Most people regain their sense of smell within a few weeks, but some never do. Sensors in the nose lining are damaged and lose the sense of smell. But is there a cure?
The loss of smell is one of the hallmarks of a Covid infection, and it often affects the sense of taste as well.
Covid isn’t the only virus to accomplish this; several upper respiratory viruses, including the flu virus, can also affect it.
The majority of people regain their sense of smell within a few weeks, but some do not. Damage to the sensors in the nose lining causes a loss of smell. Is there, however, a way to help them recover?
Previous studies from Germany has demonstrated the potential benefit of vitamin A, and researchers at the University of East Anglia and James Paget University Hospital will now explore how this treatment helps repair damaged nose tissues.
“The huge rise in smell loss caused by Covid-19 has created worldwide demand for treatment,” smell-loss expert Prof Carl Philpott from UEA’s Norwich Medical School stated.
One in ten people who suffer from smell loss indicate that their sense of smell has not returned to normal after four weeks.
“It’s a big problem, and our previous research has shown the impact of smell loss – including depression, anxiety and isolation, as well as risk of danger from hazards such as gas and spoiled food, and changes in weight due to reduced appetite.
“We want to find out whether there is an increase in the size and activity of damaged smell pathways in patients’ brains when they are treated with vitamin A nasal drops.
“This would show recovery of the damage caused by common viral infections, including Covid-19, in the nose.”
Before and after the treatment, patients can choose between a 12-week course of vitamin A drops or inactive drops.
Those who haven’t taken vitamin A drops will be compared to those who have.
Prof Philpott said: “The patients will be smelling distinctive odours, roses and rotten eggs, while special MRI brain scans are taken.
“We will look for changes in the size of the olfactory bulb – an area above the nose where the smell nerves join together and connect to the brain.
“We will also look at activity in areas of the brain linked to recognising smells,” he added.
Image Credit: iStock
You were reading: Vitamin A may help restore sense of smell after Covid, says doctor