In football they say that the best offense is a good defense. The same is true for keeping yourself healthy, especially now that we have COVID-19 to worry about. Except instead of a lineup of heavily padded, muscular athletes, your body’s “defense” is a robust immune system.

To learn the best way to add some muscle to our our COVID-19 “defense,” Bottom Line turned to holistic physician Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, a nationally recognized expert in chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, sleep and pain—all of which tie into the immune system. Dr. Teitelbaum explained that while we wait for a safe, effective vaccine and better treatments for COVID-19, there are vitamins, minerals and other supplements available right now that he suggests may be very effective—and safe.

For instance, zinc, one of the key nutrients that supports the immune system, may block coronavirus from attaching to cells and disables its ability to reproduce. In fact, loss of taste and smell, a sign of zinc deficiency, is one of the key symptoms of COVID-19. Many people don’t get enough vitamin D, another important defender of immunity. Shelter-in-place restrictions that keep folks indoors, away from sunlight, compound the problem. Most people know vitamin C fights infection, such colds and flu. Less familiar is another super antioxidant, n-acetylcysteine (NAC), which protects against flu and reduces the severity of respiratory symptoms…and the herb andrographis, which blocks the enzyme coronaviruses use to access cells. And omega-3 helps reduce the chances of dangerous blood clots.  

Each of these, plus others listed below, has its own role in strengthening immunity. They also work synergistically, so are even more effective when taken together.*

To maintain optimum immunity, Dr. Teitelbaum prescribes for his patients to take every day…

Zinc: 40 milligrams (mg) to 50 mg/day for one month…then 15 mg/day thereafter.

Vitamin D: 1,000 international units (IU)/day. Also helpful: Spend some time every day out in the sunshine.

Vitamin C: 500 mg/day.

N-acetylcysteine (NAC): 250 mg/day.

Omega-3: Daily, according to label dosage directions. Dr. Teitelbaum takes one or two tablets daily of Vectomega by Terry Naturally Vitamins, which is especially well absorbed by the body’s cells.

Melatonin: 5 mg every night.

(Note: For all supplements, discuss with your doctor if you are taking the blood thinner warfarin/Coumadin.)

During periods where infections are passing through the community, take all of the above and add…

Elderberry: 300 mg once a day. (Warning: People with an autoimmune disease—for instance, lupus, Sjögren’s disease or rheumatoid arthritis—should discuss with their doctors, as elderberry may increase immunity.)

Zinc: Suck on a 5 mg lozenge (or half a lozenge) whenever you go out into areas of high risk for infection. Sucking on zinc coats the mouth and throat, which may kill the virus as it enters the body through mucous membranes—such as the mouth, nose and eyes. Simply keep the zinc lozenge gently in your mouth, adding a new one when it is completely dissolved, when you’re out and about.

When you have symptoms that may be COVID-19—ideally, at the first sign—continue to take the same amounts of zinc and vitamin D as above, and increase…

vitamin C to 500 mg, four times a day

elderberry to 300 mg, twice a day

melatonin to 5 mg, four times a day

NAC to 1,000 mg a day

Plus add…

Andrographis: 200 mg two capsules twice a day. (Warning: Do not take if you are taking drugs for chemotherapy, hypertension or a blood thinner.)

For more information about Dr. Teitelbaum’s holistic approach to fighting COVID-19, click here.

Listen to all of Dr. Teitelbaum’s podcasts to learn more ways to keep your immune system—and your whole body—in robust health. And learn about what’s at the root of the most chronic illnesses in his newly updated book, Bottom Line’s Real Cause, Real Cure.

*Check with your doctor before taking any of the supplements mentioned in this article, especially if you take any medication and/or are being treated for a health condition.