I have for years taken several supplements daily. I recently made some changes based on evidence that these tweaks could support a robust covid response and even reduce the risk of infection.
My Old Stack
Truvada For PrEP
I take Truvada for PrEP. This means that with one pill a day, I am effectively completely immune to HIV infection. As a gay, it’s a no-brainer.
There is published research showing a connection between PrEP and a lower covid risk, though all the biochemists I have talked to are extremely confident that this correlation is spurious. There is also research to support that claim as well. So who knows if it helps with covid but I’m going to keep taking it for the gay reasons.
Symbicort + Singulair
I have severe asthma. Taking corticosteroids every day is a must, or else I will have asthma attacks. In recent years, I had it under control and mostly avoided the need for steroids but the stress of the apocalypses has pushed me back into the danger zone. I suddenly found myself with all the asthma symptoms plus crazy eczema symptoms even though I was taking daily steroids and Zyrtec. Thus, the doctor recommended I switch from Flovent for maintenance to a combination therapy of Symbicort plus Singulair.
Symbicort contains an inhaled corticosteroid just like Flovent, but it also contains a long-acting beta agonist. Together, these are more effective at controlling asthma symptoms than the corticosteroids alone. It also means you can be on a lower dose of steroids while still controlling the symptoms but having a stronger effect. This is a great move from the Flovent. The doctor did say that because the Symbicort steroid dose is lower, I could actually keep taking the Flovent on top of it, but that seems like a lot of work and I’d rather just have one thing to worry about so I’m stopping the Flovent.
Together with Symbicort, I am also taking Singulair. This is a leukotriene inhibitor which means it blocks one of the common types of inflammation associated with autoimmune disorders like asthma and eczema.
Singulair in my case is prescribed to boost the symbicort, but Singulair also boosts the effectiveness of Zyrtec so that is a plus. Taking these three together should really help my asthma and eczema symptoms during the apocalypses.
As a bonus, there is evidence that people on this therapy also have additional protection against covid so that’s nice.
I have experimented with many options for allergy medicines. This is important as someone with asthma because allergies can trigger asthma and make it worse. At some point, a doctor I spoke to recommended Zyrtec because it has some of the strongest evidence for a broad anti-allergy effect of any of the commonly available over the counter allergy drugs. I tried it and I’ve never gone back!
Psyllium Fiber Supplement
Most people don’t get enough fiber in their diets. This is even worse with stress. Adding a fiber supplement is an easy way to keep your body working through the stress and the coping mechanisms like comfort-foods and binge drinking.
The Pandemic Additions
Vitamin D has been repeatedly identified as one of the strongest correlated factors to both a strong covid defense and a strong defense against infection.
One study found that homeless people are actually at much lower risk both of infection and of the most severe infection specifically because they spend so much time in the sun and therefore have a much higher than normal level of Vitamin D.
There are two symptom patterns for covid. You can have severe symptoms or you can have mild symptoms. Studies have shown a strong correlation between the amount of Vitamin D in your system and which pattern you will have.
Another study found that treating patients in the ICU with Vitamin D led to less severe symptoms and better outcomes.
Yet another study found that 80% of those covid patients who had to be hospitalized had Vitamin D deficiencies.
Caveat: Zinc has toxicity at doses above 150mg/day. These pills are only for 50mg, but still I’ll only be taking them once per week. The benefits are more significant if you take it daily when you’re actually sick, but there is evidence to suggest that it is helpful to avoid a deficiency by taking a small occasional dose just to be safe.
There is a great deal of evidence to suggest that Zinc supplements can prevent covid infection, inhibit viral replication in the body, and strengthen the immune response to covid as well as other respiratory disorders. Zinc is a strong general immune booster, but again it can be dangerous if you’re taking it all the time. You should only take it daily if you’re actually sick.
These results have been replicated many times. Here is a list of the recent studies with summaries of them.
There is also evidence that Vitamin C can be helpful for covid though studies are ongoing, and there is far less evidence than that for Vitamin D.
There is a great deal of evidence that Vitamin C can be used to treat and prevent other coronaviruses such as the common cold.
It is a widely held belief that Vitamin C is a general-purpose immune booster, and it does seem that in some cases it really is helpful, and it’s certainly an essential nutrient which people must be sure to get.
Bottom line with Vitamin C as well as with Zinc, there is potentially a huge benefit and really no downside.