Covid19 infection presents some unique and serious challenges. We’ve learned much about the details of the infection in general, why some groups are at much higher risk of death from the infection and why many people who recover from the initial illness continue with ongoing symptoms. We’ve also found there is much you can do about it.
Initial Covid19 Treatment
There has been all sorts of controversy over potential treatments for Covid19. Early reports of various drugs were met with skepticism and outright disdain for lack of sufficient large randomized-controlled trials that proved their worth. Despite this, ongoing research and clinical experience continues to support the use of numerous treatments.
The most prominent treatment protocol, and one that I’ve been prescribing often, is the EVMS management protocol developed by Paul Marik, MD, Professor of Medicine and Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School. It includes a prescription drug called Ivermectin, as well as vitamin C, D, quercitin, zinc and melatonin.
Typically after 4-5 days with Covid19 one develops early symptoms including fever, malaise, headache, cough or diarrhea. Like most all antiviral treatments the sooner this treatment starts the better, so I recommend getting a Rx to have at home so you are ready to go at the first sign of possible Covid19 infection.
Treatment for more serious illness from Covid19
As Covid19 illness progresses it may suddenly worsen with the most notable symptom being shortness of breath. This typically happens after 4-5 days of mild symptoms. Monitoring one’s oxygen saturation with a simple home finger probe is an excellent way to keep track of how serious this may be. A drop below 88-90% or significant decline from baseline might be a sign things are worsening and one should seek medical attention.
At this point during Covid19 illness one is past the point of peak viral replication and has entered into a phase of intense immune reaction called the “cytokine storm” which causes high levels of inflammation and thrombosis or tendency for the blood to clot. This is what causes the severe lung damage and life threatening course.
Naturally enough the antiviral medications are not as effective in the later phases of Covid19 illness. Conversely, treatment to combat inflammation is a life saver. Prescriptions include steroids, and I’ve used oral prednisone in many outpatients with good results. In the hospital setting intravenous steroids are used. Stopping steroids too soon can risk a relapse and we sometimes continue steroids for a nearly a month.
Research is uncovering the specific cytokines involved in the Covid 19 cytokine storm and there are numerous natural supplements that may help dampen the inflammation, such as turmeric, green tea, NAD, PQQ, boswellia, andrographis, resveratrol, and olive leaf extract.
To lower the risk of blood clotting we use prescription anti-coagulants in the hospital setting, such as enoxaparin. In the outpatient setting simply taking a baby aspirin daily can help discourage blood platelets from sticking to form a clot. I can’t find any research on this one, but I wonder if the natural anti-coagulant called nattokinase may also be helpful.
The Covid 19 Long Haulers
We are treating lots of patients who have recovered from the initial Covid19 infection but continue to have ongoing symptoms, especially brain fog and profound fatigue. Dubbed the “long haulers” it is estimated about 10% of patients go on to suffer from this condition, which might also include ongoing cough, shortness of breath, body or joint aches, headaches, or loss of taste or smell even if not having this during the acute illness.
It’s not entirely clear what causes the long hauler syndrome after Covid19 but several theories include ongoing inflammation, autoimmune phenomena or latent reactivation of the virus although most long haulers will test negative for current infection. I also suspect adrenal fatigue plays a prominent role in the long hauler syndrome.
We observe treatment with the various natural substances that quell inflammation, noted above, are also helpful in the post infection phase. We also observe treatments for adrenal fatigue usually help, especially with the fatigue.
Research on various therapies
There is a flurry of research on some unconventional therapies used in the treatment of Covid19 illness, such as sytemic ozone, high dose IV vitamin C, and glutathione.
As published in Medpage Today, there is some evidence of intravenous ozone being effective. Numerous hospitals around the world are currently using intravenous ozone in the Covid19 treatment protocols. A Jan 2021, narrative review published in the the journal, Virus Research, titled Ozone therapy in COVID-19: A narrative review gives a good overview of the systemic use of ozone therapy. The authors state “Systemic ozone therapy seems useful in controlling inflammation, stimulating immunity and as antiviral activity and providing protection from acute coronary syndromes and ischaemia reperfusion damage, thus suggesting a new methodology of immune therapy. Systemic ozone therapy in combination with antivirals in COVID-19-positive patients may be justified, helpful and synergic.”
Similarly, intravenous vitamin C has come to the forefront as a treatment for Covid19. Literature published in the Oct 2020 journal, Pharmacological Reports, titled Overview of the possible role of vitamin C in management of COVID-19 gives a good review of this topic. An editorial published in the journal Acute and Critical Care, titled Role of vitamin C in critically ill patients with COVID-19: is it effective? offers a review of IV vitamin C research in the ICU setting and shares some case studies. Ongoing research on the role of IV vitamin C in Covid19 illness continues.
Still other research is investigating the synergy with use of systemic systemic ozone combined with IV vitamin C in the treatment of Covid19, as reported in Anesthesiology News.
Glutathione is making the news for it’s role in the treatment of Covid19 illness. Being called the “master antioxidant” glutathione is the body’s key to controlling excess free radicals that come with uncontrolled inflammation and tissue damage. With most any chronic illness, including Covid19 infection, glutathione levels tend to be low. Supplementing with glutathione, or one of it’s precursors N-Acetyl Cysteine, will help raise glutathione levels and combat inflammation.
From the May 2020 edition of the American Chemical Society Infectious Disease journal, comes the article Endogenous Deficiency of Glutathione as the Most Likely Cause of Serious Manifestations and Death in COVID-19 Patients in which the authors point out “restoration of glutathione levels in COVID-19 patients would be a promising approach for the management of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.” Glutathione is not well absorbed unless taken in “liposomal” form of capsule or given intravenously. We also use glutathione via nebulizer for direct inhalation.
Finally, an article from Dr Andrew Weil and others at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine which points out that “Convalescence from mild-to-moderate Covid19 disease may be supported by integrative medicine strategies.”
Scott Rollins, MD, is Board Certified with the American Board of Family Practice and the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine. He specializes in bioidentical hormone replacement for men and women, thyroid and adrenal disorders, fibromyalgia and other complex medical conditions. He is founder and medical director of the Integrative Medicine Center of Western Colorado (www.imcwc.com) and Bellezza Laser Aesthetics (www.bellezzalaser.com). Call (970) 245-6911 for an appointment or more information.