Covid-19 Immunity: Plan A

(Vaccines are so Plan B minus)

If you are discouraged by the material on the Vaccines page, the following information on natural immunity will be of comfort. Discussion of vaccines now has its own page.

The immune system is much more complicated than the model still taught at med school.

Tuberculosis (no relation to Covid-19) was soon discovered to be an opportunistic disease concentrated among those with poor nutrition, with low levels of vitamin A and D. Were TB discovered today, we would still be waiting for the boffins to sequence the genome. Try searching Pubmed, ScienceDirect, Google Scholar, PLoS or whatever you trust for “vitamin A AND vitamin D AND respiratory disease. (Or don’t, because most of it is below.) It is very surprising what research never reaches medical school. We are all expected to believe there’s nothing we can do except wait for the experts to provide a vaccine, when no successful corona virus vaccine has been made before.
Miracles happen. England and Scotland are going to investigate vitamin D for possible benefit in Covid-19. One might think that Canada, also with a public health care system not looking for profit, might follow suit. If readers are outraged by the amount of material on nutrition and immunity that is being ignored…they should be.

Vitamin A (retinol) has a long history of benefit in reducing the incidence of respiratory infection (viral or bacterial) and in treating same. It works with zinc.

One Possible Reason for Why Covid-19 is Correlated with Obesity
Thyroid hormone (T3) enhances the transcription of the enzyme that converts beta carotene to retinol. The thyroid needs selenium & iodine. Hypothyroidism can thus can accompany low vitamin A levels and obesity. Obesity is a risk factor for Covid-19. Go figure…

There’s a reason why A & D occur together…
Vitamin A and D are synergistic. The toxicity of large doses of one will be reduced by the presence of the other. (This fad for taking only vitamin D in large doses may end badly.) Many articles cite the benefit of Vitamin D in warding off respiratory infection. Vitamin D needs magnesium to work, as Aileen Burford-Maison, PhD and author of excellent books, frequently reminds us.

It is clear from the articles below and ones to be added that the balance between vitamin A and D is crucial and that contradictory results in some studies that use only one of them are the result of not fully understanding this.

Vaccine makers are trying to put vitamin A in the flu vaccine. This is just wrong in so many ways, especially since one research group credits the vitamin’s good effect on the immune system to its ability to change the microbiome. I.e., it should be consumed, not injected.
This is all part of the controversy about adjuvants, like squalene. Shark liver oil is doubtless very nutritious, but should it be injected?? There are better sources on the subject of adjuvants than this website.

One vaccine in veterinary medicine did not work unless the calf had vitamin A, so by all means, eat vitamin A. If you do not believe all this, then you must read the long list of articles below.

Note on ZINC and Hydroxychoroquine
Even President Trump takes Zinc!
Not only does vitamin A need zinc to work, so does the much-maligned and much-praised HCQ. HCQ is said to force zinc into cells, and zinc has a long history of aiding immunity. A natural substance, quercetin, found in the white pith of citrus fruits and in onions, is also an “ionaphore” that does this. Zinc has long been accepted as important to immunity. A Dr. John Campbell covers the extensive literature on this, and listening to his talk is guaranteed to inspire anger at how much evidence mainstream doctors are ignoring. Note that ACE inhibitors & other blood pressure meds will decrease zinc levels. Ask yourself if MDs are looking into correlation of these meds and Covid, or whether they are just too interested in vaccines.
Here is a comment found on Medscape: “Nothing will work long term with opportunistic pathogens, like Covid, until we address the widespread problem of zinc deficiency due to ACE inhibitors & other drugs that block or deplete zinc.”

DOSING and Toxicity

This information is not in the citations below. This website is not infallible. You have been warned.
There is not a lot on dosage. Multiple vitamins used to have 10,000 IU of vitamin A. Then in an abundance of caution, it was cut back to 5,000 IU. Now some multis have only half that. This change may have arisen at the time Accutane, a useless expensive vitamin A derivative, and also vitamin A mega doses, became popular for acne. Taken during pregnancies, both caused birth defects (as does zinc deficiency).

Vitamin A capsules are available in 10,000 and fortified halibut liver oil capsules have 10,000 vit A (3,025 mcg RAE & 400 IU vit D (10 mcg). This is probably not a good ratio. Unfortified halibut liver oil (5,000/400) would be better. It is rare. Vitamin A RDA is 3,000 for men, & 2,300 for women with an upper limit of 10,000. (Except in pregnancy, the upper limit, in the case of illness, may be worth re-examining, considering the much higher doses used to treat measles.) Vitamin D RDA is 600IU to 800IU. RDAs are almost always wrong, according to some. Doctors who specialize in vitamin D will recommend far more.
The most concentrated source of vitamin A is liver. One ounce of chicken liver has 6,576 IU, beef liver, 9,985 IU. I.e., a 4 oz serving of liver will be well over the limit. While a hungry hunter once died from eating an entire seal liver, those who routinely eat small amounts of liver are probably healthier than most. Organ meats have far more nutrients than muscle meat.
Cod liver oil has both vitamin A and D, albeit not nearly so much as the less refined oils of old. The fancy fish oils claiming high levels of DHA and EPA, while beneficial, lack any significant A&D.
A can of sardines has 2% of vitamin A RDA and 110% of vitamin D RDA. (Sardines also have selenium, also good.)
Sun exposure, May to September makes a lot of vitamin D.
Vitamin A measurement units are gradually being changed from IU to RAE micrograms,
a.k.a. µg. explains it at length.

This subject has as many or more articles as vitamin A. Consumer Lab says some papers found that adequate vitamin D was good, but too much was not. A small study of Covid patients, not large enough to be statistically significant, found that those who became sicker had lower levels of vitamin D. “Vitamin D is, as noted elsewhere, an immunomodulatory hormone which may help reduce respiratory infections, and is required in certain steps of the body’s immune response.”

———–A Collection of Articles——

ISOM.CA is a fine Canadian charity devoted to educating doctors and others in nutritional medicine.
They have a list with many more articles on supplements and CoViD at…


Vitamin A supplementation to improve treatment outcomes among children diagnosed with respiratory infections –WHO technical staff, April 2011
The title is self-explanatory. What is not clear is why the WHO does not broadcast this information during the Covid-19 anxiety. They found good results with a little vitamin A, and not so good with too much vitamin A. Articles below on vitamin A & D synergy explain why.

Importance of vitamin-A for lung function and development Dec. 2003

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2019 Sep;23(18):8133-8138. doi: 10.26355/eurrev_201909_19033.
Correlation of serum vitamin A, D, and E with recurrent respiratory infection in children.
Cangzhou, China
The deficiency of vitamin A, D, and E is positively correlated with the disease activity of children with recurrent respiratory infection. Therefore, the supplement of vitamin A, D, and E through dietary adjustment is beneficial to the rehabilitation of the children.

Clin Exp Immunol. 2016 Feb;183(2):239-47. doi: 10.1111/cei.12718. Epub 2015 Nov 24.
.Univ. of Tennessee, USA
Retinol binding protein and vitamin D associations with serum antibody isotypes, serum influenza virus-specific neutralizing activities and airway cytokine profiles.
Vitamin A supports the induction of immunoglobulin (Ig)A responses at mucosal surfaces in mice [and might in humans].

Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol.
2009 Aug;297(2):L340-6. doi: 10.1152/ajplung.90267.2008.
Dept of Med. University of Chicago, USA
Retinoic acid prevents virus-induced airway hyperreactivity and M2 receptor dysfunction via anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects.

PLoS One. 2017 Feb 24;12(2):e0172350. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0172350. Finland
The relationship of serum vitamins A, D, E and LL-37 levels with allergic status, tonsillar virus detection and immune response.
Tonsils have an active role in immune defence and inducing and maintaining tolerance to allergens. Vitamins A, D, and E, and antimicrobial peptide LL-37 may have immunomodulatory effects. We studied serum levels…Vitamin D and E levels were associated with less allergic disorders. Vitamin A was linked to antiviral and vitamin D with anti-inflammatory activity. LL-37 and was linked to T regulatory cell effects.

Int Immunol. 2016 Mar;28(3):139-52. doi: 10.1093/intimm/dxv064. Epub 2015 Oct 27.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, USA
Vitamin A deficient mice exhibit increased viral antigens and enhanced cytokine/chemokine production in nasal tissues following respiratory virus infection despite the presence of FoxP3+ T cells.

Adv Respir Med. 2019;87(1):63-67. doi: 10.5603/ARM.a2019.0010. Epub 2019 Mar 4.
Measles pneumonitis.
Measles…pneumonia being one of the most lethal complications. Management involves correction of dehydration and nutritional deficiencies, treatment of secondary bacterial infections and provision of vitamin A.

Clin Infect Dis. 2017 Sep 15;65(6):900-909. doi: 10.1093/cid/cix476. USA
Impact of Vitamin A and Carotenoids on the Risk of Tuberculosis Progression.
Vitamin A deficiency strongly predicted the risk of incident tuberculosis disease among HHCs of patients with tuberculosis. Vitamin A supplementation among individuals at high risk of tuberculosis may provide an effective means of preventing tuberculosis disease. [Didn’t they know this 50 years ago?]

Nutrients. 2019 Feb 5;11(2). pii: E343. doi: 10.3390/nu11020343.
Assessment of Vitamin Status in Patients with Nontuberculous Mycobacterial Pulmonary Disease Korea
The serum concentrations of vitamins A and E were significantly lower in patients with NTM-PD than in healthy controls.”


On the role of Vitamin A in protecting cell walls and regulating cytokine storms Weston A. Price Foundation wrote:
The discovery of vitamin A and the history of its application in the field of human nutrition is a story of bravery and brilliance, one that represents a marriage of the best of scientific inquiry with worldwide cultural traditions; and the suborning of that knowledge to the dictates of the food industry provides a sad lesson in the use of power and influence to obfuscate the truth.

Vitamin A and Thyroid Health (

beta-Carotene and selenium supplement enhances immune response in aging adults

Selenium and selenoproteins in viral infection with potential relevance to COVID-19
Jinson Zhang, et al. PR China, and UK (Univ. of Surrey)
We discuss the indispensable function of the selenoproteins in coordinating a successful immune response and follow by reviewing cytokine excess, a key mediator of morbidity and mortality in COVID-19, and its relationship to selenium status.

Vitamin A deficiency impairs the immune response to intranasal vaccination and RSV infection in neonatal calves.
Sci Rep. 2019 Oct 22;9(1):15157. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-51684-x. Iowa State University, USA
Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is one of the most prevalent nutrition-related health problems in the world and is a significant risk factor in the development of severe respiratory infections in infants and young children……Vitamin A deficient calves are unable to respond to the mucosal Respiratory syncytial virus nanoparticle vaccine.

Sci Rep. 2016 May 16;6:25835. doi: 10.1038/srep25835 Korea
Antiviral effect of vitamin A on norovirus infection via modulation of the gut microbiome.
Retinol or retinoic acid (RA) inhibits murine norovirus (MNV) replication in vitro and in vivo models. Lactobacillaceae families, whose antiviral causal effects were demonstrated in vitro, were increased. We conclude that the abundance of Lactobacillus through gut microbiota modulation by RA is at least partially responsible for norovirus inhibition.

Nutrients. 2017 May 21;9(5). pii: E516. doi: 10.3390/nu9050516. St. Judes, & industry
Comparative Safety and Efficacy Profile of a Novel Oil in Water Vaccine Adjuvant Comprising Vitamins A and E and a Catechin in Protective Anti-Influenza Immunity.
[The addition of non-patentable supplements to a patented expensive vaccine is questionable, and if the other researchers are correct and the benefits are via vitamin A induced microbiome changes, the ploy is also unhelpful. Possibly Vitamin A is already added in the form of squalene (shark liver) to flu vaccines. However, many consider this adjuvant to be harmful, at least when injected. (It presumably would be nutritious if consumed orally.) Whether the benefits could be achieved more effectively and cheaply by oral supplements could be “profitable” research for non-profit research. Note that one of these articles says some vaccines do not work without vitamin A.]

Effectiveness of measles vaccination and vitamin A treatment – International Jl of Epidemiology April 2010, Johns Hopkins, Duke, USA
However, when stratifying by vitamin A treatment dose, at least two doses were found to reduce measles mortality by 62% (95% CI 19–82).
[These authors extol the benefits of immunization. However, this article also highlights the benefits of vitamin A. As too often is the case, many studies combine conventional treatments with supplements, thus obscuring the level of benefit of the latter.]

And formerly on YouTube….
At the end of his long-winded talk, Shiva Ayyadurai, MIT PhD covers the role of vitamin A in maintaining mucosal, especially lung tissue, and other functions, including immunity. He mentioned that the body can convert beta carotene to vitamin A (retinol), but added that older people often have poor thyroid function which may reduce this conversion. He is running for the US Senate. Americans, please vote for him. He also subscribes to some conspiracy theories and has been censored off YouTube, but the thyroid point was too interesting to omit. His site is:


Michael Lyon, MD, circa 2006: “Unfortunately a lot of the research on nutrition is designed to fail because it’s done by conventional researchers who really don’t believe in natural medicine and don’t really understand how nutrients work or how they synergize.”

Check out this search:″ as well as what is below

The Interaction of Dietary Vitamin A and Vitamin D Related to Skeletal Development in the Turkey Poult
Alan L. Metz, Mary M. Walser, William G. Olson Univ of Minn, Veterinary Pathobiology
The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 115, Issue 7, July 1985, Pages 929–935,
Published: 01 July 1985
Gist: Turkeys fed adequate vitamin D + too much vitamin A had problems, fed adequate vitamin A + too much vitamin D, also had problems. Those fed mega doses of both, thrived, as did those fed adequate doses of both. (There is a reference to ICU in this article. ICUs are International Chick Units. They process D2 less effectively than mammals so the conversion is different from human IUs.)

Role of Fat-Soluble Vitamins A and D in the Pathogenesis of Influenza
Mawson, AR, Jackson State University 2013
Reduced exposure to solar radiation, leading to a deficiency of vitamin D and hence impaired innate immunity, has been suggested as a trigger for influenza viral replication and as an explanation of seasonal influenza. Although this hypothesis accounts for many unexplained facts about the epidemiology of influenza, gaps remain in understanding the pathogenesis and manifestations of the disease. Several observations suggest a role for vitamin A compounds (retinoids) in the disease. This paper presents a new model of the etiopathogenesis of influenza, suggesting that host resistance and susceptibility depend importantly on the ratio of vitamin D to vitamin A activity.

International Journal of Cancer
Estimated intake of vitamin D and its interaction with vitamin A on lung cancer risk among smokers
Ting‐Yuan David Cheng Gary E. Goodman et al, Seattle, Wash.
First published:13 March 2014
Our observation suggests that vitamin A may assist vitamin D in preventing lung cancer among smokers.

Synergistic effect and mechanism of vitamin A and vitamin D on inducing apoptosis of prostate cancer cells
Molecular Biology Reports
volume 40, pages 2763–2768(2013) 23 February 2013 China
In conclusion, vitamin A and vitamin D could synergistically induce apoptosis in prostate cancer cells.

Cod Liver Oil, Vitamin A Toxicity, Frequent Respiratory Infections, and the vitamin D Deficiency Epidemic
Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology 117(11):864-870 © 2008 Assals Publishing Co.
Controlled studies in the 1930’s found more robust results. Cod liver oil given to 1,561 adults reduced the incidence of respiratory infections by 30% and another showed 50% reduced incidence of colds. We attribute the better results in the older study to the much higher vitamin D content of cod liver oil in the 1930s [Another article, lost, confirmed that today’s cod liver oil has lower levels of vitamins.]

The amelioration of hypervitaminosis D in rats with vitamin A
I Clark, CAL Bassett Columbia University- Journal of Experimental Medicine, 1962 – Rockerfeller Press J Exp Med (1962) 115 (1): 147–156.

The administration of large amounts of Vitamin A to hypervitaminotic D rats decreases the toxicity of this condition.
An interesting question raised by this investigation is whether the physiological or biochemical function of vitamin D is dependent on the tissue level of vitamin A or its metabolites. In these studies, it was noted that as the amount of vitamin A was increased in hypervitaminotic D animals, there were fewer pathologic changes, better weight gain and longer life span. Gross-Selbeck (16) in 1935 reported that large amounts of vitamin A concentrates decreased the lethal toxicity of massive amounts of vitamin D. Thoenes (17) in an interesting paper speculated that vitamin A was an essential factor for the action of vitamin D and that administration of large amounts of vitamin D created a “relative avitaminosis A.” This present study tends to support the concept that some of the damage of hypervitaminosis D may be in part due to a relative avitaminosis A.

Vitamin effects on the immune system: vitamins A and D take centre stage Harvard Med Sch & Japan
Nature Reviews Immunology volume 8, pages 685–698 ( Sept 2008)
Vitamins A and D have received particular attention in recent years as these vitamins have been shown to have an unexpected and crucial effect on the immune response.

Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Vitamin A and vitamin D regulate the microbial complexity, barrier function, and the mucosal immune responses to ensure intestinal homeostasis
Volume 54, 2019 [April]- Issue Dept. of Veterinary Science, Univ of Pennsylvania
Diet is an important regulator of the gastrointestinal microbiota. Vitamin A and vitamin D deficiencies result in less diverse, dysbiotic microbial communities and increased susceptibility to infection or injury of the gastrointestinal tract. Together, vitamin A- and vitamin D-mediated regulation of the intestinal epithelium and mucosal immune system shape the microbial communities in the gut to maintain homeostasis.

Association between vitamin intake and respiratory complaints in adults from the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey years 1–8 BMJ 27 October 2020
In conclusion, intake of vitamin A and E from diet and supplements, and vitamin D from supplements, show strong evidence of association with lower self-reported prevalence of respiratory complaints in a nationally representative sample of UK adults.

Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Larynology 119(1):64-70 c 2010 Assals Publishing
Cod Liver Oil, the Ratio of Vitamins A and D, Frequent Respiratory Tract Infections, and Vitamin D Deficiency in Young Children in the United States.
Gist: Discussion of vitamin amounts in some brands, recommendation for more vitamin D. Cod liver oil is a source of long chain omegea-3 fatty acids, vitamin A and vitamin D, all may be important in the prevention of respiratory tract infection in children.
[One of the authors, Michael Holick, spoke at the 2019 conference.]

Über die Verhütung von Vitamin D-Schäden durch Vitamin A-Zufütterung
About the prevention of vitamin D damage through vitamin A feeding
In growing rats, the effects of vitamin D overdose on growth and well-being are prevented by abundant but non-toxic Doses of A. These findings raise the question of whether it is more advantageous in human medicine to administer D together with A in the form of cod liver oil or A-D mixed preparations instead of pure D solutions.

Nutr Metab. 1979;23(1):11-6.
Short-term effect of zinc sulphate on plasma and hepatic concentrations of vitamins A and E in normal weanling rats: Zinc may be specifically involved in mobilizing vitamin A from liver to the circulation [and] therefore, could be used to treat cases of depressed vitamin A in plasma and also to treat hepatic toxicity from hypervitaminosis A. [The famed “Dr. House” used zinc and tocopherol for vitaminAosis!]

Science. 1973 Sep 7;181(4103):954-5.
Zinc: a trace element essential in vitamin A metabolism: Zinc is necessary to maintain normal concentrations of vitamin A in plasma

Bing & Other searches
Influence of various levels of hypervitaminosis A and zinc deficiency on teratogenesis and DNA synthesis in the rat [They seemed not see the connection.]

Quercetin and Vitamin C: An Experimental, Synergistic Therapy….(COVID-19)
Front. Immunol., 19 June 2020 |
There is evidence that vitamin C and quercetin co-administration exerts a synergistic antiviral action due to overlapping antiviral and immunomodulatory properties and the capacity of ascorbate to recycle quercetin, increasing its efficacy. Safe, cheap interventions which have a sound biological rationale should be prioritized. East Virginia Medical Sch., Norfolk, Va

Zinc Ionophore Activity of Quercetin and……
J. Agric. Food Chem. 2014, 62, 32, 8085–8093

Blood Pressure Drugs Lower Zinc Levels

Zinc and respiratory tract infections: Perspectives for COVID‑19 (Review)
Int J Mol Med. 2020 Jul;46(1):17-26. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2020.4575. Epub 2020 Apr 14.
Zinc is known to modulate antiviral and antibacterial immunity and regulate inflammatory response.” [There are many more zinc articles.]

Dr. John Campbell on Zinc & Covid

On Vitamin D and Immunity

(Expanded content will have a pay wall.) 2017
Adequate vitamin D levels were associated with a lower risk of pneumonia in a study of men and women ages 53 to 73 in Finland Compared to adults with vitamin D levels above 20 ng/mL, the likelihood of being hospitalized with pneumonia was 40% higher among those with levels below 20 ng/mL but above 13.5 ng/mL, and 140% higher among those with levels below 13.5 ng/mL, after adjusting for other factors. The researchers found that a low vitamin D level was almost as strong a risk factor for pneumonia as smoking.

Based on the studies above, vitamin D appears to be most effective in reducing respiratory infections when patients do not already have adequate levels (20 ng/mL) of vitamin D and when vitamin D is given daily, not in extremely large periodic doses.

British Medical Journal announces Covid-19 & vitamin D study June 2020
Covid-19: Public health agencies review whether vitamin D supplements could reduce risk Among the evidence being examined is a systematic review and meta-analysis published in The BMJ in 2017, (the article above).

The role of Vitamin D in the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 infection and mortality. Aging Clin Exp Res. 2020 –


Professor John Ioannidis, MD, Stanford University

Dr. Shiva14 mar 2020
His video was deleted from YouTube. still exists as of October 2020
“The immune system is much more complicated than the model still taught at med school.
The viruses don’t kill, the immune response does.”

Chloroquine enhanced zinc uptake by A2780 cells in a concentration-dependent manner

Well done, if you’ve read this far!

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