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Vitamins to help prevent COVID

  • 10-03-2022 3:26pm
    Registered Users Posts: 1,024 ✭✭✭ RoTelly

    Are you taking supplements to help prevent or reduce the effects of COVID should you get it?

    It seems to have passed by most. The Oirechtas had said as part of the HSE guidelines that Vit D would get mentioned.

    I take Vitamin D, K2 and one of those effervescent tablets with Zinc and Vit C. Also reducing my consumption, and eating healthier. Eating more greens, fruit and having breakfast each morning.

    Post edited by Beasty on


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Same here, Vitamin D, K2, Zinc and also Quercetin. Also eating healthier and have lost 10kg, very close to being in my BMI range now. Very disappointing that the health authorities have not been way more vocal about supplements, eating healthier and exercise during the pandemic.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,717 ✭✭✭ YFlyer

    I'm taken ivermectin with a glass of purified water daily. Haven't caught covid-19 yet.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,024 ✭✭✭ RoTelly

    Wasn't actually suggesting that, but I see your sarcasm. Nothing wrong with taking measures to help prevent the spread, from healthy living, to wearing a mask, to keeping your distance... you may still get covid or a flu but it just might not be as bad.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,717 ✭✭✭ YFlyer

    I was just ball hoping.

    All those steps would benefit your health and keep many diseases a bay. Doubt many who normally don't have a reasonable healthy lifestyle would change due to fear of catching covid.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,952 ✭✭✭ afatbollix

    Noting can stop a virus infecting you. Being healthy and having some anti-bodies from Vaccines will help if you get it.

    The only way to prevent it is to stay away from people.

  • Registered Users Posts: 32,140 ✭✭✭✭ is_that_so

    Some of the more recent research into COVID has been pinpointing likely genetic predispositions to severe cases. That type of work will more probably produce better solutions. I believe they are also close to figuring out long COVID and thus developing potential treatments for it. It is good to take the likes of Vitamin D IF you need it and exercise is always good to do but they do not make you superhuman nor necessarily mitigate the risk of catching something. I agree on the proximity of others and some of my acquaintance caught COVID, despite their health awareness or vigilance against it coming near them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 26,743 ✭✭✭✭ Wanderer78

    ....and wormless to, you ll be squeaky clean inside!

  • The government report on Vitamin D that was released recently and got Nurse John Campbell all excited - was really an awful piece of work. I deconstructed and responded to it at length in another post if anyone wants a link.

    I have seen little or nothing to suggest any benefit for most people most of the time in taking supplements. If you suspect yourself deficient in something - or better yet you have established with your doctor you are deficient in something - then supplementation would seem useful in that context. Otherwise little or nothing makes me even suspect any benefit there.

    Some things - and Vitamin D is a good example here - have shown some efficacy in relation to the virus. But unfortunately a lot of people have massively misunderstood what that means. Which is not their fault at all. No reason they should understand it!

    I think for example hitting patients who are caught early on in an infection with seriously large doses of it has shown some efficacy in studies? That however does not mean that supplementing it day to day is going to have any useful effect. But I can see why some people might think that that is what it means.

    I can see the appeal though. The idea that popping a simple pill will benefit you in life - coupled with the very human feeling of "sure what harm even if it does nothing" - can be compelling. But unfortunately most supplementation most of the time appears to do little or nothing. And worse sometimes it actually does positively cause harm(s). Either directly such as putting pressure on organs - or indirectly by having interactions with other drugs the patient might take in their lives. Random example that jumps to mind here is St Johns Wort.

    Worse again in many countries - the US being a great example - very often the pill does not contain even a trace quantity of the thing it purports to be. You can literally go to the US and buy vitamin D pills and find it contains little or no Vitamin D at all! Regulation on supplements can be relatively lax if it exists at all in some areas.

    Eating pills is easy. If similar levels of evidence - or even strong evidence - were presented to the same people that their best chance of positive outcomes would be if they lost a lot of weight and engaged in frequent moderate physical excercise - uptake I suspect would not be as marked. Because that takes effort. Eating pills doesn't.

    But to play devils advocate - we also should not entirely discount the power of placebo. If popping a pill that does nothing at all really - still makes a person feel full of life and energy and motivation and so forth - then that has to be taken as part of the equation too. We can just hope any harms their choice of pills cause scale positively with the benefits of that placebo effect. But our mind state can have an effect on things like our immune response. So I would be very open to the idea placebo that makes someone feel positive and immune - actually does have some of those effects.

    On top of that people in the last 2 years have felt uncertain, worried, anxious, concerned, and helpless. None of that is good and can in the long term lead to negative mental health outcomes. Similar to placebo popping a pill - even one that likely does nothing - can feel like asserting some level of control over our circumstances. It makes a person feel they are doing something positive and effective and preparing themselves for the future. So even if the pill they choose does nothing at all really - it can still have massive positive effects in their life too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 270 ✭✭ Captain Barnacles

    Vitamins,supplements and "exercise" being helpful to Covid is far right misinformation.

    I have taking my 3 shots (have my 4th next week) wear a mask all the time and am keeping everyone safe by staying at home - These (masks and vaccines) are the only real protection from covid.

    I am eating well (a good healthy weight of 180 KG), having delivery drivers bringing me my food (my last KFC driver was disgustingly unhealthy, the young fit 20 year old had his mask below his nose - disgraceful ).

    I may go shopping when it is safe to do so.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,024 ✭✭✭ RoTelly

    I would advise not eating KFC of all fast food places. I assume its not a regular thing. Should we go into lockdown again? Seems to me that is what people are push for, boosted here but have doubts about getting a 4th.

    How did you get a 4th shot?

  • ^ I think most of his post was meant to be comedy and silly, not serious. :)

    We have about one KFC a year here. We eat seriously healthy all the time. Once a year though we tend to go absolutely carnal on buckets of KFC until we are a sticky oily unmoving mass of gluttony on the floor.

  • Registered Users Posts: 225 ✭✭ TalleyRand83

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Here is a link to a peer reviewed study from 6 weeks ago saying Vitamin D does have an impact when it comes to Covid -

    And here is an article in a paper about this study -

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,529 ✭✭✭✭ astrofool

    Vitamin D helps the immune system, so having enough of it will have an effect, however, for anyone who isn't deficient in vitamin D (and C for that matter) taking it isn't going to have any effect and it will just be passed though the body.

    A lot of people are deficient in vitamin D and multiple other vitamins, they're a group that is unlikely to take supplements on a daily basis however.

  • Exactly. You are making my point(s) for me that I made in my post. The two main points being that:

    1) if you have any cause to think, especially with the opinion of a doctor, that you are deficient in some way in something you should be all means augment it and

    2) many people who are lay men to the literature often misunderstand what many of the studies mean and falsely think that these studies mean they should be supplementing. But in fact most people most of the time will likely see little or no actual benefit from doing so.

    Your link/study here is a good example of that, thank you.

    What the study here does is discuss how people who are actively and actually deficient may have shown poor outcomes with Covid. So by all means let us look at what the study means and does not mean.

    Firstly the study is cautious so you should be too. It starts by saying they have found a "potential correlation". That means they do not really have that strong evidence at all that there is a link here. Rather they have seen data that suggests we would do well to look into it.

    Secondly though - as I said in the post you replied to - this is about people who are deficient to a significant degree before covid infection. Most people most of the time are not. That was exactly the point I was making.

    There is nothing in that study therefore that suggests most people, most of the time, will see any benefit at all from taking supplementation of it. Yet it is a study I have seen cited often when this discussion comes up. You are not the first to link me to it by far. It seems that a study of this nature very much is read by the lay man as strong evidence for supplementing. Even, if memory serves (I might be wrong here) people writing reports on Vitamin D for the Irish Government.

    The thing is I think the study - especially in the article you link along side it - over state the special nature of Vitamin D here too. That is to say - that I would suspect a strong correlation would emerge if you were significantly deficient in quite a few other things too - and then you had to deal with some kind of viral infection.

    So people by all means should work with their doctor to identify any deficiency they might have - of anything not just vitamin D - and find useful and effective ways to deal with them. But the fact remains that most people most of the time seem to show absolutely no benefit from supplementing things they are not deficient in.

    Sometimes it becomes a bit like bringing more and more bricks to a builder. That is to say if you bring more bricks than they can use in their building - it reaches a point where bringing even more bricks will not help them at all. Worse if you keep bringing more and more - the logistics of dealing with them can positively hamper their building project. Even bringing the exact right amount of bricks but bringing them all at once - can result in logistical issues and problems for a builder rather than bringing them in a steady stream as and when they need them.

    I find that analogy good and useful when it comes to things like Vitamins. Most people most of the time appear to get the bricks they need in a useful time period. Supplementing for most people most of the time therefore potentially gives them the bricks they need but too soon - or brings them more than they need and positive harm (like in the kidneys and liver and so on) ensues from having to process and deal with them.

    Imagine telling the builder "Well I know that if you do not have enough bricks your project will fail - therefore I Think we should bring way too many bricks to all builders!" and how little sense that would make to the builder? That is what a study like the one above essentially makes people do however.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Well with just under 50% of the Irish population vitamin D deficient it would have made sense during the past two years that the government sent out vitamin D to every household, or at least the policy should have been a campaign in the media to encourage everyone to take vitamin D supplements, especially considering the chances of being harmed by taking a lot vitamin D is super low.

  • That is exactly the report I mentioned in my previous post. So it is funny you should link to an article about it here. I notice also you link to an article about it - rather than the actual report itself. The report itself is pretty awful however. It is very unprofessionally done and very misleading. I already took it apart on the forum before - specifically in the context of a you tube video by a nurse called John Campbell who thought it was a great report himself. Though as a nurse he would have had little training in reading and really interpreting reports.

    The first thing I would push back on in your post however is this common, but very poor, trope of "sure the chance of harm is low". So what if the harm of taking it is low? The harm of taking many many things is low. The harm of taking high doses of homeopathy pills is low too. So what? That does not mean we should be giving them to everyone. If there is a huge list of things that are harmless - why arbitrarily pick one and simply hand it out?

    The second issue however is to question whether the harm is indeed actually low. Especially high doses as you suggest when you say "a lot". Vitamin D toxicity is actually a thing. It can cause hypercalcemia and stones in the kidney for example. Also remember there are usually side effects of any mass distribution of any drug. We know this for example very well with vaccines. Vaccines may save lives and prevent some infections and prevent poor outcomes after infection and much more. But there are also side effects and people are harmed. The fact is however that the benefits over a large population far far far outweigh the negatives in a large population. Therefore we distribute them despite the harms. The point being that we do so knowing the benefits are real and significant and scale in a significant way with the harms. Unless it can be shown that something actually had such a net large benefit - you can not justify mass distribution which will also cause harms. Simply saying "sure its harmless" is not a justification. At. All.

    A third issue is "drugs in the wild". The simple fact is that our database of interactions between drugs and things like drugs is incomplete. When you get a recommendation for anything from a doctor - the doctor will almost always ask you if you are currently on any other medications. The doctor will then check a database to see if the thing he is recommending has any known interactions with the things you are already taking. But that database is not complete. Not even remotely close to complete. Just because the things you are taking are not listed as known interactions with the new thing - does not mean a negative interaction will not happen. So like above - there is a risk to mass distributing anything to a large population because of all the potential interactions between it and anything else individuals in that population might be taking. Even relatively "natural" substances like - as I mentioned before - St Johns Wort as an example. We simply do not know what a significant dose of Vitamin D distributed over a population will do in reaction to all the drugs in play in that population. So do to so without demonstrable good reasons - and for no other reason than "sure itll probably be harmless" thinking would be significantly poor medical ethics.

    Finally - I would question the claim that near 50% of Irish people are "deficient". You should check what the actual medical world consider "deficient" and then check what the report/study you are referring to used as a measure to see if the report was realistic. You should always. Always. Always. Be aware of this. Because many studies in the past have mislead the public (sometimes deliberately) by using unrealistic measurements. A good example here is the studies on water which were, unsurprisingly, financed by bottled water manufacturers. This nonsense concept of you needing to drink 2 literes of water a day that so many people think is true. Studies for example found that significant %s of european children are dehydrated. They came to this conclusion based on urine tests. But their study used a fantasically nonsense measurement for what constituted "dehydrated" that no actual pediatrician would ever use. Basically the study lied to us. So if you think 50% of the Irish public are deficient after reading a study your first reaction should be to ask "What consitutes deficient exactly? Why is this the value? Is it the value the study used, and if not why not? What exactly makes us think the Irish are deficient? And exactly how deficient, if at all, are they?".

    Trust me the report is worse than you think. But you can find my post on the report if you use the search function (I can find the link if you wish) where I pulled apart just how bad A) it was and B) nurse Campbels reading of it was. It's bloody awful to be fair.

    But as I said already there is little to no evidence vitamin D is going to help much preventing covid or dealing with a covid infection. Let alone over the counter supplements before the fact. A study showed an interesting correlation that warrants further investigation. But reading too deeply into that correlation would be an error that even the study itself cautioned against. The didn't do it. So nor should you. The idea the government should have given us all D pills - let alone high dose D pills - is simply totally unwarranted.

  • Posts: 61 ✭✭ [Deleted User]

    Boards is really not a place to get medical advice.

    Are nurses trained sufficiently to be able to dispense virology advice? Probably not.

    Most GPs are good enough to take a blood test and check a few minor ailments but again they are not virologists.

    Read directly what the experts say, not an article about what the experts say.

    The main trick is understanding which experts advice to follow.

  • Administrators, Social & Fun Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 67,670 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭ Beasty

    No medical advice - thread closed

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This discussion has been closed.