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Strengthening the Immune System to Combat Covid-19

BY: RIVKA SIRKIN


Did you know there are certain nutrients that have been linked to overcoming the Covid-19 virus? 

To be clear, no specific nutrient or food will stop anyone from contracting the virus, but there are a few nutrients that help keep our immune system functioning optimally. Peer reviewed research, published this past April, showed that vitamin D had contributed to the immune system, and reduced the risk of respiratory tract infections, as well as influenza. Dr. Tom Frieden, former director for the CDC, has recommended that vitamin D storage within the body should be heavily regulated among Covid-19 patients. It has been concluded by most healthcare professionals that making sure we have adequate bodily stores of vitamin D would not hurt at this time. (Grant, pp. 988, 2020). However, it is good to keep in mind that if using supplements, the recommended dosage for healthy individuals is no more than 800 IU or 10-20 mcg a day. This dosage may differ among those with medical conditions. An individual should consult their physician or see a registered dietitian if they have questions or concerns about their personal health.

Vitamin D is not the only nutrient that is associated with the fight against Covid-19. Sufficient levels of selenium, a trace mineral, has been associated with a higher chance of surviving Covid-19. Selenium contributes to proper thyroid function, efficient DNA production, and helps the body fight against free radicals which can cause damage to the body’s cells. At least 70% of the observed individuals who had contracted the virus, and had survived, had adequate selenium stores within their body (Moghaddam, pp. 2, 2020).

Eating a balanced diet is the most efficient way to make sure you are getting all the proper nutrients needed for proper immune function and response. Now more than ever it is important to fuel our bodies with whole foods and sufficient nutrients. Below is a list of foods that contain vitamin D and selenium.

Vitamin D:

Fatty Fish (e.g. Salmon)

Egg Yolks

Fortified Milk

Cereals 

Mushrooms (exposed to sunlight)

Selenium: 

Meat 

poultry 

eggs 

whole grains

dairy products

seafood

References

Grant, WB, Lahore, H, McDonnell, SL, Baggerly, CA, French, CB, Aliano, JL, & Bhattoa,

HP. (2020). Evidence that Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of

Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Deaths. NUTRIENTS, 12(4), 988.

https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12040988

Moghaddam, A, Heller, RA, Sun, Q, Seelig, J, Cherkezov, A, Seibert, L, Hackler, J,

Seemann, P, Diegmann, J, Pilz, M, Bachmann, M, Minich, WB, & Schomburg, L.

(2020). Selenium Deficiency Is Associated with Mortality Risk from COVID-19.

NUTRIENTS, 12(7), 2098. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12072098

Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). https://ods.od.nih.gov/.