The Pharmacists’ Guide To Vitamins and Supplements During COVID-19

This article was last updated February 16, 2021. Please note that research around this topic is constantly evolving, so the information contained within this article is subject to change.

Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Zinc, Quercetin … so much news is coming out everyday about supplements and vitamins that might help with COVID-19, but which ones actually work? And are they safe? 

While supplements and vitamins do not require prescriptions, these are still important questions to consider before you take one. We know it can be really confusing to tease apart all of the conflicting advice and research out there, so our pharmacists created a guide with everything you need to know about the vitamins and supplements that might matter for COVID-19. This guide includes sections on: 

  • Vitamin D
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin C
  • Quercetin
  • Melatonin
  • Zinc

For each option, our pharmacists break down the theories and science behind why they might help fight COVID-19 in addition to suggested doses, possible downsides, drug interactions, and other pharmacist tips. 

The above information is subject to change as more research comes out. Talk to a doctor or pharmacist before taking any new supplement or vitamin.

DISCLAIMER: None of the below is intended as medical advice to replace that which you are given by your medical provider or pharmacist. All of the recommendations below are based on theoretical evidence, and it is not comprehensive. Exceptions and other health consequences of the below supplements other than the ones mentioned may exist. As always, you should never start or stop taking a supplement without first consulting your doctor and/or pharmacist.

Vitamin D 

For most people, our pharmacists recommend vitamin D because of its role in supporting your immune system, the high rates of deficiency in the U.S., and the unlikelihood of side effects. Read on below for a full analysis of this popular vitamin, including the current research on COVID-19, suggested doses, possible downsides, special exceptions, and pharmacist tips. 

Vitamin D and COVID-19

Vitamin D plays many important roles in the human body, including for bone development and the reduction of inflammation, but it has gotten a lot of attention during the pandemic because of the role it plays in your immune system. Research has found that adequate vitamin D levels can strengthen your immune system, while inadequate levels can weaken it. 

Research studies have found that vitamin D can help prevent and treat common colds. More importantly, a clinical research study from 2017 found that in 11,321 participants, vitamin D supplementation reduced the risk of acute respiratory tract infection among all participants. The COVID-19 virus has been known to trigger respiratory tract infections, leading scientists to theorize that vitamin D may help prevent this serious side effect. 

Additionally, insufficient vitamin D levels might make COVID-19 infections worse. Deficiency can possibly contribute to a process called “cytokine storm.” Cytokines are a protein with both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory effects. However, sometimes these proteins can “storm,” causing an uncontrolled spike in inflammation, which can then lead to severe tissue damage and other health consequences. Cytokine storms have been linked to more severe cases of COVID-19. 

More and more studies are coming out that appear to support these theories. Some research has indicated that hospitalized COVID-19 patients have a lower risk of severe symptoms and death if they have adequate vitamin D levels. Of the 235 patients analyzed, those with sufficient vitamin D were 51% less likely to have serious side effects such as becoming unconscious, dangerously low oxygen levels, and death. 

Sources of vitamin D

You can get vitamin D in three different ways: sunlight, diet, or supplements. While your body naturally absorbs vitamin D through your skin in direct sunlight, many different factors—like age, skin color, clouds, smog, and time of year—can inhibit this method. Diet alone is also not enough to give you adequate vitamin D levels since very few foods naturally contain vitamin D. 

That’s why supplements are typically recommended for boosting your levels. 

The suggested dose

In general, the tolerable upper intake level of vitamin D for most healthy adults is 4,000 IU/day. The amount of vitamin D required to treat deficiency depends upon each person’s baseline vitamin D levels. However, our pharmacists recommend 5,000 IU/day because many people are so deficient in vitamin D. When shopping for a vitamin D supplement, pick one that is D3 instead of D2. Studies have shown it maintains active vitamin D levels for longer (around 87% more potent). 

According to the Frontline COVID-19 Critical Care (FLCCC) Alliance–a group composed of highly regarded critical care specialists and their I-MASK+ protocol for COVID-19–if you are at high-risk for COVID-19 and want to protect yourself, the recommended dose of vitamin D is 1,000 to 3,000 IU/day. For patients recovering from COVID-19 in the outpatient setting, the recommended dose is 4,000 IU/day.

*Although vitamin D is important for pregnant women because of its role in building the baby’s bones and teeth in addition to general wellbeing, consuming too much can be unsafe during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. The recommended dose is 600 IU/day, with the upper limit being 4,000 IU/day. 

Possible downsides

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. That means it’s not as easy for your body to get rid of extra vitamin D, so it is possible to build up too much. This can lead to a build-up of calcium in your blood, which can eventually cause bone pain and kidney problems. 

However, while vitamin D overdose is possible, it’s highly unlikely as long as you aren’t exceeding the recommended doses above. Since 35% of U.S. adults are deficient in vitamin D, it makes an overdose even less likely. (If you’re curious about the signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, you can read our blog post here). 

Special exceptions

If you are taking certain prescription medications, you may need to follow special instructions:

  • Antacids and aluminum
  • Cardiovascular medications: digoxin (Lanoxin), diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac), verapamil (Calan, Verelan) 
  • Calcipotriene (Dovonex)
  • Thiazide diuretics: hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide), chlorthalidone (Diuril), chlorthalidone, indapamide, metolazone

Talk to your doctor and/or pharmacist if you take any of the above medications before starting vitamin D, especially since there may be other drugs that interact with vitamin D as well. 

Conclusion

Since most people are deficient in vitamin D and there is strong research regarding its role in the immune system, it’s probably a good idea to take a vitamin D supplement unless one of the special cases above applies to you. Even if it doesn’t end up affecting COVID-19, it still supports bone and dental health, calcium absorption, heart health, normal blood sugar balance, weight loss, and musculoskeletal strength. 

Make sure to follow the recommended dosing guidelines, and as always, consult your doctor before starting anything. 

Pharmacist tip

Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it is best absorbed when taken with food. Also, remember to get D3 instead of D2!

Magnesium

Our pharmacists recommend magnesium because of its role in amplifying the benefits of vitamin D and the low risk of side effects (as long as proper dosing guidelines are followed). 

Magnesium and COVID-19

The main theoretical benefit of magnesium for COVID-19 lies in this mineral’s relationship with vitamin D. Magnesium is known for promoting vitamin D functions by helping people metabolize vitamin D. As we discussed above, there is strong evidence that vitamin D may play a vital role in lowering inflammation, preventing cytokine storms, and reducing the risk of death in COVID-19 patients. So, magnesium may play an indirect role by helping to amplify those benefits of vitamin D. 

The results of a small study performed at Singapore General Hospital appear to support this hypothesis. Patients who tested positive for COVID-19 were given a short round of supplements—vitamin D, magnesium, and vitamin B12. Of those patients, fewer required supplemental oxygen than the ones who did not receive these supplements, suggesting that the vitamins helped keep COVID-19 infections from growing more severe. 

Among the many benefits of magnesium, it is also theorized to have anti-inflammation benefits on its own, especially as a treatment for lung-related diseases. Multiple clinical studies have demonstrated that magnesium can significantly reduce the need for mechanical ventilation support in acute severe asthma cases. Mechanical ventilation support is associated with severe COVID-19 cases as well. 

Sources of magnesium

Magnesium is found in many foods, including legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, leafy green vegetables, fortified breakfast cereals, milk, yogurt, and some other milk products. Magnesium is also available in supplement form.

The suggested dose

In general, 400-420 mg/day of magnesium is recommended for adult men and 310-320 mg/day for adult women. 

*For pregnant women, 350-360 mg/day is recommended. Magnesium helps build the baby’s bones and teeth, and it works with calcium to help control muscle contractions.

Possible downsides

In regular doses, magnesium is considered a very safe supplement. The safety of megadoses, however, has not been established. Common symptoms of too much magnesium can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hypotension, confusion, and slowed heart rate. Therefore, high doses of magnesium do require careful monitoring in a medical setting. As long as you follow the dosing guidelines suggested above or any specific instructions by your doctor, then the likelihood of you experiencing adverse reactions is low. The kidney is responsible for ridding the body of excess magnesium through urine each day. 

Special exceptions

Magnesium may interact with certain prescription medications, such as:

  • Quinolone and tetracycline antibiotics: ciprofloxacin (Cipro), levofloxacin (Levaquin), moxifloxacin (Avelox) and doxycycline (Vibramycin, Monodox), minocycline (Minocin, Solodyn)
  • Bisphosphonates: alendronate (Fosomax), risedronate (Actonel)
  • Digoxin (Lanoxin)
  • Gabapentin (Neurontin)
  • Diuretics: furosemide (Lasix), bumetanide (Bumex), hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide), spironolactone (Aldactone)
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs): esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid)

This list is not comprehensive, and if you take any of these, you should check with your doctor and/or pharmacist before starting magnesium supplements. 

Another important note: taking very high doses of zinc supplements (142 mg/day or higher) can stop the body from absorbing magnesium.

Conclusion

At this time, we recommend taking magnesium. Vitamin D and magnesium are often sold together because magnesium has long been shown to support the benefits of vitamin D in addition to energy creation, protein formation, DNA repair, muscle movements, nervous system regulation, and inflammation regulation. Additionally, many people in the U.S. (potentially ~50%) do not get enough magnesium through their diet, so this is a helpful supplement even without considering COVID-19. As long as proper dosing is followed, the risk of side effects is low. As always, follow guidance from your doctor and/or pharmacist above all else. 

Pharmacist tip: Different supplements contain different forms of magnesium. We recommend looking for magnesium aspartate, citrate, lactate, or chloride because these are often better absorbed than magnesium oxide or magnesium sulfate. Another important note: taking very high doses of zinc supplements (142 mg/day or higher) can stop the body from absorbing magnesium. 

Pharmacist tip

We recommend looking for magnesium aspartate, citrate, lactate, or chloride, which are better absorbed than magnesium oxide or magnesium sulfate.

Vitamin C

Our pharmacists recommend vitamin C during this time because it has a variety of immune system benefits while maintaining few side effects and a low chance of overdose. 

Vitamin C and COVID-19

Vitamin C is thought to play an important role in your immune system, even when you have severe or critical illnesses. Some studies have found that vitamin C supplementation reduces the duration of colds, but contrary to popular belief, it does not necessarily reduce the risk of catching a cold. A small study of critically ill patients also demonstrated a reduction in organ failure and inflammation in those who received vitamin C intravenously compared to those who received no vitamin C. This may support the belief that vitamin C plays an important role in the immune system. 

When it comes to COVID-19, the benefits of vitamin C might apply in a variety of ways. To begin with, vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Our bodies generate free radicals when exposed to environmental toxins–such as smoke, pollution, radiation, and heavy metals– and as a byproduct of natural cell processes. Free radicals have been linked to serious infections, cellular damage, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and dangerously high levels of inflammation. The antioxidant and, consequently, anti-inflammatory effects of vitamin C have led medical experts to theorize it might help coronavirus patients. 

According to the U.S. government database clinicaltrials.gov, there are currently 53 studies being performed on the use of vitamin C in COVID-19 patients. This means we will hopefully have more concrete data on the relationship between the two soon. Thankfully, the previous research on vitamin C and immune system responses provide a strong theoretical basis for its use in COVID-19. 

UPDATE: According to new clinical trials, vitamin C is not believed to lessen the severity of COVID-19, even at high doses. However, our pharmacists still recommend it do to the other health benefits.

Sources of vitamin C

Humans are one of the few mammals that cannot produce their own vitamin C. Certain foods provide vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, broccoli, strawberries, cantaloupe, and tomatoes. Another great option for vitamin C is supplementation. 

The suggested dose

The average recommended daily dose of vitamin C is 90 mg/day for adult men and 75 mg/day for adult women, according to the National Institute of Health. However, daily doses of up to 2,000 mg/day are safe according to research. According to the FLCCC for high-risk individuals, 1,000 mg 2x a day is recommended as a COVID-19 preventative measure. For patients recovering from COVID-19 in the outpatient setting, 2,000mg 2x – 3x a day is recommended instead. 

*For pregnant women, the recommended dose is 85 mg/day of vitamin C, and no more than 2,000 mg/day. 

Possible downsides

Vitamin C is water-soluble, which means the body can easily rid itself of excess vitamin C through your urine. That makes it a very safe supplement with few reported adverse side effects. The research appears to demonstrate that doses up to 2,000 mg daily are safe. Amounts above 2,000 mg might cause side effects, including kidney stones, nausea, stomach cramps, and severe diarrhea. 

Special exceptions

People with a history of kidney disease or kidney stones should consult with their doctor and/or pharmacist before initiating a vitamin C supplement, as vitamin C is excreted by the kidneys. 

Certain prescription medications might also interfere with vitamin C: 

  • Aluminum
  • Estrogens
  • Fluphenazine (Prolixin)
  • Certain medications for HIV/AIDS called protease inhibitors: amprenavir (Agenerase), nelfinavir (Viracept), ritonavir (Norvir), saquinavir (Fortovase, Invirase)
  • Some chemotherapy medications
  • Cholesterol medications such statins: atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol)
  • Warfarin (Coumadin)

This list is not comprehensive. With these medications, you may either need to separate them from when you take vitamin C supplements, or you may need to avoid vitamin C supplements altogether. You should consult with your doctor and/or pharmacist for specific directions. 

It’s important to know that certain prescription medications can also deplete vitamin C from your body. These include:

  • NSAIDs: aspirin, celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Voltaren), ibuprofen (Motrin), ketorolac (Toradol), naproxen (Aleve)
  • Opiates: Hydrocodone-acetaminophen (Norco, Vicodin), morphine (Kadian), oxycodone (Oxycontin)
  • Corticosteroids: Betamethasone (Celestone), hydrocortisone (Cortef), prednisone (Deltasone)
  • Loop Diuretics: bumetanide (Bumex), furosemide (Lasix), ethacrynate (Edecrin)

This list is not comprehensive If you take one of these medications, it might be even more important for you to take a supplement. Please consult with your doctor and/or pharmacist to determine if a vitamin C supplement is right for you.

Conclusion

Vitamin C is generally considered a low-risk supplement since it is water-soluble and excess amounts are excreted in urine. Taking into account the possible benefits of the vitamin concerning COVID-19, our pharmacists recommend taking a vitamin C supplement. Even if it doesn’t end up affecting COVID-19, vitamin C still has many other positive benefits and promotes cardiovascular health, antioxidant reserves, normal inflammatory balance, and collagen formation to support healthy ligaments, tendons, and joints. Make sure to follow the recommended dosing guidelines, and as always, consult your doctor and/or pharmacist before starting anything. 

Pharmacist tip

Look for buffered capsules balanced with calcium, magnesium, and potassium, giving you the potent dose you need with a reduced risk of stomach upset. “Buffered” means that the pills have been coated to neutralize stomach acid. 

Quercetin

Due to the little to no side effects and potential other health benefits of quercetin in addition to its potential role in fighting COVID-19, our pharmacists recommend quercetin during this time. 

Quercetin and COVID-19

Quercetin is a common flavonoid well-known for its potential ability to improve chronic diseases,  and slow down the aging process in humans, and provide in addition to numerous antiviral benefits. It is theorized that quercetin may act as an antioxidant in your body. Antioxidants are important because they neutralize free radicals, which can cause cellular damage and high levels of inflammation. 

For COVID-19 specifically, quercetin has received attention because of its ability to block an immune response called inflammasome, which is exactly what COVID-19 activates to cause a cytokine storm. There is a study underway currently on quercetin and COVID-19 (available here) by the Kanuni Sultan Suleyman Training and Research Hospital, but no results have been released yet. All of this means that as of right now, the benefits of quercetin during the COVID-19 pandemic are purely hypothetical to the best of our knowledge. 

Sources of quercetin

Quercetin is a flavonoid, which means a plant pigment found in a multitude of foods such as red wine, onions, green tea, apples, berries, buckwheat tea, and more. Most people likely consume enough quercetin through diet alone, but supplements are also available if you’d prefer that option. 

The suggested dose

It is safe to take up to 500 mg of quercetin twice daily for 12 weeks. Larger or longer-term use has not been studied, so the safety is unknown. The FLCCC recommends 250 mg/day for high-risk individuals as a preventative measure after COVID-19 exposure. For patients recovering from COVID-19 in the outpatient setting, the FLCCC recommends 250 mg 2x a day.

Possible downsides

Taking more than 1,000 mg/day may cause side effects such as headaches, stomach aches, and tingling sensations. Extremely high doses may cause kidney damage. However, quercetin is considered very safe overall. 

Special exceptions

It’s perfectly safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women to obtain quercetin through their diet. However, they should not take quercetin supplements, as there is no study currently on the safety of quercetin during pregnancy. 

Certain prescription medications can also interact with quercetin, including: 

  • Quinolone antibiotics: ciprofloxacin (Cipro), levofloxacin (Levaquin), moxifloxacin (Avelox) 
  • Cyclosporin
  • Birth control pills 

Many others can interact with quercetin. If you take any prescription medications or supplements at all, you should talk to your doctor and/or pharmacist before taking quercetin. 

Conclusion

While the potential benefits of quercetin when it comes to COVID-19 are highly hypothetical at this stage, the generally safe nature of this naturally occurring flavonoid leads our pharmacists to still recommend it at this stage, especially since you can easily get it through diet alone. There are other potential health benefits to quercetin as well, including combating allergies, aiding exercise performance, maintaining general health, reducing inflammation, providing anticancer effects, lowering chronic brain disorder risk, and lowering blood pressure. As always, follow guidance from your doctor and/or pharmacist above all else. 

Melatonin

Melatonin has some of the least research behind it in terms of its potential as a treatment for COVID-19. That being said, it’s a very safe supplement and a useful sleep aid, so our pharmacists still recommend melatonin during this time.

Melatonin and COVID-19

Melatonin is normally thought of as a sleep aid. However, research has found that this hormone also has potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. An analysis of patient data from Cleveland Clinic’s COVID-19 registry has identified it as a potential prevention method for COVID-19. Patients who used melatonin showed approximately a 30% lower chance of testing positive for COVID-19. The researchers theorize that melatonin may increase our tolerance to the virus, thus helping reduce tissue and organ damage. 

It’s important to note that this was not an actual study in a controlled trial setting; —instead, this was a data analysis used to find patterns in pre-existing patient records. That means that we can’t know what the actual benefits of melatonin might be until clinical trials are performed comparing the use of melatonin to placebo in current COVID-19 patients. 

Sources of Melatonin

Melatonin is a natural hormone that controls our circadian rhythm, which is our sleep and wake cycle. However, melatonin is taken as a supplement to help improve and induce sleep, and also to help combat jet lag while traveling.  

The suggested dose

Generally, we recommend starting melatonin at 3 to 5 mg in the evening, or the lowest dose possible, with a maximum dose of 10 mg. Keep in mind that for some people, it can also take a few days, and up to even a few weeks for melatonin to start working at its full effect. So, even if it doesn’t feel like it’s working at first, stick with it for at least a couple of weeks. 

The FLCCC recommends 6 mg at bedtime of melatonin for high-risk individuals after COVID-19 exposure. For patients recovering from COVID-19 in the outpatient setting, the recommended dose is 10 mg at bedtime.

Possible downsides

It is highly unlikely for a patient to overdose on melatonin. Melatonin has some minor side effects such as headache, confusion, and drowsiness. Therefore, you should be careful the next day driving and operating machinery until you’re sure you’re fully awake. 

Special exceptions

Although melatonin is a natural hormone, more research is needed on its safety when used by pregnant women. It can also interact with prescription medications, including: 

  • Sedative medications: zolpidem (Ambien)
  • Benzodiazepines: clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium)
  • Birth control pills
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
  • Cardiovascular drugs: nifedipine (Procardia XL), verapamil (Calan, Verelan)

This list is not comprehensive, and if you take any of these medications, talk with your doctor and/or pharmacist before starting a melatonin supplement. 

Conclusion

At this point, we’d say melatonin is the most hypothetical when it comes to benefits for COVID-19 out of all the supplements in this article. That being said, it is a well-established sleep aid; disturbances in sleep have been reported in record-high numbers during the pandemic. And since the likelihood of any adverse side effects is so low, it probably doesn’t hurt to take melatonin at appropriate doses during this difficult time. Just keep in mind that long-term use of it may decrease the benefits of melatonin, as your brain becomes used to the hormone. As always, follow guidance from your doctor and/or pharmacist above all else. 

Pharmacist tip

When using for sleep, we recommend the sustained release option because it releases slowly throughout the night, helping you stay asleep rather than just fall asleep. The fastest acting is sublingual dissolvable tablets or drops.

Zinc

Our pharmacists do not currently recommend for or against zinc.  More research is needed to establish whether zinc can help with COVID-19. If you do decide to take a supplement, be sure to follow dosing guidelines, as long term use at high doses can have serious health consequences.

Zinc and COVID-19

Zinc is a popular supplement that can help reduce symptoms of the common cold by stopping it from replicating in your throat. Since both COVID-19 and the common cold belong to the coronavirus family, some people have theorized that zinc may help with COVID-19 too. Researchers in Spain analyzed 249 hospitalized COVID-19 patients and found that patients who died from the virus had much lower levels of zinc in their blood. 

While those results seem promising, the study had a small sample size, and much more research is needed. Another limitation is the fact that these patients—who are from Spain—may have been already deficient in zinc. Zinc deficiency is not very common in the U.S, as on average Americans get plenty of zinc through their diet. Additionally, while the common cold and COVID-19 may both be coronaviruses, the coronavirus family is extensive and varied.

UPDATE: According to new clinical trials, zinc is not believed to lessen the severity of COVID-19, even at high doses.

Sources of zinc

Many foods naturally contain zinc, so you can easily incorporate more zinc through your diet. Oysters contain the most zinc per serving, but others include red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, crab, lobster, whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals, and dairy products. You can also purchase zinc in supplement form if you do not want to get it through diet alone. 

The suggested dose

In general, the recommended dose of zinc is 11 mg/day in men, and 8 mg/day in women, with an upper limit of 40 mg/day. There is conflicting guidance on the use of zinc supplementation. However, the FLCCC recommends 50 mg/day for high-risk individuals as a preventative measure after COVID-19 exposure. For patients recovering from COVID-19 in the outpatient setting, the recommended dose is 100 mg/day. These dosages exceed the 40 mg/day that the National Institute of Health considers to be the safe upper limit dose for adults. 

*For pregnant women, zinc is essential for the normal growth of the body. The recommended dose is 11 mg/day and no more than 40 mg/day. However, many women may not need additional supplementation during pregnancy if they can get enough zinc through their food. 

Possible downsides

While research indicate szinc is well tolerated at recommended doses, many people do report feeling side effects such as indigestion, diarrhea, headache, nausea, and vomiting. Using zinc long term at doses higher than the safe upper limit—even for as little as 10 months—can have serious health consequences, including copper deficiency (which can lead to anemia), reduced immune function, and potentially permanent neurological damage (including injury to the spinal cord, abnormal skin sensations such as burning, degenerative disease of the nervous system, and muscle stiffness).

Special exceptions

Zinc supplements can interact with certain prescription medications, including: 

  • Quinolone and tetracycline antibiotics: ciprofloxacin (Cipro), levofloxacin (Levaquin), moxifloxacin (Avelox) and doxycycline (Vibramycin, Monodox), minocycline (Minocin, Solodyn)
  • Thiazide diuretics: hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide), chlorthalidone (Diuril), chlorthalidone, indapamide, metolazone 

This list is not comprehensive, and if you take any of these, you should check with your doctor and/or pharmacist before starting a zinc supplement. 

Conclusion

Our pharmacists do not currently recommend for or against zinc for COVID-19. The little research that has been done focused on zinc deficiency, which most Americans do not experience due to a high intake of zinc through diet. More research is needed before we can make a clearer suggestion. It is generally tolerated fine at normal doses, but long term use at high doses can have serious health consequences. Make sure to consult your doctor and/or pharmacist before taking zinc, and follow all of their dosing guidelines closely. 

Pharmacist tip

In general, try to avoid intranasal zinc, as this form has been linked to a loss of the sense of smell. 


To summarize, if you were just going to take one or two supplements during this time, we’d recommend vitamin D with magnesium. We also recommend vitamin C, melatonin, and quercetin. Melatonin has the weakest research behind it, but it’s also generally safe, and if you’re having sleep issues anyway, we’d recommend it. As far as zinc, we do not currently recommend for or against it due to limited research and the possibility of adverse side effects. It is generally safe at appropriate doses, but be wary of long term use. 

Please keep in mind these recommendations are likely to change as more research comes out. And, as always, always consult your doctor and/or pharmacist before starting any new supplement. 

Dr. Jessica Nouhavandi

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