With the peak of the COVID-19 crisis behind us, for many of us, we talk to more people, and obviously, a main topic remains the pandemic.
What really surprised me in multiple conversations was the little awareness about prophylaxis.
This article is also available in French.
In the small world of those who have actively sought the facts, the best information available, to avoid getting COVID-19, it is obvious that prophylaxis is essential. But in the general public, it seems that this message has not filtered very much.
Most countries have asked people to confine themselves, to distance themselves. But have people been asked to take action to improve their immunity, to mitigate the damage in case of an infection? Not really.
If you take the UK guidelines for example, the only suggested thing in addition to delaying visiting your doctor or an hospital as much as possible is to take a spoonful of honey from time to time. Honey may be nice, but it’s strange that the health authorities did not provide guidance about supplements.
Why supplement? Simply to improve our immune response in case of infection, with the perspective of making the consequences of an infection less severe.
In countries where early treatment is available, supplementation may also improve the effectiveness of such treatment.
Remember, this is a disease that is dangerous when it reaches severe forms. This justifies actions you can take not only to avoid catching it, via social distancing for example, but also possibly containing its development, through proper prophylaxis.
The supplements typically recommended for COVID-19 include Vitamin D, Zinc, Quercetin and Vitamin C.
There are others, such as selenium, NAC (N-acetylcysteine), melatonin, famotidine and elderberry, yet we will focus here on the above four.
There is a large literature on supplementation, and some references are presented at the bottom of the page.
Supplements that can typically be found online, in pharmacies over the counter, or even in grocery stores. And they are usually cheap and offer benefits beyond COVID-19 prophylaxis.
Be careful, although all these supplements are typically available without a prescription, they can be potentially dangerous if taken in excessive doses.
Accordingly, this article is presented for informational purposes only; it’s not medical advice. You would need to seek advice from a physician or another qualified professional to determine an optimal prophylaxis plan.
Vitamin D has no direct effect on the virus, but improves our immune system. Studies have shown that vitamin D deficiencies lead to a higher prevalence of COVID-19. It’s not just the sun exposure that is at stake, but also the level of supplementation in the diet. Vitamin D is thought as playing a role in regulating and suppressing the immune response to COVID-19.
Zinc is known to play a role in anti-viral immunity. Once inside the cell, it is thought to help reduce or even block the spread of the virus. Zinc is typically recommended as a prophylaxis for COVID-19, but also for early treatments, such as the one developed by Dr. Vladimir Zelenko of New York, combining zinc with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. There are various forms available as supplement, with Zinc picolinate usually seen as being best absorbed.
Quercetin is a flavonoid vegetal pigment, which exists naturally, for example in apples, berries and onions. The role usually attributed to quercetin is that of an ionophore, which facilitates the penetration of zinc into the cells, which in turn plays its role as an inhibitor of viral multiplication.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant and is known to reduce the severity and duration of the flu. It is with this in mind that it is also typically suggested as a prophylaxis for COVID-19. There are also treatment protocols for more or less advanced forms of COVID-19, which include intravenous vitamin C.