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Many supplements and other natural or alternative treatments are being tested for preventing or treating a coronavirus (COVID-19). None have yet been proven to work, but some have potential benefits, including prevention and immunity.
Obviously, first of all, the most important thing you can do to prevent coronavirus infection is to prevent exposure by following the latest recommendations from the Ministry of Health, CDC and the World Health Organization.
Take steps to stay healthy, including adequate sleep and exercise and a healthy diet that includes adequate (but not excessive) intake of essential nutrients, such as vitamins C and D, as we will explain later in this article.
Also take steps to control hypertension and blood sugar fluctuations with diabetes, as these conditions are associated with more serious illnesses if infected.
Vitamins and minerals that can help with the coronavirus if you are disabled
Potassium does not prevent coronavirus infection, but it can play a very important role in the treatment of moderate to severe cases of COVID-19.
Doctors in China reported that among a group of 175 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, 69 (39%) had hypokalemia (low potassium content in the blood) and another 39 (22%) had severe hypokalemia.
Supplementing with about 3 grams of potassium daily helped to correct these deficiencies in most patients, with patients responding better when they started to recover. Hypokalemia can cause cardiac dysfunction, one of the main problems seen in COVID-19.
High levels of heart muscle injury markers have been associated with more severe hypokalemia. The presence of an underlying disease, particularly hypertension, was associated with the severity of hypokalemia.
On the other hand, there was no association with hypokalemia with common upper respiratory symptoms, such as coughing and runny nose (that is, if these are your only symptoms, you probably don’t have to worry about your potassium level).
The apparent reason for hypokalemia in COVID-19 is that the point of entry into SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus cells is an enzyme on cell surfaces called angiotensin I am converting enzyme (ACE2). This enzyme normally helps regulate blood pressure through effects on sodium and potassium.
The virus inactivates ACE2, leading to potassium excretion. This explanation was further supported by the discovery of excess potassium in the urine of patients with hypokalemia, indicating that the loss of potassium occurs mainly through the kidneys (of potassium that normally filters in the blood) as opposed to diarrhea – which is also common in COVID-19.
Normally, potassium is easily obtained from foods, such as beans, pumpkin, potatoes and deficiencies, are uncommon, except in people who take certain medications or with conditions that affect the kidneys or intestines. To treat the deficiency, supplements are commonly used.
Individuals who take potassium-sparing diuretics (such as spironolactone), ACE inhibitors (such as captopril) or trimethoprim / sulfamethoxazole should not take potassium supplements without medical supervision, as dangerous potassium levels may occur.
[Note: There are hypothetical concerns that taking prescription ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (BRA) may increase ECA2 on the cell surface, potentially increasing the risk of developing severe COVID-19, but there are also precautions not to stop taking these drugs and they can be useful in the treatment of COVID-19.]
The saw t amine C is vital for the function of leukocytes (white blood cells that help fight infection) and for the general health of the immune system.
Vitamin C is also important for the absorption of iron and is deficient in iron can make you more vulnerable to infections in general.
However, even for viruses such as colds, the evidence that vitamin C supplements can help is modest, at best: taking high doses of vitamin C (for example, 500 mg twice a day) before cooling can reduce a little the severity and duration of a cold, but there is inconclusive evidence on whether taking vitamin C will help after the development of cold symptoms.
Currently, high doses of vitamin C administered intravenously, are being tested in COVID-19 patients in China who developed pneumonia, but the benefit of this approach has not yet been proven.
The supplements of vitamin D, taken daily in moderate doses, may help reduce the risk of respiratory infections and viruses such as influenza A in children and adults with deficiency (<20 ng / ml) or with severe deficiency (<10 ng / ml)) in vitamin D.
Although there is currently no research suggesting that vitamin D supplements specifically decrease the risk of coronavirus infection, maintaining an adequate blood level of vitamin D (20 to 30 ng / mL – although it is best not to exceed 39 ng / mL) getting sun adequate exposure (at least three times a week, for about 30 minutes, exposing your hands, arms, legs and face), consuming products fortified with vitamin D (such as most milks, certain other dairy foods and some milk based plants) or taking a vitamin D supplement is a good, safe and preventive measure for protection against respiratory infections in general.
To maintain healthy levels, only 400 to 800 IU (15 to 20 mcg) of vitamin D is needed daily, but to increase low levels, higher doses, such as 2,000 IU per day, are used and are generally safe. Very large doses, which were taken periodically (like 100,000 IU per month) may not be as useful and may even increase the risk of respiratory infections in some people.
Zinc (and selenium)
The zinc supplement (like regular pills) would not benefit most people unless they are zinc deficient, which is more common in the elderly due to reduced zinc absorption.
In these people, supplementation with zinc (for example, 20 mg per day) may increase the chance of preventing respiratory tract infection, as suggested by a study of elderly people in nursing facilities in France.
(The people in that study were also selenium deficient – which is uncommon in the U.S. – and received 100 mcg per day, which is roughly twice the daily requirement).
Others that may be low in zinc include vegetarians and people taking certain medications, such as those that reduce stomach acid and ACE inhibitors in the long run. The daily requirement for zinc varies with age, but for adults it is about 11 mg.
If you are deficient in zinc, consider increasing your intake of foods containing zinc or taking a zinc pill (also covered in the Zinc Review) or, as discussed below, a zinc containing multivitamin.
Supplements that can possibly help reduce symptoms of coronavirus.
Astragalus (or Huang qi) has been promoted on some websites to help protect against COVID-19. Astragalus is an herb traditionally used in Chinese medicine to strengthen the immune system and treat colds, among many other uses. It can be sold as root powder, extract or tea, as a single ingredient or as part of an “immune boosting” formula.
Laboratory and animal studies suggest that polysaccharides, astragalosides and other compounds in astragalus increase the production of white blood cells, particularly T cells and macrophages, and other cells important for immune system function.
It has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects, including activity against a specific type of coronavirus that generally infects birds. In China, astragalus, alone and in combination with other herbs, has been suggested to help prevent COVID-19 infections.
However, there is no clinical evidence that astragalus can prevent or treat coronavirus infections in people.
Many of the studies of astragalus supplementation in people have been carried out in China and, in some cases, complete translations of these studies or details on the formulations used are not available.
An observational study of 1,000 people in China reported that astragalus administered orally, or as a nasal spray, was associated with reduced incidence and duration of colds, but the preparation and exact dosage of astragalus are not known – nor are observational studies prove the cause effect-effect relationship (Chang, Pharmacology and Applications of Chinese Materia Medica 1987).
A very small study (14 individuals in China) found that the extract of astragalus (equivalent to 8 grams of root powder per day) increased the production of interferon and leukocytes (which normally increase in response to exposure to viruses) compared to placebo (Hou, Zhonghua Weisheng Wuxue, Hemian Yixue Zazhi, 1981).
There appears to be insufficient research to determine whether astragalus can help prevent viral respiratory tract infections in children.
Some researchers have recommended that a daily dose of 4 to 7 grams of root powder may be the best dosage to increase macrophage activity, while higher doses (28 grams or more per day) may suppress the immune system.
In patients with viral myocarditis (inflammation of the heart), injections of astragalus combined with standard treatment showed modest improvements in recovery in adults, but these injections did not show a significant reduction in the number of patients who died of heart failure.
Due to their immune-stimulating effects, people with autoimmune diseases and those taking immunosuppressive drugs (such as after organ transplantation) should not take astragalus.
Astragalus polysaccharides can stimulate the release of histamine, which can increase allergic reactions in some people.
As far as COVID-19 is concerned, a stimulating effect on the immune system may be useful in fighting infection, but it could, theoretically, accelerate the lower respiratory “cytokine storm” believed to devastate the lungs in severe cases.
This herb can also lower blood pressure and, therefore, should be used with caution in people with low blood pressure and in those taking medication to lower blood pressure.
Pregnant or nursing women should not take astragalus. The development of cysts in the liver and kidneys associated with ingesting astragalus tea and ingesting astragalus powder has been reported in a woman in China.
Two researchers highlighted preliminary research on the antiviral effects of lauric acid, found in coconut oil, and on the lauric acid metabolite – monolaurin. They proposed a clinical trial using virgin coconut oil (3 tablespoons per day), monolaurin (800 mg per day) and / or monocaprine (800 mg per day) in patients with COVID-19.
They note that coconut oil, lauric acid and monolaurin were used to help prevent viruses in farm animals, and two small trials in people with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), given that coconut oil showed some improvements in the immune system’s blood cell count. However, there is no evidence to date that the consumption of coconut oil can prevent or treat coronavirus infections in people.
Note that large amounts of lauric acid were found only in coconut oils not been refined, such as extra virgin coconut oils as coconut oils refined do not contain much lauric acid and MCT oils contain lauric virtually no (are mostly acids caprylic and / or capric).
Laboratory studies (but not people) have shown that certain echinacea species can inhibit coronaviruses. However, there is no evidence that taking this or any other echinacea product can prevent or treat coronavirus infections in people.
A laboratory study that has not yet been peer-reviewed or published, found that a specific form of echinacea inhibited specific coronaviruses, including (HCoV) 229E, MERS and SARS-CoVs, and the researchers suggested that it could have a similar effect in SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, although it has not been tested.
The study was funded by a distributor of the product and partly authored by an employee of the manufacturer. Clinical trials of echinacea suggest a possible modest benefit for other types of viral respiratory infections, such as colds, although the results have been mixed, at best.
Elderberry extract has been shown in laboratory studies to inhibit the replication and hemagglutination of human influenza viruses, including certain strains of influenza A and B and H1N1.
Small preliminary studies in people with the flu suggest that, taken on the first day or more after symptoms occur, elderberries reduce the duration of the flu, but further studies are needed to corroborate this. There is no evidence that elderberry extract can prevent COVID-19 or reduce symptoms in people who have been infected.
The test extracts and elderberry supplements found that the amounts of compounds elderberry products marketed varied over 2,000 times – from 0.03 mg to 69.3 mg per serving suggested, though, due to lack of research, it is not clear what quantity, if any, would be effective.
For people who choose to try elderberry extract, it is helpful to know that it appears to be generally well tolerated. However, people allergic to grass pollen can have allergic reactions to elderberries. Never consume raw elderberries, as these contain toxic compounds that can cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness and diarrhea.
Garlic has shown in laboratory studies to inhibit certain flu and cold viruses, and a clinical trial suggests that garlic supplements may help prevent colds. However, there is no current evidence that eating garlic or taking a garlic supplement can help prevent or treat COVID-19, as noted on the World Health Organization’s coronavirus disease myths website (COVID-19).
The melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate sleep and can trigger sleep in people with sleep disorders. Melatonin has also been suggested on some websites as a potential treatment in COVID-19, although there are no reports of such use or proven benefit.
The justification for the use of melatonin in COVID-19 seems to result from the fact that it can affect immune responses. Experiments in mice, for example, have shown that melatonin increases the levels of certain cytokines (regulatory molecules of the immune system) in those infected with various viruses and reduces virus-related mortality, but this benefit has not yet been demonstrated in clinical trials in humans.
Another justification given for the use of melatonin in the treatment of COVID-19 is that melatonin levels fall with old age and old age is a risk factor for COVID-19 (as occurs in many diseases). Interestingly, studies have shown reduced levels of melatonin in people with several advanced diseases, but melatonin has not been shown to decrease with age in healthy individuals.
The typical dosage for sleep is 0.3 mg to 10 mg, about 30 to 60 minutes before bed.
NAC (N-acetylcysteine) is a synthetically modified form of the amino acid cysteine (cysteine occurs naturally in food, whereas NAC does not). In the body, NAC is converted into the antioxidant glutathione. There is very preliminary evidence that NAC can improve certain blood markers of immune system health, but there is insufficient evidence to suggest that supplementation with NAC improves the immune system as it will reduce the occurrence of the disease, nor will it prevent infection by coronavirus.
A clinical study using 600 mg of NAC taken twice daily during the flu season found that it did not prevent infection, but fewer infected people were symptomatic. The evidence is weak because of its supposed ability to thin mucus during infections like colds.
Quercetin and its major metabolites, such as quercetin 3-beta-Od-glucoside (Q3G, also called isoquercetin), have been found in laboratory studies to inhibit a wide variety of viruses, including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV) coronavirus, which is related to COVID-19).
For example, one of these studies showed that when mice were injected with high doses of Q3G before being infected with a lethal dose of Ebola virus, they survived Ebola infection, while none of the mice that did not receive Q3G survived.
According to preliminary research, quercetin appears to work by preventing viruses from entering cells, thereby reducing “viral load”. A clinical trial that will investigate the use of oral quercetin in patients with COVID-19 has been planned or is already underway in China.
Details on the exact form (quercetin or 3-beta-Od-glycoside) and the dose of the formula (produced by the Swiss drug manufacturer, Quercegen Pharmaceuticals) do not appear to have been released, but in an interview published in February 2020, published online by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC News), researcher Michel Chrétien said he hopes to get preliminary results in the coming months.
However, he cautioned that he does not want to give “false hopes” about the potential benefits of quercetin until further research is carried out.
Until more is known, it is not clear whether the use of isoquercetin or quercetin supplements can help prevent or treat COVID-19 or what dosage would be effective.
In small clinical trials that investigate the effects of quercetin for other uses, such as seasonal allergies, prostatitis or rheumatoid arthritis, quercetin (at doses ranging from 50 mg to 1,000 mg per day) is generally well tolerated, although side effects such as nausea and headache can occur, particularly at doses of 500 mg or more.
Quercetin is found naturally in foods such as capers, onions, apples and certain fruits, and people receive about 25 mg of quercetin daily from their diets. Be aware that quercetin may interact with certain medications, including some statin medications, such as rosuvastatin (Crestor), atorvastatin (Lipitor) and pravastatin (Pravachol) and others.
Saffron and curcumin
Turmeric and curcumin (a major constituent of turmeric) are best known for their modest anti-inflammatory effects. Curcumin has also been shown to inhibit certain viruses in laboratory studies, including a study published online (but not in a peer-reviewed journal), suggesting that curcumin may inhibit the virus that causes COVID-19.
In animal studies, curcumin injections have been shown to protect the lungs from injury and infection, including virus-induced acute respiratory distress syndrome, possibly reducing inflammatory cytokines and other mechanisms. However, there are no studies in people showing that saffron or curcumin supplements can prevent or reduce the symptoms of viral infections, such as colds, flu or COVID-19.
The manufacturer of an intravenous form of liposomal curcumin indicated in March 2020 that it is “exploring opportunities” to use its product in patients with COVID-19. This formula has been investigated in at least one clinical trial in patients with advanced metastatic cancer, but be aware that some intravenous saffron treatments have been associated with serious side effects.
Tests of popular saffron and curcumin supplements have found that not all products contain the amount of curcumin claimed on the label, and their saffron spice tests show significant variability in their curcumin content.
Be aware that only a small percentage of curcumin taken orally is absorbed. Taking these supplements with food can improve absorption and there are several formulations on the market to increase the bioavailability of curcumin in supplements. Turmeric and curcumin, as well as black pepper extract – a type of bioavailability enhancer, can interact with many medications.
The zinc has become one of the most popular suggestions to reduce the symptoms of coronavirus. Notably, an email written by a pathologist, Dr. James Robb, who recommends using zinc lozenges like Cold-Eeze to ward off the virus, along with other tips, went viral.
Although there is no direct evidence at the moment suggesting that the use of zinc lozenges can prevent or treat COVID-19 in people, zinc has antiviral properties and has been shown in a laboratory study to inhibit coronavirus replication in cells.
Zinc tablets or other zinc formulas that dissolve orally containing certain forms of zinc have been shown to reduce the severity and duration of colds caused by viruses. They seem to do this by acting directly on the throat, which is why the timing and duration of use matters when treating colds with zinc. The connection with coronavirus and zinc lozenges is that the main cause of illness and death among people who are symptomatic with COVID-19 is respiratory disease and it is in the upper airways that zinc lozenges can have some activity.
Please be aware that the typical daily doses of zinc provided by zinc lozenges generally exceed the upper tolerable limits for zinc and therefore should not be used for more than a week. Excessive intake of zinc can cause copper deficiency. Zinc can impair the absorption of antibiotics, and the use of nasal zinc gels or swabs has been associated with temporary or permanent loss of smell.
If you are deficient in zinc, consider a zinc pill (also covered in the Zinc Review) or, as discussed below, a multivitamin.
Supplements and products are unlikely to help with coronavirus and may be dangerousMiracle mineral solution kits (sodium chloride) and chlorine dioxide
The miraculous mineral solution (which contains 28% sodium chlorite in distilled water) and chlorine dioxide kits are not a solution for COVID-19 and are dangerous to drink. Several websites and publications on social media promote these products to fight the coronavirus.
For example, on her website, marketer Kerri Rivera presents Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS) as a “secret weapon” to fight the coronavirus and prevent the disease from progressing. (It was banned in Illinois in 2015, previously claiming that MMS can cure autism.) Ingestion of these products has not been shown to prevent or treat coronavirus.
These products usually contain sodium chlorite solution to be mixed with citric acid, such as lemon or lime juice, or other acid before drinking, or are sold with a citric acid “activator”. However, the addition of acid to sodium chlorite produces chlorine dioxide, a bleaching agent.
Sodium chlorite and chlorine dioxide are active ingredients in disinfectants and should not be swallowed, as they can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and symptoms of severe dehydration. Such reactions are not evidence that the product is “working”, as claimed by some websites. In 2016, ABC ‘hours after drinking the Miracle Mineral Solution, which, according to the woman’s husband, may have caused her death.
A strong FDA warning in 2019 reported that Miracle Mineral Solution consumers are “drinking bleach” and states: “If you are drinking the mineral solution” Miracle “or” Master “or other sodium chlorite products, stop now.”
Colloidal silver (a solution with silver particles) has antiseptic (disinfectant) activity on surfaces. However, ingestion of colloidal silver has not been shown to prevent or treat coronavirus, and there are serious potential risks.
A joint FDA and FTC warning to companies selling colloidal silver and other products to treat coronavirus. The agencies emphasized ” There are currently no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). “
Completion of coronavirus supplements:
While several supplements can potentially reduce symptoms of cold or flu, none can prevent infection with coronavirus or any other virus. However, it is always worth strengthening to be in the best position to fight an infection.
In addition to getting adequate sleep and general nutrition, the safest way to do this with supplements is to ensure that you are getting enough vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc, as they are all important to a good immune system.
You can also get good amounts of vitamins C and D, zinc and other essential vitamins and minerals in a basic multivitamin.
Best canned tuna and oats during confinement:
If you are buying food for possible coronavirus block, quarantine or shelter on site, two recommended foods are canned fish and oats, as they are healthy and stable on the shelves.
Coconut water is a very stable source of hydration on the shelves – as it is mostly water, along with a little sugar and a good amount of potassium (about 300-500 mg per cup).
But know according to the CDC, drinking water is not a cause for concern, so there is no need to stock up on bottled water or coconut water.
By Shoumya Chowdhury
who is a professional blogger, health enthusiast and owner of the keto forum.