Individual risk management strategy and potential therapeutic options for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Clinical immunology (Orlando, Fla.). 2020;215:108409

Plain language summary

With the continuing spread of COVID-19 and lack of any approved treatments, this paper examines possible strategies for prevention. The data emerging so far highlights that individual health status plays a critical role in determining clinical severity of COVID-19 symptoms ranging from asymptomatic, mild, moderate, to death. Metabolic status, as determined by a patient’s diet, nutrition, age, sex, medical conditions, lifestyle, and environmental factors can therefore be considered preventative strategies to improve the severity of COVID-19 outcomes. Social distancing and personal hygiene are stated as the most effective strategies to prevent or slow spread of the disease. However individual health status, age and the presence of pre-existing comorbidities influences outcomes, as shown by global data highlighting a prevalence in older, males with metabolic conditions; hypertension in 23.7% patients and diabetes in 16.2% of patients. Older males appear more prone to infectious diseases with high pro-inflammatory immune responses and low adaptive immune responses than an older woman. Diet and healthy intestinal and respiratory tract microbiota may also influence immune system competence. Numerous micronutrients are essential for immunocompetence, particularly vitamin A, C, D, E, Bs, iron, selenium, and zinc. A balanced diet, high in colourful fruits and vegetables with a variation of prebiotic fibres, probiotics, and plant polyphenols and phytonutrients, help promote a healthy, diverse microbiota. Oral probiotics may also be beneficial to vulnerable individuals. Vitamin D supplementation is also proving helpful in prevention of acute respiratory tract infections. Other lifestyle factors such as smoking and exposure to environmental toxins should also be considered. Together these preventative measures may reduce personal risk of getting the disease.


It is an ugly fact that a significant amount of the world's population will contract SARS-CoV-II infection with the current spreading. While a specific treatment is not yet coming soon, individual risk assessment and management strategies are crucial. The individual preventive and protective measures drive the personal risk of getting the disease. Among the virus-contracted hosts, their different metabolic status, as determined by their diet, nutrition, age, sex, medical conditions, lifestyle, and environmental factors, govern the personal fate toward different clinical severity of COVID-19, from asymptomatic, mild, moderate, to death. The careful individual assessment for the possible dietary, nutritional, medical, lifestyle, and environmental risks, together with the proper relevant risk management strategies, is the sensible way to deal with the pandemic of SARS-CoV-II.

Lifestyle medicine

Fundamental Clinical Imbalances : Immune and inflammation
Patient Centred Factors : Mediators/Covid-19/Diet
Environmental Inputs : Diet ; Nutrients ; Psychosocial influences
Personal Lifestyle Factors : Not applicable
Functional Laboratory Testing : Not applicable

Methodological quality

Allocation concealment : Not applicable
Publication Type : Journal Article ; Review


Nutrition Evidence keywords : Covid-19 ; Diet ; Nutrition ; Metabolic status ; Age ; Sex