Zinc is important for immune function and vitamin C is an antioxidant shown to boost the immune system.
But a team from the Cleveland Clinic’s Heart, Vascular and Thoracic Institute say neither supplement is helpful in preventing or treating coronavirus. In fact, the findings were so unimpressive, the trial was ended early.
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During the study, a total of 214 people with COVID-19 were recruited. For 10 days some of them were either given zinc gluconate, vitamin C and some were given both.
Study author Dr Milind Desai, director of clinical operations at the Cleveland institute, said: “When we began this trial, there was no research to support supplemental therapy for the prevention or treatment of patients with COVID-19.
“As we watched the pandemic spread across the globe, infecting and killing millions, the medical community and consumers alike scrambled to try supplements that they believed could possibly prevent infection, or ease COVID-19 symptoms, but the research is just now catching up.
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“While vitamin C and zinc proved ineffective as a treatment when clinically compared to standard care, the study of other therapeutics continues.”
Study co-author Dr Suma Thomas, vice chair of strategic operations at the institute, added: “We know that not all patients with COVID-19 require hospital admission, and compared to those being treated in a hospital setting, they are more likely to be seeking out supplements that could help them, so it was an important population to study.”
The findings of the study have been published in the JAMA Open Network.