Nutrition for Immune System Health

Nutrition for Immune System Health (NISH) is an email discussion list with searchable (members-only) web archives for doctors, nurses, public health administrators, researchers and other people concerned about nutrition and immunity.  In the current COVID-19 crisis, our attention is naturally focused on the role vitamin D supplementation is likely to have in protecting millions of people from serious symptoms, lasting harm and death - and to reduce viral shedding and so the rate at which the infection spreads.  However, the scope of discussions covers many nutrients and health concerns.  Gut health and its effects on immunity, inflammation, depression, neurodegeneration etc. are also in scope, since some members have interests and expertise in this closely related field.

This list is for people with a serious commitment to understanding and facilitating research concerning nutrition and immunity.  Our members include three PhD and MD vitamin D researchers in the USA and Canada, each with over 15 years experience in the field. Our members include two MDs who specialise in immunity and nutrition, in Nigeria and the USA.  A third MD from Indonesia has published many articles concerning epidemiology, cardiology, diabetes and intensive care.  Another MD is in general practice in Melbourne, Australia and we have recently been joined by a cardiologist in Hyderabad, India.  Two nutritionists are members, one a PhD nutritionist in India and the other in Australian researching vitamin D levels, diet and UVB exposure for her PhD.  Researcher Henry Lahore, of is also member.  (Please note that is an unauthorised clone.)

For general information about vitamin D and COVID-19 please see my pages and other sites linked to from there, including and Karl Pfleger's Low Vitamin D Worsens COVID-19 Risk . Please also see the Vitamin D UK site, where you can find a link to an excellent late September video on vitamin D and COVID-19: , by NISH list member Rufus Greenbaum, with four contributors, including the world's foremost vitamin D researcher, Michael Holick MD.

The membership list and discussion archive are confidential to members.   Views expressed are assumed to be personal and independent of whatever organisations members may be affiliated with.

The NISH list is hosted at which has better archive and other facilities than those of other systems, including Google Groups.  List emails have a header [NISH] in their subject line.  Subscribers can turn off these emails and participate entirely via the web interface.  Although "group", "join" and "member" terminology is used, this is a discussion mailing list, not a set of people with particular ideas which must be adhered to, or which will make any public statements. 

Vitamin D is not the only nutrient required for proper immune system functioning.  COVID-19 with severe symptoms is one of many health problems caused by weakened and/or dysregulated immune responses.  The NISH list's scope includes:

  • Nutritional deficiencies and excesses (such as fructose) which lead to weak and/or dysregulated immune responses.
  • Immune function affecting health, chronic and acute illnesses etc. as well as illness affecting immune function.
  • Particular groups of people who may need more or less of certain nutrients for optimal health.
  • Research and clinical care regarding the above, including matters which affect this such as, for instance, obesity and genetic differences which increase the risk of illness. 
  • Etiology of illnesses, such as COVID-19 and how this is affected by immune system dysfunction, nutrients and common drugs such as alcohol an nicotine.
  • Absence of helminths (intestinal worms) leading to overly-aggressive immune responses which evolved when our helminths downmodulated our ancestor's immune responses.  Hence, helminthic therapy - though this is unlikely to be practical except for individuals with an acute need to reduce inflammation.
  • Organisational, public awareness and political aspects of advocating for better research and supplementation of most people, in all countries.  This includes reasons why clinicians and public health administrators might be wary of such supplementation.
  • Please use ng/ml for 25OHD blood level measurements rather than nmol/L.  D3 dosage in milligrams is good, with the equivalent IU value in brackets.  One of the problems with vitamin D supplementation is that "5000IU" seems like a lot, when it is a good intake (0.125mg) for normal weight people, and adds up to a gram every 22 years.

The mailing list is for constructive, potentially detailed, courteous discussions - not a flurry of one-liners.  In order to maintain a high signal-to-noise ratio on the NISH list subscribers can use an Other Topics sub-list to discuss matters which are outside the NISH scope.  NISH subscribers can create real-time text chat channels and schedule Zoom meetings.

Each new member's first message is moderated.  If you need help understanding or using the lists, please write to me at rather than to the NISH list.

Robin Whittle     Daylesford, Victoria, Australia

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