Sunday, September 24, 2023

Vitamin shops see increase in sales during the coronavirus

Vitamin supplements and other immune boosters are in short supply at local pharmacies. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Unsplash)
Vitamin supplements and other immune boosters are in short supply at local pharmacies. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Unsplash)

People choosing the route of boosting their immune system to avoid being infected by the coronavirus are turning to supplements.

Jamie Reid, a pharmacist at The Williamsburg Drug Company, said staff has put together bundles of specific supplements for their patients from vitamin D and vitamin C to probiotics and multi-vitamins.

“It’s also been difficult to keep that stuff in stock,” she said. “People are looking for what can they do because there are no vaccines, there’s no prescription medication, what else can they do besides sit in their house?”

Reid said healthy people are not getting so sick so people who don’t normally take supplements are coming into the store.

The most popular supplements are zinc, vitamin C, melatonin, vitamin D and quercetin, a mass stabilizer which reduces the way the immune system reacts to the coronavirus.

Reid said an overactive immune system can make inflammation in the lungs worse and for a virus which has been known to affect the lungs, having something that will prevent the immune system from going into overdrive might be a good thing.

“There are so many things involved in your immune system besides vitamin C and zinc,” Reid said, adding probiotics can help keep the gut healthy, too. “About 75 percent of [your] immune system comes from your gut.”

While people often know if they are vitamin D deficient, not everyone knows if their body needs zinc, she said. The Williamsburg Drug Company offers Spectracell’s Micronutrient testing, an immunity test which figures out what nutrients your body needs.

The test costs $239 and payment plans are available.

“I wish I could stand on the rooftops and scream ‘everybody needs this,'” she said.

Reid said everything from fatigue to headaches and even cancer has a nutrient component and supplements can be used to treat underlying issues causing the symptoms.

She added you can take all immune boosting supplements in the world but if you body is missing another vitamin, your immune system won’t be “top notch.”

“We want you be able to get that and not be the 30-year-old fighting on the ventilator,” she added.

Allie Mitchell, clinical director and certified health coach at The Nutrition and Wellness Center in Williamsburg, said people are being proactive in keeping themselves and their immune system healthy.

“As far as the supplements, our top two are the abundant C powder and our zinc supplements,” she said. “They both been sold out and been out back-order numerous times.”

And people are asking more questions, too.

“They want to know more about their immune system and how to keep their immune system strong so they can fight off any disease or illness that come out through the air like COVID-19, flu, allergies,” she said.

Mitchell said people need to be aware of what they are buying and to make sure they are getting tested.

“Quality is key because you can do more harm than good by buying at the local drug store or Walmart,” she added. “Supplements and vitamins are amazing and food is medicine as well.”


Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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