COVID-19. Do you have a Plan?
Updated: Mar 21
Your COVID-19 Plan for Prevention and Early Treatment
The treat of COVID-19 infection is a reality that we all face for at least the next few months; possibly longer. This post identifies the virus-fighting supplements you can use to help ward off the SARS CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.
Epidemiological statistics forecast that COVID-19 will peak at different times in the US. The unfortunate reality is that Virginia’s peak is predicted to occur on May 20th which is probably why Governor Northam issued a ‘stay at home’ policy until June 10th.
Some speculate that warmer weather and higher humidity will reduce infection, but this is based on data from known viruses like influenza and the ‘common cold.’ COVID-19 is a new virus and much is still unknown. Similarly, some predict that as we spend more time outdoors in the Spring and Summer sun, increased Vitamin D levels may strengthen our immune system and reduce viral infection rates.
As hopeful as it is to speculate that warmer weather and Vitamin D will decrease COVID-19 infections, the size of the change is likely to be small. As with any virus that is new to humans, there is less immunity in the community and thus it will transmit more readily, even outside of the winter season.
Beyond this, there is new information about who COVID-19 affects most seriously. Initial reports out of China indicated that COVID-19 most seriously impacted adults over the age of 70 and those with comorbid conditions like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. But this is not what we are seeing in Europe and the US. A CDC Morbidity Report dated March 26 reported that in the US, 20% of hospitalized cases were between the ages of 20 and 44. Genetics may play a role in this difference from China and Europe/US.
You Need a Plan
So, no matter your age or your health, you need a plan that incorporates prevention, immune response, and inflammatory response. As I’ll describe in a moment, immune response and inflammatory response are not the same thing.
Just to refresh your memory, COVID-19 is the disease caused by SARS CoV-2 virus. For simplicity, I will refer to the virus as SARS2 throughout this post.
A previous blog, Coronavirus: Staying Safe with a Natural Approach, discussed how to prevent infection. The main focus is social isolation and hand washing. SARS2 is a fragile virus and easily destroyed. It is primarily spread via droplets with prolonged contact of 30 minutes or more (think of a social gathering or a crowded event).
SARS2 can survive on surfaces, but it’s unclear how long it can survive outside the body, and how many infections are actually caused by these surface-related contacts. Still, you should assume that every surface you touch in a grocery store or other public place contains the virus. Keep hand sanitizer with you and clean your hands often and avoid touching your face when in public.
Wearing a mask will not prevent infection but will remind to you not to touch your face, and if you have COVID-19, a mask may prevent spread. The CDC is considering advising everyone who goes out in public to wear a mask due to the large number of people who may be infected but not be aware.
Strengthen Your Anti-Viral Immune Surveillance
You do not need to ‘boost’ your immune system but strengthen it. Boosting may cause more harm given how the body responds to this virus.
When exposed, COVID-19 attaches to receptors in your lungs, kidneys, GI tract and vascular endothelial cells. This attachment allows the virus inside your cells where it can replicate. With this replication, your immune system is activated, and your body starts ramping up with certain cytokines such as IL1, IL6, and TNF alpha to stop the replication and destroy the virus.
We know that SARS2 attaches to the ACE2 receptor for entry into the cell. Unlike SARS1, this new coronavirus also contains furin cleavage sites. It is the furin cleavage site that makes SARS2 a thousand times more transmissible that SARS1.These furin cleavage sites interact with furin proteins that are present on every cell in the human body. It is important that the supplements you take can prevent the virus from attaching to the ACE receptor. There are no known supplements that can block the furin receptors.
The following supplements can prevent SARS2 from attaching to entry sites.
Sambucus (Elderberry). Elderberry has been shown to decrease viral infectivity and replication in other viruses so may have some impact on SARS2. Elderberry acts to block the virus from attaching to the ACE2 receptor. This is best to take as a pretreatment every day in a combination supplement called PureDefense. Once infected with the virus and you start to have symptoms then you will want to add Elderberry to the PureDefense so that your total dose of Elderberry is close to 1000mg.
PureDefense contains Elderberry along with N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), and EpiCor® which is a fermentate of Saccharomyces cerevisiae that contains various bioactive metabolites. These nutrient metabolites enhance immune cell production and especially natural killer cells which are very important in killing viruses. Numerous studies show that NAC supports upper respiratory tract health and overall immune health. Since SARS2 mainly causes upper respiratory infection, NAC with Elderberry is a great combination. PureDefense also contains trace amounts of Vitamin C, D, Zinc and Quercetin but not enough to be meaningful.
Vitamin C has been shown to increase natural killer cells (NK cells) and T-lymphocytes. It was reported from China that the patients who recovered from critical condition were still able to produce T-lymphocytes and NK cells.
Vitamin C also prevents stabilization of hypoxia inducible factor 1a (HIF-1a). HIF-1a stabilization is necessary for the expression of furin molecules. Thus, Vitamin C may reduce the attachment of SARS2 to the furin site preventing entry.
The following can prevent the SARS2 from replicating once it has entered the cell.
Zinc and Isoquercetin. Zinc also decreases the replication viruses and has been shown to directly target SARS1 and inhibit several pathways that the virus uses to replicate. Thus it is thought to also affect the replication of SARS2. But zinc must be brought across the cellular membrane inside the cell to be effective. Zinc transporter or ionophores are needed. For this reason, it’s best to take what’s called a zinc “ionophore, ” which is a separate supplement that will accelerate zinc absorption. I recommend isoquercetin, which is similar to quercetin but more absorbable.
Best to take a zinc lozenge 2 or 3 times a day as it is determined that the route of infection is via the mouth and nose. The lozenge may prevent viral replication in the throat and thus preventing the virus from entering the lungs. But with any symptoms, adding an oral dose will help decrease pulmonary involvement
Zinc Lozenge 10mg 2 to 3 times a day. Take a lozenge before going to the grocery store or anywhere in public.
Zinc capsule or tablet. Take 20mg twice a day.
Isoquercetin take1 capsules once a day.
Zing and copper have an inverse relationship that is important. But you don't necessarily have to take extra copper as I almost always see low zinc and high copper on patients lab values. You can get 2mg of copper by eating 56g of 90% dark chocolate or 70g of 70% dark chocolate. 2mg of copper is an adequate daily supply. Zinc to copper ratio is usually a 15 to 1.
Other Supplements that Strengthen the Immune System
Vitamin D. Vitamin D levels should be between 50-80. If you don’t know your vitamin D levels, you can take 2000iu daily but for many people this is not enough. Genetic variations in the vitamin D receptor are common and larger doses may be needed, but don’t exceed 2000iu daily if you don’t know your levels.
Vitamin D is best taken with Vitamin A and K2 as vitamin A increases the responsiveness of the Vitamin D receptor.
Avmacol - Avmacol contains two very important immune factors: Beta Glucans and sulforaphane. Beta glucans are found in mushrooms also have been shown to support your immune system and decrease viral load. I don’t have the space here to discuss all the benefits of sulforaphane but it globally decreases inflammation by turning on a master gene that turns on all of your antioxidant genes. Avmacol contains the actual product used by John’s Hopkins that proved its effectiveness in numerous studies. These studies showed how Avmacol stimulates the body's natural detoxification process and also supports additional defenses against oxidative stress and cell damage,
Prevention List (what they are – pills/capsules, how many per day)
PureDefense – Take 2 tablets once a day.
Elderberry - Take 500mg with the PureDefense if symptoms such as fever or cough start to develop. Continue the PureDefense.
Isoquercetin – Take 1 capsule once a day and increase to 1 capsule three times a day if symptoms develop.
Zinc - 20mg – 30mg daily depending on your zinc level. Take with food as zinc can upset your stomach.
Vitamin C - Take 1000mg twice a day.
Vitamin D with ADK – Take 2000-5000iu daily depending on your Vitamin D level
Avmacol (Beta Glucans) – Take 1 capsule once a day with food.
All of the supplements can be ordered via the links on Fullscript except for Avmacol which has to be ordered from the office. Unfortunately, most of the products may be backordered on Fullscript but we do try to keep some at the office. Call Rebecca at 276-235-3205 or email her at email@example.com.
I also recommend purchasing a low-cost pulse oximeter to monitor your normal oxygen saturation at home. This is important so that if you do contract the virus you will know what is low oxygen level for you. If your normal oxygen saturation is 98-99% then a level of 94 or lower is cause for concern.
The next post will concentrate on what you can take once you are infected with SARS CoV-2 and start to have symptoms. It is very important at this time to calm down your immune system to avoid an overreactive response.