Melania Trump said she 'chose to go a more natural route,' relying on 'vitamins and healthy food' to treat her COVID-19

  • First Lady Melania Trump issued a statement Wednesday saying that she treated her mild symptoms of COVID-19 using a "more natural route" of vitamins and healthy food.
  • She has since recovered from the disease, caused by the novel coronavirus, and is now encouraging Americans improve their own health with "a balanced diet, fresh air, and vitamins."
  • She also noted mental health was an important part of her recovery, and that focusing on family, friendships, and her work kept her morale up. 
  • While good nutrition is crucial for a strong immune system and overall health, there's no evidence that diet or supplements alone can cure or prevent the coronavirus.
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First Lady Melania Trump has recovered from the coronavirus, after, she says, taking "a more natural route" of vitamins and healthy eating, according to an official White House statement.

Trump also said she kept her morale up by focusing on her family, and stressed that mental health is a crucial part of overall wellbeing. 

While her husband, President Donald Trump, took a catalog of pharmaceuticals — including remdesivir, the steriod dexamethasone and Regeneron, an experimental antibody drug — the First Lady credited her diet and "fresh air" for helping her to recover.

She didn't specify what vitamins or foods in particular she relied on, but noted that her symptoms were minimal, including aches, a cough, and fatigue.

"I encourage everyone to continue to live the healthiest life they can. A balanced diet, fresh air, and vitamins really are vital to keep our bodies healthy," she wrote in the statement, published Wednesday afternoon. 

She's not wrong, but there's also no evidence food or vitamins work as a treatment for COVID-19 in most cases, although some supplements, such as Vitamin D, have shown promise in a growing number of studies. 

Food can't cure or prevent coronavirus

It's true that good nutrition is essential to a strong immune system, and overall health. Eating healthfully can be protective against some underlying conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and high blood pressure, that are linked to higher risk from COVID-19. 

However, there's no evidence that diet alone can stave off the illness, or help treat it if you do get sick. 

"If you're in contact with coronavirus, it doesn't matter how many oranges you eat, you're going to get it," Dr. Caroline Apovian, Director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at Boston Medical Center, previously told Business Insider. "The only thing that a healthy diet and being in shape will do is make sure if and when you get sick, it won't be as severe."

There's some evidence vitamin D may help, and Dr. Fauci recommends it

While the First Lady didn't mentioned Vitamin D specifically, it's become one of the most well-studied supplements for fending off viral infection. 

Her husband, President Trump, has also been taking a regimen of vitamins and supplements in addition to  and Vitamin D is at the top of that list. 

Extensive evidence has linked vitamin D deficiency to greater risk of infection, particularly from respiratory diseases like COVID-19, although researchers don't fully understand if vitamin D supplements can cause better health outcomes.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recommends taking vitamin D at the moment, and said he does so himself.

Vitamin C and zinc may shorten some types of infections and speed healing

Two other nutrients have an important role in immune system health, but haven't specifically been shown to treat or prevent coronavirus. 

Vitamin C is a well-documented antioxidant, and getting enough of it is crucial for a healthy immune system. It hasn't been shown to prevent disease, but there's some evidence it may make it easier for people to recover from illnesses such as the common cold.

There's some data that zinc, a mineral necessary for human health, may help shorten the duration of some infections such as the common cold. Research has also shown it's important for immune system health generally.

But so far, there's no specific studies showing that zinc can treat or improve outcomes in patients with COVID-19.

Walking or jogging outside is crucial for health and wellbeing

As for the fresh air the First Lady mentioned, talking a walk or jog outdoors offers substantial health benefits. Exercising outdoors is one of the safest ways to work out right now, since it gives you plenty of space to avoid other people, although it's still best to bring a mask for those times when you might encounter others. 

Doing so can boost your mood, improve your sleep, and get you some additional vitamin D (produced naturally in response to sunlight). 

Read more:

Trump is taking vitamin D, zinc, antacids, and melatonin since getting COVID-19. Here's the evidence for them.

There's new evidence vitamin D may help treat COVID-19 by reducing the severity of infection

5 bogus coronavirus protection measures that are just 'hygiene theater' — and 2 things that actually do work

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