Infectious Disease

Zinc and ascorbic acid don’t considerably shorten the period of SARS-CoV-2 signs

February 12, 2021

2 min read

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Cainzos-Achrirca, Michos and Thomas do not report any relevant financial information. In the study you will find all relevant financial information from all other authors.

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There was no significant difference in the duration of SARS-CoV-2 symptoms in outpatients taking high-dose zinc gluconate, ascorbic acid, or a combination of the two when compared to usual treatment without supplementation.

“Limited evidence suggests that high doses of ascorbic acid and zinc gluconate can shorten the duration of cold symptoms and reduce the severity of symptoms.” Suma Thomas, MD, MBA, A doctor in the cardiology department at Cleveland Clinic and colleagues wrote. “However, the role of zinc gluconate and ascorbic acid in reducing symptoms and improving recovery in patients diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection is uncertain.”

Reference: Thomas S. et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2021; doi: 10.1001 / jamanetworkopen.2021.0369.

The researchers randomized 214 outpatients (mean age 45.2 years; 61.7% women) with a positive SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis in a ratio of 1: 1: 1: 1 to receive 10-day treatment with: 50 mg zinc gluconate; 8,000 mg of ascorbic acid; both supplements or; usual care without supplement. The primary endpoint was the number of days until a patient achieved a 50% reduction in the severity of their fever, cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Each symptom was rated on a four-point scale at baseline. Secondary results included the number of days it took a patient to reach zero symptom severity, cumulative severity on day 5, hospital stays, deaths, additional prescribed medications, and adverse events related to the dietary supplements.

According to Thomas and colleagues, patients who received usual care showed a reduction in symptoms within an average of 6.7 days. Symptoms were reduced in those who received zinc gluconate after an average of 5.9 days, while those who received ascorbic acid or both took an average of 5.5 days (total P = 0.45). According to the researchers, there was no significant difference in the secondary results. They terminated the study early after an interim analysis of the data showed a lack of significant benefit with the supplements.

Thomas and colleagues confirmed that previous data suggests that zinc supplementation can fight infection and that ascorbic acid can affect the immune system.

“However, based on the current study, these supplements cannot be recommended to reduce symptom morbidity in such patients,” they wrote.

In a related editorial Erin D. Michos, MD, MHS, Director of Women’s Cardiovascular Health at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Miguel Cainzos-Achirica, MD, MPH, PhD, An assistant professor of preventive cardiology at the Houston Methodist said future research should explore how vitamins and supplements can help patients with COVID-19, as long as it is done carefully.

“The best evidence for clinical recommendations is well-designed [randomized clinical trials]Michos and Cainzos-Achirica added. “With the widespread public use of supplements such as zinc and ascorbic acid to prevent and treat viral infections, we applaud the … study’s researchers for providing rigorous scientific evidence by testing their effectiveness and challenging popular beliefs . Unfortunately, these two additions couldn’t live up to their hype. “

References:

Michos ED and Cainzos-Achririca. JAMA Netw Open. 2021; doi: 10.1001 / jamanetworkopen.2021.0431.

Thomas S. et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2021; doi: 10.1001 / jamanetworkopen.2021.0369.

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