Your Covid-19 questions answered

Which vitamins are most effective to help fight Covid-19?

30 July 2021 - 07:00
By cebelihle bhengu AND Cebelihle Bhengu
Research suggests vitamin D may help keep your immune system in peak condition.
Image: iStock Research suggests vitamin D may help keep your immune system in peak condition.

Taking vitamin supplements in the time of Covid-19 could be beneficial to one's health, but they neither cure nor prevent the virus, says Johannesburg-based general practitioner Dr Marlin McKay. 

“With Covid-19, I encourage people to take Vitamin C, Zinc and Vitamin D. Many patients are Vitamin D deficient and there is some evidence that patients who lack Vitamin D can have more severe disease,” McKay said. 

McKay said he also advises patients who suffer from the after-effects of Covid-19, known as Long Covid-19, to strengthen their immune system with vitamin supplements.

“I tell them, 'let's carry on with your vitamins, just to strengthen your immune system for at least three months. Take it one day at a time, rest when your body is tired. Use some vitamins for the brain, exercise and work your brain to try to get it to some sense of normality,” he said.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says Vitamin D deficiency in the US is prevalent among people of Hispanic ethnicity, black people and older patients, among others. These groups are also over-represented among cases of Covid-19 in the country.

Hypertension and obesity are among conditions that have been associated with the worst outcomes in Covid-19 patients. However, the institute says there is insufficient evidence to recommend for or against the use of Vitamin D in treating Covid-19.

The UK government last year released a Covid-19 rapid guideline on Vitamin D, advising that it is “important for bone and muscle health” and “may also have a role in the body's immune response to respiratory viruses”.