Covid-19 has turned our lives upside down and caused a great deal of fear and uncertainty with ever-changing information and recommendations. Fear and uncertainty contribute to stress which decreases our body’s ability to fight off infections by suppressing or impairing our innate and adaptive immune responses.
Of course, the basics of washing hands often, covering a cough, and staying home when there are symptoms of illness are all helpful techniques to limit exposure to germs and the spread of illness. Over the last year, there has also been a great deal of talk about vaccine treatments and therapeutics. However, there has been little talk about the importance of healthful lifestyles and nutrition practices to empower the immune system and provide protection from illness. The NIH has now recognized the scientific benefits of specific nutrient supplementation in people with COVID-19. Did you know there were nutrition protocols you can implement to prevent and mitigate negative illness outcomes from Covid-19 and other strains of coronavirus?
There are many practical things you can do each day for good health such as being active and eating a diet rich in whole foods like fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains to ensure you are meeting your daily recommended dietary allowances or RDAs. However, you can also be sure you have enough of the nutrients that research over the last year has found to be beneficial to prevent coronavirus infections. Having adequate availability of certain nutrients has been shown in a variety of epidemiological studies to effectively limit Covid-19 viral infection and improve infection outcomes. This requires supplementation of several key nutrients through a multivitamin or individual supplement beyond what you consume through a healthy diet.
Vitamin D – Research since the beginning of the pandemic shows low vitamin D levels are a key factor regarding Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations. Researchers have found it beneficial to keep blood 25 D hydroxy concentration levels above 50 ng/dL as protection against coronavirus infections. This makes sense since Vitamin D is not really a vitamin, but an essential hormone used widely by the body and required for the immune system to function. Prevention protocols suggest taking at least 1,000 – 3,000 IU daily or more in the form of vitamin D3. You can ask your medical provider to check your blood level to ensure you are above 50 ng/mL and to help you monitor your supplementation regimen.
Vitamin C – Recommended dietary allowances to prevent scurvy are easy to attain through a normal diet, but higher levels are needed for the immune system to function optimally. This antioxidant has anti-inflammatory properties that influence cellular immunity and vascular integrity. Humans require more vitamin C during times of illness because it is depleted quickly, especially during a viral illness. Prevention protocols suggest supplementing with 1,000 mg daily or 500 mg twice a day to ensure the body has what it needs to fight exposure and limit coronavirus infection.
Zinc – It is not surprising that Covid-19 research has found this nutrient to play a role in infection outcomes since it has been promoted as beneficial to fight colds for some time. Lower zinc levels seem to correlate with higher inflammation levels in those that develop an infection. It appears that zinc has anti-inflammatory effects that are protective against the coronavirus. Prevention protocols suggest taking anywhere from 25-40 mg daily. If you are not getting it in a multivitamin, consider using liquid supplemental zinc so you can use the zinc taste test. When using liquid zinc, if it tastes like water, you are deficient but if it tastes bitter it indicates you have adequate levels.
Quercetin – This is a type of antioxidant found in plant foods such as leafy greens, berries, and broccoli. It has been found to be helpful with a variety of medical conditions from heart disease and blood vessel problems to allergies and chronic fatigue. It also helps zinc get into cells so it can be fully utilized. Prevention protocols suggest taking 250 mg of quercetin daily. This is not a nutrient that is typically found in multivitamins so it will likely need to be an additional supplement to your routine.
So, there you have it, four key nutrients that have been found to be beneficial to limit coronavirus infection – vitamin D3, vitamin C, zinc, and quercetin. It is important to understand that although the protective nutrition protocols recommend a higher intake of these nutrients beyond normal RDA, these higher levels have been used in treatment for many years. They are known to be safe at these doses and even higher ones. If you are taking medications, please check with your medical provider or pharmacist to be sure there are no concerns with supplementing these nutrients.
To reduce your risks of developing infections from different types of coronavirus, keep selecting a healthy diet and incorporating healthy lifestyle behaviors. If you need help doing this, I have several programs that might help. You can learn more by visiting www.LITWellnessSolutions.com.