This is a preview and has not been published.

A detailed comparison of the use of dietary supplements before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

The use of dietary supplements before and during the COVID-19 pandemic


  • Yonca Sevim a:1:{s:5:"en_US";s:23:"Bahçeşehir University";}


the coronavirus disease 2019, COVID-19, dietary supplements, immunity, nutrition


Objectives: Considering the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the expectation that dietary supplements (DS) boost the immune system of individuals, the aim of this research was to evaluate the use of DS and related factors by comparing periods before and during the pandemic. Methods: A descriptive cross‑sectional internet-based study was conducted with 1488 participants from the general public aged above 19 years. Results: The median age of participants was 33.0 (19-69) years and 88% of participants were women. A total of 48.9% of participants (50.2% of females, 39.9% of males) used DS before COVID-19, and DS use during COVID-19 was reported to be 57.9% (58.6% of females, 52.8% males). Independent variables of DS use before and during COVID-19 were sex, age, BMI, education, income, VMD, alcohol use, and medication use. Participants who had no vitamin/mineral deficiency used more DS, mostly herbal supplements such as grape seed, gotu kola, ginseng, ginkgo biloba and green tea. Vitamin D and C were the most commonly-used DS among participants with vitamin/mineral deficiency, followed by zinc and multivitamins. The main reason for DS use (47.2%) during COVID-19 was to strengthen immunity. Conclusions: The current findings may help to understand the preferences of individuals about DS use during pandemics. Understanding factors associated with the use of DS and their claimed immune-boosting effects may support future studies aiming to provide accurate information and motivate individuals towards healthy use of supplements during pandemics.



Download data is not yet available.


Panyod S, Ho CT, Sheen LY. Dietary therapy and herbal medicine for COVID-19 prevention: A review and perspective. J Tradit Complement Med, 2020; 10:420-427.

World Health Organization Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard. (accessed August 2021).

Information for Clinicians on Investigational Therapeutics for Patients with COVID-19, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed May 15, 2021.

Subedi L, Tchen S, Gaire BP, et al. Adjunctive nutraceutical therapies for COVID-19. Int J Mol Sciences 2021; 22:2-16.

Shakoor H, Feehan J, Al Dhaheri AS, et al. Immune-boosting role of vitamins D, C, E, zinc, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids: Could they help against COVID-19? Maturitas, 2021; 143:1–9.

Khabour OF, Hassanein SFM. Use of vitamin/zinc supplements, medicinal plants, and immune boosting drinks during COVID-19 pandemic: A pilot study from Benha city, Egypt. Heliyon, 2021; 7:e06538.

Jayawardena R, Sooriyaarachchi P, Chourdakis M, et al. Enhancing immunity in viral infections, with special emphasis on COVID-19: A review. Diabetes Metab Syndr, 2020; 14:367-382.

Calder PC. Nutrition, immunity and COVID-19. BMJ NPH, 2020; 3:74-92.

Bogan-Brown K, Nkrumah-Elie Y, Ishtiaq Y, et al. Potential Efficacy of Nutrient Supplements for Treatment or Prevention of COVID-19. J Diet Suppl 2021; 1-29.

McCarty MF, DiNicolantonio JJ. Nutraceuticals have potential for boosting the type 1 interferon response to RNA viruses including influenza and coronavirus. Prog Cardiovasc Dis, 2020; 63:383-385.

Infusino F, Marazzato M, Mancone M, et al. Diet supplementation, probiotics, and nutraceuticals in SARS-CoV-2 infection: A scoping review. Nutrients, 2020; 12:2-21.

Adams KK, Baker WL, Sobieraj DM. Myth busters: dietary supplements and COVID-19. Ann Pharmacother, 2020; 54:820–826.

Rachul C, Marcon AR, Collins B, et al. COVID-19 and ‘immune boosting’ on the internet: a content analysis of Google search results. BMJ Open, 2020; 10:e040989.

Hamulka H, Jeruszka-Bielak M, Górnicka M, et al. Dietary supplements during COVID-19 Outbreak. Results of Google Trends Analysis supported by PLifeCOVID-19 Online Studies. Nutrients, 2021; 13:54,2-17.

Mishra S, Stierman B, Gahche JJ, et al. Dietary supplement use among adults: United States, 2017–2018. NCHS Data Brief No. 399, 2021, February. (accessed March 2021).

Grand View Research. Dietary Supplements Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Ingredient (Vitamins, Proteins & Amino Acids), By Form, By Application, By End User, By Distribution Channel, And Segment Forecasts, 2021 – 2028. February 2021. (accessed April 2021).

Euromonitor International, Country Report Dietary Supplements in Turkey, Euromonitor International 2021, Consumer Health: Euromonitor from trade sources/national statistics November, 2020. (accessed April 2021).

Questions and Answers on Dietary Supplements, U. S. Food & Drug Administration 2019. (accessed February 2021)

World Medical Association. World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki: Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects. JAMA, 2013; 310:2191–2194.

O’Brien SK, Malacova E, Sherriff JL, et al. The Prevalence and predictors of dietary supplement use in the Australian population. Nutrients, 2017; 9:2-9.

Bailey RL, Gahche JJ, Miller PE, et al. Why US Adults use dietary supplements. JAMA Intern Med, 2013; 173:355–361.

Bellikci Koyu E, Çalık G, Kaner Tohtak G, et al. Use of dietary supplements and related factors in healthcare workers. J DEU Med, 2020; 34:141-151.

Barnes K, Ball L, Desbrow B, et al. Consumption and reasons for use of dietary supplements in an Australian university population. Nutrition, 2016; 32:524–530.

WHO/Europe Nutrition Body Mass Index BMI. (accessed February 2021).

IBM Corp. Released 2011. IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 20.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp.

Kılıç Kanak E, Öztürk SN, Özdemir Y, et al. Evaluation of food supplements usage habits. NOHU J Eng Science, 2021; 10:168- 177.

Koç A, Erdoğan K, Arslan N, et al. Assessment for the use of nutritional support in Turkey. J Med Clin Res & Rev, 2018; 2:1-5.

Ergen A, Bozkurt Bekoğlu F. Views regarding dietary supplements in turkey and a research to profile the consumers. Journal of Business Research-Turk, 2016; 8:323-341.

Foote JA, Murphy SP, Wilkens LR, et al. Factors associated with dietary supplement use among healthy adults of five ethnicities: The Multiethnic Cohort Study. Am J Epidemiol, 2003; 157:888–897.

National Institudes of Health. Dietary Supplements in the Time of COVID-19, National Institudes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements, August 2021. (accessed August 2021).

Macit MS. Evaluation of changes in the nutritional habits of adults after covid-19 outbreak. Mersin Univ Saglık Bilim Derg, 2020; 13:277-288.

Garipoğlu G, Bozar N. Changes to the nutritional habit of the individuals in social isolation in the COVID-19 Pandemic. Pearson Journal of Social Sciences & Humanities, 2020; 6:100-113.

Louca P, Murray B, Klaser K, et al. Modest effects of dietary supplements during the COVID-19 pandemic: insights from 445 850 users of the COVID-19 Symptom Study app. BMJ NPH, 2021; 0:1-9.

CRN. (2020, 20 August). Dietary supplement usage up dramatically during pandemic, new ipsos-CRN survey shows. (accessed September 2021).

Karbownik MS, Dobielska M, Paul E, et al. Health, medication and dietary supplement related behaviors and beliefs relatively unchanged during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. RSAP, 2021; 17:1501–1506.

Dickinson A, Mackay D. Health habits and other characteristics of dietary supplement users: A review. Nutr 2014; 13:2-8.

Chen S, Binns CW, Maycock B, et al. Prevalence of dietary supplement use in healthy pre-school Chinese children in Australia and China. Nutrients, 2014; 6:815–828.

Dwyer J, Nahin RL, Rogers GT, et al. Prevalence and predictors of children’s dietary supplement use: The 2007 national health interview survey. Am J Clin Nutr, 2013; 97:1331–1337.

Altun HK, Karacil Ermumcu MS, Seremet Kurklu N. Evaluation of dietary supplement, functional food and herbal medicine use by dietitians during the COVID-19 pandemic. Public Health Nutrition, 2020; 24:861–869.

Di Renzo L, Gualtieri P, Pivari F, et al. Eating habits and lifestyle changes during COVID-19 locdown: an Italian survey. J Transl Med, 2020; 18:229.

Beck MA, Handy J, Levander OA. Host nutritional status: The neglected virulence factor. Trends Microbiol, 2004; 12:417–23.

Muscogiuri G, Barrea L, Savastano S, et al. Nutritional recommendations for COVID-19 quarantine. Eur J Clin Nutr, 2020; 74:850-851.

Paudyal V, Sun S, Hussain R, at al. Complementery and alternative medicines use in COVID-19: A global perspective on practise, policy and research. Res Socia Adm Pharm. 2021; “article in press”


Original articles