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Boosting your Immune System for COVID Defense

The human immune system is a complex system with cells, processes, and chemicals that work to defend your body against pathogens. This includes viruses, bacteria, and various toxins. When it comes to preventing a variety of illnesses, your body’s immune system can be an effective tool. When it comes to COVID-19, a severe respiratory virus, your body’s immune system may play a significant role. 


While having a healthy immune system is important year-round, it’s been an increased area of interest for preventing and lessening the effects of the virus. Research has shown that certain nutrients may play a role in boosting and improving your immune system. This may be especially important if you have an immune system that isn’t optimal. If you’re not sure of where to get started, the following supplements are great for COVID defense and overall immunity. 

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Vitamin D


Also known as the sunshine vitamin, this is a fat-soluble nutrient that’s essential for immune system function. Vitamin D works by improving the pathogen-fighting effects of white blood cells, particularly monocytes and macrophages. It also works by decreasing inflammation which may help to promote immune response. 


The downside is that many people are deficient in this important nutrient without even knowing. Having lower levels of Vitamin D leads to an increased risk of respiratory infections which includes COVID19. Some studies have shown that supplementing Vitamin D in your diet may help to improve immune response. 


In general, this nutrient has an overall protective effect. Depending on each person’s current levels, supplementing with 1,000-4,000 I of Vitamin D is sufficient. However, it may also be helpful to check individual levels and then base a supplemental dose on that number. 




Zinc is a mineral that has grown in popularity in recent years and with good reason. This mineral is often added to cold and flu products with the goal to boost immune system function. This is reasonable since zinc is essential to its function. 


Zinc is required for immune cell development as well as communication. It also plays a role in the body’s inflammatory response. A deficiency in this nutrient is not uncommon and will alter your body’s ability to function properly.

Without immunity defense, the body is at an increased risk for infection and disease, particularly respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19. 


While anyone can be deficient, older adults are especially vulnerable. Even after getting sick, taking a zinc supplement has benefits and may lessen the severity of the illness. It’s usually a good idea to take up to 40 mg of zinc daily and higher doses may actually have a worsening effect. 

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This nutrient is not as well known as the others in this list, but it’s gotten a fair amount of attention when it comes to COVID defense. As a plant flavonoid, quercetin is naturally found in green tea.

It’s started to be seen as an adjunct therapy for people who have COVID-19. Those that know how the flavonoid functions also know that this is a supplement that’s readily available and would have minimal risks for taking it as a supplement. 


Quercetin functions in numerous ways. It helps zinc to cross barriers which may be most beneficial when also taken with a zinc supplement. In additional studies, quercetin prevents viruses from entering cells and can reduce the effects of many viruses. In one study. animals that were given quercetin and then a lethal dose of a virus all survived without any adverse effects. 


Since COVID-19 has been associated with high levels of the virus in the body, taking quercetin especially with other immune promoters has been seen as a potential therapy. In fact, many healthcare workers today are taking quercetin to help prevent themselves from contracting the virus while working in exposed areas and with reported good effects.

In general, taking a daily dose of quercetin may help a person to limit their risk while also following other safety precautions. It may also help the body to fight off the infection if exposed. 


Vitamin C


Vitamin C is probably the most common supplement that’s taken when it comes to immune health so it comes as no surprise when discussing immunity and COVID-19. The vitamin supports immune cell function and enhances their activity to protect against infections.

It’s also necessary for cellular death. This is a process that clears out old cells and replaces them with new ones. Important to keep healthy cells only, your immune system will get a boost naturally when your Vitamin C levels are optimal. 


As a powerful antioxidant as well, Vitamin C protects against oxidative stress and inflammation which may occur with COVID-19. Even after developing a cold or illness, taking a daily dose of Vitamin C can help to reduce the duration and severity of that illness.

While there are multiple studies ongoing to learn more about this nutrient, the overall recommendation is that this nutrient provides multiple benefits against any number of respiratory illnesses. 


Vitamin C is found in many foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, but supplementing this nutrient may also have some benefits. Many healthcare centers provide it with respiratory illnesses. Taking a supplemental dose daily is safe although it’s not recommended to take more than 2,000 mg daily as this is the upper limit of safety. 


Immune System Boosting Supplements


While all of these supplements play an important role in immune function, it’s also important to note that supplements don’t exist in a bubble. After all, most nutrients support good function.

Taking supplements separately may not be as effective as optimizing each of them together. Similar to how quercetin helps zinc absorption, most of the other nutrients on this list are going to work optimally when they’re provided in optimal doses. 


While it’s likely not necessary to take all of these nutrients at the exact same time, taking them consistently may help them to work synergistically in the body, promoting adequate intake of essential immune-boosting nutrients. When it comes to COVID-19, these nutrients all play a role in preventing and potential treatment of this harmful virus. 


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