When the COVID outbreak first hit, I, like many of us, panicked and went into hoarding mode. Except, as a functional medicine practitioner, I skipped the toilet paper phase and went straight to buying immune support supplements by the box. After I calmed down a few weeks later, and started reading the research and checking out the many doctor-only forums discussing how to fight off this new virus, I realized half of my fear-based purchases were a total waste, and I began to design a rational, science-based immune enhancement program for myself and my family.
My mother came first, since she is older, age 83, and has COPD and asthma, so is somewhat high-risk for contracting the virus. The key for her would be avoiding it completely, rather than trying to fight it off once she became sick. To that end, I started her on a supplement program designed to strengthen both the innate and acquired immune system based on all we know about fighting other types of viruses. There are thousands of research studies on these given nutrients showing their efficacy; This is simply human physiology and biochemistry in action, enhancing the mechanisms we use to identify and destroy viruses. Of course there are no comprehensive studies on this new virus yet, but that’s not the point: We can, and should, leverage all we know about other similar infections to effectively handle this one.
What surprised me more than anything is that the basic nutrients used in integrative medicine for generations are the best solutions for our current predicament. Zinc has been shown to disrupt the growth of other Corona viruses. Vitamin D, vitamin A, selenium and vitamin C all have long scientific resumes in defeating this type of pathogen. What is really up for debate is the dosage range, and if you want to be conservative and risk underdosing and leaving yourself more vulnerable or if you want to be more aggressive in getting up to a therapeutic dose that will ultimately be more impactful.
I put my mother on an aggressive program of zinc, 50mg, vitamin D 10,000 iu, selenium at 200mcg and 2 grams/day of vitamin C along with 10,000 iu of vitamin A. Interestingly, after about a month on the program she was exposed to a person for several hours who was later that day diagnosed with COVID-19. My sisters and I all held our breath but one and then two weeks later, Mom tested negative. From the beginning of the two-week quarantine, Mom was insistent that the supplements were “keeping her strong” and going to “make it so she could fight this.” I was far more worried and less sure of the outcome than she was. Turns out she dodged that exposure and remains infection-free to this day.
Several friends have asked for my Mom’s immune-boosting supplement pack, so we’ve made it available to all interested.