Researchers have frequently theorized that vitamins C and D might ease coronavirus symptoms or prevent infection, but a new study suggests that another vitamin may also be helpful: Vitamin B.
In the study, which was published this week in the journal Maturitas, scientists from the University of Oxford, United Arab Emirates University and the University of Melbourne advocated for more research into whether B can help COVID-19 patients.
The researchers didn't test the vitamin on patients but pointed out that it has a number of effects that could ameliorate COVID-19. "Vitamin B … plays a pivotal role in cell functioning, energy metabolism and proper immune function," the authors wrote. "Vitamin B 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 the hospital." Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Could calm inflammation and the immune system
The novel coronavirus seems to cause widespread inflammation throughout the body, impairing breathing and potentially affecting the heart and brain. It's theorized this is caused by an immune system overreaction to the virus called a "cytokine storm."
Reducing that inflammation and modulating the immune system could prevent cases of COVID from becoming severe. "Vitamin B not only helps to build and maintain a healthy immune system, but it could potentially prevent or reduce COVID-19 symptoms or treat SARS-CoV-2 infection," the researchers wrote. "Poor nutritional status predisposes people to infections more easily; therefore, a balanced diet is necessary for immuno-competence."
Vitamin B "should be assessed" as a possible "adjunct to current treatments" for COVID-19, the researchers concluded.
Sources of Vitamin B
There are eight B vitamins, including B1 (thiamine), B6, B12 and folic acid. Deficiency in Vitamin B12 or B6 can cause anemia, and pregnant women are urged to take folic acid during pregnancy to prevent birth defects of the brain and spine.
According to the National Institutes of Health, B vitamins can be obtained from proteins such as fish, poultry, meat, eggs, and dairy products; leafy green vegetables, beans, and peas; and cereals and breads that have been fortified with B vitamins. They're also widely available as over-the-counter supplements.
As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid large gatherings, practice social distancing, wash your hands regularly, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.