Coronavirus has been particularly devastating in recent weeks, but thankfully, there are also glimmers of hope. Beyond Pfizer’s early vaccine data and promising developments in potential treatments, we’ve also gained new insights on ways we can take our safety into our own hands.
One such insight, published recently in the journal PLOS Biology, has identified a popular supplement that may just cut your COVID risk significantly: the popular sleep aid, melatonin.
Using an artificial intelligence platform designed to identify possible drugs that could be repurposed to fight COVID-19, the researchers sifted through data from the Cleveland Clinic’s COVID-19 registry. They found that those patients that routinely took melatonin were 30 percent less likely to test positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Notably, the risk reduction was even more stark among African Americans: their chances of contracting coronavirus were lowered by 52 percent compared with the general patient pool. This held true after adjusting for “age, race, smoking history and various disease co-morbidities,” the study explains.
Of course, while the findings are positive, more research is needed to confirm the supplement’s positive effect. According to Feixiong Cheng, Ph.D., assistant staff in Cleveland Clinic’s Genomic Medicine Institute and lead author on the study, “Large-scale observational studies and randomized controlled trials are critical to validate the clinical benefit of melatonin for patients with COVID-19, but we are excited about the associations put forth in this study and the opportunity to further explore them.”
Until then, doctors warn that you should not begin taking melatonin supplements without first speaking with your physician. As Mayo Clinic points out, melatonin can come with mild side effects, including headache, dizziness, nausea, drowsiness, and more. Read on for more supplements that can help boost your immune health during the COVID crisis, and for more supplements that may lower your coronavirus risk, check out Taking This One Supplement Could Save You From COVID, Study Finds.
1. Vitamin D
While Mayo Clinic points out that there isn’t enough conclusive evidence to say that Vitamin D can help you beat a case of the novel coronavirus, studies have shown that those with vitamin D deficiencies tend to fare worse after becoming infected than those without them.
“Research has observed high rates of vitamin D deficiency in people with COVID-19 who experienced acute respiratory failure. These people had a significantly higher risk of dying,” the health giant explains. “And a small, randomized study found that of 50 people hospitalized with COVID-19 who were given a high dose of a type of vitamin D (calcifediol), only one needed treatment in the intensive care unit.
In contrast, among the 26 people with COVID-19 who weren’t given calcifediol, 13 needed to be treated in the intensive care unit.” And for more on how vitamin D can affect COVID cases, check out 80 Percent of Hospitalized COVID Patients Are Deficient in This Vitamin.
Zinc is hardly a silver bullet solution, but some doctors suggest that taking the supplement could help COVID patients have better outcomes. “Lower zinc levels at admission correlate with higher inflammation in the course of infection and poorer outcome,” a team led by Roberto Guerri-Fernandez, MD, shared with WebMD.
Pulmonologist Len Horovitz, MD, of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City echoed this sentiment, saying, “It has long been thought that zinc bolsters the immune system. A possible explanation in this study is that zinc may have an anti-inflammatory effect that is protective.”
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is known for boosting the immune system, and while it is not at all capable of curing coronavirus, it could still come in useful during the coming “twindemic” this winter. Whether it’s helping you fight off the common cold, the flu, or something else, this supplement may help you avoid other illnesses that could compound and complicate a case of COVID.
And don’t forget, your diet is the best source of vitamins. Loading up on citrus fruits, tomatoes, leafy greens, peppers, and more can help you up your vitamin C levels — without taking a single pill. And for more on getting all the vitamins your body needs, check out these 20 Surprising Signs You Have a Vitamin Deficiency.
4. Vitamin B
Vitamin B has not been proven to have a direct effect on coronavirus, but is known to help keep your immune system in tip top shape.
One study on the link between COVID and Vitamin B found that it “assists in proper activation of both the innate and adaptive immune responses, reduces pro-inflammatory cytokine levels, improves respiratory function, maintains endothelial integrity, prevents hypercoagulability and can reduce the length of stay in hospital.” The study suggests that, for these reasons, a COVID patient’s vitamin B status should be assessed along with their vitamin D status.