And it’s not just about staying and home and washing your hands.
Over the past 11 months, my husband Alex, an Infectious Disease Doctor in Oxford UK, has been working on the frontline and involved in the ongoing research for the vaccine. Read our Diary of a Doctor here.
As a Nutritional Therapist, caring for my husband and two young children, I’ve been exploring ways I can support our immune systems during this testing time.
Back in April 2020 – I wrote about how I was doing this – here.
Since then, there have been many discussions about the role of vitamins and immunity, and some have made big headlines. Does vitamin D combat Covid? | Health & wellbeing | The Guardian
NOW convincing evidence is emerging on the safety and efficacy of vitamins that could help end this pandemic……FAST.
I’ll try and keep it brief – but there’s more evidence out there.
So, if you don’t believe me, just take look for yourself.
In Newcastle hospitals, patients found to be vitamin D-deficient were given extremely high oral doses of the nutrient, often up to 750 times the daily measure recommended.
Out of 134 patients, only 3 died
A French nursing home study noted that taking regular Vitamin D supplements was “associated with less severe Covid-19 and a better survival rate”.
A study in South Korea proposed that Vitamin D deficiency could “decrease the immune defences against Covid-19 and cause progression to severe disease”.
40% of people in the UK are chronically deficient.
At the end of November,
the UK government announced it would offer four months free vitamin D supplements to all those shielding and in care homes (over 2 million people) from January!
I truly hope that’s happening right now!
Another key immune defence nutrient.
There are currently 45 trials around the world registered using vitamin C to help combat the virus.
The evidence is mounting and is already substantial.
Since February 2020 China have been giving high dose vitamin C to hospital workers, patients, and intravenous vitamin C to the critically ill.
Within a few months, they wiped out critical cases.
In China there have been under 5000 deaths
..since the beginning of the pandemic.
This randomized, placebo-controlled trial published on 9th Jan 2021 shows 80% less Covid-19 hospital deaths when patients were given vitamin C.
Some UK intensive care units with the lowest mortality rates across the UK are already giving high dose vitamin C.
Chelsea and Westminster amongst others use cheap urine dip sticks to test deficiency and give depleted patient’s 6g a day.
They have the lowest rates of covid deaths in the UK.
The UK government’s National Diet and Nutrition Survey found that approximately half a million people have blood levels of vitamin C that are so low that they are undetectable.
It’s like they have scurvy.
One study found that almost half of those living in care homes are worryingly deficient.
Zinc is not only one of the most important minerals for your immune system, it’s also one of the most commonly deficient.
Yet just about everything you want your immune system to do involves zinc.
A study conducted in Spain last year found that patients who had higher levels of zinc were more likely to survive the disease than those who didn’t.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
It means that YOU CAN DO MORE TO HELP
We believe that to win the battle against this virus, we need to take a dual approach.
We’ve been taking this approach to healthcare for 16 years
……with great success!
By working in synergy,
natural and modern medicine together as one,
we can get the fastest results.
United we are stronger!
Together we can beat this virus, end the pandemic, and return to our normal lives.
….and it’s really very simple.
So, let’s get started.
We already know the importance of handwashing, social distancing and mask wearing.
So, I won’t insult your intelligence.
I’m sure you’re also very aware that a vaccine is now being rolled out.
Alex had his first shot of the Pfizer vaccine just after Christmas.
But there are delays to the second dose.
The Government want to roll out one dose to many, instead of completing the vaccine schedule for those that have already received the first.
But what does this mean?
Research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) on 11th December 2020 (see that study here), states 52% immunity after the first dose of vaccination.
Dr Alex says,
‘Vaccine doses, in trials tend to be given 3-4 weeks apart, and efficacy is measured on this. Delaying a second dose may or may not negatively impact it’s efficacy.’
The truth is, we simple won’t know until later down the line.
Even when more vaccines are available, it is still going to take a long time to get everyone covered.
We’re talking months…..possibly years.
Though if you get offered one YOU CAN HELP by taking it!
Regardless…..we’re still running out of time.
- Too many people will lose their livelihood.
- Too many children will lose out on a proper education.
- Too many people will suffer mentally and emotionally.
- Too many people will die.
……In fact, this IS ALREADY the sad reality.
Something needs to be done and FAST!
New strains are emerging and spreading rapidly. This is the nature of viruses. We’ve known this from the beginning.
Scientists can adjust the vaccine accordingly, but again, this takes time.
If you look at the whole picture,
vulnerable people with weak immune systems,
the logistics of administering a vaccine,
we’re probably looking at a more realistic vaccine efficacy of between 50-60% over time.
But this is…..
TIME THAT WE SIMPLY DON’T HAVE!
I personally believe it is NOW TIME we ALL did something MORE to help.
YES! Every single one of us.
I believe that if we cut back on junk food and took optimal safe amounts of vitamins to support our immune system, we could improve the resilience of the nation, and potentially slow ICU admissions.
I’m going to summarise how in a table below.
If you think you’re already healthy and don’t need this, please stay with me a little bit longer.
If you think natural approaches aren’t powerful enough or that you have no control over your immunity, please think back to the compelling research I quoted above.
Or if you think that this simply isn’t for you, then perhaps you’ve a family member that you’re worried about that could do with some help.
Check out this review in the BMJ on vitamins for the immune system in relation to Covid.
- We know this virus hits the elderly
- We know that obesity and other underlying health conditions are a factor
- We know that being dark skinned puts you at a disadvantage
- We know that as we age we absorb less nutrients
But did you know that we can ALL positively impact our health by making small but significant changes to support the natural workings of our body and our innate immunity?
And this is especially important right now because….
WHEN UNDER VIRAL ATTACK
Our nutrient requirements soar, and we need more.
Deficiency = Disease
It’s a common fact that deficiency in vitamins and minerals leads to disease.
If you think that you’re getting enough nutrients from your diet, it’s important to remember that….
This is NOT a normal day to day situation.
This thing is REAL, MEAN and SPREADING FAST!
Alex confirms, hospitals are overwhelmed with critically ill patients.
It’s worse than the last wave.
These humble vitamins have been researched for the last 40 years and have proven beneficial in the fight against ALL VIRUSES tested to date.
So, what should we do?
7 EASY WAYS TO GET HEALTHIER
- Make sure you’re getting at least 5 (aim for 7-10) portions of fruit and veg a day. If this sounds hard, try including 1-2 portions at each meal, plus a smoothie as your afternoon snack. Choose – Kiwi, citrus, pineapple, all berries, melon, spinach, kale, other greens all high in vitamin C.
- Vitamin D – Fish, eggs and mushrooms provide small amount of Vitamin D, but not enough. Our main source of vitamin D is the sun. Right now, in Winter, the only way to get the right amount is to take a supplement – see the chart below for optimal amounts.
- Increase minerals (zinc & selenium). These minerals are key to the workings of your immune system. Snack on a variety of nuts and seeds – pumpkin, flax, sunflower, brazil nuts, almonds etc.
- Include adequate amounts of quality protein & natural fats – eggs, oily fish, olive oil, avocadoes, meat, nuts & seeds, beans, lentils and other pulses etc.
- Avoid refined white foods as they fill you up but contain little to no nutrients – choose a variety of colourful vegetables – beetroot, sweet potato, butternut squash and wholegrains – brown rice, quinoa and oats, for example, instead.
- Remove processed and junk food from your diet. Cook from scratch as much as possible. Even basic cheap food can be healthy – Feed a Family Oxford | Promoting budget healthy eating using local organic produce
- Take cost effective supplements to make sure you’re optimally nourished.
THIS IS WHAT WE DO!
This chart shows calculations for my husband and I, plus our two children age ten and 5 years old.
The supplement protocol below is corroborated by the International Society for Orthomolecular Medicine.
They urge a nutrient-based method to prevent or minimize symptoms for future viral infection.
|Adult daily 60+kg dose||Adult with symptoms||Older Child around (40kg) daily||Older Child with symptoms||Young Child (20kg) daily||Young child with symptoms|
|Vitamin D3||2000IU a day *||As before||1500IU||1500IU||750IU||750IU|
|Vitamin C – in the form Ascorbic Acid||2-3g split through the day||1g every hour (8g a day)||500mg morning and night||500mg every hour (4g a day)||250mg morning and night||250mg every hour (2g a day)|
Why such high doses, and is this safe?
Do you have safety concerns about taking vitamins?
If I hadn’t read all the research, I would definitely question taking vitamins at these levels.
And so should you.
Please do your own research and look at the studies to date.
I’ll summarise the most important findings here.
Vitamin D safety at 5000IU a day
If you consider that 30 minutes in the midday sun gives you 10,000-20,000IU of Vitamin D a day (if you are fair skinned), you’ll understand that 2-5000IU supplement, is a reasonable amount to take.
*If you’re severely deficient – 40% of people in UK are – you will probably need a larger loading dose (5000IU daily) for two weeks to top you up, then go down to the above maintenance dose.
Vitamin D toxicity, where vitamin D can be harmful, has been measured when people take 40,000IU + a day for a couple of months or longer.
This is a great article that summarises all the evidence – How Much Vitamin D is Too Much?
If you’re dubious, get a blood test to see how low you are.
Vitamin C Safety at 2-3g a day (split through the day)
Most animals manufacture their own vitamin C.
They make vitamin C easily in their body from glucose.
In fact, the process has six-steps requiring just four enzymes.
A goat, for example, can make about 15g (300 oranges worth) of vitamin C a day.
When under viral attack, they produce levels of vitamin C way beyond the amount a person (or animal) can eat.
Primates (including us) used to be able to make vitamin C too.
We have a gene that allows for it.
However, this gene has been switched off, probably because our ancestors were getting enough through their diet.
For example, gorillas in the wild eat 4.5g of vitamin C a day through grazing on incredibly large amounts of fruit and vegetation.
We on the other hand barely get 5 portions a day, which equates to about 200mg.
Only animals that don’t make vitamin C
– primates, guinea pigs and bats –
are susceptible to SeVERE COVID-19!
Vitamin C is considered safe up to 2000mg a day. Great article here – Does Too Much Vitamin C Cause Side Effects? (healthline.com)
If you take too much, the likely side effect will be loose bowels. If that happens, simply cut back.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin. It is in and out the body in 6 hours. Splitting the dose through out the day (like a gorilla grazing on fruit) therefore has added benefit.
When you’re sick, your requirements for vitamin C go up.
Speaking from experience when sick, the vitamin C is put to good use in the body, and therefore doesn’t tend to cause loose bowels.
In the Chinese study, they were using 24g IV Vitamin C a day.
Any sign of a virus, I take 1g an hour (up to 8g) and am usually on the mend with in 24 hours.
Vitamin C improves absorption of Iron, which is great for most but may prove dangerous for those who have any rare condition that leads to iron overload.
FIRST DO NO HARM
Whilst people might want to take time to sift through the evidence before adding vitamins to their fight against COVID-19, it’s important to remember, that unlike drugs, vitamins are essential to the workings of ALL our body systems.
We can’t live with out them.
We should question whether an RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) is enough right now, because..
Deficiency = Disease
Here’s some research on vitamins and how they strengthen the immune system against viruses.
Do you remember when the government said there was insufficient evidence on facemasks?
– and now we’re all wearing them.
Vitamins are being researched with promising results.
Vitamins have been studied at these levels for over 40 years without safety concerns.
We’re clearly running out of time.
Please share this article as widely as possible.
We all need to do something to help beat the virus.