“Lots of nutrients are involved in building and maintaining your immune system. You can’t get them all from a single food – you need a varied diet to stay healthy. Vitamins and minerals help in various ways such as helping the ‘defender’ cells of your immune system to fight infection.
Fruit and vegetables are also vital for your immune system. So getting your five-a-day is a great place to start, along with keeping hydrated with plenty of fluids.”
Some key vitamins and minerals you need for a healthy immune system include the following.
Vitamin A. You can find this in liver, milk and cheese. And in a variety of plants, such as dark green leafy vegetables (spinach and kale) and orange coloured fruits and veg (carrots, sweet potato, butternut squash, mango and apricots).
Vitamin C is found in many types of fruit and vegetables, including peppers, kiwis, oranges, tomatoes, blackcurrants, strawberries and broccoli.
Zinc is found in meat, poultry, eggs, cheese, crabs and some other shellfish, root veg, nuts and seeds, and wholegrain cereals and breads.
Selenium is found in nuts and seeds (brazil nuts, cashews and sunflower seeds), grains, vegetables, eggs, poultry, fish and shellfish.
Vitamin D mostly comes from sunshine, but it is also found in oily fish, eggs, fortified breakfast cereals, spreads and dairy products. But it’s difficult to get enough vitamin D from food alone.
As such, Public Health England advises everyone to think about taking a supplement of 10 micrograms a day in the autumn and winter months. You might want to consider this if you’re staying inside a lot more at the moment.
At present, no effective antiviral therapy has been confirmed and symptomatic supportive
intervention is still the main treatment. There has been a previous suggestion that there is a role
for vitamin supplementation to attenuate the severity of the common cold, the development of
ARDS, and augment the immune system via antioxidant properties.
The role of vitamin and mineral supplementation or “immuno-nutrition” has previously been explored in a number of trials in intensive care settings.
The value of maintaining a diet containing a balance of vitamins seems prudent and applicable to
the general population during these unprecedented times.
We hope in the near future that well-designed
clinical trials provide the evidence needed to determine whether the clinical value of vitamins matches
the promise of their antioxidative, antimicrobial, and immunomodulatory properties.
This review aims to interrogate the current evidence base, and to present the potential
immune-mediating, antioxidant, and antimicrobial roles of vitamins A to E in the context of respiratory
disease, and to extrapolate this evidence to evaluate the potential roles in the fight against COVID-19.
Although there is currently no evidence from completed randomized controlled trials to conclusively and specifically demonstrate a role for vitamin supplementation in the fight against COVID-19, there is strong scientific evidence, based on studies of vitamin physiology, pharmacology, and their role in clinical studies of infection and ARDS to
indicate a role for vitamins in the battle against this global pandemic.
In particular, disease models of a lower vitamin A concentration and increasing host susceptibility to influenza and SARS-CoV have prompted investigation into the relationship between oral supplementation with vitamin A
and COVID/COVID-like viruses.
Furthermore, computational screening tools is a novel approach revealing promise for targeted drug testing of B vitamins, such as folate and B12, and supplementation if warranted.
Vitamin C, owing to its potential role in attenuating upper respiratory tract infections, its antioxidant properties, and use as a high-dose intravenous therapy in ARDS and sepsis, may prove beneficial in COVID-19 included vitamin C within its multimodal therapeutic strategy.
The protocol consists of intravenous methylprednisolone, high-dose intravenous ascorbic acid,
full-dose low-molecular-weight heparin and optional treatment components (including thiamine, zinc,
and vitamin D)
It would be fair to say that there is emerging evidence that they may play a role in either preventative measures or supportive therapy in established respiratory infections and intensive care settings.
Explore our wide range of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and other essential nutrition.