One of my best-selling books is Alternative Medicine: The options, the claims, the evidence, how to choose wisely. In that book, Dr. O’Mathúna and I discuss the evidence supporting and refuting various supplements for colds and flu. So, I’ve been received requests to comment on supplements to prevent or treat the pandemic novel coronavirus or COVID-19.
Myriad Internet advertisements are hawking vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc products — among others. Along with this are countless social media posts with false information that high doses of these nutrients may cure you or prevent you from getting this pandemic virus.
In fact, as pointed out by Reuters, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have sent warning letters to seven companies that they say have been fraudulently promoting essential oils, colloidal silver, teas, and tinctures that claim to prevent, cure, or treat COVID-19.
FDA and FTC note that there are NO supplements, vaccines, or medicines approved to treat or prevent the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
The warning letters were issued to Quinessence Aromatherapy, Vital Silver, Xephyr doing business as N-Ergetics, Vivify Holistic Clinic, GuruNanda, The Jim Bakker Show and Herbal Amy.
While there is some evidence that using oral zinc lozenges and vitamin C may be useful in treating the common cold or influenza, there is, of course, NO evidence that any supplements can prevent, treat, or cure coronavirus.
Worse, high doses of certain vitamins and minerals can be risky. As always, consult with your healthcare professional or pharmacist about ANY supplements you are considering and never take a higher dose than recommended.
I’m currently working on a new book, The Natural Medicines Handbook: The Truth about the Most Effective Herbs, Vitamins, and Supplements for Common Conditions. Starting tomorrow, I’ll post more information about zinc lozenges, vitamin C, and other supplements for the common cold or flu.