Myth Busters: Dietary Supplements and COVID-19

Ann Pharmacother. 2020 Aug;54(8):820-826. doi: 10.1177/1060028020928052. Epub 2020 May 12.


News and social media platforms have implicated dietary supplements in the treatment and prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). During this pandemic when information quickly evolves in the presence of contradicting messages and misinformation, the role of the pharmacist is essential. Here, we review theoretical mechanisms and evidence related to efficacy and safety of select supplements in the setting of COVID-19, including vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, elderberry, and silver. Evidence evaluating these supplements in COVID-19 patients is lacking, and providers and patients should not rely on dietary supplements to prevent or treat COVID-19. Rather, reference to evidence-based guidelines should guide treatment decisions.

Keywords: coronavirus; dietary supplements; elderberry and silver; vitamin C; vitamin D; zinc.

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus / isolation & purification
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / diet therapy*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diet therapy*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Social Media*