With the advent of the Covid 19 outbreak worldwide, people were elevated into a state of worry and panic. Supermarket shelves were emptied by panic buyers pre-empting supply chain food shortages. Supplement aisles were also sold out of various minerals and vitamins for Covid 19 prevention. This pandemic response begs some questions; there has been much discussion in terms of the best supplements to fight coronavirus, but:
- Can vitamin C help prevent coronavirus?
- Can vitamin D help fight coronavirus?
- Can elderberry fight coronavirus?
- Is there any evidence of any supplements or magic pills that can avert Covid 19?
Also, can you guess what the top 5 leading immune-related supplements are flying off the shelves? Let’s have a look at what the research says and debunk some of the common myths out there.
Are there any supplements to prevent coronavirus?
The multivitamin/multimineral industry has an estimated worth in the region of $30 billion. Much debate has been held in relation to the biological benefits of their consumption. As the world struggles to combat Covid 19, people are seeking out how to survive the coronavirus quarantine without catching the virus. With that in mind, should supplements be one of the things to buy during the coronavirus quarantine or are you just paying to have expensive urine?
The unfortunate truth is that at the time of this article being published, there are currently no supplements to prevent coronavirus. However, let’s delve into some of the most common supplements to see if their consumption can improve overall general health, which ultimately is a fundamental constituent that determines how well you can recover from the coronavirus.
Can vitamin C prevent coronavirus?
With a threefold increase in sales of vitamin C observed in some retail outlets, it might make you wonder can vitamin C prevent coronavirus. In terms of studies on vitamin C and the coronavirus, China is in the infancy stages of assessing the effectiveness of inducing patients with high dose IV vitamin C to establish if enhanced lung functionality can be achieved. While the study is ongoing, we await the results.
Vitamin C is probably one of the most common supplements synonymous with cold and flu prevention. It would be out of the cultural norm if you haven’t ever taken a vitamin C supplement when you felt the onset of a cold or flu. This is, of course, common advice handed down from parent to child over many generations. But does Mam’s advice to take extra vitamin C stand up to scrutiny? We already know from the previous section that no multivitamins will prevent or treat Covid 19, but can vitamin C prevent colds?
Well, a meta-analysis of 29 studies involving 11,306 participants assessed the risk ratio associated with developing a cold while taking vitamin C in doses of 200 mg or more. The review concluded that regular supplementation with vitamin C failed to reduce the occurrence of colds in individuals and as such, there is no justification in regularly supplementing with vitamin C. However, in a number of participants, it has demonstrated positive effects in terms of reducing the severity of the cold. Additionally, the duration of colds decreased by 8% in adults.
Indirectly, vitamin C aids in collagen production which can help keep skin functioning as a barrier to external harmful elements. It also has the capacity to reduce inflammation in the body through antioxidant properties which may aid in improving immune responses.
Fortunately, it’s rather simple to naturally source vitamin C in your diet. A medium-sized orange provides approximately 77% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. However, don’t expect it to miraculously treat you from all your ailments!
Can vitamin D help fight coronavirus?
A report released recently in Ireland proposes some groundbreaking information on vitamin D for coronavirus protection. The rates of vitamin D consumption in Irish adults has been identified as inadequate with 13% adults over the age of 50 deficient in vitamin D all year round, and as much as 47% of all adults over 85 deficient in winter. This is likely due to the lack of sun exposure or being primarily housebound.
In terms of Covid 19, a study from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) has identified vitamin D to be paramount in terms of preventing respiratory infections, reducing the requirement for antibiotics and also boosting the immune system to aid in tackling infections.
The study reviewed a meta-analysis which evaluated 25 trials consisting of 10,933 participants in 15 countries. The aim was to determine if supplementing with vitamin D could help prevent the onset of colds, flus or chest infections – acute respiratory infections (ARI). For participants with the lowest blood vitamin D levels, supplementing on a daily or weekly basis expressed a reduced risk of developing one ARI from 60% to 32%. Additionally, it is also highlighted that supplementing with vitamin D is safe and can be beneficial in preventing ARIs.
In a more recent study in 2019 involving 19,000 participants, the research concluded that people with a low blood vitamin D level were at an elevated risk (64%) of contracting community-acquired pneumonia. Therefore, while vitamin D may not directly prevent contracting coronavirus, indirectly, it can assist people, particularly the older population, to improve their immune response and thus, their ability to respond to Covid 19.
Can elderberry fight coronavirus?
As one of the best-selling supplements on the market, it would be remiss not to investigate the benefits of elderberry in relation to Covid 19. Similar to the aforementioned vitamins, elderberry doesn’t have a direct prevention or treatment relationship towards Covid 19. However, the indirect effects of consuming it is worth considering.
A meta-analysis conducted on 4 studies observed 180 participants who supplemented with elderberry and the potential impact of this on upper respiratory symptoms. The review concluded that there was a significant reduction in upper respiratory symptoms in people who supplemented with the berry.
A small study investigated the effects of elderberry supplementing on influenza. A randomised double-blinded study group of 60 participants aged between 18-54 who displayed symptoms of influenza for 48 hours or less were supplemented with 15ml of elderberry 4 times a day over a duration of 5 days. The test group were administered placebo syrup under the same conditions. The results demonstrated a reduction in the duration of influenza by approximately 4 days. Although this was a small-scale study, it does demonstrate positive indications for elderberry use.
In addition to the above, other studies have promoted the benefits of elderberry consumption with positive immune-enhancing effects, which could be of value in terms of fighting the coronavirus.
If you’re curious as to what type of supplements are flying off the shelves, below are a list of the best-selling supplements on Amazon. According to Amazon.co.uk, here are the most popular items in immune systems supplements (ignoring duplicate/similar products):
- Sambucol Natural Black Elderberry Immuno Forte | Vitamin C | Zinc | Immune Support Supplement | 120ml
- Vitabiotics Wellkid Immune Chewable
- Vitabiotics | Immunace Extra Protection Tablets
- Proven | ProVen Acidophilus & Bifidus
- Bioglan SmartKids Vitamin D | Immune Support
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
In terms of vitamins and minerals, the best-selling vitamins and minerals on Amazon.com include:
- NatureWise Vitamin D3 5,000 IU (1 Year Supply)
- Emergen-C 1000mg Vitamin C Powder, with Antioxidants, B Vitamins and Electrolytes
- SmartyPants Kids Formula Daily Gummy Multivitamin
- Nature’s Bounty Biotin Supplement
- OLLY The Perfect Womens Gummy Multivitamin, 45 Day Supply
Did you expect these supplements to be in the top 5?
Note – the above are only provided to demonstrate the popularity in terms of supplements being bought at the time of this article being published.
- There are no supplements currently available to directly prevent coronavirus
- Adopting a balanced diet with food that helps your immune system is one of the best ways to fight coronavirus
- Vitamin C can assist in reducing the duration and severity of colds
- Indirectly, vitamin C can improve immune responses to harmful compounds
- Adequate intake of vitamin D can enhance your immune response compared to someone who is lacking in vitamin D
- Elderberry supplementation has been linked with reduced upper respiratory symptoms and immune-enhancing properties
Do you take supplements or have you started taking supplements to prevent coronavirus? If you do, have you found any difference or improvement? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.
Amazon.com. 2020. Amazon Best Sellers: Best Vitamin Supplements. [online] Available at:
Amazon.co.uk. 2020. Amazon.Co.Uk Best Sellers: The Most Popular Items In Immune System. [online] Available at:
Hawkins, J., Baker, C., Cherry, L. and Dunne, E., 2019. Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 42, pp.361-365.
Hemilä, H. and Chalker, E., 2013. Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
Kubala, J., 2020. Can Supplements Fight Coronavirus (COVID-19)? 15 Immune Boosters. [online] Healthline. Available at:
Laird, E. and Kenny, R., 2020. Vitamin D deficiency in Ireland – implications for COVID-19. Results from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA).
Norton, D., 2020. Debunking The Myths About Food And The Coronavirus. [online] RTE.ie. Available at:
Shoemaker, S., 2020. Can Vitamin C Protect You From COVID-19?. [online] Healthline. Available at:
Zakay-Rones, Z., Thom, E., Wollan, T. and Wadstein, J., 2004. Randomized Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Oral Elderberry Extract in the Treatment of Influenza A and B Virus Infections. Journal of International Medical Research, 32(2), pp.132-140.