UPDATED April 11, 2020
Based on an article published in Science Direct and co-authored by professors at the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Arizona: I’ve refined clarified the supplement recommendations that we are making for our patients.
I want to begin by saying that vitamin and herb therapies are not proven to kill the Coronavirus, nor are any proven to prevent COVID-19. Why? Because it is a novel virus. We have never met it before. Chinese medicine gained clinical experience from the SARS epidemic. SARS is also a kind of coronavirus; but not this one. There is a growing bank of clinical cases of successful treatment of COVID-19 using integrated western and east-Asian medicine. Read a summary here.
There are essential reasons to adapt and modify lifestyle and nutrition to help you stay in the best possible health.
The first list is focused on risk reduction. You should have this memorized by now:
- Handwashing- 20 seconds. It’s longer than you think, so sing a song to yourself
- Social and physical distancing.
- Wear a mask when outside and don’t let that trick you into thinking you can stand close to anyone.
- Sleep enough and long: at least 7 hours. Chronic fatigue can nearly triple your chances of catching the common cold.
- Avoid stress. Stress is a known immune disruptor, and while there’s no way, in this environment to avoid it, we need to implement self-soothing rituals: Meditate, exercise, knit, read something humorous, pray, etc.
Supplements: Much is this is the same with some refinements
- Zinc. There’s evidence that the Coronavirus may be vulnerable to Zinc. Take 15-30 mg daily. Also, eat pumpkin seeds if they are available to you. 3 ounces has about 8 mg. There are other foods too: see this list from Healthline. You’ll be happy to know that dark chocolate makes the list.
- Foods high in flavonoids. Flavonoids are a group of nutrients found in fruits and vegetables. They produce the vivid colors of plants ( along with beta-carotene). Many flavonoids are anti-inflammatory and antihistaminic. Do you need another reason to eat your veggies? Make them the cornerstone of your diet and eat 5-7 servings daily.
- Vitamin C with Quercetin: While I recommended Vitamin C last time, I’m refining it to make sure it includes this important bioflavonoid. If you’re my patient, then you know that this is what I have used in my practice for over 20 years.
- Curcumin, which is found in turmeric, is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties. There’s quite a lot of evidence that it has anti-cancer and neuroprotective properties.
- Melatonin: widely used to aid sleep, melatonin may also protect the lungs during viral infections. Take .5-3 mg daily. It’s best to take it a couple of hours before bedtime to avoid a melatonin hangover.
- Elderberry: This popular fruit extract may inhibit the Coronavirus. It can be safely used preventively, However, please see my list below of supplements to avoid if infected:
- Vitamin D can be immuno-protective.
- NAC: N-acetylcysteine is a powerful antioxidant that protects the cell layers (endothelium). It may play an important role in protecting the respiratory tissues. Here’s a simple summary of it’s actions from Healthline. A more detailed discussion can be found here. Think of it as a way to thin mucus, help protect you lungs and sinus health.
Avoid these supplements if you have active COVID-19
- There is growing concern that supplements that are considered tonifying can exacerbate a cytokine storm: the inflammatory cascade that can lead to severe complications from COVID. Thus, much of what you would take to stay healthy should be discontinued if you actually contract it. Much of this is a hypothesis: However, we know enough that we still don’t know enough. Given that our priority is to do no harm, please avoid the following supplements should actually get sick
- Elderberry extracts
- Medicinal mushrooms
- Vitamin D
- Anything with Astragalus or Ginseng
- Larch arabinogalactan
- Vitamin A
- NSAIDS: evidence is mounting that they disrupt endothelial integrity, which can lead to COVID complications.
Based on this, we encourage you to consult with us for guidance on what’s best for you to take. Schedule an appointment here.
The office is well stocked with herbs and supplements. We have a clean, contactless pick-up system, or we can ship to you.
You can also purchase supplements from our online vitamin dispensary Full Script.
All supplements, both in-house as well as online, are 15% off.