Dietary and protective factors to halt or mitigate progression of autoimmunity, covid-19 and its associated metabolic diseases

Camillo Ricordi, Francesca Pacifici, Giacomo Lanzoni, Anna Teresa Palamara, Enrico Garaci, David Della-Morte

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


COVID-19 is without any doubt the worst pandemic we have faced since the H1N1 virus outbreak. Even if vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 infection is becoming increasingly available, a more feasible approach for COVID-19 prevention and therapy is still needed. Evidence of a pathological link between metabolic diseases and severe forms of COVID-19 has stimulated critical reflection and new considerations. In particular, an abnormal immune response observed in certain patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection suggested possible common predisposing risk factors with autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). Correct supplementation with dietary factors may be key to preventing and counteracting both the underlying metabolic impairment and the complications of COVID-19. A set of agents may inhibit the cytokine storm and hypercoagulability that characterize severe COVID-19 infection: vitamin D3, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, polyphenols like pterostilbene, polydatin and honokiol, which can activate anti-inflammatory and antioxidant sirtuins pathways, quercetin, vitamin C, zinc, melatonin, lactoferrin and glutathione. These agents could be highly beneficial for subjects who have altered immune responses. In this review, we discuss the antiviral and metabolic effects of these dietary factors and propose their combination for potential applications in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. Rigorous studies will be fundamental for validating preventive and therapeutic protocols that could be of assistance to mitigate disease progression following SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3134
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • Metabolic diseases
  • Natural supplements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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