Corona viruses are a large group of viral infections that can affect both humans and animals. They get their name from the Latin root for “crown” or the aura of plasma that surrounds the Sun. This is because they appear to have projections from themselves looking like the projections seen on our sun.

There are now 7 known Corona viruses that have affected humans. The first four types are common and cause common colds. The next 3 include SARS, MERS and now the most recent pandemic SARs-CoV2 also better known as the Corona Virus that is causing the current pandemic.

When the pandemic hit us in early 2020 most doctors were searching for the right medication to cure or suppress the infection. However, as our knowledge about the virus and its effects on the body grew, we learned more and more how we could help our immune response to build an adequate defense against the virus and its deleterious effects on our organs. Our direction for post pandemic may be changing towards better nutrition.

Best vitamins for immune system

Recognize there are times when a vitamin or mineral will be suggested in a higher therapeutic dose, which is different than the amount you need to maintain a healthy immune system. Below, we offer some guidance on science-based recommendations for nutrients and the amounts to help you maintain a healthy immune system.


Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin also known as ascorbic acid. Vitamin C is essential for making skin, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels, for healing wounds and forming scar tissue, and for repairing and maintaining cartilage, bones, and teeth. The human body cannot synthesize vitamin C so it must be obtained from the diet.

Vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables. Since Vitamin C is water soluble and is utilized so often in your body, it is ideal to consume a food with Vitamin C with each meal to ensure your body has the defense it needs throughout day. For example, an orange with breakfast, some sweet red pepper in a salad or on your sandwich at lunch, and some tomato sauce with dinner and/or mango for dessert. The RDI (Recommended dietary intakes) by FDA for adults and children above 4 years is 90 mg, and RDA (recommend daily allowance) for Vitamin C is 95 mg for men, 75 mg for women, and 35 mg more if a smoker or you exercise regularly. Due to the stress on your body as you restore strength and build, there is some evidence to support, 200-500 mg a day from food (or supplement) to ensure your tissues reach saturation with the health benefits of Vitamin C. The tolerable upper limit for Vitamin C intake from supplements is set at 2,000 mg per day.

Foods That Are High in Vitamin C are: Kakadu Plums, Acerola Cherries, Rose Hips, Chili Peppers, Guavas, Sweet Yellow Peppers, Blackcurrants, Thyme, Parsley, Mustard Spinach, Kale, Kiwis, Lemons, Oranges, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Lychees, Persimmons, Papayas, and Strawberries.


Recent studies are linking Vitamin D deficiency and poor outcome to Covid-19 infection. At the outset of the pandemic Northwestern University researchers were able to complete a statistical analysis of patients from countries across the globe that have been hit hardest by the Covid-19 infection. Their research appears to show a direct relationship between Vitamin D deficiency and Covid-19 mortality rates. “…it is important for people to know that vitamin D deficiency might play a role in mortality…”.

Another early study in Ireland showed that countries such as Spain and Italy that rely solely on sunlight for their D supplementation have an overall lower rates of vitamin D level in their population vs. countries such as Sweden and Finland that use supplementation as their main means of D nutrition. What is also observed that the populations that suffer lower levels of D had a worse outcome overall with Covid-19 infections. Hence the authors of the study recommend optimizing vitamin D levels in all populations as a means of preventing morbidity and mortality.

One of the biggest issues with Covid-19 infection is its pulmonary side effects and severe pulmonary edema causing need for ventilator support. Research has begun to show that this inflammatory response is more to do with the bodies over recruitment of inflammatory white blood cells than the viral load. It appears that vitamin D plays an important role in suppressing and controlling this overdrive of the immune system and slowing the pulmonary issues in patients with normal D3 levels.


Vitamin D has been found to be more than just a vitamin. It is a pro-hormone in the body and is involved in many different systems from bone health to muscle function and even immunity. The Vitamin D our bodies use can be made by our skin with the ultraviolet light from the sun. It is also found in some foods such as cod liver, salmon, sardines, egg and tuna. However, as we age, we may not convert the active form of Vitamin D from the sun as well. Overweight and obese individuals may also have lower levels of serum Vitamin D.

Today at hospitals it is becoming the standard of care to add large doses of Vitamin D to treat any admitted Covid-19 patient. Dr. Osborne on recent report by a Major News Channel discussed the benefits of this large dose vitamin D therapies.

Dr. Osborne also “stressed everyone should think of boosting their immune systems using three different supplements – Vitamin D, Vitamin C, and Zinc”.

There appears to be new look at therapy with vitamins, and it appears to show improved health benefits for the recipients of the viral illness.

Ask your doctor to check your Vitamin D level. If your vitamin D levels are low, you may be advised to take a higher dose of vitamin D until your levels increase to a normal. Your vitamin D level should be monitored regularly by your physician to adjust the supplement appropriately.

Table: Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] Concentrations and Health*



Health status



Associated with vitamin D deficiency, leading to rickets
in infants and children and osteomalacia in adults

30 to <50

12 to <20

Generally considered inadequate for bone and overall health
in healthy individuals



Generally considered adequate for bone and overall health
in healthy individuals



Emerging evidence links potential adverse effects to such
high levels, particularly >150 nmol/L (>60 ng/mL)

* Serum concentrations of 25(OH)D are reported in both nanomoles
per liter (nmol/L) and nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL).
** 1 nmol/L = 0.4 ng/mL


A recent article in National Center for Biotechnology Information and reprinted by Awaken touched upon what is known as cytokine storm in the medical field. “The pathogenesis of a COVID-19 respiratory infection, in a major way, is related to what is referred to as the cytokine storm” or in lay terms a hyper-inflammatory response that can do more damage to tissue than fighting an infection. During this cytokine storm, “an explosive production of proinflammatory cytokines … occurs, greatly exaggerating the generation of molecule-damaging reactive oxygen species (free radicals). In severe cases, the cytokine storm is responsible for the most obvious signs of a COVID-19 infection including fever, lung injury which causes cough and shortness of breath (and the long-term complication, lung fibrosis) and in death.”


It was believed in the past that melatonin was only produced in the pineal gland of the brain and only involved in promotion of sleep. However, recent studies have shown that it is produced in the mitochondria which is the energy center of every cell in your body, and it controls different functions in the cell proliferation and activation. Recent article by National Institute of Health (NIH) touch upon “melatonin's potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, it would normally reduce the highly proinflammatory cytokine storm and neutralize the generated free radicals thereby preserving cellular integrity and preventing lung damage… the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions of melatonin in protecting the lungs from damage in many experimental models that involve inflammation or oxidative stress (or both) is well documented. Moreover, melatonin has anti-viral actions against viruses other than COVID-19.” Hence there may be a possible advantage in taking melatonin not just for improved sleep but to protect against Covid-19 infection and its harmful effects. More research in this area is needed.


Recently there are multiple studies showing that a cell receptor called ACE which is abundant in the adult lung is involved as a gateway for Coronavirus to enter the cell. Hence the virus hits the lungs more commonly and it is less seen in children which have less ACE receptors. Zinc appears to be a sort of a plug that blocks this gateway for the coronavirus. Newer studies are also showing that zinc can block the enzyme that is responsible for replication of the coronavirus’ genetic code.


Zinc is another mineral essential for a healthy immune system. If you are deficient in zinc, you are probably at higher risk for infection.  Some foods with high Zinc content are crab, oysters, lobster, pork chop, baked beans, pumpkin seeds, fortified cereals, and dark meat of chicken.  The RDI (Recommended dietary intakes) by FDA for adults and children above 4 years is 11 mg and RDA (recommended daily allowance) for Zinc is 11mg for Men over 19 years of age and 8 mg for women over 19 years of age. Based on anectodical reports, it could be beneficial to take Zinc at dosages of 15mg daily to improve our chance of fighting off the virus. Some studies show that Zinc & vitamin C have a synergistic effect on the immune response lower both the duration and the chance of a viral cold, which are part of the coronavirus family.  It is believed that the upper limit of daily intake of zinc for adults is at 40mg/day. High dose of Zinc like at 50mg/day dosage has been known to cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and a lowered immune response. Recent studies recommend against overdosage of Zinc above the standard dose to protect against Corona Virus pandemic.

Zinc has been promoted by the medical community to provide a possible advantage to the immune system over the Covid-19 virus. "Lower zinc levels at admission correlate with higher inflammation in the course of infection and poorer outcome," said a team led by Dr. Roberto Guerri-Fernandez of the Hospital Del Mar in Barcelona. The main issue with Zinc absorption is that it can be blocked by supplements such as Copper, Calcium, Iron, or Magnesium and it can interact with other medications. It can also stop the absorption of Copper in your gut due to competitive inhibition.

Some in the medical community believe that zinc dosing throughout the day is more effective in providing a constant flow of the supplement to your blood stream than once a day dosing. There are even some who recommend taking lower doses up to every 3 hours to improve boosting the immune response.

This information is only for educational purposes and is not medical advice or intended as a recommendation of any specific products. Consult your health care provider for more information. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


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