International Journal of Academic Medicine

: 2021  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 71--72

Nutrition, COVID-19, and vaccines

Holly Gillis, Thomas John Papadimos 
 Department of Anesthesiology, Division of Critical Care, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Thomas John Papadimos
Department of Anesthesiology, Division of Critical Care, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, 410 West 10th Street, Columbus, Ohio 43210

How to cite this article:
Gillis H, Papadimos TJ. Nutrition, COVID-19, and vaccines.Int J Acad Med 2021;7:71-72

How to cite this URL:
Gillis H, Papadimos TJ. Nutrition, COVID-19, and vaccines. Int J Acad Med [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Jan 29 ];7:71-72
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Full Text

To the Editor,

It is with great interest that we read the editorial by Gerlach et al. in the October–December issue of the International Journal of Academic Medicine that highlighted the importance of nutrition in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.[1] A further important point must be emphasized regarding diet and COVID-19 vaccine efficacy during this pandemic. While a good nutritional status is important for the optimum protection of an individual against viruses[2] and enhancing the outcomes of those who become ill.[1],[2] It is also importance to have good nutrition, i.e., a healthy diet consisting of adequate protein and hydration in order for the coronavirus vaccine to be effective in an individual,[3] including the intake of trace elements such as Vitamins C and D, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids.[2] This may be crucial in the United States where 60% of some regional population are malnourished obese individuals; Green and Beck demonstrated that vaccines are less efficacious in such people.[4] Of additional concern are vaccinees who are vegetarians and vegans who should ensure that they get an adequate intake of protein.

Any COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, whether the Moderna or the Pfizer vaccine, will require a vaccinee to take in adequate hydration and protein to form the necessary components of immunity.[5] This is so because the signaling process utilized in the mRNA vaccine process requires the cell to create immunologically active proteins against severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV-2 from adequately acquired exogenous protein and water, as opposed to other processes that use weakened or inactivated variants or sections of the pathogen. The mRNA vaccine is in a special coat of lipid nanoparticles that surround the mRNA that codes the spike(S) protein, and this allows it to survive its initial administration into the muscle (deltoid). The mRNA then facilitates the copying of a portion of the S protein on the virus surface, thereby stimulating an individual's immune system. Again, there is an important water and protein component necessary to the success of an mRNA vaccine's effectiveness.

The above information regarding the intake of protein and adequate hydration was imparted to each vaccine at the Ohio State University when the vaccine was administered, along with a written notice of side effects and consent. Again, we congratulate Gerlach et al. on their editorial regarding the hospitalized/ill COVID-19 patient, but we wanted to also highlight the need in the COVID-19 vaccine discourse for adequate hydration and protein intake to make the necessary building blocks to create the immunity required for an effective vaccination signaling process to fend off SARS-CoV-2.

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Conflicts of interest

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1Gerlach AT, Thomas S, Byrd CA. What's new in academic international medicine? The importance to nutrition in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Int J Acad Med 2020;6:283-6.
2Calder PC, Carr AC, Gombari AF, Eggersdorfer M. Optimal nutritional status for a well-functioning immune system is an important factor to protect against viral infections. Nutrients 2020;12:1181.
3Shenggen F. Good nutrition is important for the coronavirus vaccine to work effectively. Available from: [Last accessed on 2021 Jan 08].
4Green WD, Beck MA. Obesity impairs the adaptive immune response to influenza virus. Ann Am Thorac Soc 2017;14:S406-9.
5Learn about the new mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. Available from: [Last accessed on 2021 Jan 08].