The good news is that evidence-based research on natural agents and coronaviruses is available. This article summarizes my top suggestions for supplements that can potentially improve the body's natural defense against the coronavirus. Experts now expect the general public in the U.S. is likely to be exposed to the virus even as we work to spread the number of cases out over time with social distancing. What we know is the majority of people who face COVID-19 have an effective immune response and do not require medical care or have health complications. What is concerning about the virus is that approximately 20% of people infected do require medical attention. Why wait for a solution when there are safe and tested natural supplements that are helpful?
My suggestions fall into two major areas: anti-viral supplements and general immune support. It is important to support the immune system, generally. For more direct anti-viral support, such as when you are showing symptoms, or feel you have been exposed to infection, then the first section of supplements below is helpful. Those with a tendency or history of lung issues may want to add a third area of support, botanicals for lung health. Most of the items below are available for purchase in our Healthy Immune Kit. You can also purchase smaller kits: Naturally anti-vira Kit or General Immune Kit which correspond to the sections below. Please note this information and supplements are not medical treatment for the coronavirus disease and are shared for the use of natural health education only. Many of the items below require permission to purchase professional-grade supplements. Contact us for permission.
Natural anti-viral agents
Because the coronavirus is a novel illness, we do not have data indicating protection or treatment with any agent, though drug and vaccine testing are currently underway. However, we do have studies using natural agents against similar viruses like SARS coronavirus. Note these studies are not from live human clinical trials but are instead from human cell lines and animal studies. The suggestions below represent my selection from many natural agents available:
Lactoferrin is a milk protein that stops the virus like SARS-CoV from attaching to human cells. It also prevents viral invasion by enhancing a natural immune response from natural killer cells and neutrophils (1). Lactoferrin also can help reduce the inflammation in the lungs (and other tissues) after exposure to a virus (2). 300-mg 2-3 times daily are the doses I typically suggest for an adult using Lactoferrin 300mg Ecological Formulas. For those that are extremely sensitive to dairy, you could choose IAG Biotics Research as this product has similar properties.
Resveratrol is an anti-oxidant-like compound extracted typically derived from Japanese knotweed. In studies, Resveratrol significantly stopped MERS-CoV infection. It prolonged cell survival after viral infection and also slowed down the rate of cell death induced by viruses in studies (3). Such properites may prove particularly helpful in the case of COVID-19. I suggest at least 250 mg 3x daily. I suggest Resvero-XL by Apex Energetics (available via phone order only) which is an easy to take liquid or ResveraSirt-HP by Biotics Research (capsules).
Quercetin is an anti-oxidant that helps stop viral activity inside cells. It has been studied by Canadian researcher, Michel Chretien, for its effect on
coronaviruses. In late February 2020, the Chinese government partnered with Dr. Chretian on a human clinical trial using quercetin in Wuhan for treatment of COVID-19 (4). I like two products called Natural D Hist by Ortho Molecular and D-Hist Jr for kids by Ortho Molecular. They combine quercetin with nettles and Vitamin C. Nettles have unique lectins that can help keep viruses from replicating (5). I suggest 2-3 capsules or chewable tabs of these formulas every few hours as needed for symptoms.
Vitamin D. A 2015 study demonstrated vitamin D deficiency contributed to development of acute respiratory distress syndrome. The study suggested that Vitamin D levels below 50 may predispose someone to the condition. Additional studies with animals indicated that vitamin D deficiency resulted in greater injury to the lungs and that vitamin D is important for respiratory health (6). In practice, I find that Vitamin D daily dose of 1000-10000 IU, with blood testing, are helpful to help raise levels between 50-80 nmol/L. Ortho Molecular has high quality Vitamin D supplements in liquids and capsules in 1000IU and 5000IU. Vitamin D lights such as Sperti Vitamin D lamp can also be helpful.
Selenium has been studied for immune support to RNA viruses (coronavirus is a RNA virus). Inadequate levels of selenium can lead to development of RNA viruses into more pathogenic strains. Selenium is important for a person's immune response, and the healthy response to viruses (7). When taking Selenium supplements, most adults should take up to 55 micrograms daily. I suggest this product, NAC with Selenium, which includes N-acetyl-cysteine which is known to help reduce the stress of a virus to our cells. Aqueous selenium (for kids or those who do not swallow capsules) is also available, or just straight Reacted Selenium capsules by Ortho Molecular.
Zinc is known to support healthy immune response to viruses and in some cases can help reduce the duration of a virus (8). I suggest Zinc Liver Chelate by Standard Process (call us to order, not available online). The Zinc Liver Chelate is nice for families because it is chewable. Reacted Zinc by Ortho Molecular is another top quality zinc product. During times of higher need such as with the onset of symptoms, an adult might take one or even two tabs three times daily with meals.
Multivitamin. A quality multivitamin is a good place to start to ensure adequate nutrient intake for the immune system. I suggest Alpha Base by Ortho Molecular. Take at least twice daily for adults.
Probiotics. Besides helping the immune system, probiotics have been shown in the Cochrane Review to reduce the likelihood of Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (9). My favorite probiotic for the issue at hand is Children's ENT-Pro by Biotics Research which is good for kids as well as adults. It provides healthy beneficial bacteria for the throat which is a first area for symptoms. Take 1-2 lozenges as needed throughout the day for sore throat and viral symptoms.
Optimal Lung Health
It may be wise to consider herbal support for lung health, especially for those who may be more susceptible. Lung Relief by Herbalist and Alchemist is one herbal formula that I like. The combination of Ultimate Echinacea and Poke root can also be beneficial to my lungs (more on that in this article). Finally, turmeric, can help in general with reducing inflammation in the lungs. My favorite supplements include Turiva by Ortho Molecular and Turmero by Apex Energetics (available via phone order only). CytoQuel by Researched Nutritionals is another good option that includes both resveratrol and turmeric.
Neti pot with warm salt water frequently.
Eat healthy. Eliminate sugar, high carbohydrate foods and processed oils from the diet. Some studies indicate a healthier response to viruses when a person is following a ketogenic diet. We're here to help with a dietary upgrade if you want to set up a phone consultation.
Be mindful. Support relaxation and self-awareness on a daily basis to promote immune system and mental wellness. Just three minutes of long deep breathing daily (that's about 26 breaths total) can be helpful.
1. Lang, Jianshe, et al. “Inhibition of SARS Pseudovirus Cell Entry by Lactoferrin Binding to Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans.” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 22. Aug. 2011.
2. Drago-Serrano, Maria E., et al. “Lactoferrin: Balancing Ups and Downs of Inflammation Due to Microbial Infections.” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 18 Mar. 2017
3. SC, Lin, et al. “Effective Inhibition of MERS-CoV Infection by Resveratrol.” PubMed, 13 Jan. 2017
4. Taylor-Vaisey, Nick. “A Made-in-Canada Solution to the Coronavirus Outbreak?” Maclean’s, 24. Feb. 2020, www.macleans.ca/news/canada/a-made-in-canada-solution-to-the-coronavirus-outbreak/
5.Kumaki, Y, et al. “Inhibition of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Replication in a Lethal SARS-CoV BALB/c Mouse Model by Stinging Nettle Lectin, Urtica Dioica Agglutinin.” PubMed, 19 Feb. 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21338626?
6. Dancer, Rachel C A, et al. “Vitamin D Deficiency Contributes Directly to the Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, July 2015.
7. Steinbrenner, H, et al. Dietary Selenium in Adjuvant Therapy of Viral and Bacterial Infections, Advances in Nutrition, Jan 2015.
9. Quick, M. “Cochrane Commentary: Probiotics For Prevention of Acute Upper Respiratory Infection.” PubMed, 6 July 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26249739.