I hope this finds you in good health, and well in body and mind. (Please let me know if you are not!)
These are unprecedented times. The COVID-19 pandemic has spread throughout the globe. Millions of us are navigating a new world of social distancing, isolation, economic insecurity, and just general uncertainty.
Until we have a proven treatment or vaccine, the best thing you can do right now is mitigate your exposure and do whatever you can to optimize your health and support your innately powerful immune system.
It is always advisable to increase your nutrition by eating nutrient-dense foods like leafy greens, colorful fruits/vegetables, and limiting sugar. In addition, four specific nutrients have been shown to have a profound effect on the immune system, especially in respiratory illnesses like COVID-19:
Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Zinc
Having a deficiency of any of these nutrients can make you more susceptible to illness. Taking the following dosages will address a deficiency state, without putting you at risk of toxicity.
(If you do contract covid-19, please contact me and I can walk you through a high-dose, short-term nutrient protocol to help your body fight an acute viral infection.)
Vitamin D3: 5000 IU/day
70% of Americans have a vitamin D insufficiency. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to increased risk of infections, diabetes, depression, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and osteoporosis. Data from 25 randomized controlled trials from around the world demonstrate that vitamin D supplementation reduced the risk of acute respiratory infection by more than 50 percent!
While it is possible to get vitamin D directly from your food if you are eating lots of beef liver, cod liver, sardines, and egg yolks, another way to increase vitamin D is via skin exposure to the UVB rays in sunlight. This requires a lot of skin exposure (think short shorts and tank tops) several times a week, and unfortunately sunscreen prevents this effect. Because UVB rays can cause sunburns and skin cancers, a good supplement may be a safer option for many people.
Several of my patients have been diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency previously and found it very difficult to increase their blood levels with a single D supplement. This may be due to genetic variants that make it very hard to utilize vitamin D (these people may need higher dosages) or because vitamin D also requires vitamin K2 and magnesium to be properly absorbed in the body. Vitamin A, zinc, and boron are also necessary co-factors.
Ideally, we would check your serum vitamin D levels before starting supplementation. With social distancing and isolation directives, this is difficult. It is possible to increase vitamin D to toxic levels, but I have never seen this happen with a patient that was taking less than 10,000-15,000 IU a day.
Vitamin A: 700-1500 mcg RAE (retinol activity equivalent)
or about 2500-5000 IU daily
Vitamin A is actually a group of fat-soluble vitamins that are crucial for maintaining vision, growth, and development. Vitamin A helps produce white blood cells and protects the mucosal layer of the respiratory tract and the intestines (where immune function is incredibly important). It promotes and regulates several different aspects of the immune system, including T cells, B cells, and bone marrow. Vitamin A supplementation has documented benefits against many types of infections including tuberculosis, HIV, and infectious diseases in children.
Vitamin A has also been coined “the anti-inflammation vitamin” because of its critical role in enhancing immune function.
Preformed vitamin A is the active form of the vitamin, which your body can use immediately. It’s found in animal products including meat, chicken, fish and dairy and includes the compounds retinol, retinal, and retinoic acid.
Provitamin A carotenoids — alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin — are the inactive forms of the vitamin found in plants. These have to be converted in the body to an active form. Because of this, you can’t develop vitamin A toxicity from plant based carotenoids.
NOTE!!! Vitamin A can reach toxic levels if you supplement too much for too long! Overdosing on vitamin A can cause liver damage, headaches, nausea, and has been associated with birth defects in pregnant women. The tolerable upper limit of vitamin A is 3000 mcg/day, so anything under this amount will be beneficial without risk of toxicity.
Vitamin C: 1000-3000 mg/day (divided doses)
Studies are currently underway to see if high doses of intravenous (IV) vitamin C can help treat COVID-19. The idea for this treatment came from a 2017 study which found that high-dose IV vitamin C treatment (along with vitamin B1 and corticosteroids) prevented deaths among people with sepsis, a form of overwhelming infection.
Because vitamin C is water-soluble, you can’t really mimic intravenous doses with oral supplements (you end up urinating out anything your body can’t absorb). Also, vitamin C has a “bowel tolerance“ which means that after a certain point it will cause diarrhea. But even taking smaller doses of vitamin C can support the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells, enhancing their immune functions, and reducing oxidative stress.
Liposomal vitamin C has been shown to raise serum levels more than traditional oral vitamin C supplements (but not as high as IV vitamin C). Liposomal supplements have been broken down into small particles and surrounded by fat cells so they absorb directly into the bloodstream. These types of supplements are a great option for people, especially those with digestive issues who may have trouble absorbing all of their nutrients from food or regular supplements.
Zinc (with Quercetin):
30 to 60 mg/day of zinc picolinate, citrate, glycinate, or gluconate
1-2 grams Quercetin
Zinc supports several different immune processes. It also lowers the viral load by suppressing viral attachment and replication.Zinc deficiency is quite common, especially in older patients. Addressing this deficiency significantly lowers the risk of respiratory infections.
For zinc to be properly utilized in the body, it’s best to take it with a co-factor (called an ionophore) that helps shuttle zinc into the cell. Quercetin, a pigment antioxidant found in red onions, berries, and certain herbs, can inactivate viruses by itself as well as being a zinc ionophore. Paired with zinc, it has a very powerful antiviral effect. It has also been shown to support healing post-viral infection.
Note: Taking zinc for an extended period of time could result in a copper deficiency. If you want to take it regularly, I recommend a zinc/copper combination supplement.
Dietary supplement as a fibre capsule made of vegetables fruit nuts and beans as a nutrition vitamin pill food pill for healthy food supplementing with 3D illustration elements.
Unfortunately, anyone who knows how beneficial these supplements are has been purchasing them, so they can be hard to find. I have put together a list of several of these supplements in different forms on my Fullscript supplement dispensary page. If you set up an account on the page, you can click on “Catalog”. Then go to my “Categories” and you will see “Dr. G immune support supplements”.
You will get a 10% discount automatically when you purchase through the website. Not sure which supplements are appropriate for you? Or worried that the supplement you want is backordered? Reach out to me at Dr.G@holistichealthprovider.com and I will send you a personalized recommendation.
Browse supplements here:
Dr. Goldberg’s Fullscript Supplement Dispensary
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