Vitamin A can help you restore your sense of smell after COVID-19
Recent studies show that vitamin A may be the key to restoring the sense of smell after a SARS-CoV-2 infection. This is important news in the context of the most frequent complications after COVID-19.
Recently published statistics show that about a million Americans have lost their sense of smell due to COVID-19. Five percent of all those who have had this feeling may never recover. There is no effective remedy for this, but more and more talk about the beneficial effects of vitamin A.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus damages the receptor cells of the nasal epithelium, which leads to a loss of sense of smell. However, the pathogen does not damage the olfactory nerve itself, so the changes are usually temporary, and the lost feeling returns a few weeks after recovery. It should be remembered that SARS-CoV-2 is not the first virus that causes such an effect – the consequences of infection with other upper respiratory tract viruses, for example, influenza, may be similar.
Previous studies have shown that vitamin A helps restore the sense of smell after COVID-19, and now scientists from the University of East Anglia and James Paget University Hospital are studying how a popular dietary supplement can help repair damaged nasal tissue.
The huge increase in olfactory loss caused by COVID-19 has created a global need for treatment. Approximately one in 10 people experiencing a loss of sense of smell reports that their sense of smell has not returned to normal four weeks after the start. This is a big problem, and previous studies have shown the impact of loss of sense of smell on quality of life, including depression, anxiety and isolation, as well as the fear of eating spoiled food.
“We want to find out if there is an increase in the size and activity of the damaged smell pathways of patients’ brains when they are treated with vitamin A nasal drops. This will mean restoring lost functions caused by the spread of viral infections, including COVID-19,” said Professor Carl Philpott from UEA, Norwich Medical School.
Patients will either undergo 12-week treatment using nasal vitamin A drops, or receive a placebo. Before and after treatment, they will undergo magnetic resonance imaging of the brain (MRI).
“Patients will smell the characteristic smells: roses and rotten eggs, while we will conduct an MRI for them. We will look for changes in the size of the olfactory bulb–the area above the nose where the scent nerves connect and connect to the brain. We will also look at activity in areas of the brain associated with smell recognition,” added Professor Carl Philpott.
The tests are scheduled to begin in December 2021.