NEW PRODUCT PACKAGE AVAILABLE - click HERE for information and to order

The Essential Role of Omega-3 and Vitamins A and D in Viral Immune Defense

Due to COVID-19 I have chosen to provide a review of the relationship between immune function, omega-3, Vitamin D and Vitamin A, and protection against viruses such as the Influenza viruses, and cold viruses such as Coronaviruses (including COVID-19) and Adenoviruses.

A Short Review of Innate and Adaptive/Acquired (Humoral/Antibody) Viral Immune Responses

The immune system is generically divided into two main components based on different cell types: innate immunity and adaptive or acquired immunity. The innate immune system component is comprised of macrophages, neutrophils, and dendritic cells (collectively phagocytes) as well as eosinophils, basophils, mast cells, and natural killer cells. The innate immune system is the rapid, non-specific first line of defense against viruses.

The adaptive or acquired immune system component is comprised of the cell-mediated immune cells named T-cells and the humoral immune cells named B-cells which secrete specific antibodies to specific antigens or pathogens. The adaptive component of the immune system comprised of the B and T cells or lymphocytes, is slower reacting than the innate component, but it is much more powerful and specific and can “remember” antigens or invaders creating immune defense for future exposures.

Specific T and B cells are produced based on specific protein antigens on the surface of viruses. Some T-cells (and some phagocytes of the innate immune system) produce cytokines which signal the rest of the immune system into action. Other T-cells called Killer T-cells recognize and kill virus infected cells. Other T-cells called Helper T-cells signal B cells to produce specific antibodies which then circulate and bind to the antigens (proteins) of viruses which then signal phagocytes from the innate immune system to engulf and destroy antibody-covered viruses.

I like to describe innate immunity as the foot soldiers making up the rapid, first line of defense. If they are successful then there is no need to call upon the more logistical, more sophisticated, more powerful, and more specific defense strategies and equipment of acquired immunity – the second, more powerful, more specific line of defense.

If, however, the innate immune response is not successful, it will signal the adaptive or acquired immune defense system that it needs to mount a more robust defense. There are two main ways the innate immune system sends signals to activate the adaptive or acquired immune system. The phagocytes of the innate immune system engulf or phagocytose the virus and then display pieces of protein from the virus (antigens), on its surface via the histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecule. This allows T-Cells of the adaptive immune system to recognize and respond to these antigens and cells infected with the virus.

Phagocytes also have the ability to display protein danger flags or signals called pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs) on their surface which initiate the adaptive immune system response. Phagocytes also release chemical messengers called cytokines that further serve to call the adaptive immune system into action.

You can see that the two arms or components of the immune system work in a very coordinated team-like fashion in order to defend against invading viruses. Most of the time, IF fully functional, the innate immune system will prevent a successful full invasion by a virus by preventing the virus from securing a strong-hold.

We are all exposed to viruses all the time, we just don’t get clinically symptomatic because our innate immune systems kill the viruses without the need for full activation of our acquired immune system – which is what makes us symptomatic. Remember, it is not the virus that gives us a runny nose and fever, these are strategies employed by our acquired immune system in order to expel and kill viruses. Cold and flu medications may make you feel better, but they do so by interfering with your immune system’s ability to create mucous and increase body temperature. Cold and flu medications may make you feel better, but they do so by weakening your immune defenses!

Because the influenza viruses, and the respiratory viruses that cause colds such as the rhinovirus and coronavirus, change each year, the antibodies our adaptive immune system creates to these viruses in one year are not always able to be used to fully fight against the different strain of the virus the following year. This is why the CDC creates a different flu vaccine every year and insists that people get a flu vaccine each year.

There are several problems with this strategy that help to explain why the CDC so often reports flu vaccine ineffectiveness. First, the people who make the yearly flu vaccines must guess regarding which strain of the virus will be present in the upcoming flu season and they get this wrong more often than not – something they openly admit and then, confusingly, still insist people get the flu vaccine!?

Second, since the virus strain is different each year, and thus we cannot use antibodies from previous years for immune defense, it is our innate immune system and activated T-Cells of our adaptive immune system that are our primary defense against cold and flu viruses; not the antibody producing B Cells of our adaptive immune system. This begs several questions. How do so many millions of people get exposed to the influenza and cold viruses every year and not get sick? The answer? Their immune systems successfully defend them against these viruses! Why does virtually every person, other than those with a pre-existing serious health condition, who does get the flu, recover without serious health complications? Answer? These people have better immune function than those with pre-existing conditions. In the terminology of the medical literature, they are less frail. This brings us to the most important question. Why do some people have better innate and T-cell immune function than others? This leads us perfectly into the third major problem with the current flu prevention strategy, as well as the topic of this article.

Third, as you are about to read below in detail, without sufficient intake of the essential nutrients omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and vitamin A, the immune system simply cannot function properly and cannot mount a proper viral immune defense. It is this variable, the one sadly most overlooked, that is the most significant with respect to our ability to mount a proper immune defense against the cold and flu, and COVID-19 - either in response to exposure to the actual virus or in response to a vaccine!

The Essential Role of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Viral Immune Defense

Gutierrez, S. et al. (2019) Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Immune Cells. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 20, 5028; doi:10.3390/ijms20205028.

“Alterations on the immune system caused by omega-3 fatty acids have been described for 30 years. This family of polyunsaturated fatty acids exerts major alterations on the activation of cells from both the innate and the adaptive immune system, although the mechanisms for such regulation are diverse. First, as a constitutive part of the cellular membrane, omega-3 fatty acids can regulate cellular membrane properties, such as membrane fluidity or complex assembly in lipid rafts. In recent years, however, a new role for omega-3 fatty acids and their derivatives as signaling molecules has emerged.”

“A healthy and balanced diet is essential for the correct function of every part of our organism, including the immune system. Additionally, some dietary factors have been found to have immune-regulatory properties, including micronutrients such as Vitamin D or macronutrients such as fatty acids.”

Both omega-3 and omega-6-derived metabolites have important immune-regulatory functions. These metabolites are generally known as specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPMs) and can be classified in different families—prostaglandins, leukotrienes, thromboxanes, maresins, protectins, and resolvins.

“Although the specific mechanisms of action of omega-3 fatty acid regulation of immune cells function present several cell type-specific features, it is worth mentioning that omega-3 fatty acids, via in vitro stimulation or via dietary supplementation, effectively incorporate into the cellular membrane of all the immune cells investigated to date.”

“Polyunsaturated fatty acids possess multiple double bonds in their carbon chain. Since each double bond causes a bend in the carbon chain, polyunsaturated fatty acids cannot stack as tightly within cellular membranes as saturated fatty acids do. Therefore, the incorporation of polyunsaturated fatty acids increases the fluidity of cellular membranes.”

Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Macrophage Function

“Macrophages have a fundamental role as part of the innate immune system. They patrol multiple organs in a constant search for invading pathogens. They are able to recognize specific pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) thanks to the toll-like receptors (TLRs) present on their surface. After pathogen recognition, they initiate the elimination process of the pathogen by engulfing it (phagocytosis) and secreting anti-microbial molecules such as reactive oxygen species (ROS). Simultaneously, they produce and secrete a large variety of cytokines and chemokines in order to recruit and activate other immune cells from both the innate and the adaptive immune system to mount an efficient immune response to completely eliminate the threat.”

“The impact of omega-3 fatty acids on macrophage function has extensively been investigated since the 1980s. Since then, there are three main properties of macrophage biology that have been identified to be altered by omega-3 fatty acids: the production and secretion of cytokines and chemokines, the capacity of phagocytosis, and the polarization into classically activated or alternatively activated macrophages.”

“Probably the most renowned property of omega-3 fatty acids is their ability to reduce inflammation and their beneficial effect on inflammation-related disorders. For some of these diseases, it has been suggested that the cell type responsible for the inflammatory modulation by omega-3 fatty acids is macrophages.”

“The evidence supporting the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids on macrophages, mainly decreasing the secretion of IL-1β, TNF-α, and IL-6, already backs the notion that omega-3 fatty acids blunt M1 macrophage polarization upon LPS stimulation. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids have been found to promote M2 polarization in macrophage cell lines and primary mouse macrophages.”

“DHA and EPA can increase the phagocytic capacity of macrophages.” “Some investigators have suggested that this increase in the phagocytic capacity of macrophages upon omega-3 treatment could be related to changes in the cellular membrane composition and structure caused by the incorporation of the omega-3 fatty acids, although causation still remains to be confirmed.”

Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Neutrophil Function

“Neutrophils are the first cells to be recruited to the site of inflammation and have an important role in the clearance of pathogens. However, neutrophils can also interact with the adaptive immune system by promoting naïve T cells to transition into T helper1 cells and can present antigens to B-cells in the spleen.”

“Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to be incorporated into phospholipids in the cell membrane of neutrophils at the expense of the omega-6 fatty acids linoleic and arachidonic acid. Once the omega-3 fatty acids have been incorporated into the phospholipids, they can be metabolized by neutrophils into prostaglandins, leukotrienes, thromboxanes, maresins, protectins, and resolvins. Omega-3 fatty acids, and their metabolites, modulate neutrophil function in several ways, including neutrophil migration, phagocytic capacity, as well as the production of reactive oxygen species and cytokines.”

“Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to improve the phagocytic capacity in neutrophils in mice. In vitro, adding DHA to extracted peritoneal neutrophils leads to a 35% increase in phagocytic capacity as well as a two-fold increase in fungicidal capacity.”

“This effect has partly been confirmed in humans too. Ten volunteers were given fish oil supplementation containing 26% EPA and 54% DHA daily for two months. Thereafter, the phagocytic capacity of the neutrophils in the blood was increased by 62%.” “In humans, supplementation with 54% DHA and 26% EPA for two months increased ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) production in phorbol-myristate-acetate stimulated neutrophils.”

Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on T-Cells

“T cells are thymus-derived lymphocytes that recognize antigens presented by antigen presenting cells (APCs) through the T cell receptor (TCR). They comprise a heterogeneous group of cells with different immune properties, which makes their classification complex. T cells are classically classified into two main subsets, CD4+ T cells and CD8+ T cells, depending on their surface expression of CD4 or CD8 molecules, respectively. Both subsets differ on immune properties and functions. Whereas CD4+ T cells play major roles against bacterial infections, CD8 T cells mediate the immune response against viral infections. Additionally, T cells can be classified into helper (Th) and cytotoxic T cells. Th cells regulate the function of other immune cells whereas cytotoxic cells destroy virus-infected cells.”

“T cells are first activated by the interaction of the T cell receptor (TCR) with APCs [antigen presenting cells} such as macrophages or dendritic cells. Therefore, alterations in the activation of APCs by omega-3 fatty acids are the first mechanisms by which omega-3 fatty acids may modulate T cell activation in vivo. However, direct effects of omega-3 fatty acids have also been described in the literature.”

“Generally, ALA, DHA, and EPA exert an inhibitory effect on the activation of immune cells from both the innate and the adaptive branch. Interestingly, some specific immune functions are promoted by dietary omega-3 fatty acids in specific immune cell types, i.e., phagocytosis by macrophages and neutrophils or Treg differentiation, suggesting that omega-3 fatty acids do not act as unspecific immune-repressors.”

What this all means, is that the immune system cannot function properly, be up-regulated properly, or be down-regulated properly without sufficient intake of omega-3 fatty acids. It would be biologically erroneous to think of omega-3 fatty acids as either anti-inflammatory, immune system up-regulating, or immune system down-regulating. It is much more accurate to view omega-3 fatty acids as essential nutrients which are required for the proper overall function and regulation of immune responses.

When appropriate, omega-3 fatty acids are important to prevent chronic inflammation and hyper-immune responses. At other times, when appropriate, omega-3 fatty acids are important to allow up-regulation of immune function such as when a virus is detected and up-regulation of macrophages and neutrophils is required.

Omega-3 fatty acids are not what controls or determines the immune response, omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that are required ingredients or tools of the immune response. Deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids causes immune dysfunction, sometimes in the form of pro-inflammation or hyper activity, and sometimes, as in the case of viral infection, in the form of downregulated innate immune response via macrophages and neutrophils which, in turn, causes a decreased T-Cell response to viruses because macrophages and neutrophils signal the T-Cell response.


The Essential Role of Vitamin A in Viral Immune Defense

Huang, Z. et al. (2018) Role of Vitamin A in the Immune System. J. Clin. Med. 7, 258; doi:10.3390/jcm7090258

“Vitamin A (VitA) is involved in the development of the immune system and plays regulatory roles in cellular immune response and humoral immune processes. VitA has demonstrated a therapeutic effect in the treatment of various infectious diseases.”

VitA Is Involved in the Formation of the Epithelial and Mucous Tissues

The epithelium lines all outer surface and most inner surfaces of organisms, and it functions as the “front line” of defense against pathogen invasion. Studies from recent years have shown that VitA plays a crucial role in the morphological formation of the epithelium, epithelial keratinization, stratification, differentiation, and functional maturation of epithelial cells.

“As a promotor for morphology and a cell differentiation enhancer, VitA is an integral part of the mucus layer of both the respiratory tract and the intestine. Since VitA promotes mucin secretion, it improves the antigen non-specific immunity function of these tissues. Research has shown that VitA improves the mechanistic defense of the oral mucosa, increases the integrity of intestinal mucus, and maintains the morphology and amount of urothelium cells.”

“With deficient VitA intake, the resistance of keratinized epithelial tissues to foreign pathogens decreases, and it is no longer able to exert its mechanical barrier function, thus reducing innate immune function and promoting respiratory tract infections, diarrhea, and other diseases in children.”

“Research has shown that crucial immune organs need constant dietary intake to maintain VitA concentrations, and RA (retinoic acid) was previously shown both to promote the proliferation and to regulate the apoptosis of thymocytes.”

“In mice, VitAD (Vit A deficiency) leads to a defect in both T cell-mediated and antibody-dependent immune responses.”

VitA Affects Cell Differentiation, Maturity, and Immunological Function in Innate Immunity

“Retinoid acid plays crucial roles in the regulation of the differentiation, maturation, and function of cells of the innate immune system. Innate immune cells are comprised of macrophages and neutrophils, which initiate immediate responses to pathogen invasion through phagocytosis and activation of natural killer T cells which perform immunoregulatory functions through cytotoxic activity. There is a report that shows that VitA is essential for the proper development and differentiation of colonic CD169+ macrophages.”

VitA Induces T Cell Migration

“In the intestinal lamina propria, RA (retinoic acid – VitA) is an essential regulator for intestinal homing of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. VitAD caused a reduction in memory/activated T cells in lymphoid organs, and a lack of T cells from the intestinal lamina propria.”

“Furthermore, RA signaling is restricted to the site of inflammation both temporally and spatially. Conditional ablation of RA signaling in T cells significantly interferes with CD4+ T cell effector function, migration, and polarity, indicating RA involvement in T cell migration toward the area of inflammation.”

VitA Is a Control Factor for Regulatory T Cells (Treg cells) and Maintains Homeostasis

“Regulatory T cells (Treg) are a subpopulation of T cells that maintain immune tolerance and regulate the autoimmune response.”

“Local injection of Tregs failed to prevent development in a collagen-induced arthritis model, whereas the injection of ATRA-pretreated Tregs successfully inhibited the development of arthritis.

Read that again. Without sufficient Vitamin A, the Treg cells (regulatory T-cells) which serve to regulate the immune and inflammatory responses, failed to prevent the development of collagen-induced arthritis – scar tissue induced arthritis. BUT, when the Treg cells were exposed to sufficient Vitamin A, they did successfully inhibit the development of arthritis!!! WOW!!

“ATRA (Retinoic Acid Receptor Ligand) also enhanced the stability and functionality of human natural Treg cells under the inflammatory conditions. ATRA prevented the transformation of Tregs to Th17 cells and other inflammatory cells by inhibiting the expression of IL-6R on the cell surface of peripherally induced Tregs. Therefore, ATRA enhanced IL-2 function, an important immunomodulator, and promoted naïve T cell transformation into natural Tregs while inhibiting the IL-6-induced transformation of naïve T cells into Th17 cells. Additionally, ATRA also has the ability to induce and promote the development and function of human-induced Treg cells.”

“Infectious diseases in children were once a global threat. Recent research has suggested a close correlation between a deficiency of micronutrients (particularly VitA) and infectious diseases spread through the respiratory and digestive systems in children.”

“More importantly, VitA has demonstrated a therapeutic effect, to some extent, (see Table 1) in diseases transmitted through the respiratory system, such as pneumonia and measles in children, or in contagious digestive diseases in children, such as infantile diarrhea and hand, foot, and mouth disease. The World Health Organization has suggested that, in less developed countries, a child between 6 months and 5-years-old should be supplemented with high doses of VitA to prevent and cure VitA deficiency-related diseases, and reduce the incidence and mortality rate of these diseases in children.”

“VitA has both promoting and regulatory roles in both the innate immune system and adaptive immunity; therefore, it can enhance the organism’s immune function and provide an enhanced defense against multiple infectious diseases. Currently, the VitA’s effect on immune function has been studied at the molecular level, and more research is ongoing about the therapeutic effects of VitA on preventing and curing various infectious diseases. As increasing evidence appears with time, VitA will likely play more critical roles in modern therapeutics.”

The Essential Role of Vitamin D in Viral Immune Defense

Prietl, B. et al. (2013) Vitamin D and Immune Function. Nutrients, 5, 2502-2521; doi: 10.3390/nu5072502

“Vitamin D metabolizing enzymes and vitamin D receptors are present in many cell types including various immune cells such as antigen-presenting-cells, T cells, B cells and monocytes. In vitro data show that, in addition to modulating innate immune cells, vitamin D also promotes a more tolerogenic immunological status.”

“Vitamin D deficiency is also associated with the development of cardiovascular diseases, various types of cancer and autoimmune disorders, such as type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D), multiple sclerosis (MS) and inflammatory bowel disease.”

“Over the last decade, the perspective on how vitamin D influences human health has changed dramatically based on the finding that the vitamin D receptor (VDR) and the vitamin D activating enzyme 1-α-hydroxylase (CYP27B1) are expressed in many cell types which are not involved in bone and mineral metabolism, such as intestine, pancreas, prostate and cells of the immune system.”

Vitamin D and the Innate Immune System

“Especially in immune cells, such as macrophages and dendritic cells, a lack of feedback mechanisms compared to kidney cells allows the production of high local concentrations of calcitriol needed for immunomodulation.”

“Early evidence that vitamin D acts as important stimulant for innate immunity came from reports about tuberculosis treatment with cod liver oil. More current studies specify how calcitriol enhances the antimicrobial effects of macrophages and monocytes, which are important effector cells, fighting against pathogens.”

“Human cathelicidin which causes destabilization of microbial membranes, is up-regulated in response to infections in humans and acts against bacteria, viruses and fungi.”

“Besides enhancing chemotaxis and phagocytic capabilities of innate immune cells, the complex of calcitriol, VDR, and retinoid X receptor directly activates the transcription of antimicrobial peptides such as defensin β2 (DEFB) and cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide (hCAP18).”

“This finding supports the theory that the vitamin D status regulates antimicrobial protein levels and may be crucial in infection control.”

Defensin and cathelicidin are anti-microbial proteins (AMPs) which are used by the cells of the innate immune system to kill invading viruses. This is a DIRECT effect of Vitamin D on the functional status and potency of the innate immune defense against viruses! Note also the mention of the VDR (vitamin D receptor) and the retinoid X receptor (Vitamin A receptor) which shows the synergistic effects of Vitamins A and D.

Here are a few more citations showing the synergistic effects of Vitamins A and D and why it is so important to ensure they are supplemented together:

Ikeda, U et al. 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D3 and all-trans retinoic acid synergistically inhibit the differentiation and expansion of Th17 cells. Immunology Letters 2010. 134(1):7-16.

“The active form of vitamin D3 is an immunoregulatory hormone with beneficial effects on Th1 cell-mediated inflammatory diseases.”

“Thus, we initially reveal that Vit D and Vit A have synergistic effects on the generation of Th17 cells, suggesting that the combination would provide a promising novel therapy for Th17 cell-related immune diseases including skin inflammation.”

Bettoun Burris, et al. Retinoid X Receptor Is a Nonsilent Major Contributor to Vitamin D Receptor-Mediated Transcriptional Activation. Molecular Endocrinology 17: 2320–2328, 2003

“In summary, we describe a unique and unexpected facet of intermolecular cross-talk between VDR and RXR and demonstrate that RXR actively participates in RXR-VDR-mediated gene transcription by directly recruiting coactivators in response to 1,25-(OH)2D3.”

In layperson terms vitamin A (retinoid) is required to activate the expression of vitamin D controlled genes. In other words, without sufficient amounts of vitamin A, the actions of vitamin D can be impaired or even blocked. Vitamin A and Vitamin D work synergistically.

Levine, SA. The importance of a balanced approach to vitamin D supplementation. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. 2011;26(1):15-20.

“Vitamin A and vitamin D balance, enhance, and contain each other through the retinoid X receptor (RXR).”

“Because they share a receptor, if we supplement either vitamin D or vitamin A in an unbalanced fashion, we create a functional deficiency of the one not supplemented.” WOW!!!

This is EXACTLY why I created OmegA+D Sufficiency which contains half omega-3 fish oil and half cod liver oil which contains naturally occurring, fully formed Vitamin A and D. I also add extra Vitamin D to ensure sufficient daily intake of the 3 MOST IMPORTANT essential nutrients for immune system defense against viruses such as influenza, coronavirus, and rhinovirus – Omega-3, Vit A, and Vit D. There simply is not a more important, more effective, more beneficial, or more valuable supplement in the world.

Back to our Prietl study…

Vitamin D and the Adaptive Immune System

“Low serum 25(OH)D levels have been associated with upper respiratory tract infections (URTI), including influenza, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and allergic asthma”. “In a Swedish RCT in 140 immunodeficient patients, daily intake of 4000 IU cholecalciferol over one year significantly reduced infectious symptoms, the total number of specific pathogens in the nasal fluid and the use of antibiotics in the vitamin D compared to the placebo group.”

“Besides fighting directly against microbes, monocytes and other innate antigen presenting cells (APC), in particular dendritic cells (DC), are important targets for the immune modulatory effects of vitamin D. APC are responsible for the initiation of the adaptive immune response as they present antigens to T cells and B cells and are able to modulate them by either immunogenic or tolerogenic signals such as cytokines and expression of co-stimulatory molecules.”

“Early studies investigating the effects of vitamin D on human adaptive immune cells demonstrated an expression of the nuclear VDR as well as vitamin D-activating enzymes in both T- and B cells [73]. Notably, VDR expression by these cells is very low in resting conditions but upon activation and proliferation, T- and B cells up-regulate VDR expression significantly, allowing regulation of up to 500 vitamin D responsive genes which influence differentiation and proliferation of these cells.”

“The other major type of adaptive immune cells, T cells, is also thought to be an important target for the immunomodulatory effects of different forms of vitamin D.”

“In principle, vitamin D exposure leads to a shift from a proinflammatory to a more tolerogenic immune status, including very diverse effects on T cell subtypes: Calcitriol suppresses T helper (Th) cell proliferation, differentiation and modulates their cytokine production. In particular, treatment of T cells with calcitriol or analogs inhibits the secretion of proinflammatory Th1 (IL2, interferon-γ, tumor necrosis factor α), Th9 (IL9) and Th22 (IL22) cytokines, but promotes the production of more anti-inflammatory Th2 cytokines.”

“Tregs act to suppress proinflammatory responses by other immune cells and aim to prevent exaggerated or autoimmune responses. They are potently induced by different forms of vitamin D.”

“Taken together these results suggest that vitamin D may not only support the innate but also the adaptive immune system.”

Aloia, J et al. Epidemic Influenza and Vitamin D. Epidemiology and Infection 2007, Vol 135 (7) pp. 1095-1098

In a 3 year trial taking 800 IU/day of Vitamin D reduced the incidence of colds and flu by 70%.

After two years they increased the Vit D to 2000 IU/day and the incidence of colds and flu was reduced by almost 100% (only 1 of 104 subjects developed cold or flu in the final year).


Influenza (flu) viruses, coronaviruses, and rhinoviruses (cold viruses) change each year and thus the development of antibodies via the adaptive immune system is not how we protect ourselves against such viruses.

Our main immune defense against flu and cold viruses are the phagocytes of our innate immune system (macrophages, neutrophils, and dendritic cells) which quickly and directly attack viruses, kill infected cells, and present antigens for recognition by the T-helper and T-killer cells of the adaptive immune response.

The innate immune system is the first line of defense and it is also the initiator of the second, more specific line of defense by the T-cells of the adaptive immune system.

The phagocytes of the innate immune system REQUIRE sufficient omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin D, and Vitamin A and, as importantly, the proper synergistic amounts of Vitamins A and D.


1. When it comes to viral defense, particularly against flu and cold viruses, including the Coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the innate immune system is, by far, the most important variable determining our ability to stay healthy.

2. The innate immune system cannot function properly without sufficient omega-3, vitamin A and Vitamin D; this is the variable most commonly overlooked by healthcare professionals, by the media, and by the CDC.

3. Innate Choice OmegA+D is, without question, and by far, the BEST supplement available to provide sufficient amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and sufficient and perfectly synergistic amounts of Vitamins A and D.

Evidence-Based COVID-19/Influenza Prevention and Risk Reduction Supplementation Protocol

Szabo, Z et al. (2020) The Potential Beneficial Effect of EPA and DHA Supplementation Managing Cytokine Storm in Coronavirus Disease. Frontiers in Physiology 11: Article 752

“Summary: Based on the available data, the supplementation of EPA and DHA in COVID-19 patients appears to have potential beneficial effect in managing the “cytokine storm.””

Therefore, the use of EPA and DHA supplementation should be considered as both a supportive therapy and a prevention strategy in SARS-Cov-2 infection.”

Grant et al. (April 2020) Evidence that Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Deaths Nutrients 12, 988; doi:10.3390/nu12040988

To reduce the risk of infection, it is recommended that people at risk of influenza and/or COVID-19 consider taking 10,000 IU/d of vitamin D3 for a few weeks to rapidly raise 25(OH)D concentrations, followed by 5000 IU/d.”

“The goal should be to raise 25(OH)D concentrations above 40–60 ng/mL (100–150 nmol/L).”

“For treatment of people who become infected with COVID-19, higher vitamin D3 doses might be useful.”

Bettoun Burris, et al. Retinoid X Receptor Is a Nonsilent Major Contributor to Vitamin D Receptor-Mediated Transcriptional Activation. Molecular Endocrinology 17: 2320–2328, 2003

“In summary, we describe a unique and unexpected facet of intermolecular cross-talk between VDR and RXR and demonstrate that RXR actively participates in RXR-VDR-mediated gene transcription by directly recruiting coactivators in response to 1,25-(OH)2D3.”

In layperson terms vitamin A (retinoid) is required to activate the expression of vitamin D controlled genes. In other words, without sufficient amounts of vitamin A, the actions of vitamin D can be impaired or even blocked. Vitamin A and Vitamin D work synergistically.

Mawson, A. (2013) Role of Fat-Soluble Vitamins A and D in Pathogenesis of Influenza: A New Perspective. Infectious Diseases

“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.”

“Retinoid [Vit A] concentrations within normal physiological limits appear to inhibit influenza pathogenesis whereas higher background concentrations [i.e., very low vitamin D:A ratios] increase the risk of severe complications of the disease.”

Prietl, B. et al. (2013) Vitamin D and Immune Function. Nutrients, 5, 2502-2521; doi: 10.3390/nu5072502

“Besides enhancing chemotaxis and phagocytic capabilities of innate immune cells, the complex of calcitriol [Vit D], VDR [Vit D Receptor], and retinoid X [Vit A] receptor directly activates the transcription of antimicrobial peptides such as defensin β2 and cathelicidin antimicrobial peptides.”

Vitamin A and D TOGETHER activate the transcription (production/epigenetic expression) of AMPs (anti-microbial proteins) by innate immune cells (macrophages and neutrophils) which KILL VIRUSES.

Levine, SA. The importance of a balanced approach to vitamin D supplementation. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. 2011;26(1):15-20.

“Vitamin A and vitamin D balance, enhance, and contain each other through the retinoid X receptor (RXR).”

Because they share a receptor, if we supplement either vitamin D or vitamin A in an unbalanced fashion, we create a functional deficiency of the one not supplemented.”

The Scientific Evidence is Clear that:

1. sufficient intake of omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamins A + D is essential for immune function, especially immune defense against Influenza (flu), Rhino (cold) , and Corona (covid) viruses,
2. deficiencies in these essential nutrients leads to reduced baseline immune defense against these viruses and/or to increased hyper-inflammatory responses to these viruses leading to cytokine storm and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)
3. supplementation with sufficient daily amounts (not mega or bolus doses) of these essential nutrients has been clinically shown to decrease inflammation and thus the risk of cytokine storm and/or ARDS and/or to decrease the risk of infection and/or reduce severity of infection from these viruses
4. the Vitamin A and Vitamin D receptors on immune cells (phagocytes and T-cells) require proper synergistic amounts of both Vitamins A and Vitamin D to properly up-regulate these receptors to allow sufficient intake of these vitamins into the immune cells to express proper immune function
5. Innate Choice OmegA+D Sufficiency is the only supplement in the world that combines fish oil, cod liver oil (with naturally occurring pre-formed Vitamins A and D), and extra vitamin D in order to provide sufficient amounts of Omega-3 and Vitamins A and D, AND, provide the proper synergistic amounts of Vitamins A and D

Thus, I have developed the following evidence-based COVID-19/Influenza prevention and risk reduction supplementation protocol and adamantly state that this should become standard of care.


First month  4 caps of OmegA+D Sufficiency™ and 12 drops of Vitamin D Sufficiency DAILY;
This provides 10,000 IU/day of Vitamin D and sufficient and synergistic amounts of Omega-3 and Vitamin A.
Ongoing  4 caps of OmegA+D Sufficiency™ and 2 drops of Vitamin D Sufficiency DAILY;
This provides 5,000 IU/day of Vitamin D and sufficient and synergistic amounts of Omega-3 and Vitamin A.

People Also Read: