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COMMENTARY

COVID-19 and Supplements: What We Know Now

By Jimmy Fitzpatrick

The Healthy Patriot is a monthly series, sponsored by Hub City Organics, that is dedicated to educating the Caprock Patriot readers on important health related issues.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic there has been much speculation about the role of various vitamins and supplements to prevent or treat COVID-19. However, studies have shown that ascorbic acid, zinc, vitamin D, and N-acetylcysteine are noted as biologically plausible for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. Here we take a look at their biologic plausibility, clinical data and potential role in keeping you and your family healthy.

Zinc

Decades of research have shown that zinc lozenges can shorten colds by 20% to 40%. This seems to hold true for both low and high doses – 80 mg to over 200 mg a day – and for different forms, including gluconate, sulfate, acetate and picolinate. Zinc works best if you start it at the first sign of symptoms. Doctors are taking a closer look at zinc for COVID-19, too. Pathologist and virologist James Robb, MD, who was among the first to study coronaviruses, writes that zinc can prevent them from “multiplying in your nose and pharynx.” But he also stresses that taking zinc is no “guarantee against being infected by the virus.”

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, commonly known for its role in bone health, also helps make proteins that kill viruses and bacteria, especially in the respiratory tract. In a 2019 analysis of 25 randomized controlled trials involving more than 11,000 patients, vitamin D supplements significantly reduced respiratory infections in people deficient in the vitamin and lowered the risk in those with normal levels. Benefits were greatest when people took vitamin D daily or weekly, rather in a single large dose, echoing the findings of other studies.

Vitamin C

Nobel Prize-winner Linus Pauling championed vitamin C as a cold cure decades ago, but research remains mixed. Some studies suggest that taking 500 mg twice daily can help prevent colds but not cure them. Other research has found that vitamin C may not prevent viral respiratory infections but can speed recovery.  Not in dispute: Vitamin C is vital for the function of leukocytes – white blood cells that help fight infections – and you need a lot more when you’re sick. There’s some evidence that it may help with certain symptoms that develop in critically ill patients with COVID-19 (such as acute respiratory distress syndrome and sepsis). Doctors in China are experimenting with intravenous vitamin C for patients with moderate to severe COVID-19. While vitamin C doesn’t build up in your body, a daily dose of 2,000 mg or more could cause diarrhea.

N-acetylcysteine

The study researchers think that a medication called N-acetylcysteine can help fight the COVID-19 virus by boosting a type of cell in your immune system that attacks infections. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved N-acetylcysteine to treat the liver side effects resulting from an overdose of the anti-inflammatory medication Tylenol® (acetaminophen). N-acetylcysteine is also used to loosen the thick mucus in the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The Bottom Line

While no pill or food can prevent COVID-19, certain supplements may help your ability to stay healthy or recover faster. When shopping for supplements, it’s important to remember that not all are created equal.  For tips on choosing safe, quality supplements, please come by Hub City Organics and chat with me.

Submitted by Jimmy Fitzpatrick who is the owner of Hub City Organics located at 5206 82nd Street. Jimmy has over 20 years’ experience in the health and wellness industry. For more information, call (806) 701-1990 or visit our Facebook page @ HubCityOrganicsLbk. Talk to your doctor before starting any vitamin, mineral or supplement – especially at higher than recommended daily doses – to make sure it is not contraindicated for any health conditions you might have and won’t interfere or interact with your current medications.

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