CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) One vitamin and supplement shop in Cedar Rapids says more people are coming in to try and boost their immune system to avoid getting sick.
“This of the year we always have a lot of people worried about their immune, wanting to build up,” Alicia Beck, manager of Health Hut, said.
Beck said that COVID-19 concerns have brought on even more health-related worry for some people.
“Specifically, they’ve been coming in wanting to help their immune with everything going on with COVID-19,” Beck said. “It’s been pretty busy, with what we’ve been going through with just being able to get products for people and then being able to keep it in stock.”
Beck said items like vitamin C, zinc, and detox supplements are what people have looking for and loading up on.
“And, if for some reason we do catch it or come by it hopefully we’d be able to fight it off easier than if our immune system was already bogged down by something being sick,” Beck said.
Dr. David Arnold, the chief medical officer at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids said while that is the thought, there is still no evidence that proves these supplements actually work.
“Certainly zinc is the common one that patients ask about as there is some lay literature out there that supports that, but there is no evidence-based investigation that supports the routine use of zinc,” Arnold said. “It’s OK to supplement, but you can’t rely on that as a singular. There’s actually no supplement that boosts your immune system.”
Arnold said there’s been plenty of misinformation surrounding taking supplements not only for this virus but other infections as well.
“Certainly if you are deficient on particular vitamin or mineral, but taking extra is not going to give you any degree of benefit that you wouldn’t already receive by taking a multivitamin each day,” Arnold said.
Arnold added the downside is people may be taking supplements thinking that it’s protecting them, leading them to delay getting the care they need.
“Part of the problem with COVID is that it causes the immune to get over reeved up and causes a pseudo-storm and that’s why these patients develop the pulmonary lung problems they have, so in actuality, you can possibly make things worse by boosting your immune system, if you could,” Arnold said.
Arnold advised people to stick to sites like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Back at the Health Hut, Beck agrees.
“I wouldn’t necessarily just jump on the bandwagon if it’s something completely different. Understand what you are looking at and how it goes through and works with the body or come in and we can have some of that conversation too,” Beck said.