As the world, especially nations like the United States, struggle to contain the spreading of coronavirus (COVID-19), billions of people seem to be looking for various ways to protect themselves from the virus. Unfortunately, some groups of people are dubiously taking advantage of people’s desperation, selling all kinds of supplements and products claiming to provide some protection or prevention against the coronavirus. What are the best natural remedies to prevent the coronavirus?
Research work on the coronavirus behind the scene
As the scientific research community persistently looks for a breakthrough effective treatment strategy and vaccine for the coronavirus, the food and supplement industries work relentlessly in finding ways to boost the body immune to prevent the virus.
The good news is that four risk factors that can be changed have identified by the recent study published by prestigious journal nature. These risk factors include four primary medical problems: diabetes, obesity, asthma, and compromised immune function.
Apart from asthma, a pre-existing condition, the other three can be modified or eliminated.
Obesity and diabetes (type 2) are related to the food we eat, but immune dysfunction can be repaired with a simple measure like taking adequate, healthy diet or vitamin supplements.
This post aims to provide you with various tested supplements and product findings on whether these products seem to provide some level of protection and preventions.
To learn about other supplements that don’t work with the coronavirus, please see my post on those supplements that don’t prevent coronavirus.
Before I begin, I will like to provide you with the current statistics of death-related to COVID-19.
According to John Hopkins University data, the number of people who have died globally is over 550,159, while the total number of reported cases is over 12.06 million. In the U.S., there are over 3.05 million cases and at least 132, 309 death due to the COVID-19.
These figures are depressing, especially after we thought that the coronavirus crisis was beginning to subside (curtail), there continue to report that the U.S. COVID-19 rate continues to increase.
Do Supplements like zinc, vitamin C, or herbals work?
Research has shown that none of the supplements and natural remedies promoted to prevent people and treat the coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed to work.
However, there is some supplement that seems to have potential benefits for only people who are deficient (don’t have enough in their blood) or have weakened immune systems.
Now let’s look at the various supplements or products that can help with coronavirus.
In general, the best form of coronavirus prevention is to avoid exposure by following all the suggestions of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) strictly.
Also, to stay active through exercising, getting high-quality sleep, reducing stress, and eating healthful food that contains all the essential (cannot be made by your body) nutrients such as vitamins D and C.
For those who have a medical problem (high blood pressure, high blood sugar, autoimmune diseases, and others), you must manage your conditions by taking all your prescribed medications because the outcome (prognosis) tends to be more severe if infected the coronavirus.
Vitamin D supplement
Studies have shown that taking moderate doses of vitamin D supplements may reduce the risk of respiratory infections caused by viruses. For example, common cold, influenza A in kids and adults, especially those with a low amount less than (20 ng/mL) or severely deficient (< 10 ng/mL) in vitamin D.
According to ConsumerLab.com, preliminary studies indicate that individuals with a lower level of the vitamin are more commonly to test positive for the COVID-19 virus and have more severe symptoms and signs of COVID-19 infection. Additionally, Vitamin D may decrease the need for intensive care.
Advice: The recommended optimum dose that can be taken is between 20 to 30 ng/mL, and expert advice against taking over 39 ng/mL. Natural ways you can get vitamin D include the following:
- Through proper exposure to the sun for at least three times per week for at least 30 minutes (by exposing your face, hands, arms, and legs),
- Eating vitamin D-fortified products (such as most milk, certain other dairy foods, and some plant-based milk).
- Taking a vitamin D supplement. Generally, this is a good, safe, and preventative measure for protecting against respiratory infections.
If you are going to use a vitamin D supplement, the recommended healthy daily level is between 400 to 800 IU (15 to 20 mcg). But higher-level such as 2,000 IU daily (generally safe) is needed for those who have low levels in their blood. Also, one has to be careful because taking Substantial doses chronically (such as 100,000 IU taken every 30 days) may not be as helpful and could even elevate the risk of respiratory infections in specific individuals.
Research conducted with older women and men suffering from COVID-19 in Singapore showed that the combination of vitamin D, vitamin B12, and magnesium decreased the need for oxygen in hospitalized patients.
According to Consumerlab.com. Research has shown that the incidence rate of bone fracture increases among people with the highest levels of vitamin D. They tend to sleep less, fall more frequently, and die sooner than those with lower but sufficient levels.
Advice: If your vitamin D level is above 20 ng/mL, you probably don’t need a supplement. If your level is more than 35 ng/mL, taking a supplement may be more damaging than good, so consider cutting back.
There are several vitamin D supplements on the market, but based on my research findings using Harvard Medicine and consumerlab.com researches findings, check out my #one pick review.
Zinc (and Selenium) Pills and Liquids
Using a zinc tablet will only benefit you if you are deficient (more common for the elderly folks because of decreased absorption of zinc).
The recommended dose for them is 20 mg per day. May increase their chance of preventing respiratory infection.
The daily requirement for zinc by age is higher than that for adults (11 mg). Another way to increase your zinc level is through a diet containing zinc or pills.
Zinc lozenges (such as Cold-Eeze) has been commonly recommended to reduce coronavirus symptoms. Experts believed that zinc (very toxic to the virus) could form a protective coat on the back of the throat that prevents the viral infection from entering the respiratory system. Still, there is no direct proof at this time to suggest that using zinc lozenges can avoid or treat COVID-19 in people.
Zinc has been shown in the lab to inhibit coronavirus synthesis (anti-viral properties). A-One doctor claimed that four people with apparent COVID-19 took various zinc lozenges, and their symptoms significantly improved within 24 hours, although the study wasn’t a controlled study.
Zinc lozenges have been shown to decrease the severity and duration of colds with a mostly viral origin. This form of zinc works by acting directly in the throat, which is why the timing and duration of use are critical when treating cold using zinc. The connection with zinc lozenges and coronavirus is the leading cause of disease and mortality among those experiencing symptomatic of COVID-19 respiratory disease. zinc lozenges work effectively in the upper airway.
Nevertheless, zinc from lozenges has not been shown to directly help lower respiratory illness (i.e., in the lungs), which is of a most significant problem with the coronavirus-the dissolved zinc entered the gastrointestinal system after it leaves the respiratory system.
Zinc lozenges cannot be used for more than a week because the usual doses of zinc provided by zinc lozenges generally exceed tolerable upper limits for zinc. The negative effect of excessive intake is impairment of antibiotics, copper deficiency, and temporary or permanent loss of smell (use of zinc nasal gels or swabs) medically called anosmia.
There are numerous versions of Cold-Eeze, and there are many other zinc-containing lozenges sold. Getting the right zinc supplements and lozenges can be difficult because ConsumerLab.com has found that many do not contain the right type, amount, formulation, and recommended dosing shown to be effective. To obtain the right now, please click here.
Lastly, other vitamins shown to help with boosting the immune functions are:
It plays a vital role in our defense system. It can improve your immune system, antioxidant that white blood cells need to fight infections. A suggested daily dose of vitamin C: Adults-75 to 120 mg.
Sources of vitamin C include a cup of orange juice or tomatoes juice, cut kiwi fruit, or a cup of sweet peppers, (about 80 to 90 mg) Also crucial for iron absorption.
Iron, a mineral also plays an important role. Low blood iron can make you more vulnerable to illness.
Taking 500 mg twice daily) before catching a cold may slightly decrease the duration and severity of a cold, but won’t prevent you from catching a common cold.
The finding is inconclusive as to whether taking vitamin C will help after cold symptoms develop.
No evidence getting more than the daily requirement of vitamin C can protect people from infection from coronavirus. Don’t fall for the marketing scheme that is being promoted on various websites and in social media videos suggesting that taking a daily dose of 5,000 mg of vitamin C can prevent you from being sick with the coronavirus.
Studies have shown that taking a higher dose of vitamin C may potentially help people who are critically suffering from COVID-19 and on ventilators. According to a review of numerous studies conducted before the COVID-19 emergence reported 1,000 to 6,000 mg of vitamin C daily dose orally or intravenously, which reduced the ventilation duration by shortened the time on ventilation by about 25% for people who required ventilation for over 10 hours. Still, it appeared to be less helpful for those on ventilators for shorter periods.
Warning: There are risks and side effects linked to consuming high doses of vitamin C. Although there is a popular myth that water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C are harmless (i.e., excess vitamin C is urinating from the body), this is not true.
Excess vitamin C can lead to the following:
- gastric distress
- Increase cataracts risk with high doses of vitamin C (over 500 mg per day) over the long-term.
- Reduction in the effectiveness of certain medications
- interfere with specific blood studies.
There are numerous vitamin C supplements on the market. According to the ConsumerLab.com report, some of them contain close to 50% over the listed amount in their label.
If you have to supplement your vitamin C using supplements, these are my best choices.
According to a research report, supplementing roughly 3 grams of potassium helped correct these deficiencies in most patients. Though potassium will not prevent coronavirus disease, low potassium levels have been noticed in people hospitalized with COVID-19. The effect of low potassium is heart dysfunction; one of the major problems seen in COVID-19.
You can get your potassium from food like banana, avocado, beans, potatoes, and others. It is sporadic to be deficient unless you have a problem with your gut or kidneys or are taking certain medications. In these situations, you need to supplement treatment.
If you are taking potassium-sparing diuretics (such as spironolactone), ACE inhibitors (such as captopril), you should seek medical supervision before taking potassium supplements as dangerous levels of potassium may develop.
For potassium supplements, please see my Top picks.
Yes, there are many supplements (vitamin D, C, zinc, etc.) that may potentially decrease (alleviate) the signs and symptoms of flu or a cold. But not even a single one can prevent coronavirus or any other virus infection.
Still, it is always advisable to boost yourself (immune system) to be in the best position to fight infection. These can be achieved by getting adequate quality sleep, maintaining stress levels, and general nutrition.
To safely and effectively use a supplement, ensure that you are getting your vitamin D, C, and zinc from a reputable source because these are all vital to your well-functioning immune system.
As I said in the beginning, you can obtain all your micronutrients, including vitamins and minerals, from a healthy diet or sunlight exposure (vitamin D), especially if you are not deficient.
I hope you enjoy reading this post as I did while researching and writing this post. If you have any recommendations or concerns, please leave your comment below, and I will get back to you within 24 hours.