The pandemic has raised many questions regarding supplements and how to boost immunity. Also of interest is how we can improve our overall health with food, vitamins and minerals.
A plant flavonoid called Quercetin which is found in capers and green tea has been discovered to boost immunity levels and be helpful in the treatment for the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). In this article we will take a closer look into Quercetin, it’s overall effect on the body and how it has been shown to help strengthen immunity. Additionally, we will share how Quercetin can be used as a method to treat /reduce the severity and duration of Covid19.
Why is Immunity Important?
To be able to better understand how Quercetin works, we need to understand why the immune system is so important when it comes to treating Covid19.
The immune system’s primary role is to protect the body from harmful cells. Viruses and bacteria would have free reign without it, and we would be sick all of the time. Your immune system distinguishes your body’s cells from foreign cells, and helps it to eliminate those that may be potentially harmful.
This is how your immune system protects you from getting infected and developing illness, as well as helping you to recover when you are sick.
Supplements for Better Immunity
According to the National Library of Medicine, there are a few natural supplements that have some evidence to suggest they boost immunity.
- Vitamin C: May help reduce the severity and duration of a cold, especially if you start taking vitamin C prior to feeling ill. 500 mg- 1000 mg of Vitamin C twice a day is a typical starting dose to try to help boost immunity. People with kidney issues should use it with caution as Vitamin C is eliminated by the kidneys.
- Zinc: May have some anti-viral properties. Doses of 15-30 mg of zinc per day are presumed to be safe, short term, for one to two weeks. Zinc can interact with other medications (antibiotics and antivirals), and long term use of high doses of zinc can cause copper deficiency
- Vitamin D: May help reduce the number of respiratory illnesses, especially for those who are deficient. Supplementing with 1,000-2,000 international units per day may be beneficial. Vitamin D levels can be monitored, it is recommended to not exceed blood levels of 50 nanograms/milliliter of Vitamin D.
- Bromelain: An enzyme that comes from the stalk of the pineapple. It has shown to have some activity in reducing symptoms for acute sinusitis. It can, however, interact with blood thinners such as warfarin, and also certain antibiotics such as tetracyclines. Bromelain is measured in GDU (gelatin digestion units) and provides 2,400 GDU per gram. Doses of bromelain may range from 200 mg- 2000 mg per day.
- Quercetin: A naturally occurring antioxidant/flavonoid that helps to treat allergic rhinitis and respiratory infections. Quercetin may interact with some antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones (ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin) and could also interact with other medications that are metabolized through your liver system known as the cytochrome p450 enzyme system (3A4 and 2C9). These drugs may include warfarin, midazolam, cyclosporine, drugs known as the “statins” (atorvastatin, pravastatin, rosuvastatin, simvastatin), medications known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, diclofenac, naproxen), tamoxifen, and possibly losartan. There is also a possibility it may interact in those individuals with hypothyroidism. Use with caution in these patients. Doses of 500 mg twice daily have been studied and shown to be safe for up to twelve weeks.
Quercetin as Treatment for Covid19
Quercetin has long been studied for its ability to protect against cancer, heart disease, and histamine-producing cells. When it comes to Quercetin and Covid19 opinions are divided.
Quercetin can be used as part of a treatment for Covid19 regimen alongside remdesivir or convalescent plasma. The advantages are its over-the-counter availability and relatively low risk profile.
Pre-clinical Trials of Quercetin for COVID19
Rodents given quercetin before being exposed to a lethal dose of Ebola virus survived in a 2016 animal trial.
COVID-19 has been linked to high levels of interleukin-6, low levels of interferons, and a cytokine storm that affects the body and leads to respiratory failure, according to Ruben Colunga Biancatelli, MD, of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. He is an author of the paper in Frontiers in Immunology on quercetin and vitamin C as a possible therapy for SARS-CoV-2. According to this logic, vitamin C should be provided with quercetin because it can recycle oxidized quercetin, resulting in a synergistic effect and increasing quercetin’s antiviral properties.
Following the 2003 SARS-CoV-1 coronavirus outbreak, Chinese researchers discovered quercetin and other small molecules attached to the virus’s spike protein, preventing it from infecting host cells.
The findings of the SARS-CoV-1 study prompted Hasan Onal, MD, to conduct an open-label randomized control trial in Turkey to investigate the function of quercetin in COVID-19.
In March 2020, 95 patients with COVID-19 were treated with a 1,000-mg active treatment dose, and 113 healthcare staff were being treated with a 500-mg prophylactic dose. Quercetin was combined with vitamin C and bromelain, a pineapple-derived supplement used to treat burns and inflammation. No COVID-19 cases had been reported among healthcare workers taking prophylactic quercetin, and no deaths had been reported among COVID-19 patients taking quercetin in the trials.
The Bottom Line
Given the antiviral activity that Quercetin has demonstrated in preclinical trials, it would be logical to recommend quercetin in the context of a properly planned clinical trial for treating COVID-19.
Choosing a healthy lifestyle and following the health protocols recommended by CDC is what you can do best for protection and prevention of Covid19. Washing your hands, wearing a mask, and physical distancing are the most important things you can be doing right now to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
To naturally keep your immune system functioning properly follow general good-health recommendations. When your body is shielded from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living habits, every aspect of your body, including your immune system, performs better. Here is a list of thing that you can do to live a healthier lifestyle:
- Quit smoking.
- Consume a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise on a daily basis.
- Maintain a balanced body mass index (BMI).
- If you do consume alcohol, do it in moderation.
- Make sure you get enough rest.
- Take precautions against infection, such as washing your hands regularly.
- Thoroughly cook your meats and eggs.
- Make an effort to reduce stress levels.
- Consider vaccines as a form of gaining immunity to the virus.