What to do about colds, flu and COVID-19

Why do new viruses come and attack us? This is because viruses are good at mixing their genes to make new types of viruses. They can also mutate, to make new variants of old viruses. Neither doctors nor therapists have research ready for a new virus.

Doctors and therapists have to use the information we have from past experience, and the knowledge we have of the human body and previous viruses, but be open to new information about the current virus’ peculiarities. Such viral infections can be life-threatening for vulnerable people, they are bad for the economy and unpleasant or worse for anyone.


Viruses new and old

Why do viruses attack more in winter and spring?

We build up protective vitamin D in the summer, which helps our immune systems fend off viruses. Prevention starts in Spring the previous year, with sensible sun exposure to build up your vitamin D; without covering yourself with clothes or using sunscreen, but making sure you do not burn.

Gentle spring sunshine starts to tan you so that you are protected against the harsher summer sun. The darker your skin, the less vitamin D you make in Northern latitudes. It is counter-productive to keep people indoors, stopping them from building up their vitamin D. Vitamin D from the sun is sulphated, and better than that from capsules, but we need capsules too if we live in a Northern country.

A study in Asian countries of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection found that only 7.2% of those with normal vitamin D levels became severely or critically ill, while 72.8% of those with deficient vitamin D became severely or critically ill. Vitamin D regulates the immune system, protecting us from the over-reaction that can kill people.

I suggest we aim for optimal vitamin D levels, rather than being satisfied with what is regarded as normal. We all need to take care to optimise our vitamin D intake, but those with darker skin, health professionals and those who are housebound should take extra care.

Care homes with gardens should make sure they are easily accessible to residents. It is always good to take vitamin D with vitamin K2. Vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium, and vitamin K2 puts the calcium in the bone, where it is needed, and not in the arteries, where it is damaging. There is some evidence that vitamin K2 may protect against COVID-19 infection.

A variety of nutrients are needed to prevent infection

Nutrition involves teamwork between a variety of substances. The immune system is complicated, and most vitamins and minerals contribute to its activity. Magnesium plays a role in immunity, and vitamin D does not work without it.

Many British people are deficient in magnesium, which is in green vegetables, nuts, seeds and pulses. Build up iodine levels by eating fish. Iodine is needed by the thyroid, and those with poor thyroid activity are susceptible to infection. Salmon provides astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant which also protects against over-reaction by the immune system, and omega-three fats which reduce inflammation.

Have vitamin C from plenty of vegetables, including salad. Keep the respiratory tract healthy with vitamin E from avocado. Eat a few brazil nuts a day for selenium, but do not overdo this. Eat meat for zinc. Zinc is needed to read the genetic code, to make new immune cells. Vegetarians often need to take zinc supplements. Eat mushrooms or yeast for beta-glucans, which protect us from infection.

Supplement vitamin C together with L-lysine, which reduces the amount of vitamin C you need. The German doctor, Mathias Rath, says L-lysine works with vitamin C to protect against viruses. L-lysine prevents degradation of collagen, and vitamin C forms new collagen. Collagen protects the cell from viruses.

Take a good quality multivitamin and mineral supplement, without harmful ingredients like carrageenan and boron. Never take vitamin B6 without at least the same amount of vitamin B2, as that can create a vitamin B2 deficiency. Boron depletes vitamin B2, which is needed to recycle glutathione, which is very protective. Glutathione recycles vitamin C, increasing its effectiveness. Carrageenan increases inflammation. Vitamin B1 protects against infection. A multivitamin and mineral supplement should include 50 micrograms of selenium, but not too much. Eat garlic, ginger and turmeric. Some people pour scorn on natural substances, but there is much-published research on their efficacy.

Chemical and electromagnetic pollution

Avoid sugar, silver-grey dental amalgam fillings and smoking, which all increase your need for vitamin C. Avoid vaping, which may expose your chest to the organophosphate weedkiller, glyphosate. Have enough good quality water to drink. Minimise exposure to chemical and electromagnetic pollution, which increase your need for nutrients. Just because you cannot see smoke or smell radiation from your smartphone or microwave does not mean that it is not harming you. Have a form of exercise that you enjoy, and that is outside in clean air. Have plenty of sleep.

Research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology says one reason most people have mild COVID-19, but some have it so badly, is because of different levels of exposure to biodiesel and high octane biofuel for planes. As so many crops, GM and otherwise, are treated with glyphosate, biofuels are laced with glyphosate, and people are breathing it in. Glyphosate runs off from agricultural land and finds its way to the rivers.

Those most exposed are in cities like Wuhan, on the Yangtze River, New York City at the mouth of the Hudson River, and New Orleans at the mouth of the Mississippi. Queens in New York is much affected by COVID, has three interstate highways, and is between two major airports.

The Dutch are badly affected and were the first to run planes on biofuels. They use used cooking oil to make it. Italy uses used olive oil from restaurants. New York City uses hybrid electric-biodiesel buses. Mice exposed to glyphosate contaminated air have airway damage. Asthmatics are particularly vulnerable to glyphosate.

Other infections

People with ME may have chronic infections so that infection with flu or a Coronavirus hits them worse than others. They may need to limit their social interactions during epidemics.

Problems with medicines

Only take medicines if absolutely necessary, as they reduce your nutritional status. Various drugs increase susceptibility to viruses.

ACE inhibitors like Ramipril and angiotensin receptor blockers like Candesartan are used to lower blood pressure. They assist entry of the COVID-19 virus into cells. People on these drugs and then diagnosed with COVID-19 are estimated to be about four times as likely to die as those not on them. Instead, control blood pressure with magnesium, potassium, ubiquinol and taurine.

Chemotherapy, steroids and cholesterol-lowering drugs including statins reduce immunity. PPIs (acid blockers) increase the risk of pneumonia. If you have acid reflux, supplement with manganese as glycinate. Many medicines reduce vitamin D levels. These include anticonvulsants, bile acid sequestrants, cholestyramine, cimetidine, colestipol, corticosteroids, glutethimide, heparin, isoniazid, mineral oil, neomycin, phenobarbital, phenolphthalein, phenytoin and primidone. COVID-19 patients often have abnormal liver function tests. Paracetamol can harm the liver, and the suggestion to take it in the early stages of COVID-19 may not be wise.


If you don’t want to have COVID-19, avoid the flu vaccine, which increases susceptibility to coronaviruses. Don’t assume that a safe COVID-19 vaccine will be produced. Vaccine for coronaviruses in animals increased their susceptibility.

What to do during infections

If you become infected, take vitamin C, as much as you can without having diarrhoea. The sicker you are, the more vitamin C you tolerate. Increase your vitamin D supplement.

Take about 20mg of zinc as glycinate at bedtime. Taking more does not help. Chew vitamin E capsules, and do not eat or drink for an hour, to allow them to heal before being washed away. Put half a flat teaspoon of Epsom Salts BP from the chemist’s in a litre of water, and drink the litre spread through the day. Chew L-lysine 500mg tablets to thin mucus, soothe the throat and stop coughing. It works fast. If chewing one hasn’t worked, chew a second one. COVID-19 can kill by blocking airways with thick mucus, so the patient cannot breathe. Maybe L-lysine could save lives from COVID-19. A silkworm enzyme called serrapeptase may also thin mucus, reducing coughing.

Treatment of serious infections

Many serious viral infections have been treated with intravenous vitamin C. If an infection develops to sepsis, vitamin B1 and a steroid may be added to the vitamin C. This treatment is used successfully in America. COVID-19 has been treated with intravenous vitamin C in China and America. Serious COVID-19 cases often involve small blood clots. Vitamin E and fish oil can be used to try and prevent this.

After COVID-19

COVID-19 causes acute anaemia, which is why people struggle for breath. Without iron in haemoglobin, you cannot carry oxygen to the cells. Some people have chronic anaemia after COVID-19, which causes post-viral fatigue and other symptoms. They feel much better if they take iron. A good quality multivitamin-mineral can also help recovery.

Preparing for the future

If individuals and governments planned ahead, to optimise nutrition, winter and spring infections could become less prevalent, and less harmful.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Stockport, Cheshire, SK4 3NP
Written by Margaret Moss, MA UCTD DipION MBANT CBiol MRSB
Stockport, Cheshire, SK4 3NP

Margaret Moss MA(Cantab) UCTD(Manchester) CBiol MRSB DipION MBANT

Director of Nutrition and Allergy Clinic, Stockport.

Margaret is a nutritional therapist and chartered biologist with an international clinic. She has published many articles in medical journals and for the general public. She specialises in those people who have complex illnesses

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