Research roundup: Preventing and mitigating COVID-19

A lot of what you read and hear today about COVID-19 can be confusing and contradictory. Politics and finger-pointing abound. We live in an age of information overload – subject to garbage intermixed with things that could work. For example, drinking elderberry syrup while dancing naked next to a 5G tower is unlikely to prevent the covid, nor give you the covid.

This article is an introduction to a series of articles on the research into things that may help to mitigate some of your risk in SARS-Cov-2 infections.

In these articles, I’m very careful to only present research studies and not make recommendations. I encourage you to use the information in determining your own best path forward. Do read the references – in my articles and every other article you read on the topic. I include both a handy link to the reference on each paragraph as well as works cited list.

No one wants to get sick…

In the year and a half that we’ve been encountering the SARS-CoV-2 virus, researchers have learned a lot about the risk factors for getting SARS-CoV-2 and the risk factors for the severity of illness.

In my opinion, we all have a personal responsibility to learn from the research on this topic. Knowing the preventions and treatments for SARS-CoV-2 allows you to make informed choices that are right for your individual situation.

First, let’s take a look at recommendations from the CDC in the US.

(Or – jump ahead to the prevention research section)

COVID-19 treatment and prevention options, CDC website:

The CDC website currently (August 2021) says that the only approved drug for COVID-19 is remdesivir. Outside of hospitalization, the CDC recommends that you take Advil or Tylenol, get some rest, and drink plenty of water.[ref]

Image showing recommendations from the CDC for COVID-19 treatment outside of the hospital.

The CDC website also has a section on preventing COVID-19. The recommendations include: vaccination, wearing masks, cleaning your home, and improving ventilation in your home.[ref]

 


Prevention and treatment strategies, backed by research:

The official advice is OK. And ventilation is really important in indoor spaces…

But – there is a lot more an individual can do to optimize their health in ways that reduce the risk of COVID-19.

Thousands of research studies on COVID-19 look at who is more likely to get sick and who is more likely to have severe COVID-19.

No single supplement or pill is going to treat or prevent COVID-19, at this point. Instead, one likely needs a multi-pronged approach to optimizing health and lifestyle.

Does this information apply to vaccinated individuals? I think it does. The recent numbers out of Israel and the Mayo Clinic show that vaccine effectiveness currently is likely less than 50% (Delta variant, about 6-8 months after many were vaccinated).

In my opinion, a multipronged approach to optimizing immune response and decreasing negative lifestyle factors should help everyone. 

For me, this approach includes:

  • Lifestyle factors such as eating a healthy diet (most of the time…), getting some exercise each day, and prioritizing quality sleep.
  • Taking several of the well-researched natural supplements that have been shown to reduce the risk and/or severity of COVID-19. 
  • Having a plan and being prepared to self-isolate if I get sick.

The following articles may help you to figure out your own, personalized approach to reducing your risk factors:

Vitamin D:

ARTICLE: Examining the Research on Vitamin D and SARS-CoV-2
The headlines on vitamin D for COVID-19 can be completely contradictory. This article examines the research studies on vitamin D.

TLDR: Deficiency in vitamin D is strongly linked to severe COVID-19.

Melatonin:

ARTICLE: Research studies on melatonin and SARS-CoV-2
Melatonin is a lot more than a sleep supplement. While sleep is important, melatonin also has immune modulatory properties that are mechanistically important in COVID-19.

TLDR: Melatonin supplementation has been associated with a reduced risk of COVID-19 in epidemiological studies. Whether or not you need to supplement with melatonin for prevention is likely age-dependent.

Natural polyphenols:

ARTICLE: Natural Plant Compounds backed by research

TLDR: There is some research and a couple of clinical trials on curcumin, quercetin, and nigella sativa for the prevention and treatment of SARS-CoV-2. The trials are small, but they show very positive results for natural supplements that are cheap and generally regarded as safe.

Circadian dysfunction increases disease susceptibility:

ARTICLE:  Circadian rhythm and your immune response to viruses
A quick article that explains how your circadian rhythm is important in your initial ability to fight off a virus.

TLDR: Screwing up your circadian rhythm increases your risk of many infectious diseases.

Diabetes and Blood Glucose Regulation:

ARTICLES: Diabetes Risk Report and Blood Glucose Regulation Genes
Being metabolically unhealthy is a huge risk factor for COVID-19, and type 2 diabetes specifically is linked to more severe disease.

TLDR: Genetics plays a significant role in type 2 diabetes, and understanding your genetic susceptibility can help you find the right prevention strategies for your genes.

Zinc and Your Immune System:

ARTICLE: Zinc genes: The Healing Power of Zinc
Learn why zinc is important for your immune system and so much more. Find out how your genes impact your need for zinc and discover ways of boosting your zinc status.

TLDR: Zinc is an essential part of our immune response to many viruses. You need the right amount of zinc to optimize your immune response.

 

 




Author Information:   Debbie Moon
Debbie Moon is the founder of Genetic Lifehacks. She holds a Master of Science in Biological Sciences from Clemson University and an undergraduate degree in engineering from Colorado School of Mines. Debbie is a science communicator who is passionate about explaining evidence-based health information. Her goal with Genetic Lifehacks is to bridge the gap between the research hidden in scientific journals and everyone's ability to use that information. To contact Debbie, visit the contact page.