What Supplements Are Being Clinically Trialled for Coronavirus? And Three Cheers for Desert Harvest!
Before I start this blog post, I wanted to share a few of pieces of news that might make you smile. Aloe vera is one of three ingredients used in homemade hand sanitiser gel, so Desert Harvest has experienced increased demand for its Gelé since the outbreak of COVID-19. However, much of its aloe is processed in the state of Texas, where all non-essential business has been shut down. This was to include Desert Harvest’s processing of aloe vera. Luckily, Heather Florio, CEO of Desert Harvest, personally spoke to Governor Greg Abbott and convinced him to allow the facility to reopen with limited staff. Thank goodness she did, because I think we’d all agree that interstitial cystitis products are very essential indeed!
Desert Harvest’s office manager, Bernadette, has also been busy – she has been using her spare time to make face masks for Hillsborough Police Department to use and hand out in the community. Desert Harvest has also donated 1000 bottles of hand sanitiser to the same police department. It’s this kind of commitment to its customers and the wider community that make me so proud to work with Desert Harvest and I hope you’ll be proud of them too.
Right, let’s get on with the blog!
Please note that I am not a doctor. This blog post is for entertainment purposes only and nothing in it is intended to constitute medical advice. Please always consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner if you feel unwell, have health concerns, or before starting nutritional supplements.
A few weeks ago, just as COVID-19 was arriving in the UK, I wrote about some of the ways we could be proactive in protecting ourselves against the virus and some things we could do to assist our immune system if we should succumb to it. Amongst other things, I focused quite heavily on vitamins C and D. Inevitably since the start of the outbreak, health professionals have been speculating about which medicines and supplements might be effective against COVID-19. In this post, I want to share some of the most up to date ponderings with you.
According to the Office of National Statistics, 91% of those who died with coronavirus in England and Wales during March 2020 had pre-existing health conditions. Of those, heart disease, dementia, chronic lower respiratory diseases, flu and diabetes were the pre-existing health conditions that were most commonly present. Only 9% of deaths with COVID-19 did not have known pre-existing health conditions. Similarly, in Italy, a study of 18% of COVID-19 deaths showed that over 99% had pre-existing health conditions, with high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease commonly appearing. Indeed, the NHS website lists respiratory conditions, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes as some of the health conditions that put someone in the ‘high risk from coronavirus’ group.
I’m not sure whether people with pre-existing health conditions are more likely to GET coronavirus, or whether they’re more likely to die from it IF they get it (or both). Either way, as Dr Mercola astutely points out in this article, one of the best ways to not die from COVID-19 is to not have a pre-existing health condition. Contrary to popular belief, many of the listed pre-existing health conditions can be reversed as opposed to just managed with a lifetime of pharmaceutical drugs. If you have a pre-existing health condition that puts you in a high risk group, one of the best things you can do to ensure that you don’t die from coronavirus is to improve your health condition. It is beyond the scope of this post for me to outline ways in which you can reverse heart disease and diabetes, correct high blood pressure, or slow the progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s. But it can be done. Your doctor might not have told you so – he might not even believe so – but many, many people and research papers bear testimony to the fact. If you are interested in how you can improve the listed health conditions, I suggest you buy one of Patrick Holford’s books – perhaps ‘Food is Better Medicine than Drugs’, ‘Say No to Diabetes’, ‘Say No to Cancer’ or ‘The Low GL Cookbook’. You might also be interested in ‘Put Your Heart in Your Mouth’ by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride.
In my last coronavirus blog, I talked about vitamin C and how I felt it could be used both to reduce one’s chances of getting the virus and of recovering quickly if one should succumb. There are now many videos with health professionals on YouTube where they discuss vitamin C as a potential treatment. Hospitals in both New York and China have been using intravenous vitamin C in the treatment of COVID-19 with excellent results and there are now active clinical trials regarding this. While intravenous vitamin C enables high doses to be placed directly into the blood, there is no reason to suppose that oral vitamin C could not also be beneficial. I take at least 1 gram twice a day all year round, and if I ever feel that I am becoming ill, I take higher doses more frequently.
I also discussed vitamin D in my last COVID-19 blog and again, plenty of health professionals have been quick to extol the virtues of this where coronavirus is concerned. In a webinar run by Designs for Health, vitamin D was mentioned as a useful product for managing cytokine storms. Cytokines are small proteins that are part of the immune response against pathogenic invaders like viruses. Sometimes, they trigger rather too much immune response, which activates more immune cells, which triggers more immune response, which activates more immune cells, until a vicious cycle known as a cytokine storm is underway. Cytokine storms are a known complication of coronaviruses, including COVID-19, as well as influenza and can be fatal. According to this article, “Vitamin D inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.” Additionally, Dr John Campbell has lots of videos on his YouTube channel that make a compelling case for the benefits of vitamin D in the treatment of COVID-19.
This 2017 meta-analysis of 25 randomised controlled trials, involving over 11,000 people aged 0-95 years taking vitamin D supplements, examined whether vitamin D can prevent acute respiratory tract infections. The results showed that if 33 people supplement with vitamin D, one acute respiratory tract infection will be prevented. That didn’t sound very impressive to me, but apparently it is similar to the number of people needing to be treated with aspirin in order to prevent one heart attack. It’s considerably better than the number of healthy people needing to be vaccinated against influenza to actually prevent one single case of flu, which is 71. When the meta-analysis considered the people who were actually deficient in vitamin D, only four people needed to supplement in order to prevent one acute respiratory tract infection. That means among people who are actually deficient in vitamin D, 25% of them could avoid getting a respiratory illness by supplementing. Again, it might not sound that great, but by clinical research standards, it’s actually astonishingly good!
This more recent research from Trinity College, Dublin focuses more specifically on vitamin D in relation to COVID-19 and may be of interest to you. It gives some interesting statistics regarding the vitamin D status of Irish adults and concludes that, “If Vitamin D status is sufficient, it could benefit vulnerable adults, in particular those 70+ years and older who are cocooning during the COVID-19 outbreak.”
Between 20% and 50% of people in the UK are thought to have low vitamin D levels, especially in the winter when there is not much strong sunlight. Many health professionals therefore feel that supplementing with 1000-5000 IU of vitamin D each day could be beneficial in avoiding coronavirus. The aforementioned meta-analysis showed that vitamin D is most effective if taken regularly rather than taking one large dose when you actually fall ill. I take 1000 IU of vitamin D each day and if I ever feel that I am getting ill, I take more. I also go outdoors for at least 20 minutes each afternoon (usually more).
One supplement I did NOT see coming was quercetin! I have written about quercetin before with regards to lowering histamine, which can be helpful for some interstitial cystitis sufferers. I am also aware that it can be a useful component of a leaky gut repair strategy. I had no idea it might be useful against coronavirus! However, in the Designs for Health webinar that I mentioned earlier, it was suggested that quercetin might be the most important natural product of all, as it can prevent viruses from docking on the surface of body cells. (Remember from my previous post, a virus replicates by getting inside body cells and making copies of itself. If it can’t get into a cell, it can’t replicate!) Designs for Health have written this post which is available to the general public, which discusses the antiviral effects of quercetin and gives dosage guidance. This is supported by a research paper from 2004 that examines the ability of small molecules to prevent Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus from entering host cells. The paper showed the inhibitory activity of quercetin against a pseudo typed HIV-luc/SARS virus and stated that quercetin “offers great promise as a potential drug in the clinical treatment of SARS”.
In this YouTube video which refers to the vitamin D studies that I have previously mentioned, Dr Seheult talks about quercetin. Those of you who have been watching the daily Coronavirus Briefings here in the UK might have heard it mentioned that the drug hydroxychloroquine is being tested as a potential treatment for COVID-19. Hydroxychloroquine is a zinc ionophore, which means that it is able to transport zinc ions across cell membranes. Quercetin is also a zinc ionophore and is being studied by Chinese and Canadian researchers in China to see if it might be an effective treatment for COVID-19. If you want a more in-depth read about vitamin D and quercetin, check out this article which I cannot begin to paraphrase!
It is worth mentioning that vitamin C assists with the absorption of quercetin. Desert Harvest Quercetin contains 500mg of quercetin per serving (serving size two capsules) and many health professionals consider doses of 500mg to 1000mg to be about right for offering protection against respiratory viruses. Desert Harvest Quercetin also contains 100 mg of organic aloe vera (cold processed; anthraquinones removed) which may also aid with absorption. I started taking quercetin a few months ago after discovering it could be a useful component of the leaky gut repair toolbox. I can’t to be honest say that I feel any different for taking it, but it is good to know that it is offering me some bonus antiviral properties that I was unaware of!
Right, for a relatively short post, that actually took ages to write because of all the references I needed, so I shall sign off here! I hope you’re all staying safe!
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