As we endure this pandemic, the only thing we have reign over is the care of ourselves and family. While we are encouraged to “do the five”, we can also lean on the “art of medicine” to prevent the spread of the infection by strengthening our immune system to reduce viral replication, spread and severity of illness. While many of the applications suggested here have not been rigorously scientifically tested for COVID-19, they do have some science behind them and all have been embraced by the “art of medicine” as augmenters of immunity. We all need something to apply as these days turn to weeks on standstill. There are no therapeutic drugs nor a vaccine at this juncture. Here are some logical, practical, affordable things to take and make your routines that will increase your body’s resilience with the aim of deceasing the probability of loved ones being infected. Please apply these self care practices to improve the chances of coming out of this all the stronger. There are vitamins as well as minerals that can make it harder for the virus to thrive in your internal environment. There are herbs, and yes, foods and culinary practices from ancient tried and true folk medicine in addition to mind body applications that can make the world of a difference. This the first in a series of posts to hone your abilities to protect yourself in multiple ways.
Vitamins & Minerals
Vitamin C , ascorbic acid is an antioxidant capacity builder, a gift from the late, 1968 Nobel Laureate, Dr. Linus Pauling that has been buried in time. Vitamin C at therapeutic levels creates an environment in the cell that makes it very difficult for infectious organisms to survive. In addition, it reduces inflammation and cytokine production that can prevent complications and shorten the severity and duration of infection. There are 3 types of vitamin C to take orally: powdered, liposomal and buffered. Powdered C is the most affordable and can get to therapeutic levels faster than any other kind of oral but may be too hard on those with sensitive digestive systems. Liposomal C is favored in children and maintains concentrations of vitamin C in the body better than the powdered C with less GI side affects. Esterified, or buffered C is the oral administration of choice for those who have sensitive stomach They may require dosing 1.5 to 2.0 times more because they are buffered to reach therapeutic levels Vitamin C at high concentrations can cause loose stools and cramping.
Reports from Asia (ISOM, China, Japan, Korea) shared that powdered vitamin C 3000 mg/day along with other vitamins and minerals has been very helpful for prevention. It is best to spread dosing of vitamin C throughout the day into 3 to 4 parts. In my practice, I calculate children’s dosing using this formula: [50 mg/ ? lb /4 times per day] Straddling doses throughout the day helps to prevent bowel intolerance.
Note: it is important to note that sugary vitamin C products are not as effective. The sugar and the vitamin C compete for receptors on the cell resulting in lower concentrations in the cell.
Vitamin D has multiple benefits at points in the life cycle, there can only be desirable health consequences from putting you and your family on this additional vitamin. Many have linked vitamin D deficiencies, with epidemics particularly in the northern hemisphere associating lower levels of vitamin D due to the winter with less sun exposure. It is thought this can lead to an increased risk of widespread infections. Vitamin D has multiple physiological accountabilities. It has antioxidant capabilities. It enhances the production of both B cells and T cells. Its immune modulation orchestrates biochemical cascades to fight off infection. Vitamin D works with the parathyroid to balance both phosphorus and calcium deposits in the bone. It has been found to be cardiovascular protective.
Adults: Vitamin D 5000 iu daily for 2 weeks then maintenance 2000 iu daily
Children Vitamin D 200 iu daily
Selenium is a trace mineral that acts as a co-enzyme and is a critical component in biochemical compounds called selenoproteins. These special proteins assist in the demise of viruses by overcoming the reactive oxygen stress (ROS) the virus causes. They help to protect the cell from the infection. It can thwart abnormal cell growth that leads to cancer. Selenium has been found to be helpful in cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma, thyroid disorders and slowing of neuro-degeneration.
Selenium 100-200 mcg daily Children 30-40 mcg daily
Zinc is a co-enzyme trace mineral that preliminary studies support it does reduce the duration and severity of colds/viral respiratory illness. While Zn has been reported as unable to block COVID-19, it has been confirmed to increase the resilience of one’s immune system. This has been the case for H1N1 and herpes viruses. Zinc is essential for eye health and wound healing.
Zinc gluconate or acetate lozenges 2-5 mg every 4-6 hours has been recommended for those with new onset cold symptoms. The metal taste is a turn off so other options are Zinc tablets 5-20 mg daily.
Next up: Food for Resilience will include plant medicines.
Jifunza C.A. Wright-Carter M.D., M.P.H is a family physician practicing the “art of medicine” using food & plant medicines to improve the health and well being of patients through self care for over 30 years. In addition to studying herbs and natural medicines since she was a child, she is a graduate of Case Western Reserve Medical School, an alumni of Cook County & Montefiore Family Practice Residency Programs. She received public health training at Johns Hopkins, University of Pittsburgh and University of Maryland. She has a private practice in Chicago Illinois and does organic farming in Pembroke Twp. Illinois. If you have any questions or need support, please contact her at email@example.com