This post refers to supplements available over-the -counter and direct to your door that allow your body to gain sufficient nutrients to keep you well – specifically we review vitamins D and C, Zinc, probiotics, and the master antioxidant: glutathione.
There are many theories as to what’s happening in those who become very ill after contracting the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
- For some it is deadly
- For others a mild cough and fever
- And then others may be asymptomatic (i.e. not even cause noticeable illness).
So, what’s behind the different effects this virus has from person to person?
We certainly know that those who are elderly or have pre-existing conditions are more susceptible to serious complications and hospitalisation. But there are people who are experiencing life-threatening pneumonia, who had no known pre-existing conditions, and are under the age of 50. It is not common, but it does happen.
Dr Luc Montagnier, won the 2008 Nobel Prize for Medicine for discovering the HIV/AIDS virus. He sees fighting many diseases, viruses included, through the lens of reducing Oxidative Stress.
How would a Nobel Prize winner battle these diseases?
Antioxidant supplementation is an easy, proactive, evidence-based way to reduce your Oxidative Stress. Here, I outline the supplements I take to help support my immune system and overall health.
THIS IS THE BIG ONE, WITH EPIDEMIOLOGISTS NOW LOOKING AT THIS VERY CLOSELY.
It is well established that vitamin D plays a critical role in immune function, especially for respiratory infections.
One of the factors being considered, in the fight with COVID19, is vitamin D deficiency.
- Low levels of vitamin D are associated with reduced lung function as well as respiratory disease (for example, asthma and COPD).
- Certainly, in a respiratory virus like COVID-19, reduced lung function can lead to life-threatening complications like pneumonia.
- Currently, there is a randomised, double-blind study underway to see if adding vitamin D to the treatment patients receive for COVID-19 will improve outcomes.
Studies have shown that vitamin D supplementation:
- Reduces the risk of respiratory infection by 12%
- Helps to bolster the immune system
- Daily supplementation is more effective than taking large doses less consistently
- The darker your skin, the less you can synthesise vitamin D in your skin
- People with digestive problems have reduced vitamin D absorption
- The more overweight you are the more vitamin D you will need to gain a sufficient level
- Older people tend to be lower in vitamin D levels
- It has even been shown to reduce mortality in older adults.
Evidence supporting the role of vitamin D in reducing risk of COVID-19 includes:
- The outbreak occurred in winter, a time when vitamin D concentrations are lowest
- The number of cases in the Southern Hemisphere near the end of summer are low
- Vitamin D deficiency has been found to contribute to acute respiratory distress syndrome
- People with darker skin are seemingly more severely affected by COVID19, with them needing higher rates of intensive care, ventilation, and suffering disproportionally higher death rates
- Case-fatality rates increase with age and with chronic disease comorbidity, both of which are associated with lower vitamin D levels.
THE GOOD NEWS IS, AT THIS TIME OF YEAR, YOU CAN MAKE YOUR OWN VITAMIN D: by sitting in the midday sun, skin exposed, (between 11am-3pm) for 20-30 minutes – this typically supplies you with 20,000 international units (2-10 times that often in supplementation doses).
Supplementation Doses – It is fat soluble so avoid overdosing:
5,000 iu / 125 mcg is enough for most adults.
If you are overweight, you need to up the dose: 7-8,000 iu if you are 3 stone overweight, or 10,000 iu for 5 stone overweight and more.
Zinc and Vitamin C
Old faithfuls should not be forgotten here.
Vitamin C helps the immune cells generate hydrogen peroxide which can kill off viruses.
- It is water-soluble, so you can take high doses without overdosing
- It is in and out of the system quickly – so needs daily intake – I am taking 1,000mg/day (i.e. 1g)
- If you become infected with a virus, your dose can be as high as 500 -1,000 mg every hour (depending on bowel tolerance – as too much acts as a laxative).
- Liposomal supplements are best – but hard to buy now and way more expensive.
Zinc is well known for immunity.
What’s more, it has been shown previously to help specifically with coronaviruses. Zinc is used in your respiratory passages to inhibit virus replication.
Many men are especially zinc deficient.
This may be a contributing factor as to why men are more adversely affected by COVID19. However, it is well known that the immune systems of men are quite different. We are somewhat more susceptible to infections – think Man Flu! Does that make us the weaker sex? Draw your own conclusions.
It is vital to maintain your gut health, as 80% of your immunity comes from the gastrointestinal system!
- Fermented food and drinks (e.g. Kimchi, Sauerkraut, Kombucha) are excellent.
- Yoghurts with live cultures are also useful.
- Taking a good quality probiotic supplement is too.
Might be a new one for you? This is the master antioxidant and a powerful immune molecule. It targets Oxidative Stress and Free Radicals.
- Taking oral glutathione can be problematic.
- It often gets broken down by your digestive processes.
- The best form of glutathione supplement to take is a liposomal form, but it is expensive and tastes woeful (think rotten eggs).
- For this reason, I do not take glutathione itself, but use methods to boost the levels that my own body can make.
- As such it has some huge advantages over taking individual
Reducing Oxidative Stress has far-reaching health benefits.
If you want more information on this now, please reply to this email or call the clinic number.
The science is strong on the above information, regarding reducing respiratory virus susceptibility, replication and improving recovery.
If you are going to take a supplement you need to take one that is easily digested, absorbed and able to be used by the body (i.e. high bioavailability).
By taking these supplements will you avoid catching a virus?
Having good levels of antioxidants, and low levels of Oxidative Stress, strengthens your immune system, giving you a higher threshold and more resilience.
These measures may make a difference to your resistance and may give you an increased ability to recover from illness.