Can vitamin supplements help fight coronavirus?

Posted at 10:25 AM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-03 12:25:44-04

DENVER — As the novel coronavirus continues to spread across the country, people are searching for different ways to boost their immune systems to fight off the virus.

Some shoppers are buying essential oils and supplements like vitamin C and elderberry in hopes of beating the virus.

But do these supplements really help?

Sandy Johnson, director of Global Health Affairs at the University of Denver, said supplements are not effective at treating or building up immunity to the coronavirus.

“A lot of times we see people take it during cold and flu season with the idea that it’s going to boost their immune system. …There’s no evidence that vitamin C has any impact whatsoever on coronavirus," Johnson said.

“Essential oils smell nice but they don’t have any antibacterial properties," she said. "I think the issue with vitamin C is it’s an antioxidant so that’s a good thing, that’s healthy for you. But it does not protect you from coronavirus."

Johnson said anybody who chooses to take supplements like vitamin C for other health benefits should make sure they're taking the recommended dose.

“If you overdose on vitamin C, you can get diarrhea, you can get nausea. It can upset your stomach and so generally what we say is if you’re buying a supplement look at what the recommended dosage is and don’t overdo it,” Johnson said.

By now, Johnson said she knows the public is tired of hearing this, but the best defense against the coronavirus is hand-washing and social distancing.