COVID-19 Alternative Medicine? Part-1: Supplement with Zinc, Quercetin & Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG)

Disclaimer: There is NO scientific evidence that any alternative treatments can cure or prevent the illness caused by COVID-19.

Hello. My name is Dr. Jay Park. I am a board-certified Emergency Medicine physician in the NYC area.

I have been asked by many friends about any vitamins or supplements that they can take if they get sick with COVID-19. While none of the vitamins or supplements have been widely accepted as a treatment for COVID-19, here are some of the natural remedies that I would take based on relevant clinical research studies.

First and foremost is prevention. Washing your hands, staying at home and social distancing is currently the best way to avoid COVID-19.

Zinc

Research studies have demonstrated that zinc lozenges taken “within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms reduces the duration of common cold symptoms in healthy people” at a dose of more than 75 mg a day. Another study found that zinc inhibited SARS-Coronavirus, a virus similar to COVID-19. Unfortunately, there are NO clinical studies about the effectiveness of zinc against COVID-19. Also, intake of too much zinc (150–450 mg per day) has been associated with unwanted side effects. Zinc can be found in red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, seafood, whole grains, and dairy products.

What would I do? I would first consult my physician if I am experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, and then I would take 75 mg of zinc per day within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms. Zinc is relatively safe with a low side effect profile.

Ionophore
Ionophore is a substance that carries zinc into your cell. The cell wall protects the cell and makes it difficult for zinc to get into the cell by itself. In a research study, scientists used zinc and PT (an ionophore) against SARS-Coronavirus. They found that when they added more zinc with an ionophore, less SARS-Coronavirus RNA was produced within the cell.

Drugs
Recently, drugs called chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine have received much attention in the media because they are zinc ionophores. These drugs are used to treat malaria and inflammatory diseases. Laboratory studies have shown that both drugs may inhibit COVID-19 by preventing the virus from entering into the cell and multiplying in the cell. There are two small studies (China and France) that support the use of these two drugs against COVID-19 in humans. However, the medical community has not endorsed the use of these two drugs for the treatment of COVID-19 due to the poor research study design. Also, a new study suggests that these drugs are ineffective against COVID-19. Meanwhile, some hospitals in NYC and around the world are using chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for critically ill patients as off-label use. Its use needs to be closely monitored because these drugs also come with potential unwanted side effects.

So, are there any natural supplements that also act as zinc ionophore? Yes.

Quercetin & epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)

In a research study, scientists saw that intracellular levels of zinc increased in liver cancer cells when zinc was combined with quercetin and EGCG. While this study was not performed in normal cells infected with a coronavirus, the implication is that quercetin and EGCG are zinc ionophores. As we have seen in previous studies, zinc with an ionophore (PT) decreased the replication of SARS-coronavirus. Therefore, we can postulate that quercetin and EGCG can be effective against the SARS-coronavirus as well. Unfortunately, there are NO clinical studies about the effectiveness of quercetin or EGCG against COVID-19. Quercetin is a flavinoid commonly found in foods such as capers, onions, kale, apples, and berries. In other research studies, quercetin has antiviral properties against influenza, antitumor properties against prostate and bladder cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. EGCG is a polyphenol predominantly found in green tea but also found in various fruits and nuts. In other research studies, EGCG has antitumor properties against prostate cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.

What would I do? I would first consult my physician if I am experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, and then eat a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables along with green tea. Quercetin and EGCG are relatively safe with a low side effect profile.

Warnings
It should be noted that some of these supplements may interact with your current medication and you should first consult your physician. Also, if you think that you may have symptoms of COVID-19, then please call your physician. Finally, if you have a medical emergency, then you should call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

In Part 2, I will be discussing why some COVID-19 patients in the ICU are receiving common vitamins along with their pharmaceutical treatments.

Disclaimer: There is NO scientific evidence that any alternative treatments can cure or prevent the illness caused by COVID-19.

Jay Park MD

P.S. Want more on COVID-19?
KN95 Part 1:
How to Spot a Fake KN95 Respirator Mask from China.
KN95 Part 2:
How to identify suspicious, fake or misleading marks & certificates with your KN95 respirator mask.
Why Rapid COVID-19 Tests are “CRAPPY”.
How to verify a legitimate KN95 supplier?

To protect yourself and others, the CDC recommends the following:
Clean your hands often
Avoid close contact
Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
Cover coughs and sneezes
Clean and disinfect

If you want to help provide masks and gowns to our medical providers in NYC, then please donate to Bstrong.

Serial Entrepreneur, Physician + More.