Last week President Donald Trump revealed he had tested positive for COVID-19 and would begin treatment. His medical team revealed it is using a combination of medications and supplements that are thought to help mediate the virus. Since there is no definitive standard of care or one size fits all therapy for the novel virus, it is interesting to see how his medical team approaches treatment for the leader of the free world. In this article, we examine the nutritional supplements used in his COVID-19 treatment and how they may help.
Zinc: Zinc is an essential trace element involved in most major metabolic pathways. It has a vital role in maintaining immune function, reproduction, healthy skin, and growth. Immune cells must rapidly divide to respond to daily challenges and require adequate amounts of zinc to do so.
As a cofactor of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD), zinc is considered an antioxidant nutrient. Supplementation with zinc increases the antioxidant activity of SOD and provide increased free radical protection.
Zinc is thought to reduce viral replication and can be found in many over-the-counter cold supplements. When used in high doses, zinc can deplete copper, another essential trace mineral, so higher dose zinc supplements often contain copper to prevent deficiency.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is an essential vitamin that plays many roles in the proper functioning of the body. Though classified as a vitamin, it is a key regulatory hormone for calcium and bone metabolism. It is estimated that at least 40% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D.
Vitamin D has also been recognized as necessary for normal, healthy cell growth and function and healthy immune function. For COVID-19, vitamin D is thought to lower viral replication rates, boost the immune system, and reduce concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which product the inflammation that injures the lining of the lungs.
Read More: Can Vitamin D Reduce COVID-19 Infections?
Melatonin: Melatonin is associated with sleep, but it also plays a role in the immune system. Melatonin is a natural hormone synthesized from the amino acid tryptophan by the pineal gland in the back of the brain and is contained in small amounts in food. Melatonin appears to regulate sleep/wake cycles, support normal immune function, and protect cells from free radical damage.
For COVID-19, Melatonin may help reduce the severity of the immune system’s exaggerated inflammatory reaction. Melatonin supports normal immune function by helping maintain the activity of circulating natural killer cells. It also has been found to function as an antagonist for stress-induced immunosuppression. It is also considered a potent antioxidant that enters all body cells to help prevent free radical damage.
OTHER SUPPLEMENTS TO CONSIDER
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is crucial for supporting oxidative stress, energy production, and immune function.
- Quercetin: Helps reduce inflammatory lung response when used with zinc. It is believed to help zinc penetrate cells to fight COVID-19 at a cellular level.
- Probiotics: Improves gut health and supports the immune system.
- Immune Health Support: A comprehensive formula that provides essential vitamins and minerals for immune support along with a generous supply of specialized ingredients that have been shown to promote overall immune health.
THE ROLE OF SUPPLEMENTS
The use of supplements by the President during this critical time demonstrates that they play a role even in “conventional medicine.” Nutritional supplements do not need to replace prescription medications. Some medications work better in conjunction with supplements to reduce side effects and alleviate drug-induced nutrient depletions. That said, some supplements should not be used in combination with certain medications, so it is always a good idea to check with a knowledgeable healthcare professional before starting something new. Pharmacists can examine your current medications and check for any contraindications. They can also recommend an appropriate supplement plan for your health needs and goals. If you are looking to boost your immune system to fight COVID-19, supplements may play a role.