One common vitamin is being overlooked as a possible weapon against COVID-19, according to a new scientific review.
The nutrient may help prevent the severe, runaway inflammation that is often fatal to coronavirus patients, the authors say.
In an article published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition, the researchers note that vitamin B6 has been shown to improve immunity, reduce inflammation, prevent blood clots, and promote lung health—all properties that could potentially help COVID patients.
Professor Thanutchaporn Kumrungsee of Hiroshima University is the lead author of the review. “Recently, many scientists have published papers regarding the role of diet and nutrients in the protection against COVID-19,” she said.
Vitamin B6 Fights Coronavirus Risk Factors
Previous studies have found that vitamin D, vitamin C, and the mineral zinc have potential benefits against COVID-19. “However, very few scientists are paying attention to the important role of vitamin B6,” Professor Kumrungsee said.
Vitamin B6 is also known as pyridoxine. Researchers found that it fights several coronavirus risk factors.
- Diabetes: Studies have found that vitamin B6 reduces the incidence of diabetes. B6 deficiency is linked to high blood sugar and insulin resistance.
“Based on these notions, we can assume that sufficient vitamin B6 levels are beneficial to suppress severity of COVID-19, partly through ameliorating diabetic complications,” the authors wrote.
- Pneumonia: Animal studies found that B6 helps prevent viral pneumonia and reduces lung inflammation. One recent study found that a prior bout of pneumonia is the second most dangerous coronavirus risk factor, behind only old age.
- Heart disease: Low B6 intake is linked to a high risk of heart disease death. “Vitamin B6 may (reduce) the severity of COVID-19 by preventing worsening of cardiovascular complications,” the authors wrote.
The authors found that B6 improves immunity by increasing antibody production and other virus-fighting immune compounds. And it reduces inflammation, which may limit “virus spread and cytokine storm,” the authors said.
Vitamin B6 Deficiency Is Widespread
The paper notes that vitamin B6 deficiency is common among seniors, the very people most at risk from coronavirus. One study found that half of nursing home residents don’t get enough B6.
No study has tested B6 supplements in COVID patients. But the authors are now planning to launch a clinical trial. As soon as the results are available, we’ll let you know.
In the meantime, you can make sure that you get enough B6 by taking a supplement or eating foods high in the nutrient. They include:
- Beef liver
- Fresh yellowfin tuna
- Fresh sockeye salmon
Vitamin B6 is often part of multivitamin or B-complex supplements. It is also available as a stand-alone supplement.
B6 supplements are considered safe at the widely recommended dosage of 100 mg a day. Be sure to consult your doctor before taking it.
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