Dr. Fauci says yes to to vitamins, 'fuggedaboutit' to botanicals

The traditionalist pooh-poohs botanicals—but he’s looking at things strictly from a COVID-19 point of view.

Todd Runestad, Content Director, NaturalProductsInsider.com, Sr. Supplements Editor

September 16, 2020

3 Min Read
Dr. Fauci says yes to to vitamins, 'fuggedaboutit' to botanicals

America’s doctor recently said that while he takes vitamin D and recommends vitamin C, elderberry and other botanicals aren't as helpful with regard to boosting immunity.

In an Instagram live session with actress Jennifer Garner, Dr. Anthony Fauci, M.D., had good things to say about the vitamins.

(The 35-minute interview can be seen here. To jump to his comments on supplements, go to the 31:30 mark.)

Garner asked Fauci whether there was anything people can take to boost immune systems, offering vitamin C, spinach and elderberry as examples of things to consider.

Fauci, a traditional physician who is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the government face of the coronavirus response from a responsible public-health perspective, gave a somewhat surprising reply in that he was at least a little positive about supplements.

“There are two vitamins that you should consider,” said Fauci. “If you are deficient in vitamin D, that does have an impact on your susceptibility to infection. I do it myself, taking vitamin D supplements.”

Studies published in the last six months show a clear correlation between a person's vitamin D levels and COVID-19 outcomes. A new study published in September reveals a possible mechanism for vitamin D's efficacy against the disease. 

Fauci said it was “fine” to take vitamin D as well as vitamin C.

“The other vitamin supplement people take is vitamin C,” said Fauci. “A gram or two at the most, that would be fine.”

Fauci, however, did not have much positive to say about botanicals.

“Herbs? Forget about them,” he said. “Fuggedaboutit. If people want to use them, fine, but it’s not something to recommend.”

Expo clues

The other big concern in the natural products industry is when we might be able to gather again as a community at the Natural Products Expos—as everyone knows by now, in 2020 Natural Products Expo West and East have both been canceled, as has SupplySide East and West. Digital approximations have moved to fill the gap with Spark Change having been launched in the last month and SupplySide Network 365 set to launch within days.

Fauci said a good vaccine, followed by widespread vaccination, will give people confidence to gather in public settings again. But that will take some time. It’s “conceivable but unlikely” a vaccine will become available by election day.

He said a vaccine could possibly become available by the end of calendar year 2020. But more will need to be done before society will really completely open up to people-gathering events.

“A combination of a vaccine that has been around for almost a year and good public-health measures,” he said. “I would think by the time we get to the end of 2021, even the middle of 2021, if we get a knockout vaccine, that’s 85-90% effective—I don’t think we’ll get that, I’ll settle for 70% effective—if we get a really good vaccine, and just about everybody gets vaccinated, you’ll have a degree of immunity in the general community that I think you could walk into a theater without a mask and feel comfortable and not feel like you’re at risk.”

Store measures

Garner asked Fauci if shoppers still need to wipe down groceries. Fauci said that is no longer a recommendation.

“We used to think that because the virus was detectable on inanimate objects that there’s considerable risk of transmissibility,” said Fauci. “The overwhelming evidence is that it’s much more person-to-person.”

About the Author(s)

Todd Runestad

Content Director, NaturalProductsInsider.com, Sr. Supplements Editor, Natural Products Insider

I've been writing on nutrition science news since 1997. I'm The content director for NaturalProductsInsidercom and digital magazines. Other incarnations: supplements editor for newhope.com, Delicious Living and Natural Foods Merchandiser. Former editor-in-chief of Functional Ingredients magazine and still cover raw material innovations and ingredient science.

Connect with me here https://www.linkedin.com/in/toddrunestad/

My daily vitamin regime includes a morning smoothie with a range of powders including protein, collagen and spirulina; a quality multi, B complex, C with bioflavonoids, >2,000IU vitamin D, E, magnesium, high-selenium yeast, PQQ, choline, alpha-lipoic acid with carnitine, coQ10, fish oil concentrate, probiotics and some adaptogenic herbs. 

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