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How to regain sense of smell after Covid-19? Vitamin A might help, says new study

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The loss of smell is a pretty common symptom of Covid-19. But did you know it can take a toll on your mental health too? A new study claims that vitamin A could be the key to regaining your olfactory powers.

Covid-19 has become one of the harshest realities of our times. Ever since it entered our lives almost two years ago, we are grappling with challenges — physical, emotional and mental. When it comes to physical symptoms, the loss of smell is one of the most common. And if research is to be believed, it isn’t just the Covid-19 virus, but also other types of flu that do the same. 

“Loss of sense of smell or anosmia can be a temporary or permanent condition. In most cases, it is only a temporary loss of smell that returns within a few days or weeks. In certain cases, it is permanent. Anosmia takes place when the mucus membranes in your nose are irritated or obstructed,” shares Dr Rashmi Tarachandani with HealthShots.

loss of smell
Reduced loss of smell has been a cause of concern among people who have fought Covid-19. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

As per a study published in the American Family Physician, our senses of smell and taste are closely linked. This means that 95% of the time when an individual experiences a loss of taste, it is caused by a loss of smell. 

But how can this issue be resolved? A German study titled Intranasal vitamin A is beneficial in post-olfactory loss, published in the National Library of Medicine, talks about the potential benefit of vitamin A to deal with this issue. Moreover, researchers at the University of East Anglia and James Paget University Hospital are now looking at how this vitamin A nasal drops treatment could help repair damaged nose tissues. 

It is important to note that loss of smell doesn’t just cause physical symptoms, but also leads to mental health issues like anxiety and depression. 

What are the mental health disorders it can cause?

As per Preeta Ganguli, a trauma-informed therapist and mental wellness consultant, the loss of smell and taste can really affect the quality of our lives.

“Although no one else around you can figure out if you have lost your sense of taste or smell, it is uncomfortable for you. This may lead to isolation from people, because you may feel that others do not understand your experience,” she said.

“In some people, it could also show up in the form of eating disorders, since they do not enjoy the act of eating anymore. Some of them may eat less, because of the perpetual discomfort, which could lead to massive weight loss,” she told HealthShots.

loss of smell
Your sense of smell and taste can also impact your mental health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Some new research from the University of Cincinnati has found certain coping mechanisms that have helped Covid-19 patients with the lessened sense of smell, which in turn, impacts the taste. One of the common themes was that people who have been facing these challenges have been eating more foods with distinct textures, such as strawberries because of their ability to sense the texture of the fruit.

Are there any other remedies that can help with anosmia?
1. Castor oil

“Put one drop of warm castor oil in each nostril. It is necessary to do it twice a day for the best results. This practice is beneficial in eliminating inflammation,” says Dr Ankita Gupta, Ayurvedic expert from Birla Ayurveda.

2. Garlic

We all know the benefits of garlic, but did you know it can also help to regain your sense of smell. Add a few chopped garlic pods to a cup of water, boil the ingredients and once the mixture cools down, strain it completely and drink it. 

loss of smell
Garlic has several health benefits, and it can also help with anosmia . Image courtesy: Shutterstock
3. Ginger

“Take a piece of peeled ginger and chew it slowly. Start chewing the ginger piece at regular intervals. If you can’t chew the ginger piece directly, consume ginger tea. Do this every day. The aroma of ginger is strong and can enhance your sense of smell and taste,” recommends Dr Gupta.

Last but not the least, keep yourself hydrated throughout the day!

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