While no natural remedies have been proven to prevent or treat COVID-19 in human studies, the following recommendations are based on in-vitro (petri dish) studies with COVID-19 and similar viruses, as well as an understanding of the COVID-19 virus. Again, it should be stressed that these are supplemental considerations to the current recommendations that emphasize regular hand washing, social distancing, stopping non-essential travel, and getting tested if you develop symptoms.
The following are GENERAL recommendations and should not be construed as medical advice. You should always consult your doctor before taking any supplements. Treatments should be individualized for each person’s medical condition. Feel free to share this information with others. Recommended supplements can be purchased from our online store. You can also order by calling or texting us at 808-425-2987 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Supplements marked with * are not available through our online store and can be purchased by calling or emailing us. You do not have to be a patient of Dr. Taketa-Wong to purchase supplements from us.
TOP THREE LIFESTYLE/NUTRITION RECOMMENDATIONS TO SUPPORT YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
1. Get sufficient sleep, ideally 7-8 hours a night for adults. Shorter sleep duration increases the risk of infectious illness. One study found that less than 5 hours of sleep (monitored over 7 days) increased the risk of developing rhinovirus associated cold by 350% when compared to individuals who slept at least 7 hours per night. Adequate sleep also ensures the secretion of melatonin, a molecule which may play a role in reducing coronavirus virulence (see Melatonin below).
2.Stress management: Psychological stress can cause problems with your body’s ability to regulate your immune system. Various mindfulness techniques such as meditation, breathing exercises, guided imagery, etc. reduce stress and inflammation
3. Plenty of Vegetables and Fruits: Vegetables and fruits provide a repository of flavonoids that have been found to reduce inflammation and support immune system function. Some of the specific flavonoids which have been shown to have this effect, and which can be found in the diet and/or dietary supplements include: i. Baicalin and wogonoside from Chinese skullcap ii. Liquiritigenin from the herb licorice (NOT Red Vines!) iii. Dihydroquercetin and quercetin found in onions and apples. iv. Myricetin found in tomatoes, oranges, nuts, berries, and tea v. Apigenin found in chamomile, parsley and celery.
At least 5 –7 servings of vegetables and 2-3 servings of fruit daily are considered a cornerstone of an anti-inflammatory diet.
DR. TAKETA-WONG’S TOP TEN SUPPLEMENTS TO SUPPORT YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
1. Vitamin D –vitamin D supports normal immune system function and has been found to reduce the risk and severity of influenza and viral respiratory infections. Dosing should be based on blood testing, but in the absence of blood testing these are general guidelines: a. Seroyal D-mulsion 3-4 drops (3000-4000 IU) a day b. Nordic Naturals Vitamin D soft gels (5000 IU) once every 1-2 days
2. Zinc: Coronaviruses appear to be susceptible to the viral inhibitory actions of zinc. Zinc may prevent coronavirus entry into cells and appears to reduce coronavirus virulence. a. Thorne Zinc 15 mg capsules twice daily b.Nature’s Way Sambucus gummies–4 gummies twice daily with food to provide 15 mg of zinc twice daily
3. Vitamin C: Clinical trials have found that vitamin C shortens the frequency, duration and severity of the common cold and the incidence of pneumonia. Typical daily dosing of vitamin C ranges from 500 mg to 3000 mg daily with even higher doses utilized during times of acute infection. a. Vitamin C can cause loose stool, so I recommend Liposomal Vitamin C which is allows you to take higher doses than regular vitamin C & less likely to cause loose stools. b. Quicksilver Liposomal Vitamin C–2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) once daily, if this doesn’t cause loose stools, dose can be increased up to 15 ml (1 Tbsp) once daily or the highest dose that doesn’t cause loose stools
4. Mushroom extracts –have been found to help support normal immune system function a. Menta-Sync* or Host Defense MyCommunity 1-2 capsules a day (use caution with autoimmune diseases, do not take if you are taking immune suppressing drugs) b. If you have an autoimmune condition: Host Defense Reishi 1-2 capsules a day
5. Probiotics – help support normal immune system function a. Klaire Therbiotic powder - 1/16 tsp once a day sprinkled in juice, milk or other liquids/foods. Do not mix with hot foods/drinks. Probiotics help to support normal immune system function b. If pre-biotics (fiber/sugars that feed the good bacteria) cause problems for you,take these instead: MegaSporeBiotic* or LactoPrime Plus 1 capsule a day
6. Sambucus nigra (Elderberry): There is early evidence that elderberry has anti-viral effects on Human coronavirus NL63 (HCoV-NL63), different than COVID-19, but a member of the coronavirus family. Sambucus appears most effective in the prevention or early stage of corona virus infections. Of note, Sambucus significantly increases inflammatory cytokines so should be discontinued with symptoms of infection (or positive test).
An evidence-based systematic review of elderberry conducted by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration concluded that there is level B evidence to support the use of elderberry for influenza which may or may not be applicable to COVID-19 prevention. Typical dosing of 2:1 elderberry extract (Gaia Herbs or Wise Woman Herbals Elderberry Syrup) is 10 mL-60 mL daily for adults and 5 mL-30 mL daily for children.
7. Thymus gland extract or spray (XtraCell Thymus NFspray) a. 1-2 sprays a day to strengthen immune system to prevent infections. Stop taking if you develop symptoms of COVID-19 as there are concerns that this may trigger an over-reaction of the immune system during COVID-19. Do not take if you have autoimmune diseases or are taking immune suppressing drugs.
8.Gold alae*or red alae* a. Mineral clay used in la’au lapa’au (Hawaiian herbal medicine) to strengthen immune system and increase white blood cell and red blood cell counts. b. Gold alae is stronger than red alae. Red alae is what makes Hawaiian salt red c. 1/8 tsp once a day in the morning –this is gritty so best mixed into thick foods like oatmeal, yogurt, poi, smoothies d. Gold alae: do not take if you have high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases or are taking immune suppressing drugs. Stop taking if you develop symptoms of COVID-19 as there are concerns that this may trigger an over-reaction of the immune system during COVID-19. Use red alae instead.
9. Chinese herbal formulas: these formulas contain herbs including Jin Yin Hua, Lian Qiao, and Huang Qin which have been found to interfere with the COVID-19 virus from entering into the body’s cells a. Prevention: Thunder Pearls* 3 capsules 2x/day b. After known exposure: Perilla Pearls* 2 capsules + Lightning Pearls* 2 capsules 3x/day c. After known exposure: Thunder Pearls* 3 capsules + Yin Qiao San* 1 capsule 3x/day
10. Melatonin: Melatonin has been shown to decrease inflammation. In fact, the age-related decline in melatonin production is suggested as an explanation for why children do not appear to have severe symptoms and older adults do. Melatonin also reduces inflammatory lung injury and inflammatory reactions during viral infections. Typical dosing of melatonin varies widely from 0.3 mg to 20 mg (the latter used in the cancer settings). a. Pure Encapsulations Melatonin liquid ¼ to 1 ml at bedtime b. Douglas Labs Sublingual Melatonin 1 mg tablet at bedtime
DURING SYMPTOMS OF INFECTION OR POSITIVE TEST FOR COVID-19:
To Avoid:In the absence of human clinical data, caution is warranted with the following immune activating agents due to their possible stimulation of an inflammatory response: • Sambucus nigra (Elderberry) • Isolated polysaccharide extracts from medicinal mushrooms or mycelium •Echinaceaangustifolia and E. purpurea • Larch arabinogalactan • Vitamin D as a dietary supplement
Likely Safe: There are other commonly used natural immune stimulating and antiviral agents, several of which may work to restore immune balance.These are, therefore, likely safe to use both prior to, and during COVID-19 virus infection. Whether these agents mitigate the symptoms or severity of COVID-19 is unknown and, therefore, the benefit of these agents during COVID-19 infection is unknown. Recommendations include: • Allium sativum (garlic) • Quercetin • Astragalus membranaceus • Mycelium mushroom extracts as well as fruiting body extract of Agaricus blazeii • Mentha piperita (peppermint) • Green tea and green tea extracts • Andrographis paniculata • Zinc • Vitamin A • Vitamin C
The University of Arizona Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine. Integrative Considerations during the COVID-19 Pandemic. March 20, 2020.
Chen, J, et al. Coronavirus (COVID-19) and TCM: Scientific Research and Clinical Evidence Presentation. April 22, 2020. Lotus Institute of Integrative Medicine. www.elotus.org