As the second wave of pandemics hits the nation harder than before, a lockdown is under action. People are more educated and aware in comparison to the first hit of the virus.
They have started taking rules more seriously. Hand washing, masks, and sanitizers are not taken lightly and many people have been aware of the importance of multivitamin tablets or vitamins such as Vitamin C and Zinc. This has led to people consuming these medicines.
However, is it safe? Are there any prescriptions? And if there are, what are some risks that come through these tablets?
These are some questions to understand properly before having such medicines by ourselves.
How did it start?
It is not pinpointed to one source or fact which started this idea of Vitamin C and Zinc fighting the COVID-19 virus but maybe instead of their general helpful properties.
Vitamin C and Zinc reduce the level of chemicals called cytokines that are harmful to the body and are produced in the body during infections.
Zinc helps increase the production of these infection-fighting white blood cells and T cells. Vitamin C is also known for boosting immunity and is claimed to be most effective against respiratory-based illness.
Since the virus is as dangerous as it is, there is no definite cure or medicine. COVID patients were given multivitamins and appropriate pain relief medicines. This is also probably why everyone started having supplements.
Another reason why these supplements have suddenly seen massive adoption is of course because of the Internet. There are many websites and videos on how having vitamin C and Zinc can help protect people from the virus.
Why Vitamin C and Zinc?
Vitamin C and Zinc are two essential micronutrients that play functional roles in nutrition, immune support, and maintenance of health. Vitamin C is a highly effective antioxidant that protects proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates from damage.
Zinc is a crucial part of cellular differentiation and proliferation. It is helpful in reducing the risk of pneumonia and common cold and the incidence of respiratory tract infection as reported by hindawi.com.
Vitamin C and Zinc have been proven by many scientists to aid in symptoms closely related to the symptoms of the virus.
However, the human body cannot produce or store vitamin C. The recommended Vitamin C dosage is 90 mg as reported by healthline.com.
Some foods that contain a good amount of Vitamin C are:
- Kiwis, one medium kiwi has 71 mg of Vitamin C
- Broccoli, one-half cup of cooked broccoli provides 51 mg of vitamin C
- Lemons, a whole lemon including its peel consists of 83 mg of vitamin C
- Lychees, since the season of lychees, are coming, one lychee provides us about 7 mg of Vitamin C.
So, we need to consume it regularly through our diet and if necessary supplements. This is why the patients are given these multivitamin supplements.
Zinc is also an essential nutrient which means that our body can not produce it nor store it. This is why a constant supply is essential.
Zinc has a comparatively low requirement as published by mayoclinic.org. The recommended daily amount of zinc is 8mg for women and 11 mg for men.
Some food sources for Zinc are:
- Meat, red meat, in particular, is a great source. Chicken thigh provides 5 mg of Zinc which is 49% of the recommended intake.
- Firm Tofu, 100g of tofu provides 2 mg of Zinc, 14% od DV
- Lentils, our daal provides us with 3 mg of Zinc per cup. The lowest is 18% of recommended dosage provided by black beans and the highest is chickpeas.
- Oatmeal provides 2mg Zinc per Cup.
However, there are side effects to consider of consuming Vitamin C and zinc and some very serious risks caused by an overdose of these supplements.
Some mild side effects caused are upset stomach, headache, unusual or unpleasant taste in your mouth. Please be aware that this is not a complete list and side effects may vary.
Minerals like zinc can have side effects if overdosed such as increased urination, uneven heart rate, stomach bleeding, muscle weakness.
Overdose of vitamin c, as well as zinc, could include
- Increased thirst, or urination.
- Bloody diarrhea.
- A tingly feeling in or around your mouth.
- Severe headache or backache.
- Easy busing.
Even if you do follow the recommended dosage of Vitamin C and Zinc, the reaction to your specific body could vary. People have different health standards which means what works for one may not work for the other.
This is why before taking these supplements, or any other medicines or vitamins, consulting with a doctor that is familiar with your health state is best.
We should try to get the recommended dosage of Vitamin C and Zinc through our diet first, instead of rushing for the pills. But we should consult with a doctor to make sure there isn’t any deficiency.
In an attempt to avoid the virus you do not want to end up having other health problems.