Supplements and COVID-19
Some of the most frequent questions our functional medicine team answers these days are: How do I protect myself or boost my immunity so I don’t get COVID-19? What can I take if I become infected with COVID-19, or if I think I have it?
At the time of writing (05/25/20) there is no successful treatment or prevention for COVID-19— other than physical distancing and hygiene practices. There are, however, several studies that show some promise of nutrients supporting the body to fight off and recover from COVID-19.
There is a lot of hype out there about what to take: some from people who truly have faith in a product, some who have experienced it work for them, some based on junk science, and, unfortunately, some from people looking to make a fast buck. We’ve sorted through lots (not all) of it. For the recommendations we put forth below, we do so based on evidence from at least two independent studies. Each study shows benefit from the use of the nutraceutical, as well as provides a theory of how the intervention worked.
We have suggested some studies at the end of this article for you if you are interested in further reading about the current research in this area.
It is essential to be mindful that everyone is different, has a unique health history and concerns, and should be evaluated and provided an individualized nutraceutical plan. Below are options I have generally recommended for our team and family.
A note on quality: Some of these nutraceuticals may be available as proprietary blends where you have no idea what you are getting, or with fillers, binders, or just substandard ingredients that won’t have the desired effect. It is important to thoroughly research the source of the nutraceutical you put into your body. For the brands we use, please call our office at 773.878.7330.
Immune Boosting Neutraceuticals
Elderberry (consult your functional medicine doctor if you have an auto-immune disease)
Immune Boosting and Viral Fighting Neutaceuticals
Viral Fighting Neutraceuticals
Licorice Root (SHORT TERM USE ONLY— less than 4 weeks— at first onset of symptoms)
If you are interested in putting together a nutraceutical support program for yourself or your family, give us a call and we can help you. A holistic approach is always best— optimizing modifiable lifestyle factors, looking at your total health status, and improving your overall immune function, all to reach a state of optimal health and wellness.
Other nutraceuticals we considered but did not have enough scientific evidence to currently list in our protocol recommendations include: Curcumin, N-Acetylcysteine, Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Green Tea, Melatonin, Resveratrol, Shiitake, Reishi and other medicinal mushrooms, and Skullcap. We will continue to look at new studies regarding these and other nutraceuticals that may help support us all during this pandemic.
For an evaluation and individualized plan, call today at 773.878.7330.
Further Reading on Beta Glucans
Leentjens J, Quintin J, Gerretsen J, Kox M, Pickkers P, Netea MG. The effects of orally administered beta-glucan on innate immune responses in humans, a randomized open-label intervention pilot-study. PLoS One. 2014;9(9):e108794.
Auinger, A., Riede, L., Bothe, G. et al. Yeast (1,3)-(1,6)-beta-glucan helps to maintain the body’s defence against pathogens: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, multicentric study in healthy subjects. Eur J Nutr 52, 1913–1918 (2013).
Tanita Dharsono, Karolina Rudnicka, Manfred Wilhelm & Christiane Schoen (2019) Effects of Yeast (1,3)-(1,6)-Beta-Glucan on Severity of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study in Healthy Subjects, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 38:1, 40-50,
Further Reading About Vitamin D
Further Reading about Sambucus nigra (Elderberry)
Hawkins J, Baker C, Cherry L, Dunne E. Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms: a meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials. Complement Ther Med. 2019;42:361-365.
Further Reading about Quercetin
Further Reading About Zinc
Velthuis AJ, van den Worm SH, Sims AC, Baric RS, Snijder EJ, van Hemert MJ. Zn(2+) inhibits coronavirus and arterivirus RNA polymerase activity in vitro and zinc ionophores block the replication of these viruses in cell culture. PLoS Pathog. 2010;6(11):e1001176.
Other Interesting Reads:
Khaerunnisa, S.; Kurniawan, H.; Awaluddin, R.; Suhartati, S.; Soetjipto, S. Potential Inhibitor of COVID-19 Main Protease (Mpro) From Several Medicinal Plant Compounds by Molecular Docking Study. Preprints 2020, 2020030226
Mark F.McCartyaJames J.DiNicolantoniob Nutraceuticals have potential for boosting the type 1 interferon response to RNA viruses including influenza and coronavirus Catalytic Longevity Foundation, United States of America, Mid America Heart Institute, St. Luke’s Hospital, United States of America Available online 12 February 2020.
It is important to note that the information contained in this post and on this website is not meant to recommend any treatment, nor have any of these statements been proven effective against COVID-19. None of this information is intended to be used in place of other recommended treatments. Always consult your physician or healthcare provider before supplementing your diet with nutraceuticals. For up-to-date information on COVID-19, please consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov.