With no vaccine or approved treatment for coronavirus currently available, researchers have been looking for clues to anything that might lessen the virus’s severity. Even without a major pharmaceutical breakthrough, several studies have turned up evidence that certain vitamins might be vital in combating COVID, with research pointing out that getting enough vitamin D could potentially yield life-saving benefits. Now, thanks to a newly released report, it appears you can also add B vitamins to that list, with researchers saying they could be “pivotal” against coronavirus.
The new research, which was published in the medical journal Maturitas, cites the importance of multiple B vitamins in keeping the immune system running in top shape and helping to fight potentially dangerous inflammation. “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 report’s authors write. “Therefore, vitamin B status should be assessed in COVID-19 patients and vitamin B could be used as a non-pharmaceutical adjunct to current treatments.”
The authors add that vitamin B “plays a pivotal role in cell functioning, energy metabolism, and proper immune function,” noting that it helps with maintaining the body’s cytokine levels, improving respiratory function, maintaining the strength of blood vessels, and preventing blood clotting issues. In addition, B vitamins “can reduce the length of stay in hospital,” they note.
Considering the novel coronavirus is mainly a respiratory virus that attacks the lungs (as well as other organs), causes inflammation issues, and results in blood clotting, it’s clear B vitamins have some seriously helpful qualities. To find out which ones specifically—and how you can get more of them in your diet—read on. And for more on the effects of COVID-19, check out These Are the 51 Most Common COVID Symptoms You Could Have.
And that’s key seeing as type-2 diabetes has proven to be one of the biggest risk factors in terms of COVID mortality. A French study published in the journal Diabetologia in May found that 10 percent of people with diabetes who were hospitalized for COVID-19 died within seven days of being admitted. Additionally, low blood oxygen levels have been a symptom of the virus, with nearly 20 percent of COVID patients in a recent study reporting blood oxygen levels below 95 percent. And for more on how to monitor that, check out Why You Need a Pulse Oximeter at Home in Case You Get Coronavirus.
Together with UV light, riboflavin has been shown to be effective against the MERS coronavirus, “suggesting that it could also be helpful against SARS-CoV-2,” the researchers write.
B3 helps combat inflammation, which is a major issue amid COVID. Many patients with severe COVID-19 experience serious lung damage caused by the body’s aggressive immune response via an overproduction of cytokines, AKA those cytokine storms you’ve read about. That’s when your immune system starts attacking your cells rather than the virus itself. And for more on how COVID affects your ability to breathe, check out This Is What Coronavirus Does to Your Lungs.
B5 also has the ability to decrease inflammation and improves mental health, the researchers note. And both of those factors are hugely important when it comes to COVID-19 survival. And for more on the latter, check out Doing These Activities for 30 Minutes a Day Makes You Happier, Study Finds.
Low levels of pyridoxine “have been noted in patients with type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and in the elderly, groups who are at higher risk of poorer COVID-19 outcomes,” the researchers write. Supplementing your diet with this vitamin “mitigates COVID-19 symptoms” by both regulating your body’s immune response and decreasing cytokines, they add.
Folic acid helps enzyme production that’s vital in fighting off bacterial or viral infections, an obvious win amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Lastly, the researchers note, B12 can help regulate the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems. Interestingly, the novel coronavirus has been known to affect all three of those pivotal areas, including the brain, leading to a whole host of long-term effects like delirium and depression.
The good news is, the researchers point out that you can reap the benefits of B vitamins by simply maintaining a healthy diet, greatly reducing your risk of developing a serious case of coronavirus. So which foods are best for getting your B vitamins? Along with the foods pictured here, Healthline reports that some of your best options are salmon, leafy greens, eggs, milk, clams, oysters, mussels, and legumes. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.