Novel Strategies for COVID-19: Hit Back with Vitamins C and D

April 12, 2020

References: RealClearPolitics,  WayBackMachine, The Lancet, ProceedNatAcadSci , ClinGov, New York Post, ChildrensHealthDefense, BMJ, EndocrineConnections, Future Microbiology

COVID-19 does NOT CAUSE ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome).  It looks like it but that's not what is happening primarily. ARDS is happening but that is secondary and comes from too much oxygen by ventilators. Listen to Dr. Kyle-Sidell, an intensivist in New York, explain that his COVID patients are like people in an airplane at 35,000 feet with no oxygen.  You can carry a tiny amount of oxygen in your blood, raised by high-pressure oxygen.  But a more efficient method might be hyperbaric treatment.  With that, you can live without hemoglobin.  For how long?  And you think we have a shortage of ventilators.  Try hyperbaric machines

We are learning the pathology of COVID. It's more subtle and malicious. It's really more like carbon monoxide poisoning. Your blood can't carry any oxygen because the hemoglobin is being destroyed.  You die, one organ at a time as oxygen just runs out.  This blog is not fact-checked and the author is on a bit of a rant, but the key idea fits. COVID attacks the hemoglobin molecule and releases the iron safely tucked inside. Without iron inside of the heme moiety of hemoglobin, your blood can't carry oxygen.  Carbon monoxide does that too.  

Freed up iron in your blood is a terribly active oxidant that will wreak havoc everywhere. So your serum ferritin shoots up, a reliable emerging marker of COVID severity. Now, chloroquine works on malaria because the plasmodium of malaria feasts on the hemoglobin of red cells. Mess up the process by which a parasite (malaria) ruins hemoglobin with hydroxychloroquine and it's not so far-fetched to understand that that strategy may oddly work against a virus. This isn't working through antibiotic mechanisms that block internal enzymes in a bacteria, but rather may be binding directly to the hemoglobin and acting as a shield. That may be enough. (Complete conjecture on my part, as a hypothesis.). But its a mechanism outside the known working mechanisms of antibiotics so it appears to beg authenticity, but in fact might be just the ticket.  Dr Fauci is right, though.  Confirm with data.

How do you ameliorate the toxicity of free iron? Antioxidants. Lots of them. Vitamin C is simple and easy to take. Do it. One study from China showed that one intensivist was giving high-dose IV Vitamin C to his patients and appeared to have enough success to merit a randomized trial to be registered. In the pell-mell rush to study new ideas, some New York hospitals are using Vitamin C with variable success.  Results pending. 

Is Vitamin C harmful? Hardly. Should you be on it now? Certainly. Are there others that work?  Of course. That may be which NAC appears to help with COVID-19.  It appears to boost your natural glutathione which you have boatloads of as a 10 years old, enough when you are 20, some when you are 50 but none by 60.  Take NAC too.  N-acetyl cysteine, 600 mg a day.  And eat spices.  All spices.  Eat curry. 

Ok, how about D?  This is equally interesting.  This might be exactly why the African American community is having a tougher time with COVID.  You can't fight viruses without a D level above 32.  You simply don't make any cathelicidin (your natural antibiotic) below that.  I've personally tested over 500 Milwaukee African Americans D levels when I was in the ER ten years ago.  The average level would be 5-16.  Caucasians would be 25-45.  African Americans need six times the amount of sunlight to make the same amount of D in their skin because their pigment blocks UV rays.   Hence their D is lower.  We gave free Vitamin D to 3000 employees of our hospital during the last flu epidemic and had a 10% reduction in sick time called in while every other hospital had an average of 15% increase.  It wasn't randomized or approved by the IRB.  It was a gesture of goodwill.  But the benefits were clear.  Influenza goes crazy and becomes active in the fall, as Vitamin D levels drop.  Milwaukee and Detroit are two northern cities (less bright sunlight) with large African American communities.  No wonder they are COVID hot spots.  (There are other reasons too, but this one is actionable today.)

Multiple studies of D, and metaanalyses, show a reduction in ICU time , reduction in respiratory illnesses, ventilator time, on and on.  The benefits appear to be there with once a month dosing, but there is a consistent tilt in all the studies towards better results with daily dosing.  

WWW:   What will work for me.  I take 5000 IU of D daily. I'm over 60 and one's skin just doesn't make as much D as you age. I'll be taking 5,000 IU daily for the duration.  Vitamin C.  I'll all in.  I found it sold out on Amazon the first time I looked so I found another form of it. The word is out.  Join me.  This is something you can do.  And give a bottle of D to an African American.


Pop Quiz

1.   The mechanism of COVID on your lungs is primarily damage to lung cells by the virus.  T or F.   Answer: False.  It appears to be the inability of blood to carry oxygen.  The lung gets damaged secondarily by the use of high dose oxygen on ventilators trying to push some oxygen into the blood. One theory that explains it is that the virus attaches to and strips hemoglobin of its iron.

2. How does Vitamin C help? Answer: It is an antioxidant that calms the tornado of loose iron.

3. Would IV Vitamin C be better? Answer: One little study from China says yes. But, as with everything else, confirmation with randomized trials pending.

4. Taking Vitamin D boosts what? Answer: Your natural antibiotic called cathelicidin. You don't make any when your blood level of D is below 32. Almost all African Americans are below 20 unless they take a supplement because the pigment in their skin blocks the UVB rays that make Vitamin D. Caucasians are below 32 for the months of November-April, otherwise known is flu season.

5. Should you take D every day or once a month? Answer: both work but daily is better. But it you can't remember, just taking it matters. 


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