More Geeky Covid Information
I know, I know… we are all getting tired of hearing about this virus. However, it is going to be around awhile and we truly need to understand as much about this as we can so I am going to continue to look and dig for information that may help protect you.
I recently came across some fascinating data that helps give us another prevention and potential treatment to try to keep this virus from replicating and progressing. We know the COVID19 virus attacks the lung cells and the red blood cells preferentially. It binds to the ACE2 receptor to enter the cell (I’ve talked about this at length before). Hydroxychloroquine binds the ACE2 receptor so would effectively prevent entry of the virus and in some studies it also shows it demonstrates some killing ability inside the cell if it does penetrate it. This is why the medication hydroxychloroquine has been thought to help decrease the severity of infection. Some hospitals are using this in their severe cases for this reason. But we can’t all be on hydroxychloroquine so is there anything else that can help? Yes!! And it is super basic….
1. Thiamine is a nutrient that is also called B1. We get thiamine primarily from our diet. It is a building block of our DNA and is used to replenish cells all over the body. It also helps build the immune cells. There are some diseases that are naturally low in B1/thiamine like diabetes, alcoholism and malnutrition. Diabetics have a difficult time processing thiamine adding to their deficiency.
Now, let’s tie this in to COVID19. The conditions that are highest risk include diabetes and obesity (which usually has some type of insulin resistance of pre-diabetes). Could thiamine be a factor? In addition, hydroxychloroquine binds to the thiamine transporter. I hope you see where this is going! Let’s look at the science…
The virus binds the ACE2 receptor and enters the cell. The thiamine transporter tries to keep the virus from replicating but when the stores get used up (or if there is a deficiency and not enough stores) the virus starts replicating until the cell eventually bursts and releases viral particles to go find another cell. These viruses tend to seek out low thiamine cells because it is easier to replicate in. Hydroxychloroquine blocks the receptor that is also a thiamine transporter so it effectively protects the low thiamine cell from invasion.
In theory, if we increase the thiamine inside the cell then the virus should have more difficulty replicating.
There are different forms of thiamine and they are not all equal. The regular B1/thiamine that you find in your multi vitamin is a water soluble form. We don’t absorb very much of this so it is not very effective in really driving the intracellular levels up. Benfothiamine is a fat soluble form that has better absorption and is therefore the better form at increasing levels. This is why we use this form for neuropathy in diabetics. We can actually measure B1 inside a cell to see if you are depleted which is a good idea especially if you have any other risk factors to make sure you are getting adequate repletion. If you are a diabetic or overweight then you really need to be taking this supplement. We use a product called Benfotiamine by Xymogen (we have this in stock!) and the dosing of this product would be one capsule twice a day for prevention and then increase to two capsules twice a day if you have the virus. **keep in mind I am not saying this is an anti-viral treatment and if you take this you won’t get severe covid. It is just a tool that may help and I think we need all the tools we can get!
2. Another important nutrient is Vitamin C. I know I have touched on this before so I don’t want to belabor the point but it really is that important. I have heard many physicians saying this won’t help with the virus and in a way they are correct. It won’t fight the virus directly, however it does something very important with this particular virus. To recap, the virus attacks the lung cells and the red blood cells. When it attacks the red blood cells it causes the heme to be released which is very toxic to the lung. This is one reason if you have been watching the news the secretions of the people on the ventilators are pink from the heme. Vitamin C has been shown to reverse and inhibit the damage inflicted by this heme. I could get really geeky here but I think your heads are already spinning from the B1 geekout. Good old ascorbic acid is the best form and again the dose is 2000mg daily. However, protocols do go much higher if you get COVID. If you get loose stools then take apple cider vinegar daily to help.
3. And don’t forget your zinc! **some people have realized zinc can causes significant GI issues so just dose this as tolerated. Don’t panic if you can’t take it!
Always to your health,