Boost Your Immune System with These Essential Nutrients to Protect Against Yourself From Coronavirus (2022)

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact communities around the world, it's more important than ever to take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones. One key way to do this is by ensuring that you're getting the nutrients your body needs to maintain a strong immune system.



Healthy Diets

Eating adequate nutrients as part of a diverse diet is required for the strength and function of all cells, including immune cells.

Examples of nutrients that have been identified as critical for the growth and function of immune cells include vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, selenium, iron, and protein. These nutrients are found in a variety of animal and plant foods.

The stomach is a major site of immune activity and the production of antimicrobial proteins. Diet plays a key role in determining what kinds of microbes live in our intestines. A high-fiber, plant-rich diet with plenty of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes appears to support the growth and maintenance of beneficial microbes.

Microbes break the fibers down into short-chain fatty acids, which have been revealed to stimulate immune cell activity. These fibers are also called prebiotics.

Diets containing probiotic and prebiotic foods may boost immune function. Probiotic foods include live helpful bacteria whereas prebiotic foods contain fiber and oligosaccharides that feed and sustain healthy colonies of those bacteria.

A 2021 study revealed that eating a healthy diet is associated with a reduced risk of developing COVID-19 and its severe complications. Scientists found that people who reported eating the most fruits, legumes, and vegetables had a 9 percent lower risk of getting COVID and a 41 percent lower probability of developing severe COVID when compared with people who reported eating the least volume of fruits and vegetables.

The study’s lead author noted that the researchers think nearly a third of the COVID-19 cases could have been prevented if poor diet or socioeconomic disadvantages could have been removed.

For more evidence, check out the evidence tracker on Diet and COVID-19 from c19early.org/dt (constantly updated), with more than 18 published studies by more than 280 scientists.

Physical Activity and Exercise

A study suggests that a regular and age-appropriate exercise program can help older adults to lead a quality life by increasing cell count and preserving immune function.

Research reveals aerobic exercise may reverse the effects of aging in stem cells by increasing the amount of protein cyclin D1. Exercise returns cyclin D1 in dormant stem cells back to youth levels, effectively accelerating muscle stem cell generation.

Scientists believe that endurance exercise later in life is associated with a lesser age-related decline in certain aspects of T cell function. It’s believed moderate exercise should help reverse the adverse effects of aging by increasing the production of endocrine hormones.

A study suggests that routine physical activity may help protect people who get COVID-19 from becoming critically ill.

Serious health issues that are linked to the lack of exercise, such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, have also been associated with a greater risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.

In this study, researchers analyzed data from more than 48,000 adults over the age of 18 who had confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses between January and October 2022. The group was divided into three categories:
  • Consistently exercised for over 150 minutes per week
  • Consistently inactive with only 0–10 minutes per week
  • Active between 11–49 minutes per week, or who had variability in their exercise patterns
Scientists also investigated other important characteristics such as age, sex, race, body mass index, and smoking status. They looked at chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and kidney disease, trying to identify if these patients were immunocompromised for any reason.

Findings revealed that people who were consistently inactive had a significantly higher risk of hospitalization and death after getting COVID-19 than those who were active for at least 150 minutes per week.

While those who were active for over 10 minutes per week had some shield against severe illness or death from COVID-19, they didn’t have as much protection as those who exercised for 150 minutes.

For more evidence, check out the evidence tracker on Exercise and COVID-19 from c19early.org/ex (constantly updated), with more than 45 published studies by more than 400 scientists.

FLCCC I-Prevent Protocol

Recent data suggest that therapies like ivermectin, melatonin, naso-oropharyngeal hygiene, quercetin, and Vitamin C may play an important role in helping prevent COVID-19.

The I-PREVENT protocol consists of inexpensive, safe, and widely available medications. Use these therapeutics in conjunction with an overall strategy that includes common sense public health actions like washing your hands, avoiding crowded gatherings, getting adequate ventilation, and other measures.

The I-PREVENT protocol must be part of an overall strategy that includes common sense public health actions such as good hand hygiene, avoiding crowded public gatherings, adequate ventilation and other measures.

The following protocol can be used for both chronic and post-exposure prevention. Chronic prevention is especially recommended for healthcare workers, those over 60 years old with co-morbidities, people who are morbidly obese, and residents of long-term care facilities. Follow post-exposure prevention if a household member is COVID-positive or if you have had prolonged exposure to COVID but have not developed symptoms. At the onset of any flu-like symptoms, please refer to the I-CARE Early Treatment Protocol. 

FLCCC I-Prevent I-CARE

At the onset of any flu-like symptoms, please refer to the I-CARE Early COVID Treatment Protocol.

For additional information on COVID prevention, the rationale behind these medications, and other optional treatments, see A Guide to the Prevention of COVID-19.

The I-Prevent protocol has been updated several times and below is their latest version (version 2: September 6, 2022).

The protocol is divided into two parts: Chronic prevention and Post-exposure prevention.
  • Chronic prevention is especially recommended for healthcare workers, those over 60 years old with co-morbidities, people who are morbidly obese, and residents of long-term care facilities. 
  • Follow post-exposure prevention if a household member is COVID-positive or if you have had prolonged exposure to COVID but have not developed symptoms. 

CHRONIC PREVENTION (In order of priority; not all required)

  • Ivermectin: 0.2 mg/kg – start treatment with one dose, take second dose 48 hours later, then 1 dose every 7 days (weekly). Those at high risk of contracting COVID-19 can consider dosing twice a week. See Table 1 for help with calculating correct dose. Due to a possible interaction between quercetin and ivermectin, these drugs should be staggered throughout the day. For COVID treatment, ivermectin is best taken with a meal or just following a meal, for greater absorption. 
  • Zinc: 30-40 mg daily. Zinc supplements come in various forms (e.g., zinc sulfate, zinc citrate and zinc gluconate). 
  • Melatonin: Begin with 1 mg and increase as tolerated to 6 mg before bedtime (causes drowsiness). Slow- or extended-release formulations preferred. 
  • Mouthwash: three times a day. Gargle three times a day (do not swallow) with an antiseptic-antimicrobial mouthwash containing chlorhexidine, cetylpyridinium chloride (e.g., Scope™, Act™, Crest™) or povidone-iodine (e.g. Betadine® Antiseptic Sore Throat Gargle™).
  • Steam inhalation: once a day. Inhaled steam supplemented with antimicrobial essential oils (e.g., Vicks VapoRub™ inhalations) has been demonstrated to have virucidal activity. Antimicrobial essential oils include lavender, thyme, peppermint, cinnamon, eucalyptus and sage. 
  • Vitamin D: dosing varies (see tables below). Vitamin D supplementation is likely a highly effective and cheap intervention to lessen the impact of this disease, particularly in vulnerable populations, (i.e., the elderly, obese, people of color, and those living in northern latitudes). The greatest COVID protection benefit from Vitamin D supplementation will occur in individuals deficient in Vitamin D. Those individuals should take Vitamin D prophylactically on a longer-term basis. When a person with Vitamin D deficiency develops COVID-19, risks increase for developing complications, and Vitamin D supplementation subsequent to infection will have less of a response. Dosing recommendations for Vitamin D supplementation vary widely. The optimal target is over 50 ng/ml; at this level the risk of dying from COVID-19 is extremely reduced. It may take many months or years to achieve optimal levels in patients who are extremely Vitamin D deficient. It is therefore important that the optimal regimen for Vitamin D supplementation for the prophylaxis of COVID-19 is provided promptly, based on baseline Vitamin D levels (see Table 2). If baseline levels are unknown, the needed dose can be calculated from body weight or BMI (see Table 3).
  • Curcumin (turmeric): 500 mg twice a day. Curcumin has low solubility in water and is poorly absorbed by the body; consequently, it is traditionally taken with full fat milk and black pepper, which enhance its absorption. 
  • Nigella sativa (black cumin): 80 mg/kg daily and Honey 1 g/kg daily. Note: thymoquinone (the active ingredient of Nigella sativa) decreases the absorption of cyclosporine and phenytoin. Patients taking these drugs should therefore avoid taking Nigella sativa. 
  • Vitamin C: 500-1000 mg twice a day. 
  • Quercetin (or a mixed flavonoid supplement): 250-500 mg daily. Due to a possible interaction between quercetin and ivermectin, these drugs should not be taken simultaneously (i.e., should be staggered at different times of day). As supplemental quercetin has poor solubility and low oral absorption, lecithin-based and nanoparticle formulations are preferred.
  • Probiotics. Low levels of Bifidobacterium may predispose a person to COVID-19 and increase disease severity. Likewise, COVID-19 depletes the microbiome of Bifidobacterium, which may then increase the severity and duration of symptoms. Kefir (a fermented milk drink) is high in Bifidobacterium and other probiotics that have demonstrated health benefits. Suggested probiotic supplements include Megasporebiotic (Microbiome labs), TrueBifidoPro (US Enzymes) and yourgutplus+.

Table 1. How to calculate ivermectin dose for chronic prevention
Table 1. How to calculate ivermectin dose for chronic prevention

Table 2. How to replenish Vitamin D levels based on baseline levels
Table 2. How to replenish Vitamin D levels based on baseline levels

Table 3. How to calculate Vitamin D dose when baseline not available
Table 3. How to calculate Vitamin D dose when baseline not available

POST-EXPOSURE PREVENTION

If symptoms develop, treat promptly with I-CARE protocol. If symptoms do not develop, resume chronic prevention after one week.
  • Ivermectin: 0.4 mg/kg immediately, then repeat second dose in 48 hours. See Table 1 for help calculating dose. 
  • Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ): 200 mg twice a day for 5 days. 
  • Zinc: 75-100 mg daily. 
  • Melatonin: 6 mg daily, at bedtime. 
  • Mouthwash: three times a day. 
  • Nasal spray with 1% povidone-iodine: two to three times a day. Sprays such as Immune Mist™, CoFixRx™ or IoNovo™ administered 2-3 times per day are recommended in post-exposure prophylaxis and in the early phase of COVID-19 infection. Due to low level systemic absorption, povidone-iodine nasal spray should not be used for longer than 5-7 days in pregnant women. IoNovo™ contains iodine in an amount equivalent to the daily dietary requirement and hence is safe to ingest. 
  • Curcumin (turmeric): 500 mg twice a day for 1 week. Nigella sativa: 80 mg/kg daily for 1 week. 
  • Nigella sativa: 80 mg/kg daily for 1 week
  • Vitamin C: 1000 mg twice daily for 1 week. 
  • Quercetin: 500 mg twice daily for 1 week. 
  • Probiotics. 
  • B complex vitamins.

Notes:
  • High risk Individuals: > 60 years with co-morbidities (hypertension, diabetes, chronic lung disease, chronic kidney disease), obesity, long term care facilities, etc.
  • Post COVID-19 exposure: To use if a household member is COVID-19 positive, or you have prolonged exposure to a COVID-19 positive patient without wearing a mask.
  • Precautionary Note: Ivermectin has a number of potentially serious drug-drug interactions. Please check for potential drug interaction at Ivermectin Drug Interactions - Drugs.com. The most important drug interactions occur with cyclosporin, tacrolimus, anti-retroviral drugs, and certain anti-fungal drugs. 
  • Precautionary Note: Hydroxychloroquine - Animal studies have revealed evidence of teratogenic effects (fetal harm; embryonic deaths and malformations of anophthalmia and microphthalmia) have been observed in the offspring of pregnant rats who were administered large doses of chloroquine. This drug crosses the placenta - Drugs.com.
  • Due to the possible drug interaction between quercetin and ivermectin (may increase ivermectin levels), these drugs should not be taken simultaneously (i.e. should be staggered morning and night). 
  • Ivermectin is also lipophilic and therefore, bioavailability is maximised on a full stomach; or best to be taken with meal.
  • Vitamin D3 RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) is 800–1000 IU/day. The safe upper-dose daily limit is likely < 4000 IU/day. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with an increased risk of acquiring COVID-19 and from dying from the disease. Vitamin D supplementation may therefore prove to be an effective and cheap intervention to lessen the impact of this disease, particularly in vulnerable populations, i.e. the elderly and obese.
  • When Is the Best Time to Take Vitamin D? Morning or Night? It is possible that increasing vitamin D levels during the day may act, in part, as a signal that suppresses melatonin generation (source). Therefore, it's better to take vitamin D (with meal) during the day and melatonin to be taken just before bedtime.
  • It is likely that vitamin C and quercetin have synergistic prophylactic benefit. Quercetin should be used with caution in patients with hypothyroidism and TSH levels should be monitored.
  • Please consult with a qualified doctor and only use human ivermectin. Ivermectin for animals contain excipients (binding and storage compounds such as polyethylene glycol (PEG)) that are known to cause liver failure in high doses. 
  • There have been reports of visual problems associated with ivermectin. However, the effect is minor and transient.

Other Potential Compounds for Prevention

There are over two dozen compounds that have shown effectiveness in preventing COVID-19. For a list of COVID-19 prevention studies, check out c19early.com (constantly updated).


However, do take note that a lab study published in December 2022 (NEJM) using the live-virus neutralization assay revealed that most of the monoclonal antibodies may not be effective against BQ.1.1 or XBB in the clinical setting.

Key Takeaways

Do take note that the dosages for micronutrients or vitamins are higher for treatment as opposed to maintenance or preventive. This is probably due to higher demand of the body or the deficiency of the micronutrients are worse during a complicated viral infection. However, for prevention or maintenance, the dosages for most of the micronutrients are much lower.

Viral infections like the COVID-19 also put added stress on your body, which can affect your blood pressure, heart rate, and overall heart function. That can raise your probability of having a heart attack or stroke. Therefore, make sure your blood pressure is well controlled during this pandemic.

Aside from supplements, there are other ways that may help to prevent you from catching the coronavirus.
  • Vaccination
  • Wear protective face mask. This is to protect not only yourself but others.
  • Abundant evidence suggests that eating whole in fruits, vegetables and whole grains—all rich in networks of naturally occurring antioxidants and their helper molecules—provides protection against free radicals.
  • Getting Enough Sleep
  • Avoid sugar, red meat and processed foods.
  • Don't smoke.
  • Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently, using hand sanitizer and cooking meats thoroughly.
  • Try to minimize stress.
  • Drink enough water to keep your body hydrated.
  • Avoid excess alcohol.
  • Avoid crowded areas.
  • Regular physical activity (outdoor activities may not be allowed in countries with 'lock-down'). Those with active lifestyle has lower risk if hospitalised as compared to those with sedentary lifestyle (Infectious Diseases and Therapy, 2021)
  • Consult your nearest local healthcare provider if you have any doubt.


Disclaimer: Please do not consider this article as personal medical advice, but as a recommendation for use by consumers and professional providers. Consult with your doctor before you decide to take any supplements or drugs.


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