COVID Immunity Boosters and Supplements: Fact vs. Fiction

COVID Immunity Boosters and Supplements: Fact vs. Fiction

COVID-19 has made all of us a little more passionate about our own health and immune systems. It’s a good thing, but you want to be smart about it and make the best choices. There are a lot of conspiracy theories going on right now surrounding the healthcare industry, but also about a couple of different substances and things that you can take that are going to help prevent or maybe cure you of the coronavirus. Medical ‘experts’ are coming out with videos and blogs offering coronavirus cures, and only some of it is misinformation, which might even be worse than all of it being one of the other. I’m going to break down some of the ‘cures’ that are in the media and offer my own recommendations for staying healthy and sane in 2020.


Some doctors have recommended that you drink four ounces of tonic water every evening and take 50 to 100 milligrams of zinc every evening to help reduce either your chance of catching coronavirus or reduce the symptoms or help to cure a coronavirus when you get it. The reasoning behind this is that quinine is good for COVID-19 because hydroxychloroquine is similar to quinine. Therefore it must work that way, right?

Well, it turns out that everyone agrees that this is not good for you. For one thing, one liter of tonic water that contains quinine contains about 83 milligrams of quinine. The therapeutic dose of hydroxychloroquine is 400 to 600 milligrams per day. If you drink 1.6 gallons of this, you would get enough quinine to be a therapeutic dose. However, you would also end up getting about 2,218 calories. So you wouldn’t be able to eat for the day, otherwise, you would be getting too many calories. And the reason why is that the first ingredient here is water. The second ingredient here is high fructose corn syrup. So if you’re going to take this stuff to try and get some quinine out of it, thinking that it’s good for you, it’s going to prevent coronavirus, just understand that you should get the diet stuff that doesn’t have the second ingredient being high fructose corn syrup because it’s well-documented that that puts a damper on your immune system. With the quinine in there, when you get towards that therapeutic dose of about 100 milligrams, you also start to get to a dangerously toxic level once you get up towards 500 and 600 milligrams a day. We don’t use quinine as much to treat malaria or viruses anymore. So, this ‘cure’ is probably not for you.


Medical professionals are also recommending a daily dose of 50 to 100 milligrams of zinc to help reduce the symptoms and to increase your likelihood of surviving COVID-19. There’s a lot of good research showing that zinc lozenges might be a really good idea for you if you think that you’re coming down with symptoms of COVID-19. If you have a 12-milligram lozenge, they recommend you take about six per day to get 75 milligrams of zinc.

Some of these researchers are recommending that you lay back so that some of that zinc is getting coated onto your throat and onto your mucosa in your oral cavity. That’s going to help prevent some of those spores from being released from the COVID-19 cell. When you coat your oral cavity with zinc, you’re stopping spores from getting out and getting into your system, because zinc helps to increase immune function. It’s fantastic. I would recommend taking Cold-EEZE Zinc lozenges.

That’s my take on some of the supplement advice I’ve been hearing out there. But it’s not all about supplements, I’m really interested in your holistic, overall health. When it comes to COVID-19, there are five things that I think that you should be up to right now as you seek to improve your immunity during the pandemic.


Right now, you should be staying informed, but just enough. You can find yourself watching way too much news right now and getting over-anxious, going a little bit crazy doing it. I recommend 20 to 30 minutes, and focusing just on getting all of your headlines, making sure that you’re informed and in the know about what you’re supposed to be doing, and then shutting it down. The news cycle happens where people start re-digesting and then tearing apart and putting back together and putting their own spin on it. I would watch it just one time and then let that be the end of it. I get my stuff from a service called 1440. They email me the news in the morning, the first thing and it takes about five minutes to read it. There’s no spin attached to it and that’s it. So I spend five minutes getting the news headlines and then shut it all down. It’s called the 1440, that’s how many minutes are in a day. And it’s a great service that comes to you free.


The second thing you should be doing right now is keeping up with your social media distancing. It’s very easy for us to fall into that trap of just filtering through Facebook all day and all night. We’ve shown again and again that it increases anxiety. It’s just not good for you. To minimize temptation, keep your phone away from you. If you’re at home, grinding it out over a laptop, keep your phone in a different room if you can, that way you are not tempted to just jump onto it and be on social media.

If you have to have your phone next to you for business purposes, I would recommend that you rearrange your tile icons and your apps to physically break the habit and go into your app to find what you’re looking for. You can hide that Facebook icon away so that your brain actually has to break out of your thought process and go do it.


A lot of people are recommending taking this time to learn something new: spend time wisely, take up a new hobby. But I call shenanigans. That’s just silly. Who knows when this thing’s going to be over, it’s not like you’re just on a sabbatical. I’d argue, don’t do something new. Don’t take up a new hobby, take a hobby that you have, and get better at it. Spend some time on something that you already do and improve on that. Apply yourself to what you already do, something that you already know, and get better at that.


The fourth thing that I’m going to talk about is to keep reaching out to your friends and family. In the clinic, we are seeing a lot of patients who either live alone or only live with one child. And so you have a single parent and their one child and they’re very sad. They’re starting to become very depressed and socially isolated, and it obviously plays a bad role in your mental health, but also it starts to impact your physical health. It’s important that you keep reaching out to those people that you know or you think might be starting to make that turn into depression. A lot of people are out of a job right now. A lot of people can’t get the help that they’re looking for right now. Not that your job is to go provide that help for them. Your job is to actually just reach out, to let them know that there’s somebody else there for them right now. Your fellow man could really use your support right now. So the fourth thing that you should be doing is to continue to reach out to your friends and family, to make sure that everyone just knows that you’re out there and knows that it will get better eventually. This cannot go on forever. Keep your chin up.


Which leads me to point number five. depression is starting to take a toll on all of us, and part of that depression is because of a life that we’ve lost. Wherever you were in January or February, now it might be gone forever, but it’s at least gone for now, and we’re collectively going to mourn some of that. And even if it’s not that collective depression, we’re also individually in many different places than we were just a few short months ago. The common theme that I’m getting from my patients who are coming in with their neck pain, back pain, headaches, is that they’re having trouble finding out how to get into the routine of exercise again. My routine was Monday, Wednesday, Friday, I run and I lift at the gym and it was my routine and I was used to it. Since the gyms have been closed, and with worries about safety, it has been really difficult to make a new routine. It’s almost like I don’t want to. The way that I’ve been describing it to patients is, if you give a kid two flavors to pick from of ice cream, he’ll quickly say chocolate or vanilla. But if you give a kid 50 flavors to pick from, and you let your kid try and pick, you’re going to stand there all night because it’s too hard to figure out what you want when there are too many choices.

I think that’s what we’re all struggling with. There are too many choices for what you could do. My argument for you is to stop trying anything. Go do. Commit to it. Say, this is what I’m going to do from now on, or for the next 30 days, or at least this week. If you’re like me and a lot of our patients here, what we’re finding is that people are trying all of these different flavors instead of just choosing a new exercise routine and regimen. You’ve got to keep moving. Movement is life. It’s very important. It’s what’s bringing a lot of our patients into our clinic now, the fact that they’ve stopped moving. They’re sitting all day, their hip flexors are getting tight, their necks are turning into this flexion type posture, and it all just turns into pain. And to avoid that you need to get out there and get moving. I hope you’ll take this advice and make a plan to come out of 2020 with optimized mental and physical health. You can do it!


About Dr. Merrill

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Dr. Andrew Merrill is a passionate active clinician and owner of Nightlight Chiropractic Orlando where him and his team treat hundreds of patients each month. With a strong background in exercise science from Stetson University, clinical skills from Palmer College of Chiropractic, and continued postdoctoral training in spinal disc injuries and clinical nutrition, Dr. Merrill is very well versed in the healthcare landscape. With topics ranging from "what to do for common ailments" to "why the medical system is failing you" Dr. Merrill and this blog in particular aim to keep readers up to date on what the research shows and how you can put it into practice NOW to keep yourself healthy for a lifetime.