The data so far show that taking dietary supplements, with substances that strengthen the body’s defenses, can help the body’s immune function and help reduce the risk of infections. The nutrients with the most signs of boosting the immune system are vitamins D and C as well as zinc.
Vitamin D reduces the risk of infection by various mechanisms. It promotes the production of substances that reduce the rate of reproduction of the virus, reduces the concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increases the concentration of anti-inflammatory substances. The protective effect of the vitamin has been reported in many cases associated with the development of pneumonia, with overproduction of cytokines and the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). It is therefore recommended for use in influenza A virus H5N1 pneumonia, as well as adjunctive therapy with antiretroviral drugs in HIV patients.
There are many factors that enhance the role of vitamin D in better coping with the new COVID-19 corona virus. The outbreak of the pandemic occurred in the winter, a time when vitamin D concentrations in the body are at lower levels. The number of cases in the Southern Hemisphere (where summer is now ending) is lower, and the mortality rate in these areas is lower. Vitamin D deficiency seems to contribute to the development of ARDS. Finally, the most aggravating factors for COVID-19 are old age and chronic conditions, conditions associated with lower vitamin D concentrations.
To reduce the risk of infection, it is recommended to take a precautionary dose of vitamin D for a few weeks, followed by a maintenance dose. The goal should be to achieve concentrations of 25 (OH) D in the serum 40–60 ng / mL. Larger doses may be needed to treat patients who have already been infected with COVID-19. The existing literature claims that doses up to 10,000 IU / day (for up to 4 months) are well tolerated and have no serious side effects.
Concomitant use of magnesium, which activates vitamin D.
Evidence that Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Deaths. Grant WB, Lahore H, McDonnell SL, Baggerly CA, French CB, Aliano JL, Bhattoa HP. Nutrients. 2020 Apr 2;12(4).