COVID-19: Do supplements protect against viruses?

COVID-19: Do supplements protect against viruses?

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How Food Supplements Protect From COVID-19

Eating a healthy diet and taking certain supplements could be a safe and inexpensive way to help our immune system fight COVID-19 and other acute respiratory diseases. A recent study has examined the effect of various vitamins and micronutrients in protecting against viruses.

A study at Oregon State University found that supplements containing vitamins C and D and other micronutrients appear to be useful in helping the human body fight COVID-19 and other acute respiratory diseases. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Nutrients".

This is how we support our immune system in the fight against COVID-19

When people take vitamin C and D and other micronutrient supplements, it can help the immune system fight COVID-19 and other acute respiratory diseases. Therefore, in addition to the hygiene requirements and vaccination recommendations, clear nutritional recommendations should also be made in the health care system to counter the spread of infections, the researchers emphasize.

Healthy nutrition supports the immune system

Across the world, more than 2.5 million people die from acute respiratory infections each year. “There is now a wealth of data showing the role that healthy eating plays in supporting the immune system. As a society, we have to convey this message (…) better, ”says study author Professor Adrian Gombart from Oregon State University College of Science in a press release on the study results.

Which vitamins are particularly important?

Certain fatty acids, vitamins and minerals play a key role in supporting the immune system. In particular, vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc and an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish, the so-called docosahexaenoic acid, also known as DHA, are of crucial importance for the immune function.

What do vitamins D and C do?

"The role that vitamins C and D play in immunity is particularly well known," Professor Gombart continues. Vitamin C is involved in several aspects of immunity, including the growth and function of immune cells and antibody production. Vitamin D receptors on immune cells also influence their function. This means that vitamin D has a profound effect on your response to infections.

People often don't get enough of the nutrients

“The problem is that people just don't get enough of these nutrients. This could destroy their resistance to infection. As a result, we will see an increase in disease and all of the additional burdens associated with these diseases, ”added the study author.

Dosages need to be increased

That is why the researchers not only recommend a daily multivitamin, but also doses of 200 milligrams or more of vitamin C. This value is higher than in the diet guidelines, but is still rated as safe. The researchers also recommend taking 2,000 international vitamin D units.

Influenza kills hundreds of thousands of people every year

Taking dietary supplements could make a big difference when it comes to protecting themselves from diseases, the researchers report. For example, millions of people are hospitalized every year due to influenza alone and several hundred thousand die worldwide.

Standard procedures to curb the spread of respiratory viruses

"To curb the spread and impact of respiratory viruses, a number of standard public health procedures have been developed: washing your hands regularly, avoiding contact with people with symptoms of infection, and covering your nose and mouth when you cough," explains Professor Grombart. There are annual vaccination campaigns for certain viruses such as flu.

We need complementary strategies

Professor Gombart emphasizes that current public health practices such as contact restrictions, hygiene and vaccination are important and effective, but complementary strategies are needed. A nutritional focus on the immune system could help minimize the effects of many types of infections.

Are we just not doing enough?

“The current situation with COVID-19 and the number of people who die from other respiratory infections make it clear that we are not doing enough. We strongly encourage health authorities to include nutritional strategies in their arsenal, ”added the professor. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Philip C. Calder, Anitra C. Carr, Adrian F. Gombart, Manfred Eggersdorfer: Optimal Nutritional Status for a Well-Functioning Immune System Is an Important Factor to Protect against Viral Infections, in Nutrients (Published Apr 23, 2020), Nutrients
  • Dietary supplements an important weapon for fighting off COVID-19, other respiratory conditions, Oregon State University (Published Apr 23, 2020), Oregon State University

Video: Covid-19 Crisis. Medicinal Supplements to boost immunity. Late Bloomer (January 2023).