The biggest struggle when dealing with an invisible enemy like COVID-19 is a lack of control.
It’s not just you. We’re all experiencing that lack of control.
That’s why you see people purchasing a 5-year supply of toilet paper for an illness that causes minimal GI issues. The purchase allows them to feel some semblance of control. I get it.
So, I figured the best resource I could offer you all is a guide on how to take back some semblance of control.
This current Coronavirus is a new and novel form of the virus. We have to re-write the book on natural remedies in dealing with COVID-19. What works for colds and flus doesn’t work for COVID-19. In fact, some natural supplements might actually increase your risk of contracting COVID-19.
Today, I’ll clear the BS and misinformation surrounding COVID-19. I’ll show you which natural remedies actually help COVID-19, which natural supplements do nothing, and which products might actually make your symptoms worse.
Let’s get going!
What’s really going on with COVID-19?
Coronaviruses are not anything new. You’ve more than likely been exposed to a Coronavirus in the past. Coronaviruses account for ~15% of common colds. (1)
When you look at a Coronavirus under an electron microscope, you’ll see what astrophysicists call a corona – an aura that surrounds the sun or stars. If you’ve ever witnessed a solar eclipse, then you know exactly what an aura around the sun looks like.
You may also know of the Coronavirus from the 2002 outbreak of SARS – Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. Or, the 2012 outbreak of MERS – Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. Both of these illnesses were caused by novel strains of the Coronavirus.
What we’re dealing with today is technically known as SARS-Coronavirus-2 or SARS-CoV-2. If you get infected with SARS-CoV-2 and develop the symptoms associated with the virus, you are said to have the Coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19. (2) It is thought that this current strain of Coronavirus has come from bats.
The Coronavirus that causes SARS is thought to be 80% identical to the Coronavirus that causes COVD-19. (3) This means that what worked well in treating and preventing SARS will be likely effective against treating and preventing COVID-19.
Since this is a new Coronavirus, your tried and true cold and flu remedies probably won’t be that effective. These same remedies could actually make you more susceptible to catching COVD-19 and/or aggravating your symptoms if you currently have COVD-19.
Let’s find out why!
Natural remedies to avoid for COVID-19
The keyword for this section is natural remedies to avoid. These are the natural supplements you don’t want to be taking. Even though you’ve likely had great success in using them for previous colds or flus. COVID-19 is caused by a new virus that requires new methods of treatment.
Please ensure you avoid the following natural remedies:
Vitamin A is absolutely essential to the proper functioning of your immune system. (4) Vitamin A’s main effect on your immune system is through the proliferation of specific cells known as T cells. (5) Another fun thing vitamin A can do is increase the amount of ACE2 found within your cells.
Under normal conditions, ACE2 or Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 have a profoundly positive impact on your heart, lung, and kidney health. But in the case of COVID-19, it is thought that the SARS-CoV-2 virus enters human cells through the ACE2 receptor site. (6, 7, 8)
If you amp up your vitamin A, you potentially amp up the number of ACE2 receptor sites the Coronavirus can enter your body through. Therefore, you’re going to want to avoid megadosing vitamin A.
The food sources with the highest levels of vitamin A are:
- Cod liver oil
I’m not suggesting you stop consuming foods with vitamin A in them altogether. Just be mindful of the amount of the above foods you’re eating. And do your best not to consume all of them in one day!
If you are currently supplementing vitamin A, I recommend pushing pause on that supplement for the time being.
Vitamin D is one of my go-to remedies during cold and flu season. But during COVID-19 season, you’re going to want to pause your vitamin D megadoses.
Much like vitamin A, vitamin D can increase ACE2 receptor sites. As you now know, this is the same site the SARS-CoV-2 virus is thought to enter your body. So, large supplemental doses of vitamin D are a no go for the time being.
If possible, obtain your vitamin D from food sources like fatty fish or sunshine. If you have a known vitamin D deficiency, shift your dose into the maintenance dose range for the time being. 1000IU/day is plenty until we’ve gotten the viral spread contained.
If you’re taking calcium at the recommendation of your doctor/practitioner, please disregard everything I’m about to say. If you’re taking a calcium supplement for your health/well-being, pay close attention to what I’m about to say!
Ok, nerdspeak for just a brief moment… High levels of calcium compared to phosphorus decrease FGF23 (fibroblast growth factor 23). FGF23 suppresses ACE2. (9) This leads us to suspect that high calcium levels – like those brought about via calcium supplements – may increase ACE2 levels.
As you now know, ACE2 receptor sites are where the SARS-CoV-2 virus enters your cells. So, you’re going to want to do what you can to keep the levels lowered. This includes limiting your calcium supplementation.
Feel free to eat foods high in calcium like dark leafy greens, fish with bones (sardines), and dairy products. But I’d recommend you pause the calcium supplements for the time being.
Propolis is another one of my go-to supplements for cold and flu season. Propolis is a mix of bee saliva, beeswax, and exudate from tree sap. Bees use propolis to fill unwanted space within their hives. Humans use propolis for immune support.
Propolis works by augmenting inflammatory proteins in your body known as interferons. Propolis has been shown to improve the herpes simplex virus type 1 by way of altering interferon response. (10) But the herpes virus is vastly different than the coronavirus.
A little bit of inflammation (like that caused by interferon) is a great situation for your body – it helps your body to deal with an infection or injury. But the inherent problem with COVID-19 is that it can cause your body to make massive amounts of interferon.
If you take a substance like honeybee propolis, you may potentially worsen the inflammatory response by your body. For this reason, I recommend keeping the propolis on the shelf.
Read the next section to find out which natural remedies convey the most benefit in preventing and treating the coronavirus and COVID-19.
Natural remedies for COVID-19
The problem with most of the cold/flu remedies you’re familiar with is that they’re effective at treating influenza and rhinoviruses. FYI influenza is the most common viral cause of the flu and the rhinovirus is the most prominent viral cause of the common cold. The similarity shared by the coronavirus and influenza/ rhinovirus is that they’re all viruses. After that, the similarities come to an abrupt end.
Thus, what works for treating influenza and rhinoviruses won’t work on coronaviruses.
Ok, now that you know what not to do, let’s focus on how you can take back control and fight COVID-19! Below, I list researched-based natural remedies to help prevent and treat the Coronavirus and COVID-19.
Let’s get going!
Remember what makes SARS-CoV-2 unique?
The SARS-CoV-2 virus enters your cells via the ACE2 receptor site. Therefore, effective natural remedies for COVID-19 are going to be the ones that block virus attachment to the ACE2 receptor site. Elderberry is one of the natural remedies that actually work.
Now, a quick disclaimer here – I have not seen any scientific studies on elderberry and SARS-CoV-2. Since this is a new and novel form of the virus, we won’t see those studies for some time. But elderberry has been studied on coronavirus NL63.
Coronavirus NL63 is also known to enter human cells through the ACE2 receptor site. Therefore, it is highly probable that elderberry supplements will exert a beneficial effect against SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-2.
Since elderberry blocks the attachment on your ACE2 receptor sites, you can use this natural remedy to prevent infection.
For Canadians, we are at the stage where we need to do everything we can to prevent the spread of this virus. Taking 500-1000mg of elderberry every day is an essential tool to combine with hand washing and social distancing.
While elderberry is busy blocking the virus from ever entering your cells, zinc stops viral replication. Zinc does this by blocking specific proteins the virus needs in order to replicate.
If you do contract COVID-19, you’re going to want to amp up your zinc intake. This will prevent the proliferation of the virus and get you back to health as fast as possible.
I recommend taking zinc lozenges. You can use the following forms of zinc:
- zinc methionine
- zinc glycine
- zinc gluconate
- zinc citrate
- zinc acetate
Supplements aside, you can always opt for oysters. Oysters are the best food source for zinc. Though I highly doubt any of mainlanders will have an easy time obtaining oysters during the current situation. So, opt for supplements.
Keep in mind that you’re not going to want to take your zinc supplement with legumes, grains, nuts or seeds. These foods contain high levels of phytic acid which will bind to zinc rendering it impossible for your body to absorb.
Remember, your body has to keep a tightly controlled balance between zinc and copper levels. Therefore, you’re going to want to play it safe with zinc supplementation. Keep your daily total of zinc to less than 50mg.