There are a LOT of opinions about the COVID-19 vaccine. Some believe that you absolutely must get the vaccine and doing so is even considered patriotic. Others believe that it is just a conspiracy fabricated by (fill in the blank) designed to control the population. Regardless, I think we can all agree that the only interventions being promoted to prevent getting seriously sick from COVID-19 is to get the vaccine, wear a mask, and socially distance.
This post is NOT about whether or not you should get the vaccine, wear a mask, or socially distance. This post is about the number of ways you can optimize your health and immune system to better enable it to battle any virus you might acquire.
First, let’s be clear. There are no studies proving that any of these therapies, supplements, or interventions reduce your changes of getting COVID or decrease the severity or duration of COVID. This post is not intended to serve as medical advice or recommendations. This post is for information purposes only.
With that being said, here are some things that could, potentially be of benefit to your immune system. Anything that strengthens your immune system would, in theory, improve your body’s ability to fight any viral infections.
The following protocols are solely for educational purposes regarding potentially beneficial therapies for COVID-19. Never disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read on our website and releases. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment in regards to any patient. Treatment for an individual patient should rely on the judgement of your physician or other qualified health provider. Always seek their advice with any questions you may have regarding your health or medical condition.
The vaccines appear to be generally safe. They also appear to do what they were intended to do: reduce severity of illness associated with COVID. In other words, vaccination appears to decrease hospitalization, need for intubation & ventilation, need for ICU admission, or death associated with Sars-CoV-2 (COVID-19) infection.
There have certainly been hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and death even in vaccinated people (I’ve seen it with my own eyes while working in the hospital). However, It does seem that the vast majority of really sick people in the hospital do appear to be unvaccinated.
2) Lifestyle Factors
Avoid sugars, fructose, and grains: It is important to know that sugar is a poison to your immune system. That is part of the reason that diabetics are much more sensitive to infections.
Reduce Stress & Optimize Sleep: You know this one. When you don’t get enough sleep you tend to get a cold easier. Cold sores pop up during stress. Stress and lack of sleep increase your risk of infection.
Exercise: Exercise has many benefits for improving your overall health. One of these benefits is that exercise can have a hormetic effect. That means that exercise induces a little stress which stimulates our bodies ability to deal with these stressors. This response persists after stopping exercise which improves our stress adaptability.
Additionally, exercise improves circulation and lymphatic flow. Both of these can be very important for optimal immune function.
Wash your hands: the coronavirus is susceptible to detergents and frequent handwashing during times of increased exposure may reduce your exposure to the virus.
2) Vitamin D
How much to take: Take enough to get your serum levels between 80-100 ng/mL. If you don’t know your levels then take 30,000iU of Vitamin D3 daily for 7 days then decrease to 10,000iU daily for 2 weeks. That should get you enough time to check your Vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D has several effects that help modulate the immune system and reduce the likelihood of contracting respiratory illnesses like COVID-19. There are several sources that discuss the evidence linking Vitamin D deficiency and the incidence of flu and colds.
- Vit D & URI in Finnish Men – Subjects with serum Vitamin D concentrations < 40 nmol/L had significantly more days of absence from duty due to respiratory infection than did control subjects
- Newborns with Low Vitamin D levels and Respiratory Tract Infections – newborns with subclinical vitamin D deficiency may have an increased risk of suffering from acute lower respiratory tract infection
- Vitamin D and Respiratory Tract Infections in Indian Children – “Subclinical vitamin D deficiency and nonexclusive breastfeeding in the first 4 months of life were significant risk factors for severe ALRI in Indian children”
- Vitamin D and URI – “Serum 25(OH)D levels are inversely associated with recent URTI. This association may be stronger in those with respiratory tract diseases.”
- The Vitamin D Connection to Pediatric Infections – “The connection among vitamin D, infections, and immune function in the pediatric population indicates a possible role for vitamin D supplementation in potential interventions and adjuvant therapies.”
- Vitamin D Prevents Flu A – “This study suggests that vitamin D3 supplementation during the winter may reduce the incidence of influenza A, especially in specific subgroups of schoolchildren.”
There are several studies that show an inverse relationship between COVID-19 severity and Vitamin D levels. In other words, low Vitamin D levels are associated with increased COVID severity. This study also showed a reduction in asthma attacks. These effects were increased if the children hadn’t been taking Vitamin D before and they were starting nursery school after age 3.
Ensuring appropriate Vitamin D levels is probably the most important and cost effective action you can take in order to optimize your immune system to be able to fight COVID-19.
3) Vitamin C
How much to take: Get as much as you can but start with 1000mg twice daily. IV Vitamin C is even better as you can get much higher serum levels. We do IV Vitamin C in the clinic or you can look into Hydrate You who can provide these services in the comfort of your own home! I recommend the Megalodon as it has 25 grams of Vitamin C as well as a number of other things!
Vitamin C has long been touted as very good for colds and flu. A Chinese study showed flu virus elimination in vitro (in the lab). Another study showing effectiveness for treatment and prevention. The list of studies showing effect goes on an on. Conversely, Vitamin C has its skeptics as well. The issue is that the only known side effect to oral vitamin C is possible diarrhea (if taking it orally) but all you have to do is decrease the dose. So there are lots of potential benefits and no real side effects. So, Vitamin C is on my list for colds and flu. Consider IV Vitamin C for the ultimate way to increase serum levels.
How much to take: 30-40mg per day for prevention (or post-exposure). 100mg per day if you have (or suspect you have) COVID.
Zinc plays a critical role in multiple biological processes. It has critical roles in the immune process as well. In fact “Recent studies have demonstrated that zinc supplementation can significantly reduce the morbidity and mortality of apparently well-nourished children and shorten the time to recovery from acute infectious diseases.2” Now here is a VERY interesting piece of information. Zinc blocks the replication of Coronavirus in vitro3 (in a petrie dish).
The form of zinc matter here. I recommend a chelated form of Zinc called Zinc Glycinate 20mg daily.
How much to take: 250mg twice daily. I take Resveratin Plus which also contains Quercetin 250mg.
6) Nebulized Hydrogen Peroxide
How much & how often: Nebulize 3mL of a 0.1% solution of hydrogen peroxide. You can do this every 1-2 hours as needed.
Your immune system uses hydrogen peroxide to help kill invaders. Nebulizing this chemical helps the immune system kill invading organisms (in theory). Make sure you use FOOD GRADE hydrogen peroxide! We can provide this solution for you in the clinic or you can make it yourself. Just be sure to get the right formula for what you have as there are different strengths and concentrations.
How much to take:
- Prevention: 0.2 mg/kg twice weekly for prevention.
- Post-exposure: 0.4 mg/kg once then take a second dose after 48 hours.
- Treatment (if you have COVID): 0.4-0.6 mg/kg daily for 5 days (or until recovered)
How much to take: 50mg twice daily for 10 days if you have COVID (not for prevention).
Garlic is significantly effective in supporting and maintaining healthy immune function. Dr Mercola recommends Garlic for immune support in his post. This post discusses the benefits of garlic pretty well and is well referenced.
This article shows benefit for the common cold. A soup made of garlic is suggested to “defeat colds, flu, and even norovirus” in an article in Preventdisease.com. An article on LiveStrong states “Bryan Rade, a naturopathic doctor who practices in Halifax, Nova Scotia, claims that raw garlic is highly effective in warding off the flu.”
We recommend Garlix due to fact that it is a pharmaceutical grade source of garlic extract. Take 1-2 capsule per day during the flu
Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCg) is a polyphenol in green tea. A study performed in Tokyo showed “that EGCg contained in green tea has potential to inhibit flu infection regardless of its type, and suggested once again that green tea is effective in preventing flu.” Gargling green tea dramatically decreased the incidence of flu (1.3% vs 10%) in nursing home patients in this study. A specific formulation of Camella senensis decreased flu and flu-like illness as well as duration of illness in this study. Or, how about this study on Health Care Workers showing a decreased incidence and duration of clinically defined flu.
Green tea consumption is inversely associated with the incidence of influenza infection among schoolchildren in a tea plantation area of Japan: “Our findings thus suggest that the consumption of 1-5 cups/d of green tea may prevent influenza infection in children.”
Among the many uses of this Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) bitter herb are that it supports the body’s response to a variety of foreign challenges and helps regulate the body’s temperature during illness. Andrographolides are the major active constituents. Some preliminary research suggests that the herb may stimulate synthesis of antibodies and phagocytosis by macrophages. In addition to the properties above, andrographolides are believed to protect the liver and promote bile secretion. Clinical research has demonstrated an improved sense of wellness in as few as two days after the beginning of supplementation. A three-month study examining andrographis as immune support against foreign microbial challenges demonstrated it was twice as effective as placebo. In clinical trials, 100 mg of a standardized extract of andrographis taken twice daily was sufficient to improve immune response against harmful microbes.
This is available in Viragraphis
12) Beta Glucan Particle
Research indicates that orally administered yeast beta-glucan is processed by macrophages, with subsequent increases in phagocytosis, selective cytokine release, and oxidative degranulation. Macrophages degrade beta-glucan into small fragments that are then bound to neutrophils (granulocytes). This action primes the neutrophils and enhances their ability to eradicate microbial challenges. Prophylactic administration of beta-glucan promotes production of antioxidant enzymes and assists in ameliorating microbial imbalance. Sustained release of beta-glucan fragments into bone marrow may affect white blood cell recovery, a unique mechanism of action exhibited by beta-glucan.
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted during the peak of seasonal immune challenge. Subjects receiving 250 mg of WGP had a significant reduction in the number of days in which signs of immune distress were experienced. A 12-week, randomized, phase II, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 1,3/1,6 beta-glucan from S. cerevisiae confirmed that long-term use was well tolerated and supported immune system function.
We recommend 250mg of WGP daily during high-risk times of the year for prophylaxis. This is available in Immune Essentials in our office.
14) Olive Leaf Extract
Olive Leaf extract from the traditional medicinal plant Olea europaea, has been shown to possess an array of healthful attributes, including antioxidant properties and effective immune support against opportunistic microbes. Olive leaf’s multifaceted effects on the immune system include the ability to stimulate phagocytosis (an immune response against harmful microbes) and neutralize production of reverse transcriptase and protease enzymes that can adversely alter the ribonucleic acid (RNA) of healthy cells.
Oleuropein, a bitter glycoside that was isolated from olive leaf in the late 19th century, was found to be further hydrolyzed in the body to elenolic acid, which is believed to be its most active component. Research reveals that both olive leaf extract and oleuropein exert positive immune effects, but olive leaf acts in a dose-dependent manner; that is, the greater the dose of olive leaf, the greater the inhibition of microbial replication.
Immune Essentials provides concentrated olive leaf extract that is standardized to 20% oleuropein, while less concentrated formulas are standardized to as little as 6% oleuropein.
15) Vitamin A
“Vitamin A deficiency results in multiple derangements that impair the response to infection.”4 While this study didn’t prove that Vitamin A supplementation treats viral illness, it is clear that vitamin A deficiency contributes.
Give Xcellent A 7500 a shot as a good source.
18) N-Acetyl Cysteine
N-Acetyl Cysteine is an antioxidant and at least one study shows that it can decrease the inflammatory response to community acquired pneumonia. This particular study described the oxidative damage that occurs with viral pneumonia and how the antioxidant systems are quickly overwhelmed.5 NAC appears to blunt this affect. NAC is also a mucolytic meaning that it helps break up secretions.
Take N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) 600mg twice daily
- Ann Trop Paediatr. 2005 Sep;25(3):149-60
- FASEB J. 1996 Jul;10(9):979-85.