We've learned a lot the past year about how to fight COVID-19.
The latest studies show an arsenal in your medicine cabinet could be quite simple, in the form of vitamins.
We get all types of medical tests to evaluate everything from blood pressure to cholesterol.
After dozens of studies have recently shown the importance of Vitamin D when fighting COVID-19, Dr. Peter Osborne with Origins Nutrition Center suggests, you consider a blood test to check your vitamin levels.
"I think that's probably one of the smartest things that a person could do right now, with an unpredictable role of a relatively unknown illness. What we do know at this point about vitamin therapy, particularly about vitamin D, a new study has come out and a new analysis has come out on what we know about vitamin D and COVID. So far, here's what we know: people with low vitamin D who get COVID have a greater tendency toward dying, have a greater tendency toward hyper-inflammation in the cytokine storm that comes with COVID, and have a greater tendency toward getting on ventilators, which are very bad because ventilators don't work very well for COVID. When a person's on a ventilator with COVID it's not a good thing. So, the outcomes aren't great, so if we can keep people off of ventilators and we can keep their immune system supported really well with nutrition, that ideally that makes the most sense," explains Dr. Osborne.
He also says the most recent studies show that nine out of 10 COVID-19 deaths could be prevented if people had adequate Vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D in our bodies often goes down in the wintertime, because fewer people are outside and not soaking it up from the sun. You need at least 20 minutes of sunlight every day to get an adequate amount, which is why a supplement is often needed to get to a healthy level.
Some hospitals around the country are even using vitamins as a treatment for COVID-19, not just prevention.
"A lot of doctors are now learning this and coming out and saying it! The East Virginia School of Medicine actually has a COVID protocol that includes Vitamin D. So if you're a patient who gets hospitalized for COVID, they're automatically putting you on between 20,000 and 60,000 units of Vitamin D. This is part of their standard of care protocol in that hospital system," says Dr. Osborne.
Dr. Osborne believes Vitamin D is one of the most simple and affordable ways to help you stay healthy.
"Vitamin D is very inexpensive. You can buy it at the local nutrition store, and it might just save your life, should you get sick. With vitamin D, there's a therapy that can be done that I recommend, and it's 1000 international units (IU) of vitamin D per pound. So if you're 100 pounds, you would take 100,000 international units of vitamin D for three days. After that, you don't have to keep taking those higher doses, but three days of high dose vitamin D will elevate your serum vitamin D levels to adequate levels," states Dr. Osborne.
If you have a condition called sarcoidosis – Dr. Osborne says this many vitamins would not be safe for you.
It’s important to talk to your own doctor before taking a new vitamin regimen, to make sure it’s safe for you and doesn’t affect any prescriptions you’re taking or any other medical conditions.
Along with following the CDC health guidelines, he encourages everyone to think of boosting their immune systems as a four-pronged approach, using four different supplements.
Number 1: Vitamin D, get your levels up, and you can also ask your doctor to test your levels, a very easy blood test.
Number 2: Vitamin C, we know it's working well. There have been some studies on COVID where vitamin C has shown to have very good benefits in the outcome of an illness.
Number 3: Zinc stops viral replication multiple ways, so it prevents the virus from hijacking your DNA, prevents the virus from replicating. It also prevents the virus from entering the cell, so zinc is very important right now.
Number 4: Quercetin, which is what's called a natural bioflavonoid. Quercetin opens up the cells in your body so that zinc can get inside your cells, where it works. So think of quercetin as the key. Think of zinc as the repairman, that is allowed into the house, so-to-speak," says Dr. Osborne.
Some hospitals are treating COVID with all four of those supplements. Dr. Osborne says these are the ones to focus on to cover your bases, nutritionally. There are only a few dietary sources of vitamin D like cod liver oil, fatty fish, and mushrooms that could help you reach the recommended daily allowance, but you would have to eat a lot of it.
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