I take the coronavirus very seriously. Although I find it unlikely that I would die or develop serious complications if I caught it, I don't want to spread it to the more vulnerable members of my family. I also fully support the concept of “flattening the curve.” If slowing the spread of the virus can make my own country's situation not become that of Italy's within the next two weeks, I want to do everything I can to slow the spread.
I also don't know how sick I would be come. Chances are against serious complications or death for a young and otherwise healthy person, but they definitely aren't zero.
In my view we want to get as close to nipping this in the bud as we can. The closer to the root cause, the more important the strategy.
On a personal level:
- Avoiding exposure is the first-line of defense.
- Avoiding whatever we are exposed to getting into our eyes, nose, or mouth, and especially our lungs is the next line of defense.
- Any nutritional strategies that prevent the virus from docking to our cells and entering them comes next.
- Any nutritional strategies to prevent its replication come next.
- General immune support is important, and good to use, providing it doesn't interfere with any of the above.
First and foremost, I'm privileged that I already work from home. This alone has made it very easy for me to avoid unnecessary contact with groups of people. I was also able to early on stop using public transportation, using either Uber, Lyft, or my car, depending on the circumstances.
I've continued to go to the gym, though today the gyms in my state are closing with no reopening date set yet. Until today, my practice in the gym has been as follows: wash hands upon arrival; clean down the handles of each piece of equipment with paper towels and the gym's sanitizer before and after changing exercises; don't touch my phone between sets of one exercise; sanitize hands with the gym's hand sanitizer in between each exercise and before touching my phone; avoid any exercises that put my face to the ground or mat, such as pushups; wash hands before leaving the gym; wash hands upon arriving at home.
Whenever I leave my apartment for any reason, I wash my hands before I leave and when I come back. When with people, I avoid handshakes, hugs, and kisses (except my girlfriend!), use the elbow bump at most, and mostly stay 3-6 feet away. If I touch public surfaces, or things other people have touched, I sanitize my hands to avoid tracking my germs to my other belongings. (I'm lucky to have some vintage Purell, which I use very sparingly, given the shortages.)
Loosely based on Apple's recommendations (please read them before copying me!), I put a small dab of vintage Purell onto a microfiber cloth and wipe down my phone screen and case. I do this frequently, because it's almost impossible to perfectly avoid touching my phone after touching a public surface. I clean my computer the same way once a day, but I don't worry about it as much since it is my phone that's out with me in public.
Once a day, and whenever I come back from being outside, I sanitize all the surfaces I'm most likely to touch within my apartment: door knobs, light switches, and the handles of showers, sinks, and toilets. The reason is simple: if I come back from a public place, I'm going to at least open the door, turn on the lights, and touch the sink before my hands are washed. Sure, I can try to hit the lights with my elbow, but the best I can do with my sink handle is turn it with the back of my hand and I have no way of opening the door without touching the knob. I do this once a day even when I don't go out because there's a significant chance I could have tracked in a virus particle or two on my clothing or on my belongings that have then made their way on to a surface I might touch.
The most effective sanitizer against coronaviruses is 85-95% ethanol. 75% isopropyl alcohol and 0.5% hydrogen peroxide are also effective. The coronaviruses against which 75% isopropyl alcohol have been tested are more closely related to the current coronavirus than the one against which hydrogen peroxide was tested.
Keeping It Out of My Eyes, Nose, and Throat
The most obvious thing to do is to not touch your face. However, that's a hard habit to develop. The reality is, we will need to touch our face or get very close to it in order to wash it, brush our teeth, eat, and so on. What I've been trying my hardest to do is to avoid touching my face unnecessarily, and to wash my hands before I ever get them near my face intentionally.
Since I have no control over how I roll around while asleep, I wash my hands thoroughly before going to bed, and then again when I wake up. I wash my hands before I eat or brush my teeth. I'm also trying to start rinsing my mouth out with a paper cup instead of my hand when I brush my teeth.
At all costs, I try to avoid putting my fingers directly in my mouth, nose, and eyes, but I don't fool myself into thinking I'm never going to touch my food with my hands. So, in case any virus particles have made it into the apartment, I will still wash my hands before anything that would intentionally bring them near my face.
When washing my hands, I follow the most rigorous advice: soap up both palms and the backs of both hands; interlock the fingers palms facing, then switch the leading finger interlocking the other way; put one palm against the back of the other hand, repeat the interlocking sequence; switch hands and do the same; get the thumbs, get under the nails; rinse.
Since washing my hands too much gives me eczema on my fingers, and since I believe this is because the soap hurts the lipid membranes of my skin cells, I apply shea butter to my fingers after washing.
Nutritional Strategies to Stop the Virus From Docking
I use a tablespoon of elderberry syrup (mine provides about 1200 milligrams of elderberry extract) per day to stop the virus's ability to attach to my cells and enter them.
Nutritional Strategies to Prevent Its Replication
I aim to get 7-15 milligrams of zinc four times a day, used as I described here. Currently I'm relying mainly on oyster capsules.
I aim to get 4-8 milligrams of copper per day, total. I get a couple from the oyster capsules and make up most of the rest with cocoa powder.
I am not convinced that the coronavirus infects the mouth. I think the evidence favors it first infecting the lungs. However, just in case the infection might start in the mouth, I also suck on one Life Extension Zinc Acetate Lozenge per day and spray 2-3 fine mist sprays of ionic copper into my tongue, mouth, and throat. The zinc lozenges are back ordered, so if I run out I will replace the lozenge with 2-3 fine mist sprays of an ionic zinc into my tongue, mouth, and throat.
I also take 180 micrograms of stabilized allicin.
While some of the things listed above do support the immune system, the only thing I'm taking that I regard primarily as general immune support is 500 milligrams of echinacea extract.
Suffice it to say, many nutrients are needed for the immune system to function well, and it is important to eat a good diet overall. Healthy sleep and stress management are also important to immune function.
What I'm Not Doing
Although I'm making sure I hit about 150 milligrams of vitamin C from foods, and I'll replace that with a supplement if I run into any shortage of fresh food, I am not using high-dose vitamin C. While I support the study of high-dose oral or intravenous vitamin C in critical care, and will follow any findings that emerge, I am concerned that vitamin C could increase interferon, which in SARS is a trigger for the “cytokine storm” that causes inflammatory damage in the lungs. As a result, I am staying away from high-dose vitamin C as a preventative.
I'm avoiding Umcka and bee propolis right now for the same reasons.
Although I'm continuing to get an average of 3,000 IU of vitamin A per day from food and continuing to get normal sunshine and eat foods that naturally contain vitamin D, I am avoiding any supplementation with A and D. I'm worried that they could increase ACE2, the protein that the virus uses to enter cells.
I'm avoiding calcium supplements that aren't balanced with phosphorus (for example, calcium citrate as opposed to bone meal) for the same reasons.
I'm avoiding monolaurin because, while I do think it might kill the virus, it might risk damaging the immune response.
All This Could Change
Right now, there are, obviously, no randomized controlled trials testing any of these things for prevention of the new coronavirus disease. What I did to arrive at my conclusions is spend two weeks, often staying up till 4-6 AM, reading everything I could about this virus, how it infects cells, how it causes disease, and how it is similar to or different from viruses we know much more about.
The likelihood that research could emerge that changes something about my own practice is strong, so I plan to stay on top of it.
My 41-Page Guide
While this post describes how I'm implementing my protocol, in which I've given away the core of everything for free, I am also offering a 41-page, fully referenced guide, The Food and Supplement Guide for the Coronavirus.
The first three pages are a protocol that you can immediately put into action now.
Then comes a 13-page explanation for why the protocol works and how to implement it properly, explained very simply.
Then comes a 13-page explanation for the science geeks. If you have a biology background you'll love this part. If not, you can skip it. You only need this part if you're skeptical or scientifically curious enough to get into all the nitty gritty details.
The last ten pages are the references. All 92 of them.
The guide comes as a PDF. When you purchase it, you'll be prompted to download it right away, and also receive an email with it.
The guide costs $9.99. That's just a tiny slice of the money this might save you just by avoiding a pricey supplement that probably doesn't work.
If you can't afford the guide, I hope you can get everything you need here, by reading how I implement the protocol for myself, and by discussions with others in the comments.
If you want a more nuanced approach of how to implement the protocol, or are curious enough to understand all the science behind it, then the guide is for you.
Further, if you do buy the guide you can consider it a way of supporting my continued work in this area. The more people who buy the guide, the more I will be able to stay engaged with the research. The more I stay engaged with research, the more I'll be able to update the protocol as new research emerges.
Once again, if you'd like to buy the guide, you can find it here:
Here are three ways to discuss this topic, including asking me questions and getting a response:
- The Masterpass FREE Forum. This forum is free and open to anyone to participate. Anything related to health and nutrition, including all aspects of the coronavirus, is welcome. I will do my best to participate several times a week, though I expect this to eventually be very large and may at some point have to participate on a weekly basis if it starts to take on a life of its own.
- The Coronavirus Forum. This is for anyone who purchases The Food and Supplement Guide for the Coronavirus, pre-orders my upcoming Vitamins and Minerals 101 book, or joins the CMJ Masterpass (if you join, use the coupon code NEWSLETTER for 10% off the membership price). This forum is dedicated specifically to the coronavirus, has subsections based on topics (nutrition, medicine, lifestyle, mechanisms of disease), and has a section where the archive version of this newsletter is directly linked and each newsletter can be discussed as an individual thread. I consistently participate in this forum 3-5 times a week.
- The Masterpass Discussion Group. Preserved for those who join the CMJ Masterpass, it's the best place to ask me questions in a fairly intimate environment and get a rapid response. All topics I cover are fair game, and I consistently participate approximately five times per week. The Masterpass also has monthly live Zoom Q&As that are even more intimate.
Please Support This Service
These research updates are made possible by purchases of The Food and Supplement Guide to the Coronavirus. The guide contains my most up-to-date conclusions about what we should be doing for nutritional and herbal support on top of hygiene and social distancing for added protection. Due to the absence of randomized controlled trials testing nutritional or herbal prevention, these are my best guesses for what is likely to work without significant risk of harm, based on the existing science. By purchasing the guide, you are enabling me to continue devoting my skills to the most important issue we now face. I am genuinely grateful for your contribution. You can purchase the guide using this link.
You can get the guide for free if you pre-order my upcoming book, Vitamins and Minerals 101: How to Get the Nutrients You Need on Any Diet (to be released when the COVID-19 crisis subsides) or when you join my membership program, the CMJ Masterpass, which is meant to help people with significant health and wellness expenditures consistently save money by returning marketing cost of the companies involved back to the members as rebates.
For other ways to support my work, please see here.
I am not a medical doctor and this is not medical advice. I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in conducting and interpreting research related to my field. Please consult your physician before doing anything for prevention or treatment of COVID-19, and please seek the help of a physician immediately if you believe you may have COVID-19.
If you aren't subscribed to the research updates, you can sign up here.
You can access an archive of these updates here.
* The term “preprint” is often used in these updates. Preprints are studies destined for peer-reviewed journals that have yet to be peer-reviewed. Because COVID-19 is such a rapidly evolving disease and peer-review takes so long, most of the information circulating about the disease comes from preprints.