Infections - The Possible Role of Supplements, Probiotics, and Nutraceuticals in Reducing the Risk of Infection

Since December of last year, the world has been in a state of emergency.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put many countries under an unexpected strain while protective measures are being taken to stop the spread.

And while the world has been trying to adapt to the ‘new normal’, as it’s commonly being called, the medical community is working hard and consistently on finding a solution.

Many new studies are being made in an attempt to gain some insights and find ways to reduce the risk of infection, in addition to wearing a mask and practicing social distancing.

With reference to this, a recent review by an Italian team of scientists has looked into the possible role of non-pharmacological substances like dietary supplements, probiotics, and nutraceuticals.

What’s Important

Since this strain of the coronavirus is novel and unfamiliar, very little is known about it.

So far, it’s been discovered that the symptoms range from asymptomatic cases to severe pneumonia.

The chronically ill and older adults are considered to be at a bigger risk for developing severe symptoms than the younger population, although there have been exceptions.

As of yet, there is no clear clinical evidence for antiviral drugs that could be effective, but vaccine development has been in the works.

In the meantime, scientists are also working to examine other ways of protection.

Some Details

This review focuses on dietary supplements, probiotics, and nutraceuticals as possible preventative measures.

  1. Probiotics are currently not an essential part of the treatment for COVID-19, however, given that they play a role in the modulation of the immune system, some studies suggest that they could improve the body’s response to infection.
  2. Nutraceuticals, with their anti-inflammatory and antioxidative activity, also exhibit beneficial effects against vascular damage as a result of COVID-19. Polyphenols, in particular, as well as carotenoids, and some minerals like magnesium, zinc, selenium, and copper, are considered to be possibly effective.
  3. Vitamins, most importantly, vitamin C and vitamin D, are long-known to be good for the normal function of the immune system. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and it reduces the risk and the duration of some infectious diseases, while vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased susceptibility to respiratory infections. However, it’s not known whether they would be effective when administered in patients without deficiencies.

In Conclusion

A healthy diet enriched with nutrients like vitamins and antioxidants is always important, especially during a pandemic.

That said, even though diet and nutritional supplements show great promise in the response of this pandemic, strong clinical data is required to support any of these claims, so they shouldn’t be taken at face value.


Resource: Infusino, F.; Marazzato, M.; Mancone, M.; Fedele, F.; Mastroianni, C.M.; Severino, P.; Ceccarelli, G.; Santinelli, L.; Cavarretta, E.; Marullo, A.G.M.; Miraldi, F.; Carnevale, R.; Nocella, C.; Biondi-Zoccai, G.; Pagnini, C.; Schiavon, S.; Pugliese, F.; Frati, G.; d’Ettorre, G. Diet Supplementation, Probiotics, and Nutraceuticals in SARS-CoV-2 Infection: A Scoping Review. Nutrients 2020, 12, 1718. doi; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12061718 

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