In the pages of ­Bottom Line Personal and in our Bottom Line Advocator podcasts, we’ve been talking a lot about strengthening the immune system as one of the best ways to stay healthy, particularly in this time of the new coronavirus

To add natural measures to that fight, here is integrative medicine specialist Dr. Joseph Feuerstein’s approach—he himself is a COVID-19 survivor. 

Important: You don’t want to take all of these supplements. These are just options—good to have since certain supplements have been in short supply. And any of these supplements can interact with medications you are taking for other conditions, so never start taking one without consulting your doctor. 


Taking vitamin C (one gram daily) and vitamin D (2,000 to 5,000 IU) is a good way to keep your body strong and reduce the risk of getting sick. In fact, an early study by British researchers suggests that people who are deficient in vitamin D are at increased risk for COVID-19. 

Additionally, 30 milligrams (mg) of zinc daily may kill the virus and can help stave off infection. 

Astragalus (250 mg twice per day), quercetin (500 mg twice per day), ­elderberry (250 mg twice per day) and zinc help prevent the virus from entering your cells by blocking the receptors where it tries to dig in.


If you have a sore throat, headache and other potential symptoms but do not have a high fever or severe breathing problems, hospitals are instructing people to convalesce at home with rest and hydration. If you feel like you need it, you can take Tylenol for fever above 100.4°F or headache. 

In addition, zinc or elderberry (taken in the same doses stated earlier) may be effective at killing the virus inside your body. 

If the virus does succeed at replicating, your body’s natural defenses create an inflammatory response in an effort to rid the virus. But too strong a response—the so-called ­cytokine storm—is potentially deadly, and so at this point you don’t want to boost your immune system. 

Once You Are Recovering

When you are starting to feel a bit better every day—no more fever and less fatigue, malaise and muscle and joint pain—then anti-inflammatory supplements may help speed healing. These include curcumin (500 mg twice daily)…Boswellia (100 mg daily)…quercetin (500 mg twice daily and also found naturally in brightly colored produce such as apple peel, berries and broccoli)…ECGC (found in in green tea)…and garlic. 

Studies on elderberry extract (250 mg twice per day) and influenza suggest that it also may be helpful by reducing inflammation in the lungs. 

Recovery from COVID-19 is individualized and takes weeks for many people.

Note that most of this advice is based on preclinical studies on animals or studies on humans with other similar viruses. There are no broad-scale, peer-reviewed COVID-19 studies yet due to the newness of the virus. 

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