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Published on April 08, 2020

Can I boost my immune system with supplements?

Can I boost my immune system with supplements?

The CDC has provided helpful guidelines on ways you can protect yourself from acquiring COVID-19: social distancing, handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home if you're feeling sick, etc.

In addition to helpful and evidence-based advice, the internet has exploded with false and unhelpful advice that, to put it simply, only contributes to anxiety levels. Some of that advice includes tips for boosting your immune system through food and/or supplements. So, does that help?

If you're tempted to stock your shelves with "immune-boosting" supplements or foods, don't. Certain nutrients like vitamin C, zinc and vitamin D are purported to be helpful in preventing people from getting sick with things like the common cold. But this is not backed by sufficient evidence, and when it comes to COVID-19, there is zero evidence supporting vitamins and minerals as preventative measures from contracting this virus.

Although the data clearly show that the ability of certain foods or nutrients to boost your immune system is not real, the placebo effect is. You do not have to dump all your money into expensive products to get the benefits of the placebo effect. Even just a shot of orange juice every morning can be protective if your mind is convinced it will help. Instead, focus on eating enough (as dieting can weaken the immune system), eating nutritious food, getting rest and taking care of your mental health.

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