Does Diet Help Boost Your Immune System?

The Novel COVID (CORONAVIRUS) has disrupted nearly every aspect of our lives in the US and around the world. I am a retired physician and for the first time in my professional life, I am really scared. As we face this daunting new challenge as a nation, I think it’s very important to make sure we are doing everything in our power to help reduce infections, deaths and suffering from this outbreak. As I searched the scientific/nutrition literature, I found that:

  • higher intakes of specific nutrients appear to
    help make our immune systems stronger.1
  • Increasing the amounts of vitamins B6, folate (folic acid), B12, C, A, D and E may boost our immune systems.
  • Trace elements (those minerals required in very small amounts) including selenium, zinc, copper and iron are also important and may be deficient in our diets.
  • Stronger immune systems can help people fight the COVID-19 virus and may help keep people out of the hospital.
  • Boosting the immune system can definitely help while low intakes lead to less effective immune responses and higher susceptibility to infection.
  • There are studies showing promising effects of whole foods like goji berry, broccoli, tumeric and green tea.

Some of these nutrients may help to reduce inflammation in the lungs which might help prevent lung injury and death2.

It is too early to know what nutrients are best to counter COVID-19, but we do know that several of these nutrients have shown promising effects for common coldsinfluenza and other respiratory infections. With many restaurants only offering carry-out or curbside orders, Use this opportunity to eat healthy foods at home like citrus fruits, berries, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, red bell peppers, sweet potatoes, shellfish, beans, almonds, hazelnuts, peanut butter, turmeric and tea. These foods may be especially important in older adults, who often eat less of these nutrients and are more at risk of dying of COVID-19.

Literature Cited

1Contribution of Selected Vitamins and Trace Elements to Immune Function. Wintergerst, E.S., Maggini, S and Hornig, D.H. Am Nutri Metab 2007; 51:301-323.
2Redox Biology of Respiratory Viral Infections. Khomich, O.A., Kochetkov, S.N., Bartosch, B and Invanov, A.V. Viruses. 2018 10(8) 392.

For more information or to find out what I am taking to supplement my diet, fill out the form below and I’ll be happy to answer questions or provide you with more information.