covid-19 and nutrition

Is there any link between COVID-19 and nutrition? As we move towards re-opening, a lot of people are wondering what they can do to help prevent getting COVID-19. Although there has been a lot of talk about nutrition and natural agents in relation to this infection, the honest truth is that we still don’t know enough about COVID-19 virus to know what will and what won’t work for this bug in particular. 

What we do is know is that most healthy people who develop symptoms have something akin to a common cold with a bit of fever.  So what can we do to stay healthy during this time?  Let’s look at some nutritional supplements that will help along the way. Understanding how viruses attack the body can help you utilize an antiviral strategy. This, along with some healthy lifestyle changes, empowers YOU, not a microbe.

We also know the nutrition and the nutrients we consume play an important part in how our bodies combat ALL viruses and infections.  So, yes, there is a link between COVID-19 and nutrition.

So what is the relationship between COVID-19 and nutrition?

When it comes to fighting viruses, there are four ways that nutrients and our general nutrition help:

  • Antiviral: Some nutrients actually attack viruses so that, even if we are exposed, the virus cannot take hold in our bodies.
  • Anti-replication: Some nutrients specifically prevent the virus from replicating, meaning that our “illness” becomes much less severe and perhaps even goes unnoticed.
  • Preventing a Cytokine Storm: Some nutrients can help to shut down the inflammatory explosion, that causes the potentially fatal cytokine storm.
  • Immunonutrition: Some nutrients naturally support our immune system.
  • Cell Support: Healthy habits and good nutrition support the ability for our cells to regenerate and combat viral illnesses.

Antiviral Nutrients

Direct antiviral nutrients actually attack both the metabolic and replicative machinery of the virus.  Botanical supplements like licorice & grape seed extract are good, while strong antiviral nutrients like zinc, copper and lysine will help the innate immune system function better. Other supplements like selenium block mutagenesis, which is how the virus eludes the immune system.  By the way, if you like oysters, they’re an excellent source of zinc and are far better than anything you’ll get in a pill.

  • Licorice is incredibly powerful. 500-1000 mg/day.
  • Zinc at 50 mg/day along with 2 mg of Copper
  • Lysine at 500 mg/day.
  • Grape Seed Extract at 250 mg/day 
  • Selenium 500-1000 mg/day

Anti-replication Nutrition

The next thing we can do is boost nutrients that attack how the virus replicates. Methylators such as folate, betaine & B-12 are your front line B-vitamins for that approach:

  • Folate at 5 mg/day
  • Betaine at 2 mg/day
  • B12 at 1000 mcg/DAY

MTHFR mutations are also very common in people.  Even if you haven’t had any genetic testing, you can probably gauge your likelihood of an MTHFR issue by whether or not B-vitamins give you energy.  If they don’t give you energy make sure you get methylated B-vitamins. Even if you don’t have issues with MTHFR, it won’t hurt to take methylated B-vitamins.

The Cytokine Storm

Viral attack induces an explosive inflammatory response by our immune system called a “Cytokine Storm”. This can be very damaging and even impair bone marrow production.

Preventing this event is vital in limiting the impact the virus has on the body. Limiting the inflammatory cytokine NFkappaB is paramount. The following supplements shut down the inflammatory explosion.

  • Lipoic Acid 500-1000 mg/day.
  • N-acetyl-cysteine or NAC 500-1500 mg/day
  • Green Tea at 500 mg/day
  • Resveratrol
  • Curcumin

Cytokines are largely produced as part of the immune response modulated by the Sympathetic Nerve System (SNS) modulation of your Innate immune system.  Check out our post explaining more about the SNS & your Innate immune system and why chiropractic care may be a key component in your body’s ability to function normally.


The next thing to consider is immunonutrition. When it comes to COVID-19 and nutrition (or really any virus and nutrition), most people think they need to “boost” their immune system.  That’s not necessarily what we want. One could argue that the cytokine storm is a boosted response; autoimmune diseases are also “boosted” responses.  Neither is good.  What we want to do is support our immune system with good nutrition that we may not be getting otherwise.

  • Vitamin D up to 10,000 IU/day
  • Vitamin A at 25,000 IU/day for two weeks only until well
  • Vitamin C at 2-4000 mg/day when you’re sick
  • Essential Fatty acids
    • EPA/DHA – (your fish oils) 2000-3000 mg/day
    • GLA up to 2000 mg/day

Cell Support

Finally, nutrition and specific nutrients play a vital role in cell support. Adequate protein is a MUST. More evidence suggests 1 g of protein per pound of lean body weight is ideal for all ages.  This includes the elderly who often have difficulty consuming protein. Spread your protein consumption out over the day to be sure that you can get enough in. In addition to meat, fish, and poultry, eggs are a great protein, and they contain a lot of the vitamins & minerals mentioned above.

Your diet has powerful implications in fighting viral attack. Avoid sugar, and adopt a low carbohydrate diet rich in nuts, vegetables, seeds, phytonutrients, and enzymes. Inflammatory foods like wheat and dairy should be avoided. Sugar actually is an immune suppressor.

Stay hydrated, aiming for half of your body weight in ounces of water. As the weather gets nice, open the windows & enjoy the fresh air.  Sleep also plays a critical role in our healing. Turn off all screens at least 2-hours before your bedtime, and try not stay up too late with artificial light.  Blue-blocker glasses may also help you get to sleep easier, and melatonin may be of benefit for some.

As the weather gets nicer, getting outside and doing some form of exercise daily is key.  This isn’t the time to set your CrossFit PR’s though, as too much exercise will also weaken your immune system.  Regardless of your activity level, you can get outside and go for a 30-minute walk daily, just fast enough to get the heart rate up.

Final Thoughts

Nutrition as a tool in reducing the spread of COVID-19 is the other half of the picture that NO ONE in the media is talking about.

Hygiene is important. We get it.

But your immune response, nutritional status, and overall health is the determining factor in preventing infection and recovery. This is in your power to control. You don’t have to take all of these supplements or run out and buy even half of them.  If you have them already, start taking them.  If you’re not sure what you need, give us a call and we’ll make sure you get what you need from supplement manufacturers that actually make quality products that won’t upset your stomach (or wallet).  

You don’t have to be a victim of the virus or more importantly the insane FEAR that is being forced upon the public. You’ve got this! No fear.

About Keystone Chiropractic

As an engineer, Dr. Schurger looks at the whole body as a system to determine what is best for each patient. Custom spinal imaging is performed for each patient in order to create a custom correction. Dr. Schurger has transformed himself through the ketogenic diet and offers nutritional advice to help patients improve their overall health (weight loss being a side effect). His practice, Keystone Chiropractic is at 450 S. Durkin Drive, Ste. B, Springfield. Call 217-698-7900 to setup a complementary consultation to see if he can help you!