Perhaps needless to say, I am not a doctor or a medical professional so do not accept anything I write here as professional medical advice. Use your own judgment and advice of your doctors if you become ill.
Like most people, I am sheltering in place (or whatever your preferred term is for staying away from people) while the virus runs rampant through the United States. I doubt anything the current incompetent administration could have done would have prevented some severe disruption, but it seems to me clear that probably thousands of additional lives will be lost due to the missed opportunities to mobilize an effective response to this disease.
Until a vaccine is produced, I think the odds are good that you and I will get COVID-19 in one or more of waves that probably will pass through the population. If we are lucky, we will be ones with minor symptoms. If we are not, we will become seriously ill. One of the things I’ve been doing is looking at various alternatives for minimizing the effect of the virus.
First, regarding chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine. There’s a lot of attention on this drug because Dear Leader touted it at a news conference. So you will certainly hear a lot more about it. For the moment, I have this view:
“Whether hydroxychloroquine works in vivo is not proven for any virus, and in fact in randomised controlled trials against a number of viruses, including influenza, it doesn’t work at all,” says Douglas Richman, a virologist and infectious disease physician at the University of California, San Diego. “It’s my personal prejudice that this is also going to be the case with coronavirus.”
Another promising prescription drug is losartan. Losartan is an anti-hypertensive drug that has been in use for many years. There is conflicting information about whether potentially this drug could help or exacerbate the lung damage caused by the disease. The University of Minnesota is currently tied up in red tape trying to get a clinical trial underway. Chris Tignanelli is leading the clinical trials.
A study Inhibition of Viral Macrodomain of COVID-19 and Human TRPM2 by losartan discusses something that seems like a simulation but suggests: ” The inhibitory effect of losartan on PARP has been shown and it could interfere positively in several points (PARP, PARG- macrodomain and TRPM2) and decreases oxidative stress and apoptosis in COVID-19″.
Another article also discusses losartan and adds a number of supplements which are usually available over the counter. I say “usually” because I’ve noticed a run on vitamins and supplements in some stores since the virus has hit. These supplements include:
- Vitamin D
- N-acetylcysteine (NAC)
- NAD+ and niacin (+ L tryptophan)
An older review study on the SARS coronavirus finds potentially effective antiviral properties from curcumin: “The authors do present some evidence suggesting that the observed effect was due to binding of these compounds to the spike protein of SARS. In addition, some test phytochemicals mentioned in the paper inhibited SARS 3CL protease activity in enzyme assays”. Curcumin is found in the spice turmeric.
Finally, the jury seems to be out on whether NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, exacerbate lung damage. Some European countries were finding that people with the most severe symptoms had NSAIDs in their systems.
I just love us rummaging through our drug cabinet and pulling things out and musing “maybe this will work.” Anti-virals are few and far between and asking a malfunctioning system to come up with a vaccine in short order is asking for miracles. As an elderly asthma-sufferer (probably due, in part, to smoking parents) I am not inclined to play “health roulette” but I understand that in desperate times, people will do desperate things, stupid, too. A relative passed on the claim for the chloroquine cure as proffered by Fox (sic) News and a colleague said there was a French study showing it “killed” the virus and when I scoffed, I was told I was wrong. Believing in what appears to be good news is also something desperate people do.
Please stay well, my friend. You are not easily replaced! :o)
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Most of natural remedies likely won’t hurt you even if they don’t help a lot with the virus. Actually I have been using a number of them already – curcumin, niacin, Vitamin D, and NAC.
I’ve also been taking the prescription drug losartan for some mild hypertension. So I am definitely interested in whether it helps or hurts, which is part of what got looking around for other things that might help.
The curcumin might be mildly antiviral but the others would be more useful in ameliorating the bad effect of the virus on the lungs.
Evidence seems lacking all over the place. The reputable sources I’ve seen have not been enthusiastic on the supplement front, at least unless you have reason to think you might have a deficiency. People staying inside a lot might should consider vitamin D; 1000 IU is plenty, and probably easier to find right now than the mega-doses.
Disagree with your Vitamin D recommendation. 5000 IU combined with Vitamin K is probably better. I take 10,000 with Vitamin K and I am still just in a normal range on my blood tests and I get outside quite a bit. However, there are cardiovascular advantages to sunlight that are over and above the Vitamin D created. The skin exposed to sunlight creates NO which relaxes blood vessels. Lack of it possibly explains higher cardiovascular death rates for northern latitudes. Saunas may also release NO which might explain lower death rates for regular sauna user in Finland studies.
None of the supplements have been demonstrated in trials and they probably never will be because nobody spends money on effectiveness of the supplements. If you read the article, a rationale is provided why the supplements may be of use.
Also, it’s not like it’s a decision between miracle drug and supplement. If you get sick the supplements may do nothing but mostly you will only be out of pocket cost of the supplement. On the other hand, if they even slightly mitigate the effects, they could be worth the cost. That’s generally has been my risk/reward consideration for most supplements I take. Most of these supplements are generally regarded as having beneficial effects especially for older adults who are most likely to have complications with the virus even if they do nothing special for the virus.
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I’m not a doctor either but one message of this experience could be to think more about our physical and mental health in the future. We seem to think the body needs nothing in particular to be healthy, like health is a given. Let me assure it is not. Everything that enters through your mouth has a consequences. This might be a good time to clean up the diet, not relying on fast food, or worst socializing with too much alcohol etc. You might not like this message but you could consider thinking about your body right now and appreciating the fact that you are still here regardless of some possibly unhealthy habits. It time for a change or at least considering the possibility.
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