First thing’s first: the current coronavirus is novel, meaning it is new. There are clinical studies underway to better understand the virus, but at the time of this writing, there is not enough data for the FDA to approve any specific supplement or medication to prevent or treat COVID-19.
There is, however, research on certain lifestyle choices, supplements and medications that help support fighting viruses, including previous coronavirus outbreaks. Based on this research, we have chosen to focus on the following supplements for ourselves.
Top 6 Supplements We’re Taking
This is the collection of our most recommended supplements for support of the immune system at this time.
Zinc30 mg per day on empty stomach
Zinc is an essential trace element. It plays a crucial role in ensuring a proper immune response in the body, having been shown to shorten the duration of respiratory tract infections. (1) Perhaps most important in relation to coronavirus, zinc is a modulator of the production of inflammatory cytokines. (2)
Quercetin 250-500 mg per day
Quercetin is a polyphenol derived from plants. It is found in many foods, such as leafy vegetables, onions, oregano, broccoli, apples, berries, ginkgo biloba, green tea and red wine. Quercetin is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiviral, playing a positive modulating role in the body’s immune function. (3) It has shown strong potential to act as a coronavirus inhibitor, providing support for regulating the body’s inflammation response to virus. (4)
Melatonin 0.5 – 1.0 mg per day
Referred to as the “hormone of darkness”, melatonin acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. It is naturally occurring in the parts of the body that need it most, including the brain, heart and nervous system. Some of the lesser known, but critical functions of melatonin include protecting mitochondria against attack from toxins, as well as acting on the immune system by regulating cytokine production. (5)
Interestingly, production of melatonin declines substantially in humans as they age – compared to a healthy adult senior, a young child can easily have 10 TIMES the amount of peak melatonin levels. Perhaps this is part of the reason that older adults are more susceptible to coronavirus.
Vitamin C 1,000 mg per day
The benefits of vitamin C are many. It plays an important role in a properly functioning immune system (6) and is an important physiological antioxidant (7). Unlike animals, humans are not able to synthesize vitamin C endogenously, making it an important component of a healthy diet or supplementation regimen. Vitamin C has been recommended specifically related to coronavirus (8), in part due to its support of mitochondrial health in the fight against the virus (9).
Vitamin D 2,000 – 5,000 IU per day
Vitamin D is multi-faceted. It provides support for bone and muscle strength, particularly in older people. Importantly, it is a powerful regulator of the immune system (10). Most foods contain only modest levels of vitamin D, though it is found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna and sardines in high amounts. The best source? The sun. Natural sunlight can stimulate the skin to produce substantial amounts of vitamin D. It’s no surprise that most people in America are “D-ficient” from late fall to early spring.
Vitamin D has been found to prevent excessive inflammatory cytokine response by the immune system. In addition – and this is important as it relates to coronavirus – vitamin D stimulates the expression of certain peptides that reside in the cells in the respiratory tract that protect the lungs from infection (11)
Glutathione or N-acetyl Cysteine (NAC) 500-1,000mg per day
Known as the master antioxidant, glutathione protects the human body like few others. Its primary contribution is the protection of the body’s mitochondria through mitigating damage by heavy metals, organic toxins and free radicals. Supporting mitochondrial health is a critical component in support of the body’s defense system against coronavirus (9). Separate from its antioxidant properties, however, glutathione is considered an inhibitor of the inflammatory response. (12, 13)
N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is a cellular antioxidant support that specifically promotes healthy lung tissue. NAC is a free radical scavenger that supports glutathione levels in tissues.
We know that taking a lot of supplements can be challenging for a number of reasons, so we’re doing our best to provide focus in order of importance. In the end, it is a personal decision and should ideally be based on your own individual body. We always recommend discussing with your doctor. Should you have any questions, or would like additional guidance, please don’t hesitate to call us. 512-580-5775
For more information on COVID-19, please refer to our recent blog post