HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Can taking certain supplements help boost your immune system in the fight against COVID-19? One local researcher believes so and tells News 3 anchor Kurt Williams it's not just the ones you'd expect like Vitamin C.
Dr. Paul Marik, the Chief of EVMS's Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, reached these conclusions in part because of his groundbreaking work he did on bacterial sepsis.
"We actually realized - and this is very fundamental - that COVID-19 has very similar characteristics to severe bacterial sepsis," he explained.
And due to those similarities, Dr. Marik thought it would be worth it to see if the same protocols that were beneficial with sepsis would be beneficial with COVID-19. His conclusions: Start taking Vitamin C as well as Vitamin D.
"So, it appears Vitamin D deficiency may increase your risk of getting the infection and doing really badly if you get it. This is particularly important because we've just come out of winter, most people are indoors; they don't get enough sun exposure. Their Vitamin D levels are low, so particularly in elderly people, people that are inbound, people of color, their Vitamin D levels are lower," he explained.
He also looked at Zinc.
"Yes, so, zinc is very important. Zinc is very important for immune function. For your cells to work efficiently, you need Zinc."
But what's about Melatonin being beneficial? He responds with a laugh.
"Yes... so, you know, when people see Melatonin, they say, 'What are you talking about?' So, we added Melatonin to our sepsis protocol, because people use it for sleep, but actually it's a very potent antioxidant. It's one of the most potent antioxidants, and now there are a number of papers showing that it's a very efficient agent to help the body kill the virus."
And something else that might sound odd - Pepcid AC is showing some interesting results.
"So, we know that Pepcid AC specifically, again, interferes with viral replication. And a study out of New York showed that patients who got Pepcid had a lower risk of landing on a ventilator and dying of COVID."
So, the obvious question: Is Dr. Marik taking all of these supplements?
"Absolutely! Yes, and I'm as strong as a bull!" he said.
You might be asking, 'How much of these vitamins should I take?' One EVMS study on supplements to help fight COVID-19 suggests:
- 500 mg of Vitamin C
- 75 mg of Zinc
- 1-2 mg of Melatonin
- 1,000 IU of Vitamin D3
And Dr. Marik recommends a low dose of 10 milligrams of Pepcid AC.