Ever since Linus Pauling first discovered how vitamin C works with the human body’s immune system over 100 years ago, we have been learning more and more about how the human body functions and the essential roles these substances play. The scientific field of orthomolecular medicine is the study of how vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients affect the human body. Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness.
Before we go into which vitamins and minerals could help keep you healthy or perhaps work to restore your health if you are already suffering, let’s be clear that this is not a replacement for any social distancing or personal protective equipment guidelines. As always, nutrient supplementation should be undertaken in addition to other health efforts such as eating a healthy, whole foods-based diet, getting exercise, avoiding chemicals, etc., and not instead of other efforts.
While we are calling the virus that causes this pandemic “novel”, there’s nothing unfamiliar about how to address viral infections and how to help our bodies resist and recover. In fact, there has been a lot of chatter in the world of natural health and in the world of scientific studies about the anti-viral effects of some vitamins and minerals that could prove useful. At worst, they won’t harm.
Chinese officials have been successfully using IV vitamin C therapy in their battle against the virus, and there is abundant clinical evidence as to the efficacy of intravenous vitamin C in battling viral infections. While you can get i.v. therapy at a hospital if you are already admitted and insist on it, or at a stand-alone center, the rest of us should be taking it orally. There has been documented success in using vitamin C against any virus.
My preferred method of getting vitamin C is through foods such as citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwis, and acerola cherries, but supplements can be taken, too. 500-1,000 mg of vitamin C daily is a good goal for maintaining health, which I would double or even triple and take in divided doses if feeling ill. My favorite bio-available Vitamin C supplement is called OPT.
Humans synthesize vitamin D from sun exposure to un-sunscreened skin, but the great majority of Americans are deficient. Studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to autoimmune issues and vitamin D works with vitamin C in helping us withstand viral assaults.
To supplement during this time where viral threats luck everywhere, 5,000 I.U. of D3 daily may help boost your immunity. Vitamin D needs to travel on fat, so be sure to take it with something that contains fat such as dairy products, avocados, etc.
Most Americans are also deficient in vitamin A. Dr. Brownstein recommends 5,000 units of vitamin A (not beta carotene) daily as a preventative, and significantly increasing this amount for a limited time (4 days) if you are ill. It’s important not to take higher doses of vitamin A for a prolonged period to avoid vitamin A toxicity.
Vitamin A is found in foods from animal sources, including dairy products, fish, and meat (especially liver). If you are a vegan, now is an especially important time to supplement with vitamin A.
See a lot more tips and remedies for recovering from a viral infection in my ever-popular Kick-a-Cold series.