Digestive issues like abdominal cramps, heartburn, nausea, and diarrhea often plague Lyme disease patients. The symptoms can be life-disrupting and tough to treat, and combined with the underlying causes, they can actually inhibit your ability to overcome Lyme.
What’s going on, and how can you heal your gut to jumpstart your Lyme recovery?
Join a live webinar with Dr. Bill Rawls, author of the best-selling book Unlocking Lyme, who knows firsthand what it’s like to live with chronic Lyme disease and gastrointestinal symptoms. He’ll reveal what’s to blame for Lyme-related gut dysfunction, and the holistic approach that helped him and thousands of others restore gut and overall health.
PLUS: Don’t miss an exclusive giveaway for webinar attendees, and have your questions ready for a LIVE Q&A on Lyme disease and gut health with Dr. Rawls.
Why digestive distress is a common and major complaint for people with chronic Lyme disease
How gut bacteria and other microbes trigger a range of symptoms from GI issues like nausea, abdominal pain, and reflux to systemic ones like fatigue, joint pain, and brain fog
The foods, medications, and lifestyle factors that prevent healing and make symptoms worse
The best diet, habits, and natural remedies for restoring a gut health
Numerous insights during the live Q&A with Dr. Rawls
While health authorities and mainstream media have ignored, if not outright opposed, the use of vitamin C and other supplements in the treatment of COVID-19, citing lack of clinical evidence, a landmark review recommends the use of vitamin C as an adjunctive therapy for respiratory infections, sepsis and COVID-19
According to the authors, “Vitamin C’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating effects make it a potential therapeutic candidate, both for the prevention and amelioration of COVID-19 infection, and as an adjunctive therapy in the critical care of COVID-19”
Oral vitamin C at doses of 2 to 8 grams a day have been shown to reduce the incidence and duration of respiratory infections
Intravenous vitamin C at 6 to 24 grams a day has been shown to reduce mortality, ICU admission rates, hospital stays and time on mechanical ventilation in patients with severe respiratory infections
An international vitamin C campaign has been launched in response to the landmark review
Regardless of what the mainstream media want you to think, many are starting to realize the truth, which is that both vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and vitamin D have an enormous amount of research showing they provide important immune function enhancements, and that your immune function is your frontline defense against all illness, including COVID-19.
As reported in the paper “Optimal Nutritional Status for a Well-Functioning Immune System Is an Important Factor to Protect Against Viral Infections,” published April 23, 2020:1
“The role nutrition plays in supporting the immune system is well-established. A wealth of mechanistic and clinical data show that vitamins, including vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and folate; trace elements, including zinc, iron, selenium, magnesium, and copper; and the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid play important and complementary roles in supporting the immune system.
Inadequate intake and status of these nutrients are widespread, leading to a decrease in resistance to infections and as a consequence an increase in disease burden.”
High-Dose Vitamin C Acts as an Antiviral Drug
As explained in the video above by Dr. Andrew Saul, editor-in-chief of the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, at extremely high doses, vitamin C actually acts as an antiviral drug, effectively inactivating viruses.
His Tokyo presentation, “Orthomolecular Medicine and Coronavirus Disease: Historical Basis for Nutritional Treatment,” highlights the fact that when used as a treatment, high doses of vitamin C — often 1,000 times more than the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) — are needed.
It’s a cornerstone of medical science that dose affects treatment outcome, but this premise isn’t accepted when it comes to vitamin therapy the way it is with drug therapy. Most vitamin C research has used inadequate, low doses, which don’t lead to clinical results.
“The medical literature has ignored over 80 years of laboratory and clinical studies on high-dose ascorbate therapy,” Saul notes, adding that while it’s widely accepted that vitamin C is beneficial in fighting illness, controversy exists over to what extent. “Moderate quantities provide effective prevention,” he says, while “large quantities are therapeutic.”
Landmark Paper Puts Vitamin C on the COVID-19 Treatment Map
While health authorities and mainstream media have ignored, if not outright opposed, the use of vitamin C and other supplements in the treatment of COVID-19, citing lack of clinical evidence, we now have a landmark review2 recommending the use of vitamin C as an adjunctive therapy for respiratory infections, sepsis and COVID-19.
The review,3 published December 7, 2020, in the journal Nutrients, was co-written by Dr. Paul Marik who, in 2017, developed a groundbreaking vitamin C-based treatment for sepsis. Marik is now heading up the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance,4 which has developed a highly successful treatment for COVID-19.
The COVID-19 protocol was initially dubbedMATH+ (an acronym based on the key components of the treatment), but after several tweaks and updates, the prophylaxis and early outpatient treatment protocol is now known as I-MASK+5 while the hospital treatment has been renamed I-MATH+,6 due to the addition of the drug Ivermectin. Vitamin C remains a central component of this treatment, though.
(The two protocols7,8 are available for download on the FLCCC Alliance website in multiple languages. The clinical and scientific rationale for the I-MATH+ hospital protocol has also been peer-reviewed and was published in the Journal of Intensive Care Medicine9 in mid-December 2020.) As explained in the Nutrients review abstract:10
“There are limited proven therapies for COVID-19. Vitamin C’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating effects make it a potential therapeutic candidate, both for the prevention and amelioration of COVID-19 infection, and as an adjunctive therapy in the critical care of COVID-19.
This literature review focuses on vitamin C deficiency in respiratory infections, including COVID-19, and the mechanisms of action in infectious disease, including support of the stress response, its role in preventing and treating colds and pneumonia, and its role in treating sepsis and COVID-19.
The evidence to date indicates that oral vitamin C (2-8 g/day) may reduce the incidence and duration of respiratory infections and intravenous vitamin C (6-24 g/day) has been shown to reduce mortality, intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital stays, and time on mechanical ventilation for severe respiratory infections …
Given the favorable safety profile and low cost of vitamin C, and the frequency of vitamin C deficiency in respiratory infections, it may be worthwhile testing patients’ vitamin C status and treating them accordingly with intravenous administration within ICUs and oral administration in hospitalized persons with COVID-19.”
International Vitamin C Campaign Launched
In a December 16, 2020, action alert,11 Rob Verkerk, Ph.D., founder and scientific director of the Alliance for Natural Health, announced the launch of an international vitamin C campaign12 in response to the landmark review, which “puts all the arguments and science in one, neat place.”
As noted by Verkerk, there are several reasons to take supplemental vitamin C. First, your body cannot make it. Second, most people do not get sufficient amounts from their diet and, third, your body’s requirement for vitamin C can increase 10-fold whenever your immune system is challenged by an infection, disease or physical trauma.
In fact, the Nutrients review13 points out that it’s common for hospitalized patients to have overt vitamin C deficiency, defined as a blood level at or below 11 µmol/L. This is particularly true for older patients and those hospitalized for respiratory infections.
According to the authors, “Vitamin C concentrations are three to 10 times higher in the adrenal glands than in any other organ. It is released from the adrenal cortex under conditions of physiological stress (ACTH stimulation), including viral exposure, raising plasma levels fivefold.” In his action alert, Verkerk notes:14
“Taking vitamin C as a preventative and then, upping your intake if you’re infected, is a no brainer.So is using vitamin C intravenously for those with acute respiratory infections, or sepsis, in critical care.
So much so, that we argue — given the now available evidence — that doctors and other health professionals who avoid recommendations on vitamin C in relation to COVID disease prevention and treatment, should be considered medically negligent …
There is ample evidence to show that supplements like zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin D can help prevent and treat COVID-19, but we’re prevented from learning about these benefits by the federal government.
Because supplements are not, and can never become, FDA-approved, they cannot claim to have an impact on disease, even when we know they can. This nonsense has to stop.”
How Vitamin C Works
As mentioned, the Nutrients review15 details vitamin C’s mechanisms of action and how it helps in cases of infectious disease, including the common cold, pneumonia, sepsis and COVID-19. For starters, vitamin C has the following basic properties:
Beneficial antiviral effects apply to both the innate and adaptive immune systems. When you have an infection, vitamin C improves your immune function in part by promoting the development and maturation of T-lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that is an essential part of your immune system.
Phagocytes, immune cells that kill pathogenic microbes, are also able to take in oxidized vitamin C and regenerate it to ascorbic acid. With regard to COVID-19 specifically, vitamin C:16
Helps downregulate inflammatory cytokines, thereby reducing the risk of a cytokine storm. It also reduces inflammation through the activation of NF-κB and by increasing superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione. Epigenetically, vitamin C regulates genes involved in the upregulation of antioxidant proteins and downregulation of proinflammatory cytokines
Protects your endothelium from oxidant injury
Helps repair damaged tissues
Upregulates expression of Type-1 interferons, your primary antiviral defense mechanism, which SARS-CoV-2 downregulates
Eliminates ACE2 upregulation induced by IL-7. This is particularly noteworthy, as the ACE2 receptor is the entry point for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus’ spike protein binds to ACE2)
Appears to be a powerful inhibitor of Mpro, a key protease (enzyme) in SARS-CoV-2 that activates viral nonstructural proteins
Regulates neutrophil extracellular trap formation (NETosis), a maladaptive response that results in tissue damage and organ failure
Enhances lung epithelial barrier function in an animal model of sepsis by promoting epigenetic and transcriptional expression of protein-channels at the alveolar capillary membrane that regulate alveolar fluid clearance
Mediates the adrenocortical stress response, particularly in sepsis
The graph below, from the Nutrients review, illustrates the key ways in which vitamin C ameliorates the pathology seen in COVID-19.
Nebulized Peroxide May Be Even Better
The beautiful graphic above makes it really clear that one of the primary ways that vitamin C works is through the generation of reactive oxygen species. Guess what the primary one is? If you guessed hydrogen peroxide give yourself a high five!
It is highly likely that the peroxide forms a very powerful signaling function that stimulates the immune system to defeat whatever viral threat it is exposed to. This is one of the reasons why nebulized peroxide is my absolute favorite intervention for acute viral illnesses. It is highly effective, inexpensive and has no side effects when used at the very low doses recommended (0.1%, which is 30 times less concentrated than regular drugstore 3% peroxide).
My video below discusses the details of how you can use this therapy. The key is to have your nebulizer already purchased and ready to go so that it is locked and loaded and you don’t have to go out and purchase anything if you or a loved one gets sick. You can still use vitamin C with the peroxide, as they likely have a powerful synergy and use different complimentary mechanisms.
Since you are not using full strength 3% peroxide and diluting it by 30 to 50 times, it is unlikely the stabilizers will present a problem, but to be safe, it is best to use FOOD-GRADE peroxide. Also, do not dilute it with plain water as the lack of electrolytes in the water can damage your lungs if you nebulize it. Instead, use saline or add a small amount of salt to the water to eliminate this risk.
The Nutrients review17 also includes clinical evidence for the role of vitamin C in COVID-19, noting that early oral supplementation might help prevent a mild case from developing into something more serious. In patients with critical symptoms, intravenous administration of vitamin C has been shown to speed up recovery, reducing both ICU stays and mortality.
Interestingly, vitamin C deficiency and COVID-19 share many of the same risk factors, including male gender, darker skin, older age and comorbidities such as diabetes, high blood pressure and COPD. All of these subgroups are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 and, according to the authors, all “have also been shown to have lower serum vitamin C levels.”
Commenting on the clinical evidence supporting the use of vitamin C in the treatment of COVID-19, the authors write:18
“There are currently 45 trials registered on Clinicaltrials.gov investigating vitamin C with or without other treatments for COVID-19. In the first RCT to test the value of vitamin C in critically ill COVID-19 patients, 54 ventilated patients in Wuhan, China, were treated with a placebo (sterile water) or intravenous vitamin C at a dose of 24 g/day for 7 days …
The more severely ill patients with SOFA [sequential organ failure assessment] scores ≥ 3 in the vitamin C group exhibited a reduction in 28-day mortality: 18% versus 50% in univariate survival analysis (Figure 2). No study-related adverse events were reported.”
Figure 2 below, from version 1 of the study,19 “High-Dose Vitamin C Infusion for the Treatment of Critically Ill COVID-19,” posted on the preprint server Research Square August 10, 2020 (updated September 23, at which point it was renamed20), shows the 28-day mortality rates between critically ill COVID-19 patients given high-dose IV vitamin C (HDIVC) compared to those given a placebo.
The Nutrient review also summarizes findings from other COVID-19 trials using vitamin C, as well as a few case reports:21
“In the UK, the Chelsea and Westminster hospital ICU, where adult ICU patients were administered 1 g of intravenous vitamin C every 12 h together with anticoagulants, has reported 29% mortality, compared to the average 41% reported by the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC) for all UK ICUs …
The Frontline COVID-19 Critical Care Expert Group (FLCCC), a group of emergency medicine experts, have reported that, with the combined use of 6 g/day intravenous vitamin C (1.5 g every 6 h), plus steroids and anticoagulants, mortality was 5% in two ICUs in the US (United Memorial Hospital in Houston, Texas, and Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia), the lowest mortality rates in their respective counties.
A case report of 17 COVID-19 patients who were given 1 g of intravenous vitamin C every 8 h for 3 days reported a mortality rate of 12% with 18% rates of intubation and mechanical ventilation and a significant decrease in inflammatory markers, including ferritin and D-dimer, and a trend towards decreasing FiO2 requirements.
Another case of unexpected recovery following high-dose intravenous vitamin C has also been reported. While these case reports are subject to confounding and are not prima facie evidence of effects, they do illustrate the feasibility of using vitamin C for COVID-19 with no adverse effects reported.”
How Much Vitamin C Do You Need?
As detailed in the introduction of the Nutrients review,22 primates and humans are dependent on an adequate supply of vitamin C from fruits and vegetables. Gorillas need 4.5 grams a day, while smaller primates weighing around 7.5 kilos need about 600 mg per day. This gives us a clue as to what the human requirement might be, and it’s quite a bit higher than the daily recommended intake. According to the authors:23
“The EU Average Requirement of 90 mg/day for men and 80 mg/day for women is to maintain a normal plasma level of 50 µmol/L, which is the mean plasma level in UK adults. This is sufficient to prevent scurvy but may be inadequate when a person is under viral exposure and physiological stress.
An expert panel in cooperation with the Swiss Society of Nutrition recommended that everyone supplement with 200 mg ‘to fill the nutrient gap for the general population and especially for the adults age 65 and older. This supplement is targeted to strengthen the immune system.’ The Linus Pauling Institute recommends 400 mg for older adults (>50 years old).
Pharmacokinetic studies in healthy volunteers support a 200-mg daily dose to produce a plasma level of circa 70 to 90 µmol/L. Complete plasma saturation occurs between 1 g daily and 3 g every four hours, being the highest tolerated oral dose, giving a predicted peak plasma concentration of circa 220 µmol/L.
The same dose given intravenously raises plasma vitamin C levels approximately tenfold. Higher intakes of vitamin C are likely to be needed during viral infections with 2–3 g/day required to maintain normal plasma levels between 60 and 80 µmol/L. Whether higher plasma levels have additional benefit is yet to be determined, but would be consistent with the results of the clinical trials discussed in this review.”
While high-dose vitamin C regimens typically call for intravenous administration, if treating a viral infection at home (be it COVID-19 or something else), you could use oral liposomal vitamin C, as this allows you to take far higher doses without causing loose stools.
You can take up to 100 grams of liposomal vitamin C without problems and get really high blood levels, equivalent to or higher than intravenous vitamin C. I view that as an acute treatment, however. I discourage people from taking mega doses of vitamin C on a regular basis if they’re not actually sick, because it is essentially a drug — or at least it works like one.
Saul, who has worked with and recommended vitamin C for most of his professional life suggests taking “enough vitamin C to be symptom-free,” whatever dosage that might be. When you’re well, you typically don’t need more than the 200 mg to 400 mg recommended in the quote above.
This science won’t matter to our public health ‘authorities’ any more than the Danish Mask study showing masks don’t work. Both defy their narrative so they are shouted down or flatly ignored. So much for “following the science.” The Lyme/MSIDS world has lived in this “twilight zone” for over 40 years.
FDA-approved pain medicines are dangerous, but the government is systematically attacking safer, non-addictive natural treatments. Action Alert!
A recent study in Switzerland found that acetaminophen poisoning increased by 40% following the approval of 1,000mg doses. This is just the latest data to indicate the public health problems caused by this commonly used pain drug, which is the active ingredient in Tylenol.
Despite the dangers of FDA-approved pain drugs, the federal government aggressively attacks and censors natural pain medicines like homeopathic treatments, CBD, medical foods, and supplements. This needless suffering must end.
We’ve written for years about the dangers of acetaminophen. It is the most commonly prescribed class of drugs despite causing50 percent of all liver failure in the US. According to the FDA’s adverse event database, acetaminophen has caused more than 100,000 adverse events and more than 78,000 serious adverse events, including 24,000 deaths. It has also been linked to asthma and hearing loss.
Now consider the federal government’s approach to natural pain medicines. The FDA essentially banned all injectable homeopathic medicines, which includes Traumeel, a prescription-only homeopathic medicine for pain with an extremely robust safety profile.
Previously, the FDA went after Limbrel, a medical food for the treatment of osteoarthritis. In a letter to Primus, the FDA stated that 194 adverse event reports for Limbrel were received between 2007 and 2017—about 20 a year.
Then, of course, there’s CBD. The federal government’s approach to CBD right now is frankly a mess, and we’ve sifted through the details in previous coverage. In short, hemp and its derivatives have been legalized at the federal level, but FDA laws still apply to products containing hemp, such as supplements, lotions, cosmetics, etc. Since 2018, the FDA has been trying to figure out how it will treat these products. Recall, too, that the agency has approved a CBD drug, and according to FDA rules, this means that CBD cannot legally be sold as a supplement.
We ultimately don’t know how the FDA will treat CBD supplements. If history provides any clues, the FDA will protect the drug-approval process and ban CBD supplements. To add to the confusion, Congress is directing the FDA to release an interim policy (called a policy of enforcement discretion) explaining how it will treat CBD products in the marketplace as the agency develops its final regulatory framework. Will the FDA release an interim policy that allows CBD supplements for the time being before banning them outright when a final policy is released? We just don’t know, but we should assume that the FDA will not do the right thing, especially when Big Pharma profits are at stake.
It is unconscionable, but unsurprising, that the FDA would reduce access to safe, non-addictive alternatives to dangerous opioid drugs that killed 30,000 people in 2018 alone. We’ve also seen basic information on natural health censored to protect drug industry profits during the COVID-19 pandemic. This cronyism has to stop.
Action Alert! Write to Congress and the FDA, telling them to issue a policy of enforcement discretion that protects consumer access to hemp-derived CBD supplements at therapeutic levels and full-spectrum hemp oil. Please send your message immediately. By sending this message, you will also be supporting our petition to ungag doctors so that they can share with patients the benefits of supplements and natural treatments for COVID.
Our government shuts down anything that competes with its own lucrative products.
In this episode, you will learn about the BIOTOXIC Rx including the LabElymental Milk Cleanse, NeuroPraxis, MYCOMEFREE, and more.
About My Guest
My guest for this episode is Jody Levy. Jody Levy is the founder of The LabElymental Milk Cleanse, NeuroPraxis, and soon-to-be MYCOMEFREE. She is also the co-founder of WTRMLN WTR.
Jody has quietly been suffering from symptoms associated with Lyme Disease, Mold Illness (CIRS), and a slew of co-infections and related imbalances for over 20 years.
Now she is fully recovered and living her best life. She feels strong, healthy, pain–free, and proud of her discoveries.
She always knew she could not expose her struggle until she was able to share the solutions that helped her get better. In her unwavering belief that her journey was bigger than herself, she is now committed to creating simple and easy products that people can use to relieve their suffering and thrive.
For years, she was committed to understanding why she was always exhausted, in pain, puffy, blurry, and foggy. No-one could figure out what was wrong with her. But she was relentlessly determined to understand why she did not feel good. She set out on a painful and tedious journey to find solutions to help herself, and others, feel happy and healthy. She always knew that if she stayed the course, she would find the tools that would help her and ultimately many other people. She spun a web of the most exceptional doctors, scientists, researchers, practitioners, and healers who all played their part in her epic recovery.
She tried so many treatments. She mapped her genetics and her entire body. She was meticulous about how she recorded her treatments. Protocol by protocol, she tracked and cross-referenced her short-term and long-term results. She tried things that nearly killed her and when they didn’t work, she would get right back up and try again. Because she knew – intuitively – that she was going to discover things that would help her and others like her return to vibrant health. During this process she was optimistic, but she was also skeptical of everything. After years of treatments, she questioned if she would ever arrive at an answer.
And she finally succeeded! She healed herself of Lyme Disease and mold exposure. She got rid of co-infections and the agonizing symptoms of viruses and parasites. Her mental commitment, psychological anguish, and massive financial investments paid off. She got herself better. Her test results came back clean. Her brain cleared, her vision got crisp, and her mood balanced. Today, she is working to bring all of these solutions to as many people as she possibly can, so that no one has to suffer the way she did for as long as she did.
What was her personal experience through Lyme disease and mold illness?
What is the LabElymental Milk Cleanse?
What types of milk can be used with the cleanse?
What are the components of the cleanse?
What are NeuroPraxis and NeuroSculpting?
Does NeuroPraxis target the limbic system, vagus nerve, or parasympathetic nervous system?
What is MYCOMEFREE?
What are other tools that have been helpful in recovering from Lyme disease and mold illness?
Is there hope for recovering from complex, biotoxin illnesses?
My posting information does not mean I endorse the products mentioned in the Podcast, and in this case I have never even heard of them. Just throwing it out there for consideration. I rejoice with each and every patient who manages to find wellness and figure we should all listen and learn from them.
Melatonin has been shown to play a role in viral infections and research suggests it may be an important adjunct to COVID-19 treatment
Data analysis by Cleveland Clinic found patients who used supplemental melatonin had a 28% lower risk of testing positive for COVID-19. Blacks who used melatonin were 52% less likely to test positive for the virus
Melatonin attenuates several pathological features of COVID-19, including excessive inflammation and oxidation, exaggerated immune response resulting in a cytokine storm, acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome
A case series reports patients given 36 mg to 72 mg of intravenous melatonin per day as an adjunct therapy to standard of care improved within four to five days; all survived
Texas urgent care clinics using high-dose melatonin in combination with vitamin C and vitamin D say they’ve successfully treated hundreds of COVID-19 patients.Melatonin enhances vitamin D signaling and the two work synergistically to enhance your mitochondrial function
Melatonin is a hormone synthesized in your pineal gland and many other organs.1 While it is most well-known as a natural sleep regulator, it also has many other important functions.2 For example, melatonin:
Is a potent antioxidant3 with the rare ability to enter your mitochondria,4 where it helps “prevent mitochondrial impairment, energy failure and apoptosis of mitochondria damaged by oxidation.”5 It also helps recharge glutathione,6 and glutathione deficiency has been linked to COVID-19 severity
May prevent or improve autoimmune diseases, including Type 1 diabetes10
Is an important energy hormone that can influence your energy level11
Helps regulate gene expression via a series of enzymes12
Has anticonvulsant and antiexcitotoxic properties13
Melatonin Also Has Important Role in COVID-19 Treatment
Melatonin has also been shown to play a role in viral infections14 and according to a June 2020 research paper15,16,17 in Life Sciences journal, it may be an important adjunct to COVID-19 treatment. According to the authors, melatonin attenuates several pathological features of COVID-19, including:18
Excessive oxidative stress and inflammation
Exaggerated immune response resulting in a cytokine storm
Acute lung injury
Acute respiratory distress syndrome
They point out that melatonin is also “effective in critical care patients by reducing vessel permeability, anxiety, sedation use, and improving sleeping quality, which might also be beneficial for better clinical outcomes.”19
The scientific review paper,20 “Melatonin Potentials Against Viral Infections Including COVID-19: Current Evidence and New Findings,” published October 2020 in Virus Research journal, also summarizes the many potential mechanisms by which melatonin can protect against and ameliorate viral infections.
The authors review research looking at melatonin’s beneficial effects against a variety of viruses, including respiratory syncytial virus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus, viral hepatitis, viral myocarditis, Ebola, West Nile virus and dengue virus. Based on these collective findings, they believe melatonin may offer similar protection against SARS-CoV-2.
Melatonin Reduces Risk of Positive COVID-19 Test
Data21,22 from Cleveland Clinic also supports the use of melatonin. Here, the researchers analyzed patient data from the Cleveland Clinic’s COVID-19 registry using an artificial intelligence platform designed to identify drugs that may be repurposed.23,24
By identifying clinical manifestations and pathologies shared by COVID-19 and 64 other diseases, they were able to conclude that certain proteins associated with chronic diseases are highly connected with SARS-CoV-2 proteins. Put another way, a number of proteins appear to play a key role in the pathologies seen both in COVID-19 and other chronic diseases. For example:25
“Analyses of single-cell RNA sequencing data show that co-expression of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 is elevated in absorptive enterocytes from the inflamed ileal tissues of Crohn disease patients compared to uninflamed tissues, revealing shared pathobiology between COVID-19 and inflammatory bowel disease.
Integrative analyses of metabolomics and transcriptomics (bulk and single-cell) data from asthma patients indicate that COVID-19 shares an intermediate inflammatory molecular profile with asthma (including IRAK3 and ADRB2).”
The diagram below illustrates (among other things) the basic pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 (figure A) and the network of disease manifestations associated with the infection (figure C).
These connections suggest that drugs already in use for a chronic disease may be repurposed and used in the treatment of COVID-19, as it acts on one or more shared biological targets. Melatonin stood out in this regard. Patients who used melatonin as a supplement had, on average, a 28% lower risk of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2. Blacks who used melatonin were 52% less likely to test positive for the virus.
Confounding variables adjusted for in the calculations included age, sex, race, smoking history and several known comorbidities. The authors point out that while the findings look promising, large observational studies and randomized controlled trials are still needed to validate the clinical benefits of melatonin.
Two key data points missing from the analysis are the dosage used and the length of supplementation. These data were not included in the patient registry, so we don’t know how much melatonin is required to lower your risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection to the degree found in this study.
High-Dose Melatonin Successfully Treats COVID-19
It’s possible that higher doses than those used for sleep may be needed, at least when treating an active infection. A recent case series26published in the journal Melatonin Research details how high-dose intravenous melatonin can benefit patients with COVID-19 pneumonia.
Here, patients were given 36 mg to 72 mg per day in four divided doses as an adjunct therapy to standard of care. Most supplements contain between 0.5 mg and 5 mg, and when used for sleep, you’d typically start with the lowest dose and work your way up as needed.
All of the patients given melatonin improved within four to five days, and all survived. On average, those given melatonin were discharged from the hospital after 7.3 days, compared to 13 days for those who did not get melatonin.
This is far better than the expensive treatment Remdesivir, which costs over $3,000 and doesn’t produce anywhere near this improvement.
Other Doctors Are Also Using Melatonin Against COVID-19
Dr. Richard Neel and colleagues at Little Alsace and Uvalde Urgent Care clinics in Texas also report using high-dose melatonin in combination with vitamin C and vitamin D, and had as of the last week of July 2020 successfully treated more than 400 patients.27
As reviewed in a section below, melatonin enhances vitamin D signaling and the two work synergistically to enhance your mitochondrial function. Melatonin and vitamin C are both also involved with ACE2, the receptor that SARS-CoV-2 uses to gain entry into the cell.
Together, melatonin and vitamin C help reduce SARS-CoV-2 virulence by inhibiting NLRP3 inflammasomes, which in turn inhibits cytokine storms. The Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Working Group (FLCCC)28 also lists melatonin as an optional addition to their MATH+ protocolfor COVID-19.
How Melatonin Combats COVID-19
Research suggests melatonin may have the ability to combat COVID-19 via several different mechanisms. For example, it’s been shown to regulate immune responses and prevent cytokine storms.29 As explained by the authors of one such study,30 when your immune cells are in a hyper-inflammatory state, their metabolism changes in a way similar to that of cancer cells:
“Similar to cancer cells … immune cells such as macrophages/monocytes under inflammatory conditions abandon mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation for ATP production in favor of cytosolic aerobic glycolysis (also known as the Warburg effect) …
The change to aerobic glycolysis allows immune cells to become highly phagocytic, accelerate ATP production, intensify their oxidative burst and to provide the abundant metabolic precursors required for enhanced cellular proliferation and increased synthesis and release of cytokines …
Because of melatonin’s potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, it would normally reduce the highly proinflammatory cytokine storm and neutralize the generated free radicals thereby preserving cellular integrity and preventing lung damage.”
Cytokine storm is one of the reasons why sepsis (blood poisoning) is so lethal, and studies have confirmed melatonin has a favorable influence on sepsis. (Sepsis is also a feature of severe COVID-19.) As reported in a 2010 study in the Journal of Critical Care:31
“Melatonin is an effective anti-inflammatory agent … Its anti-inflammatory action has been attributed to inhibition of nitric oxide synthase with consequent reduction of peroxynitrite formation, to the stimulation of various antioxidant enzymes thus contributing to enhance the antioxidant defense, and to protective effects on mitochondrial function and in preventing apoptosis.
In a number of animal models of septic shock, as well as in patients with septic disease, melatonin reportedly exerts beneficial effects to arrest cellular damage and multiorgan failure …
Apart from action on the local sites of inflammation, melatonin also exerts its beneficial actions through a multifactorial pathway including its effects as immunomodulatory, antioxidant and antiapoptotic agent.”
More recently, a 2019 animal study32 in the journal Frontiers in Immunology discusses how melatonin can protect against polymicrobial sepsis — i.e., sepsis caused by more than one microbial organism — which has a twofold higher lethality than unimicrobial sepsis (sepsis caused by a single microbe).33
In this case, melatonin appears to offer protection by having an antibacterial effect on white blood cells called neutrophils. A high neutrophil count is an indicator for infection. Melatonin may also combat SARS-CoV-2 infection by:34
Suppressing oxidative stress35
Regulating blood pressure (a risk factor for severe COVID-19)
Improving metabolic defects associated with diabetes and insulin resistance (risk factors for severe COVID-19) via inhibition of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS)
Protecting mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs, which have been shown to ameliorate severe SARS-CoV-2 infection) against injuries and improving their biological activities
Promoting both cell-mediated and humoral immunity
Promoting synthesis of progenitor cells for macrophages and granulocytes, natural killer (NK) cells and T-helper cells, specifically CD4+ cells
Inhibiting NLRP3 inflammasomes36
General Guidance for Supplementation
As mentioned, it’s very difficult to make dosage recommendations based on the limited evidence currently at hand, but since Cleveland Clinic looked at the supplements patients reported using, it seems reasonable to assume they were using it as you typically would. Most melatonin supplements contain between 0.5 mg and 5 mg.
In the case report mentioned earlier, patients were given 36 mg to 72 mg of melatonin intravenously per day, which would likely be excessive for prophylactic use. That said, research37 has found no adverse effects for dosages ranging from 20 mg up to 100 mg.
Whatever dose you take, and I recommend starting low, at 1 mg or less, be sure to take melatonin at night, before bed. Rising melatonin levels is the reason you feel sleepy in the evening, so it’s ill advised to take it in the morning or during the day, when your natural level is (and should be) low. If you happen to wake up in the middle of the night, especially if you’re exposed to a light source, you could also take some then, to help you go back to sleep.
Melatonin is also best taken sublingually, either in the form of a spray or sublingual tablet. Sublingually, it can enter your blood stream directly and doesn’t have to go through the digestive tract. As a result, its effect will be felt more rapidly.
Melatonin and Vitamin D Are a Winning Combo
Another supplement of crucial importance in the age of COVID-19 is vitamin D. Interestingly, melatonin enhances vitamin D signaling, and optimizing your vitamin D may be one of the most beneficial steps you can take to lower all of the risks associated with COVID-19, from reducing your risk of testing positive to lowering your risk of severe infection and death.
A deficiency in either vitamin D or melatonin has been associated with the pathogenesis of several chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes, just to name a few.39
These conditions have also emerged as comorbidities that significantly raise your risk of death from COVID-19. Synthesis of both vitamin D and melatonin is also dramatically reduced with advancing age, and old age is a primary risk factor for COVID-19 death. So, while vitamin D3 and melatonin supplementation may be beneficial for most people, it’s particularly important for the elderly.
Support Your Body’s Production of Melatonin and Vitamin D
Keep in mind, however, that it makes little sense to take a supplement unless you’re also seeking to optimize your body’s natural production. In the case of melatonin, this includes making sure you get good sleep on a regular basis.
You also need a good dose of natural sunlight around midday to synchronize your circadian clock so that your body produces melatonin at the appropriate time (i.e., in late evening). As the evening wears on and the sun sets, you’ll want to avoid bright and all blue lighting, as blue light inhibits melatonin synthesis. Blue lighting is predominant in LED and fluorescent bulbs that are “cool white.”
Sun exposure, of course, is also the ideal way to optimize your vitamin D. I recommend getting sensible sun exposure on large portions of your body on a regular basis, ideally daily. For further guidance, see “The Risks and Benefits of Sun Exposure.”
If for whatever reason you cannot get sufficient amounts of sun exposure, consider taking a vitamin D3 supplement (along with a little extra vitamin K2 to maintain a healthy ratio between these two nutrients).
I personally have not taken any oral vitamin D for well over 10 years and my levels are typically over 60 ng/mL, even in the winter. I have, however, started taking sublingual melatonin a few years ago as I am now in my mid-60s, even though I sleep in pitch dark and get bright sun exposure during the day.