By Cat, March-April 2019
This article has been moved from its original home: Notes on Natural Health Topics, A – C.
The coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2 and related disease COVID-19 that started in Wuhan, China in December 2019 is now affecting people around the globe. As I learn more about this virus and the disease it causes, I will add notes and references here.
See also: 1. Notes on Natural Health Topics Menu
Coronavirus: SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19 disease
General info on coronaviruses
The common cold*, influenza (respiratory flu), SARS, MERS, and COVID-19 are all caused by coronaviruses. All incubate in the sinuses before moving down the respiratory tract to settle in the lungs. The SARS-CoV2 is a variation of the original SARS virus, and is the cause of COVID-19 disease that started in Wuhan China, and is now spreading around the globe. See a 4½ minute YouTube video about the two types of SARS-CoV2 (L- and S-Types) that cause COVID-19 (3a).
‘* NOTE: some varieties of the common cold are caused by other viruses such as rhinovirus.
One way to treat coronavirus early-on is to use a Neti pot to clean the sinuses; see my article on Ancient Remedies for Every Home, which includes instructions for using a Neti pot.
Is COVID-19 Made in a Lab?
Effect of Social Distancing/Isolation
Our government bodies and many health practitioners are recommending social distancing and even social isolation, to keep the disease from spreading and reduce your risk of getting it from others, or giving it to others. But such behavior can also increase mortality (not necessarily caused by exposure to the disease, but rather by depression and other issues that result from avoiding social interaction). See an interesting article on Green Med Info: 13 [Scientific] Studies Reveal How Scoial Distancing (i.e. Social Isolation) Can Increase Mortality (2a).
Factors Affecting Risk of Getting COVID-19 and Related Diseases
Glutathione Deficiency May Be Associated with COVID Severity
This topic got my attention because for a very long time, I had glutathione deficiency, primarily because I had trouble with sulfur containing foods such as the onion family, and with certain supplement substances like N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC), Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), and glutathione because sulfur is part of those molecules. Fortunately, my naturopath recommended I take myo-inositol to help with my insulin resistance, and my acupuncturist who practices NAET (to resolve allergies and food sensitivities); these together resolved my sulfur issues in 20181-2019, and so far, even at the age of 71, I’ve not succumbed to COVID.
See also the Topic “Insulin Resistance” below.
The following is from Mercola’s article: articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/08/14/glutathione-deficiency-linked-to-covid-severity.aspx
From the article’s summary notes:
- “A glutathione deficiency may be at the root of severe illness, as it leads to significant oxidative stress, lung inflammation and multiorgan failure with COVID
- One scientist linked glutathione deficiency with many of the comorbid conditions that raise COVID-19 severity, including age, diabetes, gender and smoking
- The researcher also found data indicating that glutathione deficiency can impact your ability to synthesize vitamin D, another risk factor for severe disease
- NAC supplementation, foods rich in glutathione precursors, aerobic exercise and strength training can help support healthy levels.”
“Foods that have had a positive impact on glutathione production include cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, green tea, curcumin, rosemary and milk thistle.36 Getting quality sleep may also help.
Different types of exercise* can influence your levels. In one study researchers enrolled 80 healthy but sedentary volunteers to measure the type of exercise that may have the greatest effect.39 They found that aerobic training in combination with circuit weight training showed the greatest benefit.” [* see fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2020/05/01/does-exercise-boost-immune-system.aspx]
Insulin Resistance and Keto
from Mercola: articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/08/02/metabolic-health-impact-on-covid-19-severity.aspx. Here’s quote of his “story at a glance” (bold text is added by me)
- Your metabolic health has a significant impact on COVID-19 severity, and at least 9 in 10 Americans are metabolically unhealthy
- One of the classic changes associated with insulin resistance, obesity and metabolic syndrome is overactivation of the innate immune system, with decreasing activity in the adaptive immune system
- When it comes to healthy aging, it’s not your biological age that matters but, rather, your immune and metabolic age, both of which are malleable and can be improved through simple lifestyle changes
- Research shows that when blood sugar is well-controlled and there’s less glycemic variability, people do better when contracting COVID-19. When they have high levels of glycemic variability, which is indicative of insulin resistance, they fare much worse
Mercola also discusses (in a separate article: “Ketones, the Fourth Fuel” (1L)) how going keto (following a ketogenic eating plan) can reduce your risk of getting COVID-19 by avoiding insulin resistance.
I have insulin resistance, but when I started taking myo-inositol supplement in 2018 (at the advice and guidance of my naturopath), my insulin resistance minimized so that I lost 30 pounds in 2 months, and have maintained that. I highly recommend taking this supplement. My ND recommended starting with 1/16 tsp daily, and slowly increasing to ¼ tsp daily; this is less than the cited dosage on the supplement container. I tried increasing to ½ tsp daily and then to 1 tsp daily, but these increases had no added effect, so I returned to ¼ tsp daily.
For more about myo-inositol and insulin resistance, see my post: Choline, Inositol, and Insulin Resistance.
from Mercola: articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/06/27/can-blood-type-predict-virus-infection-risk.aspx See his article for references.
“The results from three studies show that blood type O has some protective effect against COVID-19; one scientist believes the factor is small compared to comorbidities”
“23andMe released preliminary results from a study they conducted using the information of more than 750,000 people.7 Their early results suggest that a person’s blood type has an influence on their susceptibility to the virus.” … “[They] reported that the percentage who tested positive for COVID-19 by blood type was 4.1% for blood group AB.10 The differences reported in the study showed that those with type O had a 9% or 18% lower potential for testing positive for the virus when compared to those with blood types A, B or AB.”
Similar conclusions were made by at least two other studies: one in China, one in Spain and Italy.
Mercola also states that blood type is not the most important factor; instead, “optimize your vitamin D level, improve your metabolic sensitivity and reduce insulin resistance with intermittent fasting.“
Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19 (Conventional Medicine)
NOTE: Each method is listed in alphabetic order
Ventilators and Other Options:
You may have heard that some patients do not do well on ventilators; the following is a quote from Dr. Mercola’s 5/6/20 email newsletter: “A number of published papers have noted ventilators make COVID-19 death risks soar. One report suggests the comparison was 76.4% vs. 19.8% (18-65) and 97.2% vs. 26.6% (65+). Should we be doing this instead?“
From Mercola (1g); the following are his summary notes for the article:
- “COVID-19 patients who are put on ventilators have an increased risk of death. It may turn out that ventilators are inappropriate for a majority of patients.
- Doctors at UChicago Medicine report “truly remarkable” results using high-flow nasal cannulas (HFNC) in lieu of ventilators. Of 24 COVID-19 patients who were in respiratory distress, only one required intubation after 10 days of HFNC.
- A more complicated treatment strategy that’s showing promise is membrane oxygenation (ECMO), in which the patient’s blood is oxygenated outside the body before pumped back into circulation. ECMO is recommended for relatively young patients with few comorbidities who fail to respond to ventilator treatment.
- Mechanical ventilation can easily damage the lungs as it’s pushing air into the lungs with force. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT) may be a better alternative, as it allows your body to absorb a higher percentage of oxygen without forcing air into the lungs.
- Chinese doctors report “promising results” after treating five COVID-19 patients with HBOT and NYU Langone Health is currently recruiting COVID-19 patients for a study comparing HBOT to standard of care alone.”
From Mercola (1h)
Lying in the prone (face down) position, in which your chest is down and your back is up, could be a simple way to improve outcomes in cases of severe respiratory distress. This topic has received renewed attention during the COVID-19 pandemic, as invasive mechanical ventilation is conventionally delivered with the patient in the supine (face up) position, which refers to lying on your back.
This seems counter intuitive, as it must be more difficult for the lungs to expand when you lay face-down. However, from the article: “In [Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome], the lung’s air sacs, or alveoli, become damaged. Fluid leaks through the air sacs’ damaged walls and collects.11 Fluid in the lung will increase its weight, which then squeezes out the gas from the dependent regions. If the sponge represents a fluid-filled lung, in the supine position the dependent regions are at the back of the lung.“
See a 10 min YouTube video: youtube.com/watch?v=FS4t5w1eCYw for more about the prone position.
Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19 (Natural Medicine)
NOTE: Each method is listed in alphabetic order, except Vitamins are first.
Check out an eBook, Stealth Strategies to Stop COVID Cold, by several authors including Mercola on stopcovidcold.com. In the introduction, it states, “The information in this document is a summary of a more comprehensive review of vitamin D and COVID-19 for health professionals. It can be downloaded for free at www.stopcovidcold.com/.” (I’ve saved the downloaded pdf on HEALTH-NUTRITION / PODCASTS-ARTICLES / EBOOKS > CovidStopCold_fm Mercola.pdf).
Vitamins C and D for Treating coronavirus disease
- Vitamin C strengthens your immune system and kills pathogens, including viruses, when taken in high doses
- Other important immune boosting nutrients are vitamin D, magnesium and zinc
- If you own a sauna, now’s the time to put it to regular use. By increasing your core body temperature, which is what happens when you have a fever, your body becomes more efficient at killing pathogens
The following text is my own:
“Vitamin C for the common cold:
You may remember Dr Linus Pauling declaring that vitamin C can be used to combat respiratory diseases like the common cold. Many people thought he was crazy, but the use of high doses of Vitamin C intravenously to treat COVID-19 is proving him right.
I met Dr. Pauling when he gave a talk at Reed College in Portland in the late 70s, that included his ongoing research about vitamin C (4) to effectively treat a cold and related viruses. At the time, I was in graduate school studying quantum chemistry. It is again making the headlines because of its use in the Wuhan China epidemic; it is believed to be why the rapid spread of the virus there was finally slowed. Now that the disease has spread to the USA, conventional medicine is finally beginning to accept the use of Vitamins C and D for treatment of the respiratory diseases caused by the coronavirus.
While vitamin C may not “cure” the disease, it can make it less serious/deadly, and may also minimize the spread of the disease, and may also prevent you from succumbing to it. Although high-dose IV treatment with vitamin C is the most effective, even taking it supplementally at doses higher than the RDA can help you avoid and even treat the disease. I’m currently taking:
- liposomal vitamin C: 1000 mg gel-cap twice daily (after lunch and dinner);
- 300 mg liquid vitamin C supplement (plus fresh fruits: orange, berries, apple and avocado) in my daily smoothie,
- 80 mg /day by adding acerola extract powder (from a fruit native to central America that is rich in vitamin C) to my daily smoothie, and
- 500 mg 3-times daily as part of Alphasorb-C supplement (buffered vitamin C and alpha lipoic acid).
That totals to 3880 mg vitamin C daily. And if I do start to get sick, I’ll increase the liposomal-C to 3-times daily, increasing the total amount to 4800 mg/day.
While there are no clinical trials investigating vitamin D for coronavirus specifically, there are plenty of data showing it’s an important component in the prevention and treatment of influenza and upper respiratory tract infections.” See also Mercola’s article: Vitamins C and D Finally Adopted as Coronavirus Treatment (1a)”
Vitamin D: From the e-book, “Stealth Strategies to Stop COVID Cold (see stopcovidcold.com),” of which Mercola is one of the authors:
“A recent study at the University of Chicago of over 4,000 patients8 found that untreated vitamin D deficiency was associated with an increased risk for COVID-19 infection. Another observational study involving 212 patients in Southeast Asia found that of those with a critical or severe case of COVID-19, only 4% had normal levels, while 96% of those with a mild case of COVID-19 had normal vitamin D levels.
Another retrospective study involving 780 cases in Indonesia found that vitamin D status was strongly associated with COVID-19 mortality.” [For a summary of their findings, see the impressive Figure 3 from that e-book (page 5], “which demonstrates a radical reduction in the death rate from COVID-19 as vitamin D levels increase to over 30 ng/ml.“
Other nutrients that may increase effectiveness of Vitamin D, also from the e-book, “Stealth Strategies to Stop COVID Cold (see stopcovidcold.com):
- Magnesium helps to activate vitamin D; take at least 500 mg magnesium/day;
- Vitamin K2, 150-200 mcg/day, works synergistically with vitamin D. An excellent food source of this vitamin is brie cheese, which I eat daily with sliced apple.
Here are a few related articles:
- Clinical Trials (5)
- Daily mail (6): China’s doctors racing Vitamin-C beat coronavirus
- Lew Rockwell (7): Vitamin C Clinical Trials for coronavirus underway in China; latest updates
- Mercola: Coronavirus Treatment (1b)
Glycyrrhizin in Licorice; Can it Help Fight SARS Viruses?
From Mercola (1e)
“Glycyrrhizin (1f) was valued in ancient Arabia and Greece for treating coughs and in China for relieving irritation of the mucous membranes. In modern times, glycyrrhizin has been shown to be a formidable antiviral, fighting herpes, HIV, hepatitis, influenza, encephalitis and pneumonia as well as less known viruses like respiratory syncytial virus, arboviruses, vaccinia virus and vesicular stomatitis virus.”
It works against SARS (virus SARS-CoV-1) that emerged in 2003; because SARS-CoV-2 is closely related, there is hope it may be useful in treating COVID-19. “According to the Journal of General Virology, glycyrrhizin’s method of stopping the replication of SARS viruses may differ from other treatments that have been tried. [Its] antiviral effects may be exerted, for example, during virus adsorption or release.” (8)
NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) Combats COVID
From Mercola; his article summary is listed below; see his article (1k) for more detail. Article also has educational 26 min video about oxidative stress, which is a factor in COVID-19.
- “NAC [is a natural substance that] has a long history of use as a first-aid remedy for acetaminophen poisoning. Compelling research suggests it may also be useful against COVID-19.
- By raising glutathione, NAC combats oxidative stress, which is a main cause of the cytokine storm associated with COVID-19. NAC also inhibits hypercoagulation and breaks up blood clots, which is another complication seen in some COVID-19 cases.
- NAC helps loosen thick mucus in the lungs and improves a variety of lung-related problems, including pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), both of which are common characteristics of COVID-19.
- NAC has been shown to inhibit replication of influenza virus.
- Aside from increasing glutathione, NAC may also prevent or improve COVID-19 infection by improving T cell response and modulating inflammation.”
Also the article discusses the FDA crackdown on NAC as a supplement, so that pharmaceutical companies can copyright it for big $$$.
Natural Cough and Lung Remedies: Top 10
Cough and trouble breathing are primary symptoms of COVID-19, as well as common cold, influenza and pneumonia. A Green Med Info article provides 10 natural remedies for these symptoms. See Notes on Natural Health and Healing Topics, A-C; scroll down to “Cough and Lung Remedies” for more detail (originally from a Green Med Info article (2b)
Quercitin for Preventing/Treating Coronavirus (and other viruses)
from Mercola: Quercetin and Vitamin D – Allies Against Coronavirus (1c):
“Quercetin is a powerful immune booster and broad-spectrum antiviral. It also inhibits the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which may be beneficial since serious COVID-19 infection and subsequent death appears to be due to cytokine storm activity.
Other nutraceuticals thought to be useful in the prevention of coronavirus infection include NAC, spirulina, beta-glucan, glucosamine, selenium, zinc, lipoic acid and sulforaphane. … Coconut oil may also be useful.
Seaweed for Treating Coronavirus
from Mercola: Seaweed for SARS CoV-2 (1j):
- “A dose response study was performed with five seaweed extracts, revealing the effective concentration that inhibits 50% of viral activity — known as EC50; a lower EC50 is indicative of a more effective extract.
- The results revealed that the seaweed extract RPI-27 had an EC50 of about 83 nanomolar, compared to remdesivir’s 770 nanomolar.
- Remdesivir is an antiviral drug that has shown some promise in treating COVID-19; however, serious side effects have been reported, including kidney failure.
- With the seaweed extracts, no cellular toxicity was found, even at the highest concentrations, and in some cases they outperformed Remdesivir in fighting SARS-CoV-2.”
Thiamine (Vitamin B1) forTreating Coronavirus
from Mercola (1d)
Taking thiamine daily, along with vitamins C and D, zinc and quercetin can help protect against infectious respiratory illness such as influenza and the coronavirus. Another important nutrient is magnesium, which “is required for the activation of both thiamine and vitamin D.”
While the minimum daily intake for thiamine is about 1 mg, taking 200 mg thiamine every 12 hours, along with high-dose vitamin C (IV), has been shown to be effective against sepsis, a primary cause of COVID-19 mortality. “Thiamine deficiency syndrome (beriberi) has many similarities to sepsis.” There is also a “link between thiamine deficiency and fever.”
For those with thyroid/adrenal problems, Isabella Wentz (Hashimoto’s Protocol) recommends taking a daily dose of 600 mg thiamine (B1) for 3 – 6 months. See my article on Vitamin B-Complex for more.
- Green Med Info
- You Tube Videos
- Dr Linus Pauling’s Research on Vitamin C: lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-C
- Journal of General Virology (2004), 85, 1717–1725: microbiologyresearch.org/content/journal/jgv/10.1099/vir.0.80044-0