Can Supplements Help Fight COVID-19? Here’s What We Know

Can Supplements Help Fight COVID-19? Here’s What We Know

  • October 19, 2020

By Laura Beil

Consumers have long turned to vitamins and herbs to try to protect themselves from disease. This pandemic is no different — especially with headlines that scream “This supplement could save you from coronavirus.


It also helps to have celebrity enthusiasts. When President Donald Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19, his pill arsenal included Vitamin D and zinc. And in an Instagram chat with actress Jennifer Garner in September, infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci touted vitamins C and D as ways that might generally boost the immune system. “If you’re deficient in vitamin D,” he noted, “that does have an impact on your susceptibility to infection. I would not mind recommending, and I do it myself, taking vitamin D supplements.”

But whether over-the-counter supplements can actually prevent, or even treat, COVID-19, is not clear. Since the disease is so new, researchers haven’t had much time for the kind of large experiments that provide the best answers. Instead, scientists have mostly relied on fresh takes on old data. Some studies have looked at outcomes of patients who routinely take certain supplements — and found some promising hints. But so far there’s little data from the kinds of scientifically rigorous experiments that give doctors confidence when recommending supplements.

Here’s what we know today about three supplements getting plenty of attention around COVID-19.

Vitamin D

What it is: Called “the sunshine vitamin” because the body makes it naturally in the presence of ultraviolet light, Vitamin D is one of the most heavily studied supplements (SN: 1/27/19). Certain foods, including fish and fortified milk products, are also high in the vitamin.

Why it might help: Vitamin D is a hormone building block that helps strengthen the immune system.

How it works for other infections: In 2017, the British Medical Journal published a meta-analysis that suggested a daily vitamin D supplement might help prevent respiratory infections, particularly in people who are deficient in the vitamin.

But one key word here is deficient. That risk is highest during dark winters at high latitudes and among people with more color in their skin (melanin, a pigment that’s higher in darker skin, inhibits the production of vitamin D).

“If you have enough vitamin D in your body, the evidence doesn’t stack up to say that giving you more will make a real difference,” says Susan Lanham-New, head of the Nutritional Sciences Department at the University of Surrey in England.

And taking too much can create new health problems, stressing certain internal organs and leading to a dangerously high calcium buildup in the blood. The recommended daily allowance for adults is 600 to 800 International Units per day, and the upper limit is considered to be 4,000 IUs per day.

What we know about Vitamin D and COVID-19: Few studies have looked directly at whether vitamin D makes a difference in COVID.

In May, in the BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health, Lanham-New and her colleagues published a summary of existing evidence and concluded that there’s only enough to recommend vitamin D to help with COVID-19 prevention for people who are deficient. That paper made inferences from how vitamin D works against other respiratory tract infections and immune health.

More than a dozen studies are now testing vitamin D directly for prevention and treatment, including a large one led by JoAnn Manson, a leading expert on vitamin D. An epidemiologist and preventive medicine physician at Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. That study will analyze if vitamin D can affect the course of a COVID-19 infection. The trial aims to recruit 2,700 people across the United States with newly diagnosed infections, along with their close household contacts.

The goal is to determine whether newly diagnosed people given high doses of vitamin D — 3,200 IU per day — are less likely than people who get a placebo to experience severe symptoms and need hospitalization. “The biological plausibility for a benefit in COVID is compelling,” she says, given the nutrient’s theoretical ability to impede the severe inflammatory reaction that can follow coronavirus infection. “However the evidence is not conclusive at this time.”

Zinc

What it is: Zinc, a mineral found in cells all over the body, is found naturally in certain meats, beans and oysters.

Why it might help: It plays several supportive roles in the immune system, which is why zinc lozenges are always hot sellers in cold and flu season. Zinc also helps with cell division and growth.

How it works for other infections: Studies of using zinc for colds — which are frequently caused by coronaviruses — suggest that using a supplement right after symptoms start might make them go away quicker. That said, a clinical trial from researchers in Finland and the United Kingdom, published in January in BMJ Open did not find any value for zinc lozenges for the treatment of colds. Some researchers have theorized that inconsistencies in data for colds may be explained by varying amounts of zinc released in different lozenges.

What we know about zinc and COVID-19: The mineral is promising enough that it was added to some early studies of hydroxychloroquine, a drug tested early in the pandemic. (Studies have since shown that hydroxychloroquine can’t prevent or treat COVID-19 (SN: 8/2/20).)

In July, researchers from Aachen University in Germany wrote in Frontiers of Immunology that current evidence “strongly suggests great benefits of zinc supplementation” based on looking at similar infections including SARS, another disease caused by a coronavirus. For example, studies suggest that giving zinc reduces the risk for death from a pneumonia infection. The researchers cite evidence that zinc might help prevent the virus from entering the body, and help slow the virus’s replication when it does.

Another review — also based on indirect evidence — published August 1 in Advances in Integrative Medicine also concluded that zinc might be helpful in people who are deficient.

In September, researchers from Hospital Del Marin Barcelona reported that among 249 patients studied, those who survived COVID had higher zinc levels in their plasma (an average of 63.1 mcg/dl) than those who died (43mcg/dl).

Overall, though, the jury is still out, says Suma Thomas, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, who in June led a team that reviewed the evidence for popular supplements in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. Given what’s already known, zinc could possibly decrease the duration of infection but not the severity of symptoms, she said, particularly among people who are deficient. About a dozen studies are now looking at zinc for COVID treatment, often with other drugs or supplements.

Thomas and her colleagues are comparing symptom severity and future hospitalization in COVID-19 patients who take zinc with and without high doses of vitamin C with those who receive ordinary care without the supplement. Results are expected soon, she says.

Vitamin C

What it is: Also called L-ascorbic acid, vitamin C has a long list of roles in the body. It’s found naturally in fruits and vegetables, especially citrus, peppers and tomatoes.

Why it might help: It’s a potent antioxidant that’s important for a healthy immune system and preventing inflammation.

How it works for other infections: Thomas cautions that the data on vitamin C are often contradictory. One review from Chinese researchers, published in February in the Journal of Medical Virology, looked at what is already known about vitamin C and other supplements that might have a role in COVID-19 treatment. Among other encouraging signs, human studies find a lower incidence of pneumonia among people taking vitamin C, “suggesting that vitamin C might prevent the susceptibility to lower respiratory tract infections under certain conditions.”

But for preventing colds, a 2013 Cochrane review of 29 studies didn’t support the idea that vitamin C supplements could help in the general population. However, the authors wrote, given that vitamin C is cheap and safe, “it may be worthwhile for common cold patients to test on an individual basis whether therapeutic vitamin C is beneficial.”

What we know about Vitamin C and COVID-19: About a dozen studies are under way or planned to examine whether vitamin C added to coronavirus treatment helps with symptoms or survival, including Thomas’ study at the Cleveland Clinic.

In a review published online in July in Nutrition, researchers from KU Leuven in Belgium concluded that the vitamin may help prevent infection and tamp down the dangerous inflammatory reaction that can cause severe symptoms, based on what is known about how the nutrient works in the body.

Melissa Badowski, a pharmacist who specializes in viral infections at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy and colleague Sarah Michienzi published an extensive look at all supplements that might be useful in the coronavirus epidemic. There’s still not enough evidence to know whether they are helpful, the pair concluded in July in Drugs in Context. “It’s not really clear if it’s going to benefit patients,” Badowski says.

And while supplements are generally safe, she adds that nothing is risk free. The best way to avoid infection, she says, is still to follow the advice of epidemiologists and public health experts: “Wash your hands, wear a mask, stay six feet apart.”

This story was originally published by Science News, a nonprofit independent news organization.

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Coronavirus | Ayurveda supplements see sales boost despite thin research evidence on efficacy

Coronavirus | Ayurveda supplements see sales boost despite thin research evidence on efficacy

  • October 18, 2020

Companies marketing these products have capitalised on the association between COVID-19 and immunity

For a chemist shop that’s usually lined with pharmaceutical drugs, Noida-based proprietor Mahesh Agrawal prominently displays his containers of Dabur Chyawanprash. “There’s a lot of demand for them along with honey and sales have increased ever since the unlockdown began.”

Multiple grocers and stores that sell organic-labelled products say they have been seeing a sharp demand for products that are even tangentially linked to “boosting immunity”.

Amul markets turmeric-flavoured milk called Amul “Haldi Doodh,” that purports to having the “goodness of milk with the centuries old immunity boosting and healing properties of haldi”.

Rising sentiment

A July report by market research company Nielsen says chyawanprash sales have increased by 283% in June, while the sales of branded honey increased by 39%. “There is a rising sentiment towards ‘local’ with increasing support for Atma Nirbhar Bharat and Ayurveda,” the report said.

“From April-June, we saw a nearly 7-fold growth in demand [compared to last year] for Dabur Chyawanprash. Other Ayurvedic products like Ashwagandha, Dabur Giloy Ghanvati, Dabur Health Juices like Amla juice, Giloy-Neem-Tulsi Juice etc, have also reported strong growth,” Mohit Malhotra, CEO, Dabur India, told The Hindu. “People are now more inclined to prophylactic health remedies, especially immunity boosting products. This trend would sustain, going forward.”

Shoppers told The Hindu that while they didn’t believe immunity products would protect them from COVID-19, they saw it as a way to bolster their immune defences. “I regularly take chyawanprash but will never go to an Ayurveda doctor,” said Swapan Banerjee, a teacher. “These products do no harm and play a role in general good health, from my experience but aren’t substitutes for masks, social distancing, avoiding crowds and getting tested.”

Companies that have been marketing these products have capitalised on the association between COVID-19 and immunity and the government’s encouragement of Ayurveda and yoga for mild and moderate infections as well for aiding recovery post COVID-19.

An 11-member committee led by former ICMR chief recommended that in the “short term… “Guduchi(Tinospora cordifolia) aqueous extract, guduchi+pippali (Piper longum), aqueous extracts and AYUSH 64 (a drug with multiple herbs developed by the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences) be recommended for inclusion in the standard care for mild to moderate cases of COVID-19”.

However, a perusal of the research studies listed show that none of them have been fully tested for their effectiveness in COVID management and all the evidence relies on the herbs’ effects in controlling fever in malaria and in recovery from “influenza like illnesses”.

High binding efficacy

Ashwagandha has been recommended by the committee because laboratory studies show that it “inhibited the entry” of the SARS-CoV-2 viruses into healthy cells and guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) showed “high binding efficacy” against SARS-CoV-2 targets involved in attachment and replication of the virus, compared to Favipiravir, Lopinavir/Ritonavir.”

However unlike the latter, these haven’t been tested in controlled, comparative trials. In fact, the most recent human trials show that all of the drugs that in lab studies showed promising anti-viral activity but weren’t significantly effective in improving disease outcomes.

The viral cells, as it is now understood, infiltrate the lung cells and multiply. The SARS-CoV-2, scientists say, is particularly sneaky and the body’s immune system is frequently unable to detect these viral particles early on to neutralise them and keep them proliferating. As has been seen in instances of those suffering a severe infection, the immune system goes into an overdrive. The body is deluged by chemical messengers called cytokines that, while alerting the body’s defence cells to destroy the virus, also trigger inflammation in multiple organs. It’s to stem such over-reaction, that many a time ends up being fatal, that steroids such as dexamethason are administered.

Thus the holy grail of COVID treatment is to ensure that immune system fights the virus without going berserk.

Complex mix of herbs

In the Ayurveda system, chyawanprash is a “complex mix of herbs” and several common herbs — like turmeric, black pepper and ginger infusions contribute in varying measures to keeping the immune system in a state of preparedness against fighting pathogens, said an expert.

“Turmeric, Ashwagandha, giloy all confer varying degree of immunity and may confer varying degrees of benefit to different people, depending on their individual constitution,” said Bhavna Prasher, an Ayurveda doctor and scientist at the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology.

In the modern-science view, there are two kinds of immunity: one is ‘innate’ immunity which is the first line of defence against an infection. A class of cells called “natural killer cells” and produced in the bone marrow directly attack infectious microbes. The other, a so-called adaptive immunity, where specialised cells produced in the thymus gland actively monitor — and produce antibodies that are specific to viruses and bacteria. Both systems work in tandem.

Ayurvedic literature, said Prasher, suggests that several of the herbs have been tested in immune disorders and there is evidence to show that many of them have ‘immunomodulatory’ properties, meaning they are able to either amplify or suppress immune system responses.

“They are good at keeping the body or moving it towards a state of homeostasis — a state of internal stability that allows the body to keep itself in a state of health. However, Ayurveda is not only about these formulations and depending on the degree of sickness, there are other interventions. These are popular because they aren’t harmful and generally protective.”

Donation of $1.35 Million Worth of Immunity-Boosting Supplements Going to Philadelphia's Frontline Municipal Union Workers | News

Donation of $1.35 Million Worth of Immunity-Boosting Supplements Going to Philadelphia’s Frontline Municipal Union Workers | News

  • October 18, 2020

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — AlchemLife™ USA, a Philadelphia-based manufacturer of high-quality phytonutrients and herbal extracts, in partnership with Stevenson Advocacy LLC, a Philadelphia-based business development, government affairs and international relations consulting firm, today donated $1.35 million worth of immunity-boosting PhytoRelief-CC supplements to Philadelphia’s municipal union workers – police officers, firefighters, paramedics, sanitation workers, DHS social workers and others – who are on the frontlines of the city’s battle to halt the spread of COVID-19. 

$1.35 million worth of immunity-boosting PhytoRelief-CC supplements to Philadelphia’s municipal union workers”

All city municipal workers come into frequent contact with citizens on a daily basis, putting them at greater risk of exposure to the virus. These city employees are working nearly around the clock during the COVID-19 pandemic. The immunity-boosting PhytoRelief-CC-CC supplements will help these tired municipal workers protect their own depleted immune systems during this worldwide health crisis. 

The announcement of the donation was made today at a socially-distanced press conference outside Philadelphia City Hall attended by AlchemLife™ USA Vice President Tabitha Albert, Stevenson Advocacy CEO Brian Stevenson, Philadelphia Deputy Mayor for Labor Rich Lazer Philadelphia FOP Lodge 5 President John McNesby, Firefighters & Paramedics Union Local 22 Vice President Chuck McQuilkin, D.C. 33 President Pete Matthews and D.C. 47 President Catherine Scott. The four union leaders represent more than 27,000 Philadelphia municipal workers.

This marks the second major contribution to frontline Philadelphia workers by AlchemLife™ USA during the pandemic. in April of this year, the company donated $150,000 worth of immunity-boosting PhytoRelief-CC supplements to the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff of the Jefferson Health System. 

“AlchemLife USA has the philanthropic heart and manufacturing capacity to make this much-needed contribution to Philadelphia’s hardworking municipal workers,” said AlchemLife™ USA Vice President Tabitha Albert. “We’re proud to be able to make this humanitarian contribution in coordination with Stevenson Advocacy, a trusted business partner in Philadelphia, for the benefit of the city’s municipal workers who are working so hard to keep citizens safe during these challenging times.”

Stevenson Advocacy CEO Brian Stevenson, who brokered the in-kind donation to the city, added

“I have many friends in the city’s vast network of municipal unions – police, firefighters, blue collar workers and white-collar workers. I know that these men and women are working around the clock during the pandemic. I also know how much they will appreciate receiving this donation of a wonderful, 100% organic, immunity-boosting supplement right now, when they need it most.”

AlchemLife™ USA’s patented PhytoAdvance™ Technology, a precise method of extracting active plant phytonutrients to provide natural, beneficial health support, is what allows PhytoRelief-CC Herbal supplements to aid in normal, healthy immune function. Recent studies indicate that using the PhytoRelief-CC, a patented combination of ginger, turmeric, and pomegranate, have shown a significant boost in the Lysozyme count, which could conceivably enhance one’s immunity system four-fold. The saliva in one’s mouth serves as the first line of defense that protects the body against viral and bacterial infections. Human saliva contains Lysozymes which are immunity building enzymes that aid in the fight against infections.       

AlchemLife is a branch of Alchem International, a global phytochemical company active in 35 nations since 1935. Further information is available at alchemlife.com/us 

Alchem USA Inc.
1628 JFK Blvd
8 Penn Center, Flr 6, Ste 610
Philadelphia, PA 19103
800-201-1081
customercare@alcheminternational.com 
www.AlchemLife.com/us 

What can vitamin D and zinc do to fight COVID-19?

What can vitamin D and zinc do to fight COVID-19?

  • October 16, 2020

Several recent studies have looked at the impact of vitamin D and zinc on COVID-19.

One study of 489 people found that those who had a vitamin D deficiency were more likely to test positive for the virus.

Another study found that of 50 people with COVID-19 in the hospital, only one needed ICU treatment after being given high doses of vitamin D.

By this point, we’ve all seen patients in the hospital receive these supplements.

The most notable, President Trump, received a mixture of vitamin D and zinc along with a number of other experimental drugs.

Does it work?

According to the National Institutes of Health, because of the suspected benefits, availability and cheap cost, they’d like to find something this simple can cure or prevent coronavirus, but the truth is, it’s not proven yet.

Registered dietitian Erin Gussler explains the possible benefits, “They can help the immune system identify pathogens in the body, so helping the immune system recognize the virus in the body and they also are part of the immune system and the mechanism that blocks the viruses from being able to get into the cells.”

How much vitamin D do I need?

Unfortunately, between working inside and wearing sunscreen, Americans generally don’t soak up enough sun to produce vitamin D.

“You can find it naturally in liver, egg yolks, butter, oily fish,” Gussler said.

Ask your doctor for a blood test to determine how much vitamin D you may need with an over-the-counter pill. Gussler said needs can vary from 1,00 IUs to 50,000 IUs.

Should I take zinc?

“Research is really supporting that zinc supplementation does reduce the severity, the frequency and the duration of the common cold,” Gussler said. “Obviously the research isn’t quite out there on COVID but we can extrapolate that it does have a lot of immune benefits.”

If you’re sick, you may notice a boost of zinc can help you feel better. Both zinc and vitamin D are the main ingredients in many over-the-counter cold medicines.

If you’re not sick, Gussler recommends only taking zinc through a multi-vitamin, typically not large amounts by itself.

“Zinc and copper compete for the same receptor site in the body,” Gussler said. “So, if you do a lot of zinc and not supplementing copper and making sure you’re getting enough copper, you can actually create a copper deficiency which can cause anemia for some people.”

There are some zinc tablets that also contain copper, which you can ask your doctor if that’s a good option for you.

The foods which contain Zinc also contain copper, which naturally helps to balance each other: Meat, shellfish, chickpeas, lentils, beans, nuts and seeds.

Isn’t vitamin D deficiency common in the US?

It sure is!

Vitamin D deficiency is particularly common among Hispanic and black people, two groups who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Vitamin D deficiency is also more common in people who are older, and those who are obese or have high blood pressure. Again, these factors also increase the risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Copyright 2020 by KPRC Click2Houston – All rights reserved.

Here’s what we know about using supplements to fight COVID-19

Here’s what we know about using supplements to fight COVID-19

  • October 16, 2020

Consumers have long turned to vitamins and herbs to try to protect themselves from disease. This pandemic is no different — especially with headlines that scream “This supplement could save you from coronavirus.”

It also helps to have celebrity enthusiasts. When President Donald Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19, his pill arsenal included Vitamin D and zinc. And in an Instagram chat with actress Jennifer Garner in September, infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci touted vitamins C and D as ways that might generally boost the immune system. “If you’re deficient in vitamin D,” he noted, “that does have an impact on your susceptibility to infection. I would not mind recommending, and I do it myself, taking vitamin D supplements.”

But whether over-the-counter supplements can actually prevent, or even treat, COVID-19, is not clear. Since the disease is so new, researchers haven’t had much time for the kind of large experiments that provide the best answers. Instead, scientists have mostly relied on fresh takes on old data. Some studies have looked at outcomes of patients who routinely take certain supplements — and found some promising hints. But so far there’s little data from the kinds of scientifically rigorous experiments that give doctors confidence when recommending supplements.

Here’s what we know today about three supplements getting plenty of attention around COVID-19.

Vitamin D

What it is: Called “the sunshine vitamin” because the body makes it naturally in the presence of ultraviolet light, Vitamin D is one of the most heavily studied supplements (SN: 1/27/19). Certain foods, including fish and fortified milk products, are also high in the vitamin. 

Why it might help: Vitamin D is a hormone building block that helps strengthen the immune system.

How it works for other infections: In 2017, the British Medical Journal published a meta-analysis that suggested a daily vitamin D supplement might help prevent respiratory infections, particularly in people who are deficient in the vitamin.

But one key word here is deficient. That risk is highest during dark winters at high latitudes and among people with more color in their skin (melanin, a pigment that’s higher in darker skin, inhibits the production of vitamin D).

“If you have enough vitamin D in your body, the evidence doesn’t stack up to say that giving you more will make a real difference,” says Susan Lanham-New, head of the Nutritional Sciences Department at the University of Surrey in England.

And taking too much can create new health problems, stressing certain internal organs and leading to a dangerously high calcium buildup in the blood. The recommended daily allowance for adults is 600 to 800 International Units per day, and the upper limit is considered to be 4,000 IUs per day.

What we know about Vitamin D and COVID-19: Few studies have looked directly at whether vitamin D makes a difference in COVID.

In May, in the BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health, Lanham-New and her colleagues published a summary of existing evidence and concluded that there’s only enough to recommend vitamin D to help with COVID-19 prevention for people who are deficient. That paper made inferences from how vitamin D works against other respiratory tract infections and immune health.

More than a dozen studies are now testing vitamin D directly for prevention and treatment, including a large one led by JoAnn Manson, a leading expert on vitamin D. An epidemiologist and preventive medicine physician at Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. That study will analyze if vitamin D can affect the course of a COVID-19 infection. The trial aims to recruit 2,700 people across the United States with newly diagnosed infections, along with their close household contacts.

The goal is to determine whether newly diagnosed people given high doses of vitamin D — 3,200 IU per day — are less likely than people who get a placebo to experience severe symptoms and need hospitalization. “The biological plausibility for a benefit in COVID is compelling,” she says, given the nutrient’s theoretical ability to impede the severe inflammatory reaction that can follow coronavirus infection. “However the evidence is not conclusive at this time.”

Zinc

What it is: Zinc, a mineral found in cells all over the body, is found naturally in certain meats, beans and oysters.

Why it might help: It plays several supportive roles in the immune system, which is why zinc lozenges are always hot sellers in cold and flu season. Zinc also helps with cell division and growth.

How it works for other infections:  Studies of using zinc for colds — which are frequently caused by coronaviruses — suggest that using a supplement right after symptoms start might make them go away quicker. That said, a clinical trial from researchers in Finland and the United Kingdom, published in January in BMJ Open did not find any value for zinc lozenges for the treatment of colds. Some researchers have theorized that inconsistences in data for colds may be explained by varying amounts of zinc released in different lozenges.

What we know about zinc and COVID-19: The mineral is promising enough that it was added to some early studies of hydroxychloroquine, a drug tested early in the pandemic. (Studies have since shown that hydroxychloroquine can’t prevent or treat COVID-19 (SN: 8/2/20).)

In July, researchers from Aachen University in Germany wrote in Frontiers of Immunology that current evidence “strongly suggests great benefits of zinc supplementation” based on looking at similar infections including SARS, another disease caused by a coronavirus. For example, studies suggest that giving zinc reduces the risk for death from a pneumonia infection. The researchers cite evidence that zinc might help prevent the virus from entering the body, and help slow the virus’s replication when it does.

Another review — also based on indirect evidence — published August 1 in Advances in Integrative Medicine also concluded that zinc might be helpful in people who are deficient.

In September, researchers from Hospital Del Marin Barcelona reported that among 249 patients studied, those who survived COVID had higher zinc levels in their plasma (an average of 63.1 mcg/dl) than those who died (43mcg/dl).

Overall, though, the jury is still out, says Suma Thomas, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, who in June led a team that reviewed the evidence for popular supplements in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. Given what’s already known, zinc could possibly decrease the duration of infection but not the severity of symptoms, she said, particularly among people who are deficient. About a dozen studies are now looking at zinc for COVID treatment, often with other drugs or supplements.

Thomas and her colleagues are comparing symptom severity and future hospitalization in COVID-19 patients who take zinc with and without high doses of vitamin C with those who receive ordinary care without the supplement. Results are expected soon, she says.

Vitamin C

What it is: Also called L-ascorbic acid, vitamin C has a long list of roles in the body. It’s found naturally in fruits and vegetables, especially citrus, peppers and tomatoes.

Why it might help: It’s a potent antioxidant that’s important for a healthy immune system and preventing inflammation.

How it works for other infections: Thomas cautions that the data on vitamin C are often contradictory. One review from Chinese researchers, published in February in the Journal of Medical Virology, looked at what is already known about vitamin C and other supplements that might have a role in COVID-19 treatment. Among other encouraging signs, human studies find a lower incidence of pneumonia among people taking vitamin C, “suggesting that vitamin C might prevent the susceptibility to lower respiratory tract infections under certain conditions.”

But for preventing colds, a 2013 Cochrane review of 29 studies didn’t support the idea that vitamin C supplements could help in the general population. However, the authors wrote, given that vitamin C is cheap and safe, “it may be worthwhile for common cold patients to test on an individual basis whether therapeutic vitamin C is beneficial.”

What we know about Vitamin C and COVID-19: About a dozen studies are under way or planned to examine whether vitamin C added to coronavirus treatment helps with symptoms or survival, including Thomas’ study at the Cleveland Clinic.

In a review published online in July in Nutrition, researchers from KU Leuven in Belgium concluded that the vitamin may help prevent infection and tamp down the dangerous inflammatory reaction that can cause severe symptoms, based on what is known about how the nutrient works in the body.

Melissa Badowski, a pharmacist who specializes in viral infections at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy and colleague Sarah Michienzi published an extensive look at all supplements that might be useful in the coronavirus epidemic. There’s still not enough evidence to know whether they are helpful, the pair concluded in July in Drugs in Context. “It’s not really clear if it’s going to benefit patients,” Badowski says.

And while supplements are generally safe, she adds that nothing is risk free. The best way to avoid infection, she says, is still to follow the advice of epidemiologists and public health experts: “Wash your hands, wear a mask, stay six feet apart.”

8 Supplements Dietitians Are Taking During Cold and Flu Season

8 Supplements Dietitians Are Taking During Cold and Flu Season

  • October 15, 2020

Key Takeaways

  • Not all “immune-boosting” supplements will help keep you healthy during cold and flu season.
  • The dietitians we spoke with only take certain supplements for immune support, and some are only taken once a cold or the flu sets in.

Cold and flu season is upon us, which for some means loading up on “immunity-boosting” supplements and remedies. While some people take supplements by the handful during this time of the year, nutrition experts tend to only keep a few key options in their medicine cabinet during the chillier months. 

Since supplements are largely unregulated in the United States, non-food remedies that claim to prevent the flu or keep you healthy may overpromise and underdeliver. Yet supplement sales continue to climb, with revenue from vitamin and nutritional supplement production reaching nearly 31 billion dollars in the United States in 2018.

So which supplements are worth the investment? While remaining mindful about the different nutritional needs and requirements unique to each person, we asked registered dietitians what they keep stocked in their own homes during cold and flu season.

Dietitians are all about evidence-based recommendations, so it’s worthwhile to take a virtual peek into their medicine cabinets. Just make sure to get the green light from your doctor before you start any supplementation plan. 

Vitamin D

One vitamin seemingly popular among the registered dietitian community is vitamin D. “Supplementation of vitamin D is critical to help ward off infections,” Brittany Scanniello, RD, a Colorado-based registered dietitian tells Verywell. In addition to assisting with calcium absorption and bone health, vitamin D’s role “includes effects on cell proliferation as well as immune-supporting effects,” she says.

Melissa Azzarro, RD, a New Hampshire-based registered dietitian and author of A Balanced Approach To PCOS, also takes vitamin D during the cold and flu season.

“Since I am indoors more often, my body is not making this important vitamin from sun exposure,” Azzarro tells Verywell, adding that adequate vitamin D levels support a healthy and functioning immune system. 

Vitamin C

Along with vitamin D, Azzarro keeps additional vitamin C on hand during cold and flu season. “Although additional supplementation of this vitamin won’t help me prevent getting sick, it has been shown to help reduce the duration of a cold,” she explains. Once a cold sets in, she pops a vitamin C along with her daily supplementation plan.

Zinc Lozenges

Whenever she feels under the weather, Azzaro turns to zinc lozenges. “If taken within the first day of illness, this supplement may reduce the duration of illness in some people,” she says. However, she cautions against taking zinc supplements every day along with a multivitamin, as multivitamins often already provide adequate amounts of this mineral.  

Green Tea

While not technically a supplement, green tea is a staple in the home of Melissa Nieves, LND, RD, MPH, a registered dietitian and owner of FadFreeNutrition.com. 

“Green tea is a great source of antioxidants that help keep the immune system healthy and help ward off flu viruses,” Nieves tells Verywell. She says some of the ways tea catechins and polyphenols are thought to help impede influenza viral replication include:

  • Inhibiting the interaction of a virus with the cell membrane when it invades a cell 
  • Increasing natural killer (NK) cell activity
  • Suppressing viral genome replication and viral protein expression

Garlic

Scanniello says while she loves garlic as an immune-supporting food, eating it every day is not realistic. “Since a compound found in garlic has been shown to support the disease-fighting response of some white blood cells in the body when fighting a cold or the flu, I like to make sure that my body is fueled up when we enter cold and flu season,” she says. “An allicin-containing garlic supplement has its place in my regimen from October through April.” 

Elderberry

Another supplement found in Azzarro’s home during the colder months is elderberry. However, she only takes it once she feels the onset of illness. “Since the data suggests that taking elderberry can reduce flu symptoms, I am all about it,” Azzarro says. 

Probiotic

Probiotics, or live and active bacteria, are a wellness go-to for Whitney Gingerich, MA, RD, an Indiana-based registered dietitian. She takes probiotics consistently during cold and flu season. Certain strains of probiotics offer therapeutic potential for viral infection.

Medicinal Mushrooms

From coffee to candies, there is no shortage of medicinal mushroom products on the market. Scanniello incorporates these into her diet, especially during the winter season. 

“Medicinal mushrooms have been shown to impact our immune systems in a positive way,” Scanniello says. “They can help keep our immune system in balance—stimulating it when there is something to fight. I often aim for medicinal mushroom ‘blends’ as each mushroom has its own benefit and its own immunomodulating effects.” 

Scanniello adds a blend of Chaga, Turkey tail, reishi, maitake, lions mane, cordyceps, and shiitake via powder to her daily smoothie. “All of these have been shown to have immune-balancing effects and are full of antioxidants,” she says.

What This Means For You

Knowing what registered dietitians are taking to help keep themselves healthy may help guide you on your own supplement selection. Just make sure your doctor approves of any supplementation plan before you start. 

Donation of $1.35 Million Worth of Immunity-Boosting Supplements Going to Philadelphia's Frontline Municipal Union Workers

Donation of $1.35 Million Worth of Immunity-Boosting Supplements Going to Philadelphia’s Frontline Municipal Union Workers

  • October 14, 2020

All city municipal workers come into frequent contact with citizens on a daily basis, putting them at greater risk of exposure to the virus. These city employees are working nearly around the clock during the COVID-19 pandemic. The immunity-boosting PhytoRelief-CC-CC supplements will help these tired municipal workers protect their own depleted immune systems during this worldwide health crisis. 

The announcement of the donation was made today at a socially-distanced press conference outside Philadelphia City Hall attended by AlchemLife™ USA Vice President Tabitha Albert, Stevenson Advocacy CEO Brian Stevenson, Philadelphia Deputy Mayor for Labor Rich Lazer Philadelphia FOP Lodge 5 President John McNesby, Firefighters & Paramedics Union Local 22 Vice President Chuck McQuilkin, D.C. 33 President Pete Matthews and D.C. 47 President Catherine Scott. The four union leaders represent more than 27,000 Philadelphia municipal workers.

This marks the second major contribution to frontline Philadelphia workers by AlchemLife™ USA during the pandemic. in April of this year, the company donated $150,000 worth of immunity-boosting PhytoRelief-CC supplements to the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff of the Jefferson Health System. 

“AlchemLife USA has the philanthropic heart and manufacturing capacity to make this much-needed contribution to Philadelphia’s hardworking municipal workers,” said AlchemLife™ USA Vice President Tabitha Albert. “We’re proud to be able to make this humanitarian contribution in coordination with Stevenson Advocacy, a trusted business partner in Philadelphia, for the benefit of the city’s municipal workers who are working so hard to keep citizens safe during these challenging times.”

Stevenson Advocacy CEO Brian Stevenson, who brokered the in-kind donation to the city, added

“I have many friends in the city’s vast network of municipal unions – police, firefighters, blue collar workers and white-collar workers. I know that these men and women are working around the clock during the pandemic. I also know how much they will appreciate receiving this donation of a wonderful, 100% organic, immunity-boosting supplement right now, when they need it most.”

AlchemLife™ USA’s patented PhytoAdvance™ Technology, a precise method of extracting active plant phytonutrients to provide natural, beneficial health support, is what allows PhytoRelief-CC Herbal supplements to aid in normal, healthy immune function. Recent studies indicate that using the PhytoRelief-CC, a patented combination of ginger, turmeric, and pomegranate, have shown a significant boost in the Lysozyme count, which could conceivably enhance one’s immunity system four-fold. The saliva in one’s mouth serves as the first line of defense that protects the body against viral and bacterial infections. Human saliva contains Lysozymes which are immunity building enzymes that aid in the fight against infections.       

AlchemLife is a branch of Alchem International, a global phytochemical company active in 35 nations since 1935. Further information is available at alchemlife.com/us 

Alchem USA Inc.
1628 JFK Blvd
8 Penn Center, Flr 6, Ste 610
Philadelphia, PA 19103
800-201-1081
[email protected] 
www.AlchemLife.com/us 

SOURCE Alchem USA Inc.; AlchemLife

Related Links

https://www.alchemlife.com/us/

Vitamin D supplements can help avoid COVID-19 infection

Vitamin D supplements can help avoid COVID-19 infection

  • October 8, 2020

Why are some people more susceptible to COVID-19 versus others? In addition to risk factors such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease, tobacco and opioid use, living arrangements and obesity, vitamin D deficiencies may play an important role in this pandemic.

In some, COVID-19 results in an over-response of the body’s immune system and causes serious illness and death. This over-response is called a “cytokine storm” and causes damage to the lungs and sets the stage for pneumonia. It is well-known that vitamin D is important for innate immunity, boosting immune function and suppression of an over-responsive immune system.

According to a recent study published in JAMA Open Network, vitamin D deficiency increases a person’s risk of COVID-19 by 77%, compared to those with sufficient levels of the nutrient (deficiency is less than 20 ng/mL). Cooper Clinic has assessed all patients’ vitamin D levels since 2007. Initially the average level was less than 30 ng/mL. Now the average level is almost 40 ng/mL primarily due to increased supplementation.

Vitamin D research has shown both weight and skin pigmentation affects synthesis of vitamin D. Another recent article published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology showed a direct relationship between low vitamin D status and a twofold increase in mortality for darker skinned people compared to lighter skinned people. A study published in the Annals of Epidemiology cites a fivefold increase in the risk of a positive COVID-19 test in African Americans.

Taking supplemental vitamin D3 daily (now recommended by Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health) might just be an inexpensive, safe way to help attack this pandemic. I always say, it is more beneficial and cost-effective to prevent disease than it is to find a cure.

Until a vaccine is available, there are several things you can do to help boost your immune system. This includes getting at least 30 minutes of exercise, collective or sustained, most days a week; consuming at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily; taking the right supplements including vitamin D3; getting seven to eight hours of sleep at night; refraining from smoking and using opioid drugs and using alcohol only in moderation (maximum of seven drinks per week). Exercise is more important now than ever, playing a key role in warding off illness and building a robust immune system.

Find a way to manage your stress during these times. Whether relaxing with a book, limiting social media, taking a nap, walking the dog or getting a massage, de-stressing can be of great value in building a healthy immune system.

Public health steps that have been proven beneficial according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include wearing a mask, washing hands often, practicing social distancing, refraining from touching your face and staying home if you are sick.

Dr. Kenneth Cooper is founder of Cooper Aerobics. To learn more about his thinking on vitamin D: “Vitamin D and COVID-19: Is There a Relationship?”

Got an opinion about this issue? Send a letter to the editor, and you just might get published.

NUTRISHOP® Fills the Need for Those Seeking Immune-Support Supplements

NUTRISHOP® Fills the Need for Those Seeking Immune-Support Supplements

  • October 7, 2020

HENDERSON, Nev., Oct. 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — It’s no secret that people across the globe are looking for ways to bolster their immune health. One of the things people are turning to more and more is immune-support supplements. According to a recent survey conducted by The Council for Responsible Nutrition, the two most common reasons supplement-taking people have increased their supplement use this year are overall immune support and health/wellness benefits.

NUTRISHOP, a national retail nutrition franchise, has a bevy of products designed to help boost the immune system. In fact, the company recently launched a new category on NutrishopUSA.com, specifically for Immune Health. It is filled with a number of quality immune-support products available only through NUTRISHOP. This comes on the heels of a recent launch of several health and wellness products, many of which were specifically designed for immune support.

“Most people know NUTRISHOP for body transformations, wellness, weight loss and sports nutrition, but we have a vast selection of products that support the immune system, too,” says Tania McLendon, co-founder of NUTRISHOP. “Making healthy lifestyle choices, engaging in self care practices and paying attention to overall health and wellness are all so incredibly important these days – for us and for our customers. We are happy to do our part to help people live their best, fit and healthy lives.”

The following Immune Health products are available exclusively at NUTRISHOP stores nationwide and online:

  • ELDERBERRY with Bee Propolis: Helps support a healthy immune system.
  • IMMŪN™: Comprehensive formula with key ingredients like Zinc, Echinacea, vitamins and more that help boost and support a healthy immune system.
  • NATURE’S FUEL: Great-tasting soluble powder that contains a bevy of healthy vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, and key digestive enzymes.
  • NATURE’S SUPERFRUITS™: Easily mixable powdered supplement made with vitamins, phytonutrients, antioxidants, minerals, fiber and nutrients derived from superfruits and foods from around the world, plus it has a natural energy blend and probiotic blend.
  • NATURE’S SUPERGREENS™: Offers a premium blend of select superfoods and greens from around the world in a convenient, great-tasting powder comprised of vital nutrients, a natural energy blend, a probiotic blend, and a fiber blend.
  • QUERCETIN with Bromelain: Boosts and supports immune health.
  • FRUIT & VEGETABLE SUPERFOODS™: nutrient-packed powdered formula offers important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients from supergreens, superfruits and other superfoods from around the world – all without any artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners.
  • VITAMIN C with Rose Hips: Boosts and supports a healthy immune system and contains antioxidant properties.
  • VITAMIN D3: Provides support for immune and bone health.
  • ZINC with Lysine: Supports immune health and enzyme functions.

McLendon said she regularly stacks Nature’s Fuel and Superfoods together in the morning because it’s a great way to ensure she gets her vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, probiotics and more for the day. She takes IMMŪN, an ultra-comprehensive immune-support formula, when she feels run-down or exhausted. She’s also big on sleeping 8 hours a night, managing stress effectively, eating nutritious whole foods and exercising daily. Her other go-to wellness products include glutamine for gut health and Multi-Source Collagen Peptides for healthy skin, hair, nails and joints.

“Right now, it’s all about taking care of yourself and doing everything you can to keep your immune system and your body as strong as possible,” said McLendon, who at 46, not only handles corporate operations and works with a team to help NUTRISHOP franchisees across the United States, but is also an über fit athlete and strength-training enthusiast. “Every little bit helps.”

About NUTRISHOP®

Since 2003, NUTRISHOP has helped countless individuals live a fit, healthy, happy lifestyle. NUTRISHOP stores offer customers a low-price guarantee on a wide array of cutting-edge dietary supplements along with exceptional, individualized customer service; easy-to-follow meal plans; body composition assessment tools; and sound nutritional guidance. The NUTRISHOP business model focuses primarily on franchisee-owned and operated stores that provide consumers with the tools required to achieve their health and fitness goals. For more information, visit NutrishopUSA.com and follow on Instagram @NutrishopUSA.

For Media Inquiries:

LaRue Gillespie
NUTRISHOP®
[email protected]

Related Images

nutrishop-co-founder-tania.jpg
NUTRISHOP® co-founder, Tania McLendon, with products NATURE’S FUEL and FRUIT & VEGETABLE SUPERFOODS™

SOURCE NUTRISHOP

Best supplements to boost your immune system: Zinc, elderberry and vitamin D

Best supplements to boost your immune system: Zinc, elderberry and vitamin D

  • October 4, 2020

If you’d like to strengthen your immune response to viruses, bacteria and anything else lurking out there, it’s time to invest in some supplements. But, which ones?

Researchers from the Department of Internal Medicine in Michigan looked into the role of zinc.

They noted how zinc is “essential for multiple cellular functions including immunity”.

Looking into scientific reviews, zinc supplementation has been observed to help people suffering from pneumonia, acute respiratory tract infections and the common cold.

“Zinc supplementation was effective in decreasing incidences of infections in the elderly,” the researchers added.

They explained zinc was “effective in decreasing oxidative stress and generation of inflammatory cytokines”.

The Institute of Immunology, in Germany, noted how up to 30 percent of adults are deficient in this mineral.

This could possibly put someone at higher risk of catching a cold. Already got one? Zinc could still help.

READ MORE: The natural supplement proven to reduce the risk of serious coronavirus complications

The Franklin Institute of Wellness, in America, conducted a meta-analysis to quantify the effects of elderberry supplementation.

They analysed data from 180 participants, whereby elderberry supplementation was found to “substantially reduce upper respiratory symptoms”.

The researchers noted: “These findings present a potentially safer alternative to prescription drugs for cases of the common cold and influenza.”

Elderberry supplements are available to purchase in capsule or liquid form.

As with the other supplements, vitamin D is thought to decrease a person’s risk of respiratory infections, as well as shortening any you may have.

The NHS recommends everybody to take a vitamin D supplement during autumn and winter.

This is because the sun isn’t strong enough for the body to produce it naturally at this time of year.

In addition, the national health body stated “it’s difficult for people to get enough vitamin D from food alone”.

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