Can multivitamins, omega-3s, probiotics, and vitamin D reduce the risk of COVID-19?

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T.His article is part of a series from The Better India sharing verified information on COVID-19 care. While multiple posts are being circulated on social media and messaging services like WhatsApp on various aspects of the fight against COVID-19, we strongly advise you not to trust unverified content. To separate fact from fiction, we will share the videos and content with doctors and experts and provide you with their answers with science-based information.

Dr. Vikas Maurya, Director of Pulmonology at Fortis Hospital in Shalimar Bagh, has been treating COVID-19 patients since the pandemic began in December 2019.

Dr. Vikas Maurya

He talks about the use of various multivitamins, omega-3 capsules, and the importance of including protein in our diet.

1. Should I start taking multivitamins regularly?

Dr. Maurya: No, it’s not like consuming these multivitamins will reduce your chances of getting COVID-19 infection. These are just immunity boosters. One can certainly become infected with COVID-19 even if you remain in good physical health. There is no connection between the consumption of the multivitamins and the infection with COVID-19.

However, there is a chance that you could get a mild form of COVID-19 or become asymptomatic due to good physical health.

2. How long should I continue the course?

Dr. Maurya: Ideally, there is no point in starting a multivitamin course before you get COVID-19. One should continue to focus on eating healthy and nutritious foods. Make sure you have a balanced meal and include plenty of protein and vegetables in your daily diet. With that done, there would be no need to consume a multivitamin or focus on an external source of nutrition.

3. Does low vitamin D mean I tend to test positive?

Representative picture

Dr. Maurya: No. In India, the majority of us have lower than normal Vit D levels because we don’t spend a lot of time outdoors in direct sunlight. However, maintaining good Vit D levels is important for various other body functions. However, there is no correlation with the transmission of COVID-19. This is important for the body’s metabolic activity and good bone health.

4. What role do probiotics play in COVID-19 management? What Would a Good Source of Natural Probiotics Be?

Dr. Maurya: While being treated for COVID-19, patients are given many different medications, including antiviral drugs. To ensure that gut health remains good, probiotics can be prescribed. It has no other impact on COVID-19 management as such. In terms of the Indian diet, cottage cheese is a great natural source of probiotics to include with meals.

5. What role does omega-3 play in COVID-19 management? Should I take them as soon as I test positive or even before?

Dr. Maurya: This is another immunity booster, and I wouldn’t say it has a significant impact on COVID-19 management. When a patient is being treated for COVID-19, we usually prescribe them as supplements to avoid developing a deficiency.

Please consult your doctor before starting any medication. This is not to be treated as a prescription.

(Edited by Yoshita Rao)

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