Can you boost your immune system against COVID-19?

ORLANDO, Fla. – With tens of thousands of people dying from the coronavirus just in the U.S. and more than four million infected worldwide, some are stocking up on supplements to boost their immune system. But do they really work? Ivanhoe separates fact from fiction.

Vitamin C is good for your immune system. So, will doubling up on the supplement protect you against the coronavirus?

False! Our bodies can only absorb a few hundred milligrams of Vitamin C at a time. High doses can cause a number of side effects, including nausea, cramps, and an increased risk of kidney stones. What about superfoods, like chia seeds and coconut oil?

No, they won’t work either. Experts recommend eating a healthy, balanced diet with a variety of fruits and veggies that provide immune-boosting vitamins.

Ronan Factora, MD, Geriatrics Specialist, Cleveland Clinic, says, “People who have malnutrition are either by not getting enough protein or not getting enough of the nutrients and vitamins to help to boost your immune system. You'll have problems fighting off illness.”

So, what does help? De-stressing. When you’re stressed, the body produces the hormone cortisol that may interfere with the immune system. Also, a study by the University of California, San Francisco found getting at least seven hours of sleep per night makes you four times less likely to get sick.

“Your body can’t fight off disease if you’re broken down because you’re overrunning yourself,” shared Pameil Rawlings, PharmD, Pharmacist.

But the most important thing experts say is to practice social distancing.

“That’s what’s going to protect you more than just taking a supplement,” continued Rawlings.

Rawlings also says that people with pre-existing health conditions, such as asthma and diabetes, put themselves at greater risk of contracting coronavirus if they don’t take their medications to control the condition.

Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; and Roque Correa, Editor.