Nutritional Support for Immunity Against Viruses Including the Coronavirus

clinical nutrition Mar 13, 2020

I am sharing an article below written by the company Nutri Link in the United Kingdom to share resources about how to help support your immune system against the Corona Virus and any other viruses.

The two practitioners over at Nutri Link have over 55 years of experience in Clinical Nutrition between them.

Nutritional Support for Immunity Against Viruses Including the Coronavirus


There are currently no vaccines or other drugs that have shown any promise in treating Coronavirus. Conventional medical advice is to rest and hydrate, which is the same advice given to those with a mild cold.

Some centres are advising the use of the NSAID drug, ibuprofen. For those hospitalised and exhibiting respiratory distress, the use of ventilators and IV hydration drips are the most likely treatment pathways.

Tests are underway in China to ascertain whether two antiviral drugs used to
treat HIV (lopinavir and ritonavir) might offer effective treatment. These drugs were shown to help combat the SARS virus in 2003 after data emerged that HIV patients who were using the drugs and who also had SARS had better outcomes.
(taken from Jayney Goddard’s Feb 2020 CMA article)

Nutritional Supplementation

In addition to a wholefood diet that excludes refined, processed foods and sugar, targeted and specific nutritional support is one of the ways to strengthen immunity to help prevent or address any viral infection.

There are other lifestyle behaviours in which to engage such as appropriate exercise, sufficient sleep and sound hygiene. However, the focus of this article if on the key nutrients to consider to support anti-viral immunity.

There may well be benefits from other complementary modalities such as
herbalism, homoeopathy.

We, at Nutri-Link, have collated information from existing peer-reviewed papers on PubMed, and other organisations such as The Complementary Medical Association (CMA), the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service OMNS) in the US, the British Society for Ecological Medicine (BSEM NEWS February 2020) whom we thank and acknowledge for their swift expression of what action to consider for the individual to improve immunity versus viruses, and which could complement any medical interventions.

Here, we present information on key nutrients and natural plant-derived substances, but this is by no means a complete list. However, it represents a robust summary of essential nutrients, plant concentrates and their role in human immunity versus viruses. Synergy is key as opposed to focusing or relying on a single agent.


Vitamin C
According to Andrew Saul, editor of Orthomolecular Medicine News Service (OMNS) on January 26, 2020, “the coronavirus pandemic can be dramatically slowed, or stopped, with the immediate widespread use of high doses of vitamin C.

Physicians have demonstrated the powerful antiviral action of vitamin C for decades. There has been a lack of media coverage of this effective and successful approach against viruses in general and coronavirus in particular.

It is very important to maximise the body's anti-oxidative capacity and natural immunity to prevent and minimise symptoms when a virus attacks the human body. The host environment is crucial.

Preventing is obviously easier than treating severe illness. But treat serious illness seriously. Do not hesitate to seek medical attention. It is not an either-or choice. Vitamin C can be used right along with medicines when they are indicated.

“The basis for using high doses of vitamin C to prevent and combat virus-caused illness may be traced back to vitamin C's early success against polio, first reported in the late 1940s. (Klenner FR, 1949). Many people are unaware, even surprised, to learn this.

Further clinical evidence built up over the decades, leading to an anti-virus protocol published in 1980. (Cathcart RF, 1980) It is important to remember that preventing and treating respiratory infections with large amounts of vitamin C is well established.

Those who believe that vitamin C generally has merit, but massive doses
are ineffective or somehow harmful, will do well to read the original papers for themselves.

To dismiss the work of these doctors simply because they had success so long ago sidesteps a more important question: Why has the benefit of their clinical experience not been presented to the public by responsible governmental authorities, especially in the face of a viral pandemic?”

Vitamin D
The studies clearly show that vitamin D is, undoubtedly, a key nutrient which affects the immune response, and has been shown in multiple studies to possess or stimulate anti-viral properties.

Assessing vitamin D status and maintaining optimal serum levels should be considered in all ageing adults and children, and micronutrients should be regarded as one of the essential factors which improve our health condition overall and also support our fight against diseases.

Zinc is known to play a central role in the immune system, and zinc-deficient persons experience increased susceptibility to a variety of pathogens. Zinc is crucial for normal development and function of cells mediating nonspecific immunity such as neutrophils and natural killer cells.

Broadly, zinc exerts its antiviral effect by interfering with four stages of the viral life cycle, which includes loss of infectivity of the virus, inhibition of virus entry into the host, inhibition of viral polypeptide processing, and inhibition of the activity of viral protease and/or virally-encoded RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp).

Ensuring optimal zinc status with zinc supplementation is one contributory factor for strengthening immunity vs viral infections.

This trace mineral possesses anti-viral activity, as well as contributing to a reduction in Reactive Oxygen Species and Reactive Nitrogen Species (ROS & NOS). A lack of selenium increases vulnerability to infection from viruses as has been shown by studies across the world in the past decades from Cuba to China.

Humic acid
Sourced from specific soil in certain locations in the world, Humic acid inhibits all viruses. The Humic Acid with the most effective anti-viral activity is derived from fresh-water plants that are essentially ancient compost that is thousands of years old.

Humic acid contains many kinds of “functional groups” (specific groups of atoms) that can bind to a multitude of viruses. Research has shown certain humic
acids to be effective in vitro against all known viruses including influenza, HSV & HIV.

Olive Leaf extract
The main active constituents of olive oil include oleic acid, phenolic constituents, and squalene. The main phenolic compounds, hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein, give extra-virgin olive oil its bitter, pungent taste.

Oleuropein belongs to the secoiridoids, which are abundant in Oleaceae, Gentianaceae, Cornaleae, as well as many other plants.

Iridoids and secoiridoids are compounds that are usually glycosidically bound and are produced from the secondary metabolism of terpenes as precursors of various indole alkaloids.

Studies have also shown that oleuropein exhibits significant antiviral activity against respiratory syncytial virus and para-influenza type 3 virus.

S. Boulardii
This probiotic yeast supports secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA), the major immunoglobulin of the innate immune system which protects against infectious agents. It has been very well studied and is one of the most well researched probiotic organisms on earth.

Please visit the Centres for Disease Control over at the link below to find out what other practical steps you can take to prevent illness in the first place.


Nourishing Wishes

Specific recent papers on the subject of coronavirus
• Lu R, Zhao X, Li J et al. Genomic characterisation and epidemiology of 2019 novel coronavirus: implications for virus origins and receptor binding. Published: January 30, 2020. Full Paper
• Chen N, Zhou M, Dong, X et al. Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of 99 cases of 2019 novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan, China: a descriptive study. Published: January 30, 2020. Full Paper

Vitamin C References
• Cai Y et al. A New Mechanism of Vitamin C Effects on A/FM/1/47(H1N1) Virus-Induced Pneumonia in RestraintStressed Mice. Biomed Res Int. 2015; 2015: 675149. Published online 2015 Feb 1. Full Paper
• Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients. 2017 Nov; 9(11): 1211. Published online 2017 Nov 3.
Full Paper
• Case HS (2018) Vitamin C questions answered. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service. View Full Article
• Cathcart RF. The method of determining proper doses of vitamin C for the treatment of diseases by titrating to bowel tolerance. Australian Nurses J 1980, 9(4):9-13. Full Article
• Gonzalez MJ, Berdiel MJ, Duconge J (2018) High dose vitamin C and influenza: A case report. J Orthomol Med. June, 2018, 33(3). Full Paper.
• Gorton HC, Jarvis K (1999) The effectiveness of vitamin C in preventing and relieving the symptoms of virus-induced respiratory infections. J Manip Physiol Ther, 22:8, 530-533. View abstract
• Hemilä H (2017) Vitamin C and infections. Nutrients. 9(4). PII:E339. Full Paper
• Hickey S, Saul AW (2015) Vitamin C: The real story. Basic Health Pub. ISBN-13: 978-1591202233.
• Kim Y et al. Vitamin C Is an Essential Factor on the Anti-viral Immune Responses through the Production of Interferon-α/β at the Initial Stage of Influenza A Virus (H3N2) Infection. Immune Netw. 2013 Apr; 13(2): 70–74. Published online 2013 Apr 30. Full Paper
• Klenner FR. The treatment of poliomyelitis and other virus diseases with vitamin C. J South Med Surg 1949, 111:210- 214. Full article
• Levy TE (2014) The clinical impact of vitamin C. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service. Full Article
• Mikirova NA, Hunninghake R. Effect of high dose vitamin C on Epstein-Barr viral infection. Med Sci Monit. 2014; 20: 725–732. Published online 2014 May 3. Full Paper
• Mousavi S, Bereswill S, Heimesaat MM. Immunomodulatory and Antimicrobial Effects of Vitamin C. Eur J Microbiol Immunol (Bp) 2019 Oct 3; 9(3): 73–79. Published online 2019 Aug 16. Full Paper
• OMNS (2007) Vitamin C: a highly effective treatment for colds. Full Article
• OMNS (2009) Vitamin C as an antiviral. Full Article
• Taylor T (2017) Vitamin C material: where to start, what to watch. OMNS, Full Article
• Yejin Kim, Hyemin Kim, Seyeon Bae et al. (2013) Vitamin C is an essential factor on the anti-viral immune responses through the production of interferon-α/β at the initial stage of influenza A virus (H3N2) infection. Immune Netw. 13:70-74. Full Paper

Vitamin D References
• Abu-Mouch S, Fireman Z, Jarchovsky J, Zeina AR, Assy N. Vitamin D supplementation improves sustained virologic response in chronic hepatitis C (genotype 1)-naïve patients. World J Gastroenterol. 2011 Dec 21;17(47):5184-90. Full
• Beard JA, Beardena A & Strikera R. Vitamin D and the anti-viral state. Clin Virol. 2011 March ; 50(3): 194–200. Full Paper
• Bruce D., Ooi J.H., Yu S., Cantorna M.T. Vitamin D and host resistance to infection? Putting the cart in front of the horse. Exp. Biol. Med. 2010;235:921–927. Full Paper
• Cannell JJ et al. Epidemic influenza and vitamin D. Epidemiol. Infect. 2006;134:1129–1140. Full Paper
• Cannell JJ, Zasloff M, Garland CF et al. (2008) On the epidemiology of influenza. Virol J. 5:29. Full Paper
• Ginde AA, Mansbach JM, Camargo CA Jr. (2009) Association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level and upper respiratory tract infection in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Arch Intern Med. 169:384- 390. Full Paper
• Gruber-Bzura BM. Vitamin D and Influenza-Prevention or Therapy? Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Aug 16;19(8). Full Paper
• Jiménez-Sousa MÁ et al. Vitamin D in Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection: Influence on Immunity and Disease. Front Immunol. 2018 Mar 12;9:458. Full Paper
• Jin CN, Chen JD, Sheng JF. Vitamin D deficiency in hepatitis C virus infection: what is old? what is new? Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018 Jul;30(7):741-746. View abstract
• Martineau AR, Jolliffe DA, Hooper RL et al. (2017) Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. BMJ. 356:i6583. Full Paper
• Sundaram ME, Coleman LA. Vitamin D and influenza. Adv. Nutr. 2012;3:517–525. Full Paper
• Szymczak I, Pawliczak R. The active metabolite of vitamin D3 as a potential immunomodulator. Scand. J. Immunol. 2015;83:83–91. Full Paper
• Teymoori-Rad M, Shokri F, Salimi V, Marashi SM. The interplay between vitamin D and viral infections. Rev Med Virol. 2019 Mar;29(2):e2032. View abstract
• Urashima M, Segawa T, Okazaki M et al. (2010) Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren. Am J Clin Nutr. 91:1255-60. View abstract
• von Essen MR, Kongsbak M, Schjerling P et al. (2010) Vitamin D controls T cell antigen receptor signalling and activation of human T cells. Nat Immunol. 11:344-349. View abstract

Zinc References
• Fraker PJ, King LE, Laakko T, Vollmer TL. (2000) The dynamic link between the integrity of the immune system and zinc status. J Nutr. 130:1399S-406S. View abstract
• Kaushik N, Anang S, Ganti KP, & Surjit M. Zinc: A Potential Antiviral Against Hepatitis E Virus Infection? DNA and Cell Biology, Vol. 37, No. 7, July 2018. View abstract
• Kozaki T, et al. Role of zinc-finger anti-viral protein in host defence against Sindbis virus. Int Immunol, 27 (7), 357-64, Jul 2015. Full Paper
• Liu MJ, Bao S, Gálvez-Peralta M, et al. (2013) ZIP8 regulates host defence through zinc-mediated inhibition of NF-кB. Cell Rep. 3:386-400. Full Paper
• Mocchegiani E, Muzzioli M. (2000) Therapeutic application of zinc in human immunodeficiency virus against opportunistic infections. J Nutr. 130:1424S-1431S. View abstract
• Shankar AH, Prasad AS. (1998) Zinc and immune function: the biological basis of altered resistance to infection. Am J Clin Nutr. 68:447S-463S. View abstract
Selenium References
• Beck MA, Kolbeck PC, Rohr LH, Shi Q, Morris VC, Levander OA. Benign human enterovirus becomes virulent in selenium-deficient mice. J Med Virol. 1994 Jun; 43(2):166-70. View abstract
• Beck MA, Nelson HK, Shi Q, Van Dael P, Schiffrin EJ, Blum S, Barclay D, Levander OA. Selenium deficiency increases the pathology of an influenza virus infection. FASEB J. 2001 Jun; 15(8):1481-3. View abstract
• Beck MA, Levander OA, Handy J. (2003) Selenium deficiency and viral infection. J Nutr. 133:1463S-1467S. View abstract
• Beck MA, Handy J, Levander OA. Host nutritional status: the neglected virulence factor. Trends Microbiol. 2004 Sep; 12(9):417-23. View abstract
• Harthill M. Review: micronutrient selenium deficiency influences evolution of some viral infectious diseases. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2011 Dec; 143(3):1325-36. View abstract
• Hoffmann PR, Berry MJ. (2008) The influence of selenium on immune responses. Mol Nutr Food Res. 52:1273-1280. Full Paper
• Huang Z, Rose AH, Hoffmann PR. The Role of Selenium in Inflammation and Immunity: From Molecular Mechanisms to Therapeutic Opportunities. Antioxid Redox Signal, 16 (7), 705-43 2012 Apr 1. Full Paper
• Steinbrenner H, Al-Quraishy S, Dkhil MA et al. (2015) Dietary selenium in adjuvant therapy of viral and bacterial infections. Adv Nutr. 6:73-82. Full Paper
• Yu L, Sun L, Nan Y, Zhu LY. Protection from H1N1 influenza virus infections in mice by supplementation with selenium: a comparison with selenium-deficient mice. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2011 Jun; 141(1-3):254-61. View abstract

Humic Acid References
• Laub Biochem Specialty Labs, Humic Acid Inhibition of HSV Infection. 1998
• Lu FJ, Tseng SN, et al. In Vitro Anti-Influenza Virus Activity of Synthetic Humate Analogues Derived from Protocatechuic Acid. Arch. Virol. 2002, 147(2), 273-284 View Abstract
• Laub Biochem Specialty Labs, 2001-2002, research conducted by contract for Virology Branch of the Antiviral Research and Antimicrobial Chemistry Program (Dr. Christopher Tseng, Program Officer), Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (DMID) Screening and Testing Program for Antiviral, Immunomodulatory, Antitumor and/or Drug Delivery Activities, National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), under the auspices of the National Institutes of Health (NIH, Bethesda, Maryland)
• Kloecking R, Helbig B, Schotz G, et al. Anti-HSV-1 Activity of Synthetic Humic Acid-Like Polymers Derived from pDiphenolic Starting Compounds. Arch. Chem. Chemother. 2002, 13(4), 241-249 View Abstract
• Lu FJ, Tseng SN, et al. In Vitro Anti-Influenza Virus Activity of Synthetic Humate Analogues Derived from Protocatechuic Acid. Arch. Virol. 2002, 147(2), 273-284 View Abstract
• van Rensburg CEJ, Dekker J, et al. Investigations of the Anti- HIV Properties of Oxihumate. Chemotherapy 2002, 48(3), 138-143. View Abstract
• Kornilaeva GV et al. The Differential Anti-HIV Effect of a New Humic Substance-Derived Preparation in Diverse Cells of the Immune System. Acta Naturae, 01 Apr 2019, 11(2):68-76. View Full Paper
• Vetvicka V, Vashishta A, Fuentes M, Baigorri R, Garcia-Mina JM, & Yvin J-C. The Relative Abundance of Oxygen AlkylRelated Groups in Aliphatic Domains Is Involved in the Main Pharmacological-Pleiotropic Effects of Humic Acids. J Med Food. 2013 Jul; 16(7): 625–632. View Full Paper

Olive Leaf extract References
• Omar SH. Oleuropein in Olive and its Pharmacological Effects. Sci Pharm. 2010 Apr-Jun; 78(2): 133–154. View paper
• Patent for anti-viral attributes of olive leaf extract: Fredrickson WR, F and S Group, Inc Method and Composition for Antiviral Therapy with Olive Leaves. U.S. Patent. 2000;6:117, 884
• Micol V, Caturla N, Pérez-Fons L, Más V, Pérez L, Estepa A. The olive leaf extract exhibits antiviral activity against viral haemorrhagic septicaemia rhabdovirus (VHSV). Antiviral Res. 2005 Jun;66(2-3):129-36. Epub 2005 Apr 18. View
• Ma SC, He ZD, Deng XL, But PP, Ooi VE, Xu HX, Lee SH, Lee SF. In vitro evaluation of secoiridoid glucosides from the fruits of Ligustrum lucidum as antiviral agents. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2001 Nov; 49(11):1471-3. View abstract

S. Boulardii references
• Stier H, Bischoff SC. Influence of Saccharomyces boulardii CNCM I-745on the gut-associated immune system. Clin Exp Gastroenterol. 2016;9:269–279. Published 2016 Sep 13. doi:10.2147/CEG.S111003. View Full Paper
• Buts JP. Twenty-five years of research on Saccharomyces boulardii trophic effects: updates and perspectives. Dig Dis Sci. 2009;54(1):15–18. View abstract
• Jahn HU, Ullrich R, Schneider T, et al. Immunological and trophical effects of Saccharomyces boulardii on the small intestine in healthy human volunteers. Digestion. 1996;57(2):95–104. View abstract
• Pothoulakis C. Review article: anti-inflammatory mechanisms of action of Saccharomyces boulardii. Aliment Pharmacol
Ther. 2009;30(8):826–833. View Full Paper

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