Dear PALM members and friends,
I hope this finds you and your families well and feeling hopeful as we all adapt to the current situation. Now, more than ever, it is time for us to support one another in maintaining strong physical and mental health. We at PALM are here to support you by providing ongoing, up-to-date information on what we can each be doing to take a preventive approach to our health in the face of COVID-19.
Please join us on Friday April 10 at 11am CST on Facebook and Instagram for a live roundtable discussion with our team of integrative physicians, who will address the current state of COVID-19, discuss what we know about the virus from a medical perspective, and give recommendations for preventing its spread. If you have questions that you would like for us to address, please send them in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org.
One question we have heard many of you ask is: What nutritional supplements are the doctors at PALM Health recommending to prevent and reduce the severity of COVID-19, and why? I’m offering the below in-depth advice so you can plan your nutritional supplement regimen and be reassured that you are taking the best steps for your health right now.
Micronutrients and plant-based botanicals can optimize our immune function and help fight viruses. They can also help shorten the duration of illness and reduce the severity of symptoms.
We are encouraging people to consider the following supplements outlined below. Then, depending on an individual’s risk factors and underlying health conditions, additional supplements may be recommended. Speak to your physician for personalized recommendations, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions, or if you develop COVID-19.
- Vitamin C, 1 to 3 grams, daily
- Vitamin D, 5000 IU, daily, unless otherwise directed by your physician
- Zinc, 20-40 mg, daily
- N-acetylcysteine (NAC), 600-900 mg orally, daily
- 7-10 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily for a range of vitamins and antioxidants
- Green tea, or epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), 4 cups daily (green tea), 225 mg orally, daily (EGCG)
If you have problems with sleep or anxiety, consider adding:
- Melatonin, 5 mg, taken at bedtime, increasing dosage to 20 mg as needed
- B-Activ, 1 capsule daily
If you have underlying inflammation, such as joint or muscle pain, or autoimmune issues, consider adding:
- Curcumin, 500-1000 mg, twice daily
If you are working on a highly proactive approach, have active seasonal allergies or histamine reactions, are at high risk for COVID-19, or develop COVID-19 consider adding:
- Quercetin, 1 gram, twice daily
And importantly, stay hydrated with 2 to 3 liters of water daily, or at least half your body weight in ounces, to keep your mucus production thin and your lymphatic system fluid.
See below for more detailed information that I have prepared on the coronavirus and nutritional supplements. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if we can provide further support for you or your family.
Lauren Munsch Dal Farra, MD
CEO | PALM Health
9160 Clayton Road, Ladue, Missouri 63124
p: 314-801-8898 | www.palmhealth.com
Coronavirus and Nutritional Supplements
The current approach for prevention and management of COVID-19 is to support the healthy functioning of the immune system, reduce the production of proinflammatory proteins, and decrease or inhibit viral replication. To better understand the role of nutritional supplements, it is essential to understand the mechanism by which the virus causing COVID-19 results in symptoms and complications.
When the virus causing COVID-19 enters the lungs, it triggers immune cells to travel to the lung and attack the virus, resulting in localized inflammation. In some individuals, the body’s response to infection can go into overdrive and produce excessive or uncontrolled levels of proinflammatory cytokines, small proteins released by many different cells in the body. This results in hyperinflammation.
This hyperinflammation has been referred to as a “cytokine storm” and causes excess production of free radicals in the lungs. Free radicals cause “oxidative stress” and injury to our lungs and other cells, which can ultimately cause our own organic debris to collect and make our lungs unable to exchange oxygen. This process is known as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and it can lead to respiratory failure and potentially death in certain people.
Cytokine storms are a common complication not only of COVID-19 and flu but of other respiratory diseases caused by coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS. Discovering ways to prevent these cytokine storms is an important focus of treatment today.
In addition to understanding ways to reduce the cytokine storm, scientists are working on ways to prevent viral replication. It is now understood that the COVID-19 main protease (Mpro) is necessary for viral replication. There is new hope and anticipation surrounding the identification of Mpro, and its potential target for pharmaceutical inhabitation and deactivation of the virus.
In conclusion, the underlying scientific principle of supportive care is to inhibit the replication of the virus and balance the immune system response, so it does not go into cytokine production overdrive. Micronutrients and certain botanicals can help stabilize our immune system and inactivate viral replication. In the following section, we highlight vital nutraceuticals and their primary mechanism of action.
Vitamin C is a nonspecific antiviral agent and a powerful antioxidant. At high plasma concentrations, Vitamin C can penetrate the alveolar space of the lungs, which makes it particularly attractive as a targeted anti-inflammatory treatment for acute respiratory distress syndrome. IV Vitamin C is being used in hospitals to treat COVID-19. Oral Vitamin C is also essential for the prevention and treatment of mild to moderate cases of COVID-19. At high doses, Vitamin C is also very safe.
Vitamin D is used by every cell of the body, including cells of the immune system, to enhance function. Vitamin D reduces viral growth by promoting the production of a protein called Cathelicidin. It also inhibits the production of proinflammatory cytokines, and research demonstrates that it can reduce upper respiratory infections.
N-acetylcysteine (NAC), which promotes glutathione production and favorably modulates cellular defense and repair mechanisms. Data supports that NAC reduces progression from colonization to illness – and reduces the severity and duration of acute symptoms.
Zinc has strong antiviral properties and supplementation with Zinc demonstrates a decreased number of oxidative stress biomarkers and decreased inflammatory cytokines in the elderly. A large body of research indicates that Zinc can reduce the severity and duration of cold and flu symptoms.
Green tea is a powerful antioxidant, and in addition to reducing inflammation, green tea enhances the immune system and targets one of the processes involved in COVID-19 replication.
Melatonin promotes restful sleep, which is in and of itself essential for supporting the immune system, and it decreases inflammation.
B-activ contains vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B6 (pyridoxine), and B12 (methylcobalamin) in their physiologically-active form making them easier to absorb and “ready- for-use” to support the nervous system, adrenal, and immune function.
Curcumin is a bioactive compound of turmeric that exerts its anti-inflammatory effects by suppressing proinflammatory cytokines. It works by reducing inflammation and decreasing viral activity.
Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent with evidence demonstrating that it can help inhibit the production of proinflammatory cytokines. It also inhibits viral replication of RNA (e.g., influenza and coronavirus) and DNA viruses (e.g., herpesvirus). It stabilizes mast cells and promotes resolution of collateral damage to tissue and restoration of function as an anti-fibrotic.
We recommend reviewing this recent document from the Institute of Functional Medicine.
Please speak to your physician for personalized recommendations, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions, or if you develop COVID-19.