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A Vitamin? that can “give back” smell to people who still suffer from anosmia caused by COVID-19

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While smell loss is a common symptom of COVID-19, many other viruses have been known to cause smell loss and distortion, and while the majority of patients spontaneously restore their sense of smell within a few weeks, many have been left with anosmia caused by COVID-19 or persistent smell problems.

Researchers at the University of East Anglia and James Paget University Hospital have launched a new study to see whether Vitamin A can help to recover lost sense of smell following viral infections such as COVID-19.

While viruses have a variety of modes of action, it is generally believed that they cause the thin hair-like ends (cilia) of scent receptors to fall off, resulting in loss of function.

Anosmia, or the ability to smell, is a common symptom of respiratory disease, coupled with the loss of taste, chronic coughing, and elevated temperatures.

It is unknown why some people have persistent smell issues while others do not. It is believed that some individuals who experience persistent issues have an increased number of ACE2 receptors, which allow the spike protein to enter and infect the smell senses.

Vitamin-A has already been demonstrated to be beneficial in Germany, and the UEA researchers will investigate how this treatment works to help repair nose tissues damaged by viruses.

They believe that the study, which is supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), will one day benefit millions of people worldwide who have lost their sense of smell by restoring it.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A, also known as retinol, has several important functions.

These include:

  • Helping your body’s natural defence against illness and infection (the immune system) work properly
  • Helping vision in dim light
  • Keeping skin and the lining of some parts of the body, such as the nose, healthy

Some research suggests that having more than an average of 1.5 mg (1,500 µg) a day of vitamin A over many years may affect your bones, making them more likely to fracture when you’re older.

This is particularly important for older people, especially women, who are already at increased risk of osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones.

Pregnant women in particular are advised to avoid having large amounts of vitamin A as it can harm their baby.

Source: University of East Anglia

Image Credit: iStock

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