A new scientific review published in the journal Nutrients examines whether nutritional supplementation can blunt the inflammatory response in COVID-19. Taking the form of an overview of systematic reviews looking at vitamin D, vitamin C, melatonin, and zinc, the authors found that all four of these natural substances have anti-inflammatory actions and that they could represent a useful and viable approach to the pandemic. Recognizing the need for support from national and public health systems and noting that no specific drug has proven to be beneficial against the progression of COVID-19, the authors conclude that nutritional supplementation could play a role within a community-based medicine approach.
Associated with every infection that occurs in the body, the inflammatory response has the potential to cause widespread damage as it involves the breakdown of tissue. Conventional medicine aims only at the management of inflammatory symptoms by using medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Not only do these drugs not eliminate the cause of inflammation, but they are also associated with severe and sometimes life-threatening side effects, such as gastrointestinal bleeding and heart attacks. Recognizing the importance of strengthening the immune system to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection, as well as controlling the inflammatory response, the Nutrients review authors analyze the potential of four specific natural substances to help control the worst outcomes of the pandemic.
The review authors describe how COVID-19 is characterized by high levels of inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein, and increased levels of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. Based on the systematic reviews they examined, they found that vitamin D, vitamin C, melatonin, and zinc all have anti-inflammatory actions.
Looking at papers on vitamin D, the authors found that an intake of 50,000 IU per month showed efficacy against C-reactive protein. Stating that data show a global epidemic of vitamin D deficiency, they describe how up to 80 percent of elderly people are affected. Studies have shown the elderly have a higher COVID-19 mortality rate than younger people. One of the papers cited by the authors found that people affected by severe COVID-19 present with 65 percent more vitamin D deficiency compared to those with mild cases.
For vitamin C, the authors found a dosage of between 1 and 2 grams per day demonstrated efficacy not just against C-reactive protein but also in endothelial function. Forming a thin membrane (the endothelium) lining the inside of the heart and blood vessels, endothelial cells release substances that help control blood clotting, immune function, and vascular relaxation. Noting that clinical data have previously highlighted a specific role for vitamin C among patients in intensive care units with sepsis, pneumonia, multiorgan failure, and acute respiratory distress syndrome, the authors describe how several centers have already assessed high-dose vitamin C supplementation as a complementary therapy in COVID-19 patients.
Examining papers on melatonin, a natural hormone largely produced by the pineal gland, the authors found a dosage of between 5 and 25 milligrams per day showed good efficacy not just against C-reactive protein, but also against other substances that can cause inflammation, such as tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-6. Often referred to as the ‘sleep hormone’ as it is secreted mostly at night and helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythm, the review describes how the beneficial activities of this important compound may pave the way to a greater use of it in the pandemic.
For zinc, the authors found a daily dose of 50 milligrams per day showed positive results against C-reactive protein. Stating that zinc inadequacy and deficiency are predicted to affect about 30 percent of the world population, they note that this mineral plays a critical role in antiviral immunity and that zinc-deficient individuals experience increased susceptibility to pathogens.
Ultimately, of course, it is hardly news that micronutrients are effective in controlling inflammation in the body. Studies carried out more than a decade ago by scientists at the Dr. Rath Research Institute showed that synergistic combinations of micronutrients are effective in controlling various stages of the inflammatory process. More recently, studies published by the institute in July and August 2020 demonstrated that specific micronutrient combinations can block the coronavirus from infecting human body cells. Subsequently, in a study published in February 2021, the institute’s scientists found combining vitamin C with zinc and other natural compounds enables it to more effectively impede key mechanisms of coronavirus infection. Significantly, therefore, the Nutrients review authors suggest that future clinical trials should assess the clinical benefits of a combination of two or more of the substances they examine in their paper.
If applied at the community level on a global scale, the cutting-edge science underpinning nutritional and Cellular Medicine can help bring the coronavirus pandemic to an end. The longer our politicians refuse to take advantage of these science-based approaches, focusing instead on experimental vaccines with no long-term safety data, the more we need to question their motives and ask whose interests it is they truly represent.