COVID-19 Integrative Support in Prevention & Early Interventions

By Karen Vrchota, MD

The following is for educational purposes only, and not meant to replace usual medical care. Consult your own practitioner for specific, personal advice.

Looking for a ray of sunshine in this time of COVID-19 fear? While we don’t know everything we need to know, quite a bit of research is emerging with strategies that can support the body’s own immune system in self defense.

When considering possible interventions, I am reminded of a treatment found effective in reducing severity and death rate from the 1918 influenza pandemic. Fresh air, sunshine, good hygiene, and homemade masks were the mainstay in Camp Brooks emergency open-air hospital in Boston, for the treatment of influenza, which significantly reduced serious complications among patients, and decreased infection in medical staff.

Also recall how tuberculosis, one of the most difficult infections to treat, responded well in Sanatoriums to fresh air, sunshine, fun activities, stress reduction, and good nutrition.

Dr. Dean Ornish found that “lifestyle medicine” changed over 500 genes in three months, turning on health giving genes, and turning off disease causing genes. This was accomplished with:

  1. Plant based nutrition, eating 6-8 colorful servings of vegetables and fruit daily.

  2. Meditation 20 minutes twice daily. (I really like Headspace APP.

  3. Exercise 1 hour daily, stretching, strengthening, and aerobics.

  4. Connection with others, sharing about an issue important to you, and listening with empathy when another speaks.

And Pasteur, after arguing all of his life that microbes caused disease, abated, saying “The microbe is nothing, the milieu is everything”. So, be sure to do everything you can to increase general wellness.

In addition to following good hygiene, and social distancing, and bandana over face (maybe sprayed with Argentyn 23) when going out, what can be done to support the body in prevention of viral infection? There are so many resources popping up, including this masterlist of antivirals.

It can be overwhelming to comb through all the information, so here’s my short list of COVID-19 prevention strategies:

  • Vitamin C 1000-3000 mg every 4-6 hours, 3-5x day. Reduce dose for diarrhea. Ascorbic acid crystals or powder 4000mg/tsp 3-5gm dissolved in 12 ounces of water. Drink over 30-60 minutes 4-5 times daily. Use buffered Ascorbate if GI upset occurs.Capsules and tablets work great too, just a little harder to get serum levels high.

  • Zinc 15 mg 3x day-50 mg once daily. Zinc is a known inhibitor of other coronaviruses and may impair the replication of COVID-19. However, zinc is difficult to get into your cells. Supplemental ionospheres could escort zinc into cells, some options being Quercitin 600-1200mg 2x day, or EGCG from green tea or Luteolin or Quinine from tonic water cinchona powder (1 tsp in cup cold water, simmer for 10 minutes, cool, sweeten with stevia and lemon or lime.)

  • Elderberry 1 tsp tincture 3x daily. Studies have found that Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) extracts inhibits infectious bronchitis virus replication. Use early, but discontinue if inflammation is present as it may cause lung problems.

  • Vitamin A with beta carotene 5000-7500IU/day

  • Vitamin E with mixed tocopherol 400IU in morning, and Vitamin E tocotrienols 125 mg in evening to reduce inflammation and support healthy cell membranes. Do not take together, as tocopherols block tocotrienol action.

  • Respirin, a combination of 23 Chinese herbs I have found helpful in every respiratory condition that I have seen in the past 5 years. 3-6 every 8 hours, 15 min before or one hour after food. No experience yet with this virus.

  • ProBoost, Thymic Protein A, has been helpful in immune support for those with viral or bacterial infections. I am taking one 3x/day sublingual, let it dissolve.

  • ViraClear is a homeopathic remedy that may support immune response to respiratory viruses.

If you have an active infection, modify the strategy:

  • Increase Vitamin C to 3-5000mg every 2-4 hours to bowel tolerance. Use Ascorbic Acid if tolerated, used buffered ascobate or EsterC if stomach gets irritated with straight Ascorbic Acid.When the body is sick, it needs more Vitamin C.

In China they found early “high dose” intravenous Rx Vitamin C (12-24 gms infused over 24 hours) given as soon as pneumonia was diagnosed helped shorten the illness and left lungs in a healthier state than those not given IVC.  But other Orthomolecular experts have been using Vitamin C 25-50 gms in sterile water, buffered with calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, and potassium chloride, infused over 2-3 hours against many severe viruses similar to Covid-19. Dr. Cheng in Wuhan uses these doses when conditions are desperate, with good success in many cases. Interested physicians and pharmacists could gather more information from this study by Dr. Paul S. Anderson or this protocol established by the Riordan Clinic.

  • Continue zinc,  Quercitin, vitamins A, C, and E tocotrienols. 

  • Stop Elderberry, as it stimulates the production of cytokines and there may be a risk of creating a “cytokine storm” of over activated immune cells that can cause additional tissue damage.

There are studies underway examining a few different prescription treatments:

We are on the cusp of spring, and recent research has shown for every degree of increase in temperature and humidity, there is a corresponding decline in COVID-19 cases. Warm air and sunshine may naturally reduce the spreading of COVID-19. One strategy is to institute social distancing until warm weather is well established, then relax restrictions, and monitor the spread. We won’t really know how much the virus is spreading until there is a cheap, easy test available for everyone.

The best we can do right now is eat whole unprocessed foods, get 8 hours of sleep daily, meditate, exercise, and connect with family and friends outdoors, while following some basic nutritional support. And, as always, consult your integrative practitioner on what course of action may be best for you.


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