Boost Your Immune System: Alternatives to Vitamin C & Zinc
Right around the transition from February to March, demand for Vitamin C and Zinc rose with the concern for the Covid-19. We are sold-out of many of our standalone Vitamin C and Zinc products. While we try our best to replenish our stock of these products, we would like to do our part in sharing potential alternatives supplements that offer immune support and antiviral properties. We should note that none of these have direct data supporting its effectiveness at preventing or treating Covid-19 but has data showing it’s effectiveness in prevention or treatment of the cold (which is a form of coronavirus), the flu (another type of virus with seemingly similar effects and symptoms), or other pathogens.
A combination of Bifidobacterium bifidum W23, Bifidobacterium lactis W51, Enterococcus faecium W54, Lactobacillus acidophilus W22, Lactobacillus brevis W63, and Lactococcus lactis decreased symptoms of Upper respiratory tract infections over the course of the study and kept immune function markers at baseline after exercise whereas the group not receiving the probiotic saw decreases in immune function. Probiotics containing these strains include HMF Forte, PureProbiotic (allergen-free), and Ther-Biotic Complete to name a few.
Lactobacillus paracasei supplemented yogurt has been shown to reduce the risk of acute upper respiratory tract infections in a study of older adults and elderly by almost half the rate when compared with the group who did not get the probiotic strain enriched yogurt.
A systematic review and meta-analysis done on the prevention and treatment of respiratory tract infections in children found that probiotic consumption appears to be a viable option to decrease the incidence of Respiratory tract infections.
Maitake has been shown to increase TNF-alpha which is a known antiviral cytokine. This means it may increase the body’s defenses against certain viruses.
Shiitake mycelium has been shown in mice to increase genes responsible for increasing immune system activity and may inhibit the growth of some viruses as well as increasing the survival rate of infected mice.
Reishi has been shown to have multiple compounds that have antiviral properties against multiple strains of viruses and these compounds may work synergistically.
Vitamin D has been shown to protect individuals from acute respiratory infections, especially if the individuals were very deficient or not receiving bolus doses of Vitamin D. It has also been shown to increase lung function in obese individuals. Vitamin D has cell, animal, and human data supporting its antiviral potential. Quarantining is leading many people to get even less sunlight than they would otherwise which can lead to even more people developing a deficiency for it. Vitamin D supplements will certainly help, but please get outside as often as you can to get some sunlight. Quarantine or no quarantine.
Garlic, specifically 2.5 grams of aged extract or 180mg allicin (a component of garlic) has been shown to reduce the rate of common cold by 60-70%. It has also been shown to decrease the length of sickness.
NAC has been shown to decrease Influenza symptoms to less than a third of individuals with influenza who did not supplement with NAC regularly.
Co-Q10 (Coenzyme Q10)
CoQ10 levels have been shown to be greatly reduced in patients with acute influenza infection. It also has data supporting it’s protection of the heart and lungs which can be highly impacted by COVID-19.
Echinacea has been shown on multiple occasions to reduce frequency and duration of the common cold. Echinacea may lower the risk of upper respiratory tract infections. It can possibly help keep the symptoms under control as well.
Quercetin was one of the more powerful plant compounds in a recent study to potentially inhibit COVID-19 binding. Quercetin has also been shown to do the same to Influenza viruses.
Elderberry has been shown to reduce cold duration and symptoms in air travellers as well as cold and flu in general populations.