RIYADH: Nutritional supplements have witnessed increased demand since the outbreak of coronavirus in Saudi Arabia, according to pharmacists in Riyadh.
People are increasing their daily intake of vitamins, minerals and herbs — including vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, ginger and garlic — in a bid to strengthen their immune system, said pharmacists and doctors.
The Health Ministry is coordinating with pharmacies to limit the quantity of nutritional supplements sold to only one pack per customer to prevent the emergence of a black market for such items, Makkah newspaper reported.
But Dr. Nizar Bahabri, an infectious disease consultant, said many studies have failed to show the effectiveness of such supplements in boosting the immune system.
He attributed the benefits some people feel to the placebo effect, in which an inert substance or treatment is designed to have no therapeutic value.
“If you believe that eating garlic will be make you get better, then it will work for you, but if you ate garlic without the same belief, then it wouldn’t work for you,” he said.
Bahabri advised people to reduce their stress, have enough sleep and drink enough water as the best means to fight coronavirus.
“If you got infected with coronavirus and said to yourself ‘I’ll be fine,’ most probably you’ll be fine,” he said.
“If you keep crying and sobbing, the cortisol level will rise in your body and the virus will multiply.”
“Those who die are 1-2 percent. If you add up those who entered the ICU and those who got acute respiratory infection, you’ll have 10 percent. The worst-case scenario is 12 percent, as in Italy.”
Dr. Taher Al-Qutub, a family medicine physician at the National Guards Hospital in Jeddah, said there is no instant pill or medicine that one can take to instantly boost the immune system to resist the virus.
“People should follow the medical instructions and guidelines of the Health Ministry (such as) staying home as long as they can, keeping social distance, washing their hands frequently and avoiding crowded places if they leave home.”