Immunonutrition – Covid-19

Author: Dr. Akshay Alawani, INFS Faculty Head

Disclaimer: We are in no way telling you that eating something will guarantee additional immunity and lower susceptibility towards COVID-19.

However, we will provide you with crucial information about how nutrients affect your immune system. And as usual, everything 100% research-based! No random claims to ‘get social-media attention’.


Interactive phenomenon of body’s defence / immune system and nutrition or the branch that studies the same is known as ‘immunonutrition’ (1).


As per the available scientific evidence about COVID-19, we understand that people with lower immunity are more likely to get ‘critically hit’ by this virus (2). This includes older people, pregnant women or people with chronic diseases (2,3). When we say critically hit, it means that they are more likely to suffer severe outcomes like death if they catch this disease. Hence in above graphic, we have linked chronic diseases/ immuno-compromised states to COVID-19 susceptibility and potency with a solid arrow indicating direct association.

We are aware that ‘poor nutrition status’ is a significant contributor in developing and aggravating conditions like type two diabetes, hypertension and some inflammatory disorders. Fixing it makes such patients improve as well (4). However, nutrition is not necessarily the only factor contributing. Hence, we have shown this association with a semi-continuous arrow.

The last piece of our triad is self-explanatory. If poor nutrition is associated with chronic diseases, and if these diseases are correlated with COVID-19 susceptibility and potency, nutrition status has ‘indirectly-direct’ association with this viral disease (5). However, there is no research which links any nutrient directly modifying COVID-19, and hence the broken arrow link in the graphic. 


The better the immunity, the stronger are the chances to fight this disease! Food is a big part of our daily life in quarantine too. As our government dangles between choosing economic hit vs viral attack, INFS will continue to provide you with information about ‘how can diet help improve’ your immunity.

Meanwhile, we will advise all the patients of lifestyle disorders to keep your conditions in control through dietary advice of your doctor / dietician. It has never been more important! Rest of you guys, stay healthy because maintaining the status of ‘HEALTH’ is the key here.


1.  Satyaraj E. Immunonutrition. Compend Contin Educ Vet. 2009;31(3 SUPPL. B):32–9. 

2.  Butler MJ, Barrientos RM. The impact of nutrition on COVID-19 susceptibility and longterm consequences. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. Academic Press Inc.; 2020. 

3.  Wu C, Chen X, Cai Y, Xia J, Zhou X, Xu S, et al. Risk Factors Associated with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and Death in Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pneumonia in Wuhan, China. JAMA Intern Med. 2020; 

4.  Ojo O. Nutrition and chronic conditions. Vol. 11, Nutrients. MDPI AG; 2019. 

5.  World Health Organization. WHO EMRO | Nutrition advice for adults during the COVID19 outbreak | Nutrition-infocus | Nutrition [Internet]. Nutrition advice for adults during the COVID-19 outbreak. 2020 [cited 2020 May 15]. Available from:

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