10 Natural Alternatives to Hydroxychloroquine: Evidence based Review 2024

Hydroxychloroquine was discovered during efforts to synthesise alternatives to quinine as anti-malarials. Is quinine similar to hydroxychloroquine? Hydroxychloroquine and quinine are both anti-malarial drugs. However, hydroxychloroquine is not the same as quinine as hydroxychloroquine is a synthetic drug while quinine is a naturally occurring compound found in cinchona bark. 

Quinine, was first recognized as a potent antimalarial agent hundreds of years ago. Since then, the beneficial effects of quinine and its more advanced synthetic forms, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, have been increasingly recognized in a myriad of other diseases in addition to malaria.

Hydroxychloroquine, developed in the 1950s from chloroquine, an old anti-malarial drug, is registered in around 60 countries under trade names such as Plaquenil, Quensyl and Plaquinol.
 
Hydroxychloroquine, a less toxic derivative of Chloroquine is a widely used medication by people with lupus or arthritis. 

Hydroxychloroquine and COVID-19

COVID patients who were treated with hydroxychloroquine were less likely to die than those who weren't, according to a November 2023 study.

Just 0.8 percent of patients at a facility in France who received hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and an antibiotic died, compared with 4.8 percent of patients who didn't receive the drug combination, French researchers reported on Nov. 1, 2023.

The November 2023 study came about a month after researchers in Belgium reported in another observational study that HCQ with AZ reduced COVID-19 mortality among hospitalized patients.

Historically, hydroxychloroquine was discovered during efforts to synthesize alternatives to quinine as anti-malarials. Is quinine similar to hydroxychloroquine? Hydroxychloroquine and quinine are both anti-malarial drugs. However, hydroxychloroquine is not the same as quinine as hydroxychloroquine is a synthetic drug while quinine is a naturally occurring compound found in cinchona bark. 

Quinine, was first recognized as a potent antimalarial agent hundreds of years ago. Since then, the beneficial effects of quinine and its more advanced synthetic forms, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, have been increasingly recognized in a myriad of other diseases in addition to malaria.

Is quercetin same as quinine? No. Quercetin is a phytonutrient whereas quinine is a naturally occurring compound found in cinchona bark and was used as an antimalarial agent. However, both quercetin and quinine are known to have zinc ionophore properties i.e. they transport zinc into the cells. 

Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is not effective when used very late with high dosages over a long period, effectiveness improves with earlier usage and improved dosing. Early treatment consistently shows positive effects. Negative evaluations typically ignore treatment time, often focusing on a subset of late stage studies.

Dr. Raoult and his co-authors acknowledged that a World Health Organization 2021 trial have found no benefits for HCQ against COVID-19. But they said that the trial, which was funded by the World Health Organization and the UK government, suffered from "significant methodological problems," including high dosing during the first 24 hours.

As of April 2024, there are more than 350 published evidence of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 (c19hcq.org).

Do you need a prescription for hydroxychloroquine?

Yes, hydroxychloroquine is a prescription drug and you do need it to be prescribed to you by a doctor.

Related: Find a Doctor who will prescribe Hydroxychloroquine

This article, we will dive deeper to provide the scientific background, related references and rationale of natural alternatives for hydroxychloroquine that you can easily purchase over the counter.

Natural Alternatives to Hydroxychloroquine

In the event that you simply cannot get hydroxychloroquine, there are viable natural alternatives. 
Although hydroxychloroquine is a relatively safe drug, it's still a synthetic chemical that can have side effects. Nutrients are natural alternatives that will benefit your body for optimal health. 

Nutrients and supplements are safer alternatives especially if your risk is low e.g. age below 50 and no other chronic illness. Discuss with your doctor on the benefit vs risk for each treatment. If you are on multiple medications, be aware of supplement-drug interactions that might enhance the possibilities of adverse effects.

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 below 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.

That said, here are some of the substitutes for hydroxychloroquine that, in some parts of the country, will be easier to buy whenever we want them:

  1. Vitamin D3
  2. Quercetin
  3. Zinc
  4. Curcumin and Turmeric
  5. Melatonin
  6. Nigella Sativa (Black Seed Oil)
  7. Vitamin A
  8. Vitamin C
  9. NAC and Glutathione
  10. B Vitamins

Nutraceutical Therapy by Mode of Action

1. Quercetin - Anti-inflammatory, anti-coagulant, zinc ionophore and anti-viral

Hydroxychloroquine and Quercetin are both zinc ionophores i.e. they transport zinc into the cells. 

However, quercetin is less potent than HCQ (hydroxychloroquine) as a zinc transporter, and it does not reach high concentrations in lung cells that HCQ does. Quercetin may help reduce risk of viral illness if you are basically healthy. But it is not potent enough to replace HCQ for treatment of COVID once you have symptoms, and it does not adequately get into lung tissue.

Based on the database on C19Early.com (as of February 2024) below: 
  • quercetin performs better than hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin for prevention but 
  • ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine are superior than quercetin in terms of early treatment
Prevention league table:
Quercetin (93%) vs Hydroxychloroquine (33%)

Early Treatment League Table:
Hydroxychloroquine (65%) vs Quercetin (32%)

A significant distinction emerges between initiating treatment early versus late. Late treatment is less likely to be effective when compared to early intervention. However, initiating treatment early presents its own set of challenges, as it may take several days to undergo testing, obtain a prescription, and have it filled. 

If you are considering stockpiling hydroxychloroquine, it is advisable to consult with a medical doctor online beforehand.

That said, if you simply cannot get hydroxychloroquine, quercetin is a viable stand-in. Quercetin works best when taken with vitamin C and Bromelain, as vitamin C helps activate it and bromelain helps with the absorption. Do not forget to combine it with zinc.

Is quercetin a safer alternative to hydroxychloroquine? Although hydroxychloroquine is a relatively safe drug, it's still a synthetic chemical that can have side effects. Quercetin and Vitamin D, C, Zinc are nutrients that your body require for optimal health. Nutrients are safer alternatives especially if your risk is low e.g. age below 50 and no other chronic illness. 

Other alternatives such as Betadine mouthwash and Betadine nasal spray are over the counter products that you could get easily from your nearest pharmacy. Importantly, you need to start the treatment early. There's a big difference in terms of outcome depending on how early your treatment is. 

Discuss with your doctor on the benefit vs risk for each treatment. If you are on multiple medications, be aware of supplement-drug interactions that might enhance the possibilities of adverse effects.

Hydroxychloroquine, Quercetin and FLCCC Protocols

Hydroxychloroquine and quercetin are all part of the latest FLCCC I-PREVENT and I-CARE early treatment protocols.

For updated prevention protocol and treatment protocol (COVID-19 positive), please check out FLCCC's I-PREVENT and I-CARE protocols.

As of April 2024, there have been 11 published studies of quercetin and COVID-19 (c19quercetin.com). 

A word about quercetin: Some physicians are recommending this supplement to reduce viral illnesses because quercetin acts as a zinc ionophore to improve zinc uptake into cells. It is much less potent than HCQ (hydroxychloroquine) as a zinc transporter, and it does not reach high concentrations in lung cells that HCQ does. Quercetin may help reduce risk of viral illness if you are basically healthy. But it is not potent enough to replace HCQ for treatment of COVID once you have symptoms, and it does not adequately get into lung tissue unless you take massive doses (3-5 grams a day), which cause significant GI (gastrointestinal) side effects such as diarrhea.

Editor's Note: Studies typically use advanced formulations for greatly improved bioavailability.

2. Vitamin D3 - Anti-inflammatory and Anti-coagulant

At this point, there is simply no question that vitamin D optimization is a crucial component of COVID-19 prevention and treatment. In addition to the many studies published during 2020 and 2021, since December 2021, four large systematic meta-analyses (RRRR) have been published, looking at either vitamin D levels, supplementation or both.

A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, published in Pharmaceuticals (Jan 2023), is titled “Protective Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on COVID-19-Related Intensive Care Hospitalisation and Mortality: Definitive Evidence from Meta-Analysis and Trial Sequential Analysis”. Vitamin D cuts the risk of death from COVID-19 by 51% and the risk of ICU admission by 72%.

In all cases, the data consistently show that low vitamin D levels raises your risk of COVID while higher baseline levels and/or supplementation lowers all risks by 1.5 to three times.

The TSA (trial sequential analysis) revealed "the protective role of vitamin D and ICU admission showed that, since the pooling of the studies reached a definite sample size, the positive association is conclusive." To put it another way, the results suggest "a definitive association between the protective role of vitamin D and ICU hospitalization." 

Words like "conclusive" and "definitive" aren't typically used lightly in scientific research. So, this finding is indeed impressive — although not altogether surprising, since a wealth of other data also shows vitamin D's protective effect against COVID-19. What does raise eyebrows, however, is why the study, which has major implications for public health, isn't being talked about — and vitamin D isn't being widely recommended for COVID-19?

Vitamin D, as an immuno-modulator, is a perfect candidate for countering the immune dysregulation common with COVID-19. 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. 

Scientists from Harvard reported in 2021 that hospitalized patients with a 'Vitamin D blood serum level' of ≥30ng/mL had a much lower mortality rate than those with <30ng/mL.

Results of a systematic review and meta-analysis (Nutrients 2021) suggested that COVID-19 mortality risk correlates inversely with vitamin D3 status, and a mortality rate close to zero could theoretically be achieved at 50 ng/ml 25(OH)D3.

In a June 2022 review paper titled “The Role of Diet and Supplements in the Prevention and Progression of COVID-19: Current Knowledge and Open Issues”​ published in the journal Preventive Nutrition and Food Science, researchers said:

"The consumption of vitamin C and D supplements, in addition to a healthy diet, could be promoted as a co-adjuvant therapy for COVID-19..."

For more evidence, check out the evidence tracker on vitamin D and COVID-19 from c19vitamind.com (constantly updated), with more than 100 published treatment studies and more than 130 sufficiency studies by more than 1,000 scientists.
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Vitamin D has also been shown to have an anticoagulant effect. A decrease in 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentration has also been associated with an increased risk of venous thromboembolism (PubMed).

Safety: Daily intakes of up to 25–100 mcg (1,000 IU–4,000 IU) vitamin D in foods and dietary supplements are safe for children (depending on their age) and up to 100 mcg (4,000 IU) are safe for adults. These values, however, do not apply to individuals receiving vitamin D treatment under the care of a physician. Higher intakes (usually from supplements) can lead to nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, confusion, pain, loss of appetite, dehydration, excessive urination and thirst, and kidney stones. In extreme cases, vitamin D toxicity causes renal failure, calcification of soft tissues throughout the body (including in coronary vessels and heart valves), cardiac arrhythmias, and even death.

Excessive vitamin D in combination with lack of vitamin K2 may cause over-absorption of calcium, which in turn may result in calcium deposits in your heart and kidneys and why some experience symptoms of vitamin D toxicity. Part of the explanation for these adverse side effects is that vitamin K2 keeps calcium in its appropriate place — in your teeth and bones and out of soft tissues and arteries.

Vitamin D and Omicron variants

Will Vitamin D Work Against Omicron BA4, BA 5 and XBB variants? Vitamin D is not variant specific because it's primary mode of action is to support the body’s immune system which reacts in a variety of ways against viral attack, not just in a specific antibody reaction to a specific spike protein. 

3. Zinc - Anti-viral 

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. Research on atherosclerosis and diabetes mellitus suggests that zinc deficiency may contribute to low-grade systemic inflammation.

Aging is associated with compromised immunity, that just means that your immune response to pathogens and infections starts to slow and is less robust, including a reduced vaccine immune response/efficacy. ⁣

Improving zinc intake/zinc status improves/modulates/enhances immune function. The flip side is, while some aspects of immunity slow, others increase. Uncontrolled immune responses drive excess inflammation. Zinc helps to balance all of this. ⁣

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states:

“Zinc is involved in numerous aspects of cellular metabolism. It is required for the catalytic activity of approximately 100 enzymes and it plays a role in immune function, protein synthesis, wound healing, DNA synthesis, and cell division. Zinc also supports normal growth and development during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence and is required for proper sense of taste and smell.”

Foods that are high in zinc include oysters, crab, lobster, mussels, red meat, and poultry. Cereals are often fortified with zinc. Most multivitamin and nutritional supplements contain zinc.

Zinc and COVID-19

The use of zinc for SARS-CoV-2 was a topic routinely flagged by COVID fact checkers as “misinformation,” so word didn’t really get out about its potential as an anti-COVID agent. However, there are more than 35 studies that provided evidence on zinc’s promise for keeping people healthy if they get COVID.

Zinc gluconate (R), zinc acetate (R) and zinc sulphate (R) have all been shown to reduce the severity and duration of viral infections such as the common cold. Zinc also appears to be the key ingredient in treatment protocols using hydroxychloroquine (HCQ).

The reason for this is because HCQ is a zinc ionophore (zinc transport molecule), meaning it’s a drug that improves your cells’ uptake of zinc. Once inside your cells, zinc prevents viral replication. This is also why zinc and zinc ionophores need to be taken very early in the illness, or as a prophylactic.

The problem is that zinc is largely insoluble and cannot easily enter through the fatty wall of your cells. Getting all the way into the cell is crucial, as this is where the viral replication occurs. This is why zinc ionophores are so important.

Aside from hydroxychloroquine, other natural, and safer, zinc ionophores include quercetin and epigallocatechin-gallate (EGCG). If given early, zinc along with a zinc ionophore should, at least theoretically, help lower the viral load and prevent the immune system from becoming overloaded.

Check out the evidence tracker on zinc and COVID-19 from c19zinc.com (constantly updated). 

Safety: Taking zinc long term is typically safe for healthy adults, as long as the daily dose is under the set upper limit of 40 mg of elemental zinc (PubMed). Be aware that typical daily doses of zinc provided by zinc lozenges generally exceed tolerable upper limits for zinc, and for this reason, they should not be used for longer than about a week

Excessive doses may interfere with copper absorption, which could negatively affect your immune system as it can cause copper deficiencies, blood disorders and potentially permanent nerve damage. Zinc can also impair the absorption of antibiotics, and use of zinc nasal gels or swabs has been linked to temporary or permanent loss of smell.

When it comes to zinc supplementation, more is not necessarily better. In fact, it can frequently backfire is you do not also maintain a healthy zinc-to-copper ratio. As explained by Chris Masterjohn, who has a Ph.D. in nutritional sciences, in an article and series of Twitter posts:

“In one study, 300mg/day of zinc as two divided doses of 150 mg zinc sulfate decreased important markers of immune function, such as the ability of immune cells known as polymorphonuclear leukocytes to migrate toward and consume bacteria.

The most concerning effect in the context of COVID-19 is that it lowered the lymphocyte stimulation index 3 fold. This is a measure of the ability of T cells to increase their numbers in response to a perceived threat. The reason this is so concerning in the context of COVID-19 is that poor outcomes are associated with low lymphocytes …

The negative effect on lymphocyte proliferation found with 300 mg/day and the apparent safety in this regard of 150 mg/d suggests that the potential for hurting the immune system may begin somewhere between 150-300 mg/d …

It is quite possible that the harmful effect of 300 mg/d zinc on the lymphocyte stimulation index is mediated mostly or completely by induction of copper deficiency …

The negative effect of zinc on copper status has been shown with as little as 60 mg/d zinc. This intake lowers the activity of superoxide dismutase, an enzyme important to antioxidant defense and immune function that depends both on zinc and copper …

A study done with relatively low intakes of zinc suggested that acceptable ratios of zinc to copper range from 2:1 to 15:1 in favor of zinc. Copper appears safe to consume up to a maximum of 10 mg/d.

Notably, the maximum amount of zinc one could consume while staying in the acceptable range of zinc-to-copper ratios and also staying within the upper limit for copper is 150 mg/d.”

Another factor to keep in mind is that certain additives can inhibit zinc absorption, which is the complete opposite of what you’re looking for. For instance, research has shown citric acid, glycine, mannitol and sorbitol can reduce zinc absorption,48 so zinc lozenges containing these ingredients may be less useful.

Zinc Form and Dosage

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.
Chelated zinc is a general form of supplementary zinc in which the zinc is chelated — or bound — to a compound to make it easier for the body to absorb. Zinc picolinate or zinc gluconate are formed when zinc is chelated to picolinic acid or gluconic acid, so the main difference between zinc gluconate and picolinate is what compound it is bound to.

To find out which zinc supplement to consider, check out best zinc supplement.

Most people do not lack an intake of zinc, but in disease state, there might be an increase in demand by the body. The FLCCC I-Prevent protocol recommends 20 - 50 mg a day for prevention and the FLCCC I-Care protocol recommends 75 - 100 mg a day for early treatment of COVID-19. This should not be taken long term without evaluation of your zinc/copper ratios.
The ideal zinc form should 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 dosage back to within 40 mg/d once the exposure risk is back to normal.

4. Nigella Sativa (Black Seed Oil) and Cytokine Storm - Anti-inflammatory

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 more than 10 published clinical studies are available on this dedicated webpage: c19ns.com

5. Melatonin- Anti-inflammatory and anti-viral

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.

Check out the evidence tracker on melatonin and COVID-19 from c19melatonin.com (constantly updated). As of January 2023, there are more than 15 published clinical studies of melatonin for treatment and prevention in COVID-19 and the results are promising even when it's given as a late treatment.

Melatonin is a hormone synthesized in your pineal gland and many other organs. While it is most well-known as a natural sleep regulator, it also has many other important functions. For example, melatonin is a potent antioxidant (Antioxidants, 2020) with the rare ability to enter your mitochondria, where it helps “prevent mitochondrial impairment, energy failure and apoptosis of mitochondria damaged by oxidation.” It also helps recharge glutathione and glutathione deficiency has been linked to COVID-19 severity.

Production of melatonin diminishes with age, contributing to immune dysfunction and increasing oxidative stress, inflammation, and infection susceptibility (Ref). In addition, infectious viruses can suppress melatonin production, disrupting circadian controls and impairing immune function (Ref).

According to a review (Cardinali et al. 2020), melatonin might counteract the consequences of COVID-19 via salutary effects on the sleep/wake cycle and more generally on chronobiology, as well as through its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Based on melatonin’s therapeutic potential and well-established safety profile, it has been suggested those at higher risk for severe illness and complications from viral respiratory infection, including the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions, may benefit most from regular use of 3–10 mg melatonin at bedtime (Ref). 

Fluvoxamine (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) might also exert beneficial effects in COVID patients through its well-characterized ability to substantially increase (~ 2–3-fold) night-time plasma levels of melatonin. This increase appears to result from fluvoxamine’s inhibition of the melatonin-metabolizing liver enzymes (von Bahr et al. 2000).

An Iranian randomised controlled trial (Arch Med Res 2021), studied 74 mild to moderate hospitalized patients. The study showed that adjuvant use of melatonin has a potential to improve clinical symptoms of COVID-19 patients and contribute to a faster return of patients to baseline health.

Some researchers have suggested high doses of melatonin, ranging from 50 to 200 mg twice daily, might help treat patients hospitalized for severe acute respiratory illness (Ref).

In a small Philippine case series study of 10 hospitalised COVID-19 patients, high dose melatonin (hdM) was given in addition (adjuvant) to standard therapy. According to the authors:

"High dose melatonin may have a beneficial role in patients treated for COVID19 pneumonia, in terms of shorter time to clinical improvement, less need for MV, shorter hospital stay, and possibly lower mortality."

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.

6. Vitamin A

Summary results of 10 vitamin A and COVID-19 studies are available on this dedicated webpage: c19early.com/va

Based on this early treatment mortality studies drug league table below, vitamin A might even out-perform vitamin D, ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine:


That said, most clinicians will use the multi-drug or combination approach to get the best outcome. Further, the sorting of the table above is based on only 1 vitamin A study.

7. Curcumin and Turmeric - Anti-inflammatory and anti-viral

Curcumin, a yellow carotenoid from turmeric, is a nutritional therapeutic recommended as part of the FLCCC I-CARE early treatment protocol, and has antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune modulating properties.

There are more than 20 completed studies of curcumin in COVID-19 that suggest that it improves clinical outcome of patients.

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).

Curcumin has been demonstrated (Ref) to suppress several inflammatory cytokines and mediators of their release such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), IL-1, IL-8 and nitric oxide synthase.

8. Vitamin C - Anti-inflammatory

Vitamin C, which most of us reach for with any cold or flu, was used in high doses to great effect by COVID-19 early treatment doctors.

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.

Do take note that the vitamin C dosages given in the hospitals intravenously are different from those over the counter vitamin C supplements. Therefore, when you come across studies on vitamin C, you need to differentiate those that are given intravenously vs oral vitamin C.

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

Safety: The U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is 75 to 120 milligrams per day. Taking large doses of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) on a regular basis lowers your level of copper, so if you are already deficient in copper and take high doses of vitamin C, you can compromise your immune system.

While generally considered safe even in high doses, way too much vitamin C — anything above 2,000 milligrams daily—can cause headaches, insomnia, diarrhea, heartburn, and other issues.

Be aware that there are side effects and risks associated with taking high doses of vitamin C. People sometimes assume there is no harm in taking large doses because vitamin C is water-soluble (i.e. excess vitamin C is excreted from the body), but this is not the case. In addition to causing gastric distress and diarrhea, high doses of vitamin C (over 500 mg per day) over the long-term may increase the risk of cataracts. High-dose vitamin C can also reduce the effectiveness of certain medications and interfere with certain blood tests. Furthermore, very high-dose vitamin C (typically 2,000 mg per day or more) can increase the risk of oxalate nephropathy — a condition in which oxalate crystals are deposited in the kidney, leading to kidney damage and/or kidney failure. Cases of this were shown to rise during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, likely due to increased use of very high dose vitamin C (Fong, Kidney Int Rep 2022).

That said, temporarily taking megadoses of vitamin C supplements to combat a case of the cold or flu is likely not going to cause a problem.

Many vitamin C supplements that are above the US RDA are sold in the market. It’s important to seek a physician’s advice if you intend to take high dose vitamin C on a long term basis. To be on the safe side, you may also request for your kidney functions to be monitored.

For long-term, daily use, your best bet is to eat a diet that is full of high quality organic vegetables and fruits that are minimally processed. Not only will you get vitamin C, but you will get all the other accessory nutrients and micronutrients that are needed to optimize it. 

Vitamin C, Omicron and Deltacron

Will Vitamin C Work Against Omicron or Deltracron? Vitamin C is not variant specific because it's primary mode of action is to support the body’s immune system which reacts in a variety of ways against viral attack, not just in a specific antibody reaction to a specific spike protein. 


9. NAC, Glutathione and COVID-19 - Anti-inflammatory and anti-coagulant

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.

Much of the research on NAC has used an inhaled, liquid form of this compound. This form—which is classified as a drug, not a dietary supplement—is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a mucolytic agent and for decreasing respiratory secretion viscosity (Source). Products containing NAC are also sold as dietary supplements.

NAC and COVID-19

Considering many COVID-19 cases involve blood clots in addition to excessive oxidative stress, and NAC effectively addresses both, NAC should be seriously included in standard of care for COVID-19.
 
For a compilation of more than 10 studies of NAC and COVID-19, check out the list of studies here (constantly updated).

However, in terms of early treatment, the improvement rate is not as impressive as the other natural alternatives i.e. quercetin, black seed oil and vitamin A.

That said, NAC is a natural alternative for aspirin and an over-the-counter supplement that both prevents blood clots and breaks up existing ones i.e. anticoagulant effects. 

Studies have shown that NAC may protect against coagulation problems associated with COVID-19, as it has both anticoagulant (source) and thrombolytic effects (source), meaning it may both prevent clots and break up clots that have already formed.

2017 paper found NAC has potent thrombolytic effects, meaning it breaks down blood clots once they've formed.

Many COVID-19 patients experience serious blood clots, and NAC counteracts hypercoagulation, as it has both anticoagulant and platelet-inhibiting properties.

Consider taking around 500 milligrams/day of NAC, as it helps prevent blood clots and is a precursor for your body to produce the important antioxidant glutathione.
Foods that have a positive impact on glutathione production include cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, green tea, curcumin, rosemary and milk thistle. Getting quality sleep may also help.
Different types of exercise can influence your levels as well. In one study, researchers enrolled 80 healthy but sedentary volunteers to measure the type of exercise that may have the greatest effect. They found that aerobic training in combination with circuit weight training showed the greatest benefit.
NAC and Bromelain was shown to degrade spike protein
In a lab study published in March 2021, the combination of Bromelain and Acetylcysteine (BromAc) present a synergistic effect on COVID-19 virus spike protein destabilization.
NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) vs Glutathione
N-acetyl L-cysteine (NAC), as a precursor of glutathione, helps to replenish intracellular glutathione, a vital cellular antioxidant. NAC has a low molecular weight and is well absorbed via oral administration as compared to glutathione.

NAC may also protect against coagulation problems associated with COVID-19, as it counteracts hypercoagulation and breaks down blood clots.

Glutathione and Zinc

To improve your glutathione, you need zinc, and zinc in combination with hydroxychloroquine (a zinc ionophore or zinc transporter) has been shown effective in the treatment of COVID-19.

Glutathione and Molecular Hydrogen 

One of the best ways to increase glutathione, though, is molecular hydrogen. Molecular hydrogen does so selectively and will not increase glutathione unnecessarily if you don’t need it. You can view Tyler LeBaron’s lecture on the details of how it does this in “How Molecular Hydrogen Can Help Your Immune System.”

Glutathione and Selenium

Selenium is also important, as some of the enzymes involved in glutathione production are selenium-dependent.

Safety: As an FDA-approved drug, the safety profile of NAC has been evaluated (Source). Reported side effects of oral NAC include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, indigestion, and epigastric discomfort. No safety concerns have been reported for products labeled as dietary supplements that contain NAC. (Source)

For NAC contra-indications, check out here.

Update: NAC supplements are now available on Amazon US. 

10. Probiotics and COVID-19 - Anti-inflammatory

Probiotics are living non-pathogenic microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, can have a positive impact on health. Bacteria in the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium genera, as well as Streptococcus thermophiles and Saccharomyces boulardii, are examples of common probiotics (Ref).

You can find a list of more than 20 published clinical studies on probiotics and COVID-19 from c19probiotics.com (constantly updated). However, with an overall improvement of 25% for all studies, the improvement rate is not as impressive as the other natural alternatives i.e. quercetin, black seed oil and vitamin A, based on the aggregated analysis on C19early.org. However, the improvement rate of 61% (based on 8 studies) has made probiotics ranked No. 6 in the COVID-19 all mortality (death rate) studies league table, better than ivermectin and quercetin.

Quercetin, Vitamin C, D, Zinc and Melatonin

Quercetin, Vitamin C, D, Zinc and Melatonin are part of the FLCCC I-MASK+ prevention and early treatment protocols.
 
For updated prevention and early outpatient treatment protocol  for COVID-19 positive, please check out FLCCC I-MASK+ protocol.
 
Quercetin, zinc, vitamin D and C are also part of the Zelenko Protocol.


Other Potential Treatments

For a list of COVID-19 early treatment studies, check out c19early.com (constantly updated).

Summary

The combination of quercetin, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin C and melatonin offer a high virus inhibiting and anti-inflammatory potential with a valuable degree of safety at a time of great uncertainty. Quercetin, zinc, vitamin D and C are also part of the FLCCC I-MASK+ protocol and Zelenko Protocol.

Nutrients and supplements are safer alternatives especially if your risk is low e.g. age below 50 and no other chronic illness. Discuss with your doctor on the benefit vs risk for each treatment. If you are on multiple medications, be aware of supplement-drug interactions that might enhance the possibilities of adverse effects.

However, if your risk is high e.g. age above 60, hypertensive, diabetic and obese; you might wish to consult a doctor and discuss more potent alternatives in the FLCCC I-MASK+ protocol.

The important key takeaway is to get 'early treatment'. That said, 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 above information overwhelming. 
Also, please follow other precautions (as advised by your local health authorities and doctors) in order to minimise your risk.

Treatments do not replace vaccines and other measures. All practical, effective, and safe means should be used. Elimination is a race against viral evolution. No treatment, vaccine, or intervention is 100% available and effective for all variants.
 

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