No medical evidence that zinc and vitamin D can cure or prevent COVID-19

By: Soham Shah
July 11 2023

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No medical evidence that zinc and vitamin D can cure or prevent COVID-19


The Verdict False

The video shows a discredited medical professional claiming without evidence that zinc and vitamin D can help in the treatment or prevention of COVID.

Claim ID 35750c76


In a TikTok video, the late discredited health professional, Vladimir Zelenko, discusses “single-stranded RNA viruses,” which include COVID-19, influenza, ebola, the hantavirus, and others. The archived versions of the posts can be found here and here.

He goes on to claim that the mineral zinc can “inhibit” all these viruses in the human body, presenting it as a “simple oral solution.” He continues, stating that if the world had enough levels of vitamin D3 and intracellular zinc, most of these viruses could be eradicated, which has “tremendous national security implications.”

However, this claim is false. 

In Fact

According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, both zinc and vitamin D are important for the human body. Zinc primarily helps to heal damaged tissue and supports a healthy immune system, while vitamin D helps the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus. 

Despite their healing properties, neither zinc nor vitamin D are recommended as a cure for COVID-19. On zinc, The U.S. National Institutes for Health (NIH) says that there is not enough evidence “to recommend either for or against the use of zinc for the treatment of COVID-19” and warns “against using zinc supplementation above the recommended dietary allowance.” The NIH makes similar statements on vitamin D and clarifies that these recommendations are based on “several cohort studies, clinical trials, and meta-analyses.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) also cites a lack of evidence, saying, “There is currently no guidance on the use of micronutrient supplements as a treatment of COVID-19.” Likewise, The Mayo Clinic says that while vitamin D is crucial for the human body and helps the immune system, there is no clear picture of using it in the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.

Speaking to Logically Facts, virologist Dr. Shahid Jameel says that while both are important micronutrients, “there is little conclusive evidence based on randomized clinical trials that zinc, vitamin D or a combination is efficacious against a broad range of RNA viruses.”

Similarly, Dr. Suranjeet Chatterjee, an Internal Medicine Physician at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi, told Logically Facts, “There are some incidental studies that showed that zinc and vitamin D was deficient in the people who were infected. But these are add-ons and not cures. Zinc and vitamin D are minerals that might help the human body, but there is no such thing as a cure for COVID-19.”

Zelenko, who died of lung cancer in June 2022, rose to prominence at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic after he claimed that his cocktail, the Zelenko Protocol – a mix of the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, the antibiotic azithromycin, and zinc sulfate – was successful in treating COVID-19 in his patients. This claim was then fact-checked as unproven, but multiple U.S. right-wing figures, including Sean Hannity and Rudy Giuliani, had quickly endorsed the treatment. Zelenko also falsely claimed to have run an FDA-approved hospital trial, which was untrue; the trial had only been approved by the hospital’s internal board.

The Verdict

There is no evidence that either zinc or vitamin D can cause or effectively treat COVID-19, as claimed by Zelenko. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19, including symptoms, prevention, and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organization or your national healthcare authority.

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