Best 10 Natural Treatments You Should Be Taking for COVID-19?

Some doctors and media channels argue that there is very little evidence to support the use of dietary supplements to prevent or treat COVID-19. 

This guide provides our recommendations for nutritional defense against COVID. This version covers more than 150 studies that represent the best of science-backed strategies for nutritional interventions in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

The supposedly gold standard of evidence in medicine is the randomised, controlled trial, or RCT. In RCTs, people are randomly given a treatment, or not. However, RCTs are expensive and takes time to implement i.e. requiring a minimum number of patients for the RCT to be 'adequately powered'. The first published Randomized Controlled Trial in medicine appeared in 1948 (wikipedia). 
In the 21st century, evidence of medicine comes in many forms:
  1. Randomised controlled studies (RCT)
  2. Real world observational clinical studies
  3. Meta-analysis
  4. Clinical experience and case series
  5. Epidemiological and population studies
  6. Pharmacology studies
  7. Basic science and lab-based studies
We have included the totality of scientific evidence together with the sources and references in this article below and we leave it up to you, the reader, to separate the facts and science from propaganda.

As of April 2022, there are more than 150 publications related to dietary supplements and COVID-19. Not all studies are created equal. Some are obviously of better quality and are done by reputable authors. 

Nutrients and nutraceuticals tend to be agnostic to the COVID-19 virus i.e. it doesn't matter if the patient is down with the Indian or Brazilian or European or Delta or Omicron variant. The mode of actions tend to be multiple and supplements normally do not have a specific target e.g. the COVID-19 spike protein.
Based on these considerations, we have categorised the studies according to the type of supplements and arranged and ranked them accordingly to the quantity and quality of supporting evidence. This guide is a living document and will be continually edited and updated as new evidence emerges.
McCullough et al. Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine, 2020

As an executive summary, here are the supplement based studies that we'll cover:

  1. Vitamin D3
  2. Zinc
  3. Quercetin
  4. Melatonin
  5. Vitamin C
  6. Curcumin and Turmeric
  7. Nigella Sativa (Black Seed Oil) 
  8. NAC and Glutathione
  9. Green Tea (EGCG)
  10. Multivitamins
Summary Results of Early Treatment (including cost)

1. Vitamin D3 

Vitamin D deficiency affects the body’s susceptibility to infection and has been associated with influenza, hepatitis C, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other viral diseases [Source]. Surveys indicate that most people in the United States consume less than recommended amounts of vitamin D. Nevertheless, according to a 2011–2014 analysis of serum 25(OH)D concentrations, most people in the United States aged 1 year and older had adequate vitamin D status. Sun exposure, which increases serum 25(OH)D levels, is one of the reasons serum 25(OH)D levels are usually higher than would be predicted on the basis of dietary vitamin D intakes alone.

Based on several publications and studies, vitamin D seems to be by far the “most promising” natural supplement for COVID-19 protection. Vitamin D deficiency is known to enhance a process known as the “cytokine storm” (Marik, Jun 2020).


Check out the evidence tracker on vitamin D and COVID-19 from c19vitamind.com (constantly updated), with more than 100 published studies by more than 1,000 scientists.

2. Zinc

Zinc is another powerful immune nutrient known for its benefits for providing immune health support and inflammation reduction as well as for improving cold and respiratory symptoms, wound healing, acne reduction, and lowering the risk of age-related diseases. This trace element is essential to to cell function and involved in over 100 enzymes. 

There are several types of zinc supplements. Supplements contain several forms of zinc, including zinc gluconate, zinc citrate and zinc picolinate. The percentage of elemental zinc varies by form. To find out the percentage of elemental zinc in each form, check out elemental zinc percentage.
Most people do not lack an intake of zinc, but in disease state, there might be an increase in demand by the body. 
Zinc has been an important component in various prevention and treatment protocols for COVID-19 including the FLCCC I-MASK protocol and Zelenko protocol (used in combination with hydroxychloroquine).
The FLCCC I-MASK+ protocol recommends 30 mg a day for prevention and 100 mg a day for early treatment of COVID-19. This should not be taken long term without evaluation of your zinc/copper ratios.
Check out the evidence tracker on zinc and COVID-19 from c19zinc.com (constantly updated), covering more than 20 studies and more than 35,000 patients.

The ideal dose for prevention while the COVID-19 risk is high is 40-100 mg/d, a portion of which can come from zinc lozenges to spread the zinc through the tissues of the nose, mouth and throat. It should be accompanied by at least 1 mg copper from food and supplements for every 15 mg zinc.

Do take note that you should keep the dose back to within 40 mg/d once the exposure risk is back to normal.

3. Quercetin

Quercetin is a pigment that is found in plants, vegetables, and fruits, and serves as an immune nutrient offering many health benefits. Elderberry, red onions, white onions and cranberries are the richest sources of quercetin. It is a flavonoid and antioxidant that may help to reduce inflammatory cytokines, infections, allergies and anti-blood clot property. Research has found that quercetin may be particularly beneficial for viral respiratory infections.

Quercetin is a zinc ionophore (J Agric Food Chem. 2014). A 2015 study found that that Quercetin shows inhibitory activity in the early stages of a wide range of influenza viruses, including H1N1 and H5N1 (Viruses 2016). Although influenza is not in the same family of viruses as the coronavirus, it’s plausible that a similar mechanism could apply here. There is actually some evidence that Quercetin has already proven effective at treating Ebola and Zika viruses.

Check out the evidence tracker on quercetin and COVID-19 from c19quercetin.com (constantly updated). Although quercetin lacks large and high quality studies (as compared to vitamin D), the important role of quercetin as a zinc ionophore, makes it a good alternative for another prescribed zinc ionophore medication i.e. hydroxychloroquine.

The FLCCC I-MASK+ protocol recommends 250 mg daily for prevention and 250 mg twice daily for early treatment.

Related: Best Quercetin Zinc Supplement

4. Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain, mainly during the night, that helps regulate circadian rhythms [Source]. Its levels decrease with aging. Most melatonin supplementation studies have evaluated its ability to control sleep and wake cycles, promote sleep, and reduce jet lag.

The potential utility of melatonin in treating COVID patients has not gone unnoticed, with a PubMed search combining melatonin and COVID producing more than 50 citations.

As of October 2021, there are 11 published clinical studies (more than 13,000 patients) of melatonin for treatment and prevention in COVID-19 and the results are promising even when it's given as a late treatment.

Safety: If you take a melatonin supplement, be careful: Too much can cause daytime sleepiness. There is no federal RDA nor any formal advice on supplement dose ranges. Based on an on-going Spanish study, a 2 mg daily dose protocol is being investigated for prevention of COVID-19. Do take note that the dosage for 'prevention' and 'treatment' is different, For prevention or maintenance, a lower dosage is normally recommended whereas a 'treatment' or 'therapeutic' dosage is normally higher.

Typical doses of 1–10 mg/day melatonin appear to be safe for short-term use (Source). Reported side effects, which are usually minor, include dizziness, headache, nausea, upset stomach, rash, and sleepiness. However, some reports have linked high blood levels of melatonin with delayed puberty and hypogonadism.

Studies have not evaluated melatonin supplementation during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but some research suggests that these supplements might inhibit ovarian function (Source). Therefore, some experts recommend that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding avoid taking melatonin.

5. Vitamin C

Vitamin C may be one of the most well-known immune nutrients that protect against immune deficiencies and which supports the prevention and recovery from the common cold and upper-respiratory issues, and also protects your cardiovascular system, eyes, skin, and other parts of your body. Research has found that vitamin C may help to optimize the immune system.

There are many vitamin C studies underway and you can review the status of these trials on clinicaltrials.gov. As of October 2021, there are more than 20 studies that have been launched to investigate the benefits of vitamin C against COVID-19.

Check out the evidence tracker on vitamin C and COVID-19 from c19vitaminc.com (constantly updated).


6. Curcumin and Turmeric

Curcumin, a yellow carotenoid from turmeric, is well known for its anti-inflammatory and free radical-scavenging effects. 

There are 9 studies of curcumin in COVID-19 published, including 4 randomized controlled trials and 1 review. And the results are promising.

It has also demonstrated antiviral effects against a range of respiratory viruses, including influenza A virus and others (Ref). Computer models suggest curcumin may interfere with viral entry into cells as well as viral replication inside cells (Ref). Numerous preclinical studies indicate curcumin may activate antiviral immunity; at the same time, curcumin appears to inhibit infection-induced inflammatory signaling and promote anti-inflammatory processes, reducing the potential for a cytokine storm and ARDS and protecting other organ systems (Ref). By suppressing inflammation, curcumin has the potential to help mitigate complications and sequelae of severe acute viral respiratory infections (Ref).

Curcumin also acts as natural zinc ionophores and can promote the cellular uptake of zinc and can be used with zinc to increase the effectiveness of these compounds in the inhibition of the virus (Ref).

7. NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine)

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a precursor to glutathione. It is an antioxidant and increases glutathione levels in the body (Source). NAC has mucolytic activity, so it helps reduce respiratory mucus levels. Laboratory research suggests that NAC might boost immune system function and suppress viral replication. NAC also decreases levels of interleukin-6 and has other anti-inflammatory effects.

NAC inhibits cellular entry and replication of some respiratory viruses, assists in clearing thickened mucous from the airways, suppresses inflammatory signaling, and may help mitigate viral infection-induced cytokine storm (Ref). NAC may also protect against coagulation problems associated with COVID-19, as it has both anticoagulant (sourceand thrombolytic effects (source), meaning it may both prevent clots and break up clots that have already formed.

There are more than 15 studies of NAC for COVID-19 published. Check out all the related studies here.

Why are some retailers and Amazon no longer selling NAC? The US FDA made it clear in 2020 that it considers NAC to be a drug and not a dietary supplement, so, for legal reasons, some companies have stopped selling it in United States.

8. Nigella Sativa (Black Seed Oil)

Nigella sativa (N. sativa) is a small flowering plant that grows in Southwest Asia, the Middle East, and Southern Europe (Source). This shrub produces fruit with tiny black seeds. Commonly referred to as black seed, N. sativa seeds go by many other names, such as black cumin, black caraway, nigella, fennel flower, and Roman coriander (Source).

Black seed oil 
is extracted from N. sativa seeds and has been used in traditional medicine for over 2,000 years due to its many therapeutic benefits.

Thymoquinone which is the active ingredient in N. sativa seeds has demonstrated effects in significantly reducing the cytokine storm chances and consequent mortalities (Source).
Summary results of the 3 Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) of Nigella Sativa (n=915) and 1 prevention study are available on this dedicated webpage: c19ns.comThe 3 RCTs provide evidence that Nigella Sativa was associated with an average improvement of 84% in decreasing the likelihood of death and hospitalisation.

9. Green Tea (EGCG)

Quercetin and EGCG act as zinc ionophores (J. Agric. Food Chem. 2014), the same mechanism of action that hydroxychloroquine has via helping zinc pass the cell wall where it might halt viral replication.

Epigallocatechin-gallate (EGCG) 200mg (prevention) or 400 mg (early treatment) 1 time a day (J. Agric. Food Chem. 2014is part of the Zelenko protocol for prevention and early treatment of COVID-19. EGCG acts as a zinc ionophore and therefore needs to be combined with zinc.

The strong oxidative stress-reducing and anti-inflammatory effects of green tea catechins, including epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), have been well established. A solution of green tea catechins was found to inactivate COVID-19 virus in the laboratory (Ref). 

10. Multivitamins

What if, you are still missing vital pieces of the puzzle in order to have the best possible immune system. Supplementing your intake with a daily multivitamin can be a great way to ensure you’re receiving the full spectrum of nutrients necessary to stay healthy, even during a pandemic. Choose a multivitamin that includes as many micronutrients as possible to boost immune response and contribute to your overall health.

Research has shown that supplementing with certain vitamins, minerals and other substances can improve immune response and potentially protect against illness. The FLCCC (Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care) Alliance have developed the I-MASS protocol to lessen the impact and spread of COVID-19. A multivitamin is recommended as part of the prevention protocol, to be taken on a daily basis.

Quercetin, Vitamin C, D, Zinc and Melatonin - FLCCC I-MASK+ Protocol

Quercetin, Vitamin C, D, Zinc, Melatonin, Curcumin and Nigella Sativa are part of the FLCCC I-MASK+ early treatment protocols.

For updated prevention and early outpatient protocol  for COVID-19 positive, please check out FLCCC I-MASK+ protocol.


Summary 

The important key takeaway is that you should never attempt to self medicate without the guidance of a licensed medical provider. If you are not a medical doctor, you are likely to find the information overwhelming. The aim of this article is to empower you with a better understanding of the options available and to discuss the options with your medical doctor as an informed patient.

Online Shopping Guide

Before adding a new supplement to your routine, discuss its use with your healthcare provider, especially if you have an underlying health condition or are taking medication.

While many of the anti-oxidant supplements may be available in your local stores, it may be more convenient or affordable to shop for them online on Amazon (US) and iHerb (Global):


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