Recent research points the way toward a practical nutraceutical strategy for coping with RNA virus infections including influenza and coronavirus
Philadelphia, February 24, 2020
In a compelling article in Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, published by Elsevier, Mark McCarty of the Catalytic Longevity Foundation, San Diego, CA, USA, and James DiNicolantonio, PharmD, a cardiovascular research scientist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, Kansas City, MO, USA, propose that certain nutraceuticals may help provide relief to people infected with encapsulated RNA viruses such as influenza and coronavirus.
Both influenza and coronavirus cause an inflammatory storm in the lungs and it is this inflammatory storm that leads to acute respiratory distress, organ failure, and death. Certain nutraceuticals may help to reduce the inflammation in the lungs from RNA viruses and others may also help boost type 1 interferon response to these viruses, which is the body’s primary way to help create antiviral antibodies to fight off viral infections.
The authors draw attention to several randomized clinical studies in humans that have found that over the counter supplements such as n-acetylcysteine (NAC), which is used to treat acetaminophen poisoning and is also used as a mucus thinner to help reduce bronchitis exacerbations, and elderberry extracts, have evidence for shortening the duration of influenza by about two to four days and reducing the severity of the infection. The authors also note several nutraceuticals such as spirulina, beta-glucan, glucosamine, and NAC have either been found to reduce the severity of infection or to cut the rate of death in half in animals infected with influenza. Furthermore, one clinical study in humans testing spirulina noted significant reductions in viral load in those infected with HIV.
“Therefore, it is clear that certain nutraceuticals have antiviral effects in both human and animal studies. Considering that there is no treatment for COVID-19 and treatments for influenza are limited, we welcome further studies to test these nutraceuticals as a strategy to help provide relief in those infected with encapsulated RNA viruses.”
commented Dr. DiNicolantonio.
“Considering the recent interests directed at serious viral infections, especially coronavirus and influenza, this material should be of interest to specialists in cardiovascular diseases but also to a wide range of clinicians outside of our typical readership.”
Editor-in-Chief of Progress Cardiovascular Diseases Carl “Chip” Lavie, MD, Ochsner Clinical School-The University of Queensland School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA, USA,
Full article “Nutraceuticals have potential for boosting the type 1 interferon response to RNA viruses including influenza and coronavirus,” is available here and published in Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases published by Elsevier.