What Science Says About Vitamins and Supplements for Covid-19

Do vitamin D, melatonin, zinc, and vitamin C protect against Covid-19?

Photo: Nicolas Solerieu/Unsplash

Vitamin C

The logic: Vitamin C is a known antioxidant that bolsters the immune system and, in general, helps prevent inflammation.

Vitamin D

The logic: Vitamin D is known to help keep bones strong and might bolster the function of immune cells. It’s unusual among vitamins in that it’s rare in foods but is produced by sunlight in the skin and then converted to its usable form in the kidneys. Around 35% to 40% of U.S. adults are thought to have a vitamin D deficiency, and the rate is higher in Black people. However, there is no agreed-upon standard for what constitutes mild, moderate, or severe deficiency.

Melatonin

The logic: Melatonin is a powerful hormone whose production is triggered in the brain by darkness, signaling sleep time. It also supports a healthy immune system directly, and the sleep it promotes is key to a strong immune system. Lack of time outside in bright daylight — a common modern issue — confuses the brain’s biological clock, reducing melatonin production.

Zinc

The logic: Zinc helps the body fight bacterial and viral infections. But most people get plenty of zinc in their diets (though vegetarians and people who drink a lot of alcohol may not). Despite being touted as a coronavirus treatment, it’s well behind the pack of other options above.

How to maintain your immune system naturally

The longer list of supplements and alternative remedies promoted for Covid-19 prevention or treatment, without sustaining evidence nor much if any formal research, includes vitamins A and B, herbal teas, essential oils, oleander, tinctures, and colloidal silver.

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