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Holistic Approach to COVID-19 Prevention

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on us as a society. For months people have been quarantined in their homes and even as things begin to open up, people are fearful that going out could put them at risk for contracting this virus. Although there is still much to learn about COVID-19, if there is one thing we have learned, it’s that the healthier you are as a person the better chance you have of fending off this virus. In addition to age, comorbidities have been shown to play a key role in your risk of not only contracting the disease but also of surviving the virus. In particular, people with diabetes, high blood pressure, as well as respiratory illnesses seem to pose the greatest risk. Another key risk factor is obesity. In fact, obesity has been shown to be the most prevalent risk factor for a serious or fatal result from this virus, with respiratory disease being the most strongly predictive. Numerous physicians and health experts have spoken on the importance of our underlying health and our ability to prevent this disease, as well as our ability to fight it off should we contract it. Although there is no 100% surefire way to ensure you won’t get COVID-19, there are certainly things we can do as individuals to better protect ourselves.


In addition to all the measures we are currently taking, such as wearing masks, washing our hands, and socially distancing, it is also important to have a healthy diet. In fact, there was a recent study that showed a correlation between an unhealthy diet and an increased susceptibility to COVID-19. As many of us know, an unhealthy diet high in refined carbohydrates and saturated fats, puts us at greater risk for obesity and diabetes, which in turn puts us at greater risk for

COVID-19. However, this type of diet is highly inflammatory in the body. Chronic inflammation in the body impairs its ability to fight off viruses. Therefore, now more than ever it is important to focus on a healthy diet, namely an anti-inflammatory diet (a.k.a. Mediterranean Diet, which is focused on lean proteins, lots of fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats, like avocado, fish oil, and olive oil.


Furthermore, there are things we can do to naturally boost our immune system. Vitamin D is crucial to immune health and it is a common deficiency worldwide. There is a correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and a number of serious health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune conditions, as well as neurological disorders. Vitamin D supplementation have been shown to protect against respiratory infections, however, more recent studies have shown it may play a role in the prevention, as well as the reduction in the severity of COVID-19. A recent study out of Spain showed that high dose Vitamin D reduced the need for ICU treatment for hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Vitamin C, long known for its ability to reduce the duration and severity of colds and other respiratory illnesses, has also been explored as a potential preventative measure against COVID-19.


The studies are mixed, however many integrative physicians do recommend daily supplementation of Vitamin C (1000 mg a day), to help to fend off COVID-19, given its ability to fight off respiratory illnesses and in general boost the immune system. Vitamin C, particularly in combination with zinc, is being used as part of the protocol for treating COVID-19 and there are a number of studies looking into this. Similar to Vitamin C, zinc has been shown to modulate the severity and duration of respiratory illnesses and does play an important role in our immune function. Although much more studies are needed to fully understand the best way to protect against COVID-19, we can confidently say that the healthier we are, the better chance we have to not only fighting off this deadly virus but also surviving it. This includes maintaining a healthy weight, having a healthy diet, as well as maintaining optimal nutritional status both through diet and supplementation.


Works Cited


1 Gold MS, Sehayek D, Gabrielli S, Zhang X, McCusker C, Ben-Shoshan M. COVID-19 and comorbidities: a

systematic review and meta-analysis. Postgrad Med. 2020 Jul 14:1-7. doi:

10.1080/00325481.2020.1786964. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32573311.

2 Zhou Y, Yang Q, Chi J, Dong B, Lv W, Shen L, Wang Y. Comorbidities and the risk of severe or fatal

outcomes associated with coronavirus disease 2019: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Infect

Dis. 2020 Oct;99:47-56. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2020.07.029. Epub 2020 Jul 25. PMID: 32721533; PMCID:

PMC7381888.

3 Zhou Y, Yang Q, Chi J, Dong B, Lv W, Shen L, Wang Y. Comorbidities and the risk of severe or fatal

outcomes associated with coronavirus disease 2019: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Infect

Dis. 2020 Oct;99:47-56. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2020.07.029. Epub 2020 Jul 25. PMID: 32721533; PMCID:

PMC7381888.

4 Holick MF. The vitamin D deficiency pandemic: Approaches for diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2017 Jun;18(2):153-165. doi: 10.1007/s11154-017-9424-1. PMID: 28516265.

5 Zabetakis I, Lordan R, Norton C, Tsoupras A. COVID-19: The Inflammation Link and the Role of Nutrition

in Potential Mitigation. Nutrients. 2020 May 19;12(5):1466. doi: 10.3390/nu12051466. PMID: 32438620;

PMCID: PMC7284818.

6 Ali N. Role of vitamin D in preventing of COVID-19 infection, progression and severity. J Infect Public

Health. 2020 Oct;13(10):1373-1380. doi: 10.1016/j.jiph.2020.06.021. Epub 2020 Jun 20. PMID:

32605780; PMCID: PMC7305922.

7 Ali N. Role of vitamin D in preventing of COVID-19 infection, progression and severity. J Infect Public

Health. 2020 Oct;13(10):1373-1380. doi: 10.1016/j.jiph.2020.06.021. Epub 2020 Jun 20. PMID:

32605780; PMCID: PMC7305922.

8 Calder PC, Carr AC, Gombart AF, Eggersdorfer M. Optimal Nutritional Status for a Well-Functioning

Immune System Is an Important Factor to Protect against Viral Infections. Nutrients. 2020 Apr

23;12(4):1181. doi: 10.3390/nu12041181. PMID: 32340216; PMCID: PMC7230749.


Other Sources

Beil, L. (2020, November 1). Can supplements really help fight COVID-19? Here's what we

know and don't know. Science News. https://www.sciencenews.org/article/coronavirus-covid-19-supplements-vitamins-what-we-know.

Doheny, K. (2020, October 27). More Vitamin D, Lower Risk of Severe COVID-19? WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200518/more-vitamin-d-lower-risk-of-severe-covid-19.

Hernandez, H. (2020, October 16). What can vitamin D and zinc do to fight COVID-19? KPRC. https://www.click2houston.com/health/2020/10/16/what-can-vitamin-d-and-zinc-do-to-fight-covid-19/.

Kuner, D. (2020, September 8). Spanish study finds Vitamin D may keep COVID-19 patients out of intensive care. https://www.theolivepress.es/spain-news/2020/09/08/spanish-study-finds-vitamin-d-may-keep-covid-patients-out-of-intensive-care/.

Radcliffe, S. (2020, October 7). What to Know About Vitamin D and COVID-19. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/what-to-know-about-vitamin-d-and-covid-19.



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