According to an Oregon State University researcher, supplements containing vitamins C and D and other micronutrients, sometimes in amounts exceeding the daily recommended intakes, are a safe, effective and low-cost means of helping your immune system defend against COVID-19 and other acute respiratory tract diseases.
The Linus Pauling Institute researcher and collaborators at the University of Southampton (United Kingdom), the University of Otago (New Zealand) and University Medical Center (The Netherlands) say public health officials should issue a clear set of nutritional recommendations to complement messages about the role of hand washing and vaccinations in preventing the spread of infections.
Vitamins C and D, zinc, omega-3's play role in immune function
There’s plenty of data that highlights the role that good nutrition plays in supporting the immune system.
Specific vitamins, minerals and fatty acids have key jobs to play in helping the immune system function optimally, in particular vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, and an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Vitamin C has roles in several aspects of immunity, including the growth and function of immune cells and antibody production. Vitamin D receptors on immune cells also affect their function. This means that vitamin D influences the body's response to infections.
If you are not getting enough of these nutrients through diet, it could reduce your resistance to infections.
That's why the researchers are urging not only a daily multivitamin, but doses of 200 milligrams or more of vitamin C (higher than the official recommended daily intake of 90 milligrams for men and 75 for women) and 2,000 international units of vitamin D, rather than the 400 to 800 recommended depending on age.
The Oregon State University researcher emphasized that current public health practices – stressing social distancing, hygiene and vaccinations - are important and effective but in need of complementary strategies. A nutritional focus on the immune system could help minimize the impact of many kinds of infections.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.