Nutritional Therapy in Covid-19  Management

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine identifies key aspects in the nutritional management of Covid-19. It provides research on nutrients and dietary compounds that have a positive influence on the immune system in general, and interact with the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors. These receptors are referred to as the ‘gateway’ for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) i.e. Covid-19.

The researchers state that “optimal intake of all nutrients, mainly those playing crucial roles in the immune system, should be assured through a diverse and well-balanced diet. Nevertheless, in order to reduce the risk and consequences of infections, the intakes for some micronutrients may exceed the recommended dietary allowances since infections and other stressors can reduce micronutrient status…..Natural bioactive compounds can also reduce the inflammatory response induced by SARS-CoV-2. These compounds are potential beneficial tools in the nutritional management of COVID-19 patients.”

This published study highlights several nutrients to help reduce risks. “High biological value proteins, fatty acids (omega 3), vitamins A and C, dietary fibre, selenium and copper present anti-inflammatory effects; polar lipids have an anti-thrombotic effect; vitamins A, C and D protect against respiratory infections; vitamin E, iron and zinc improve the immune function; and vitamins C, A and E, and omega 3 fatty acids present antioxidant effects. Consumption of carbohydrates with a higher glycaemic index should be avoided since this contributes to inflammation. Supplementation is required when the recommended dietary intake is compromised but remains controversial for patients without deficiency. Chronic diseases, malnutrition, or COVID-19 itself can compromise meeting nutritional needs. Obesity and excessive adiposity, but especially low muscle mass are risk factors for COVID-19 patients……..Natural bioactive compounds found in plants and sea food, namely resveratrol,  eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), capsaicin, and curcumin, among others, have been associated with anti-inflammatory effects. Nevertheless, the administration of those components requires more research. Considering the important connection between gut microbiota and immunity, probiotics and prebiotics revealed a protective effect and are promising compounds for a dietary therapy of COVID-19 patients.”

Study reviewed by Jackie Day ND


  • Fernández-Quintela A, Milton-Laskibar I, Trepiana J, et al.: Key aspects in nutritional management of COVID-19 patients. J Clin Med. 2020;9(8):2589.
  • Lisi L, Lacal PM, Barbaccia ML, Graziani G. Approaching coronavirus disease 2019: Mechanisms of action of repurposed drugs with potential activity against SARS-CoV-2. Biochem Pharmacol. 2020;180:114169.
  • Laviano A, Koverech A, Zanetti M. Nutrition support in the time of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). Nutrition. 2020;74:110834.

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