(Coronavirus Lessons for Other Viruses and Health Optimization)
Hydroxychloroquine is a controversial COVID-19 topic.
Make no mistake, the purpose of this article is not to politicize this topic any further.
The purpose instead is to address how and why Hydroxychloroquine’s mechanisms as a zinc ionophore might work against SARS-CoV-2 and identify its natural alternatives.
It’s important to note, we have proven nothing effective against the coronavirus, other than refraining from its transmission.
We have studies showing Hydroxychloroquine is ineffective, along with others suggesting evidence to the contrary.
We should not just ignore this, right?
So, in the spirit of intellectual honesty, let’s dig a little deeper, shall we?
Some researchers suggest Hydroxychloroquine does not work.
Other researchers suggest Hydroxychloroquine works.
And both are correct.
Hydroxychloroquine provides no meaningful actions against the coronavirus on its own.
Hydroxychloroquine also might be effective when we understand two critical caveats.
Because this realization can give us some major health insights, extending beyond COVID-19, we should pay further attention to the lessons we are learning in real-time.
The Optimize Better goal is empowerment, causing us to ask, “why is Hydroxychloroquine not effective in studies?”
And the answer might be a simple one.
We can reason by the time the patient arrives at the hospital, the virus has already replicated or “copied itself” and is now in control of the body.
Another consideration we find is the 10 days the drug takes to reach sufficient blood plasma levels.
Much like vitamin D and its 14 days, this might serve to make the drug a non-effective hospital therapuetic.
As health optimizers, it might make sense to focus on this from a prevention outlook, does it not?
#1) Zinc Blocks Viral Replication
Zinc (Zn), an essential micronutrient for key cellular activity such as cell growth, differentiation, and survival.
Commonly recognized as an NMDA-antagonist for mental health and testosterone booster, zinc deficiency suppresses our adaptive and innate immune response.
Zinc interferes with the replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus replication.
Without zinc, Hydroxychloroquine is ineffective.
We can think of the metaphor of a hammer and a nail, with Hydroxychloroquine being the hammer and zinc being the nail.
Viruses Inhibited by Zinc
- Human Coronavirus 229E
- MERS Coronavirus
- SARS Coronavirus
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus
- Herpes Virus
- Hepatitis C Virus
- Zika Virus
- Equine Viral Arteritis
#2) Hydroxychloroquine is a Zinc Ionophore
Hydroxychloroquine acts as a zinc ionophore, which means it transports zinc into the cells.
The reason zinc needs a transporter is that zinc is not fat-soluble and cannot cross the cellular membrane without the help of a fat-soluble transporting zinc ionophore.
And this is a critical distinction because zinc must enter cells to stop the growth of the virus.
ZINC interferes with the replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, not the ionophore.
Once ZINC is in the cells, we believe zinc interferes with the replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Natural Zinc Ionophores
Again, the goal is not controversy and instead empowering health optimization.
Hydroxychloroquine might be a safe drug for acute use, but its logistics as a long-term prophylactic or preventative COVID-19 strategy are questionable for a variety of reasons.
We do not know the applicable dosage of natural zinc ionophores, however adding some zinc ionophores along with zinc during this virus outbreak and beyond might make sense.
And this might even make more sense as an ongoing health optimization strategy after this is over.
Top Zinc Ionophore Supplements
Everyone has access to natural food and supplement-based zinc ionophores with no Rx needed.
Black Seed Oil
The ancient medicinal plant, black seed oil, nigella sativa, or black cumin oil shows strong synergy as a believed zinc ionophore and chloroquine alternative for past and current coronaviruses.
Black seed oil active components nigellidine and α-hederin are potential SARS CoV-2 inhibitors.
An array of studies confirm black seed oil has antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, bronchodilatory, antihistaminic, antitussive actions effective with COVID-19 symptoms.
Finally, its anti-hypertensive, anti-obesity, anti-diabetic, anti-hyperlipidemic, anti-ulcer, and antineoplastic actions could help comorbid COVID-19 patients.
Cinchona Bark (Quinine)
The history of quinine, a bitter extract from cinchona bark, is interesting.
In the colonial era over a century ago, British troops used quinine-containing tonic water as an antimalarial for its zinc ionophore activity.
While many still suggest tonic water as a quinine source, today’s tonic water contains very little quinine.
Quinine-containing cinchona bark is the more likely optimal quinine source.
EGCG (From Green Tea)
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), is the catechin, antioxidant delivering green tea’s health benefits.
Containing polyphenols, including flavanols, flavandiols, flavonoids, andphenolic acids; green tea offers us a 30% dry weight potent antioxidant plant.
Most green tea polyphenols are flavonols or catechins.
The most powerful actions of green tea are its esophageal, tracheal, lungs, breast, prostate, and colon anti-cancer protection.
One study shows non-smokers and smokers experienced over five times and nearly 13 times higher risk of lung cancer compared to control groups consuming just one cup or more of daily green tea.
There are small numbers of case studies showing liver toxicity from daily doses of EGCG over 800 mg.
An emerging hypothesis points to the consumption of exorbitant amounts of green tea, explaining the extraordinarily low numbers we are seeing in Japan.
Japan has been testing at low numbers, so this remains to be clear.
Quercetin, an antioxidant-acting flavonoid, and zinc ionophore can transport zinc into infected cells to block further viral replication.
Flavonoids may increase antioxidant defense, as quercetin increases the bioavailability of EGCG and other antioxidant-acting flavonoids.
Common quercetin dosages are 500 to 1,000 mg per day, with its main issue being its less than 2% low bioavailability.
Supplement use is typically 400 to 600 mg, one to three times daily.
“Potent inhibitors” of coronaviruses in one study, stinging nettle, a plant lectin blocks the replication of coronaviruses in previous studies at multiple sites upon a 3 to 4-day incubation and infection period.
We find this early in the viral replication cycle, which might affect the initial viral attachment, along with the infectious viral cycle ending.
From amongst 33 different plant lectins tested in cell-studies, the strongest activity tested against SARS-CoV are those with mannose-binding lectins and two other antiviral plants, stinging nettle and tobacco.
Nicotine is being discussed as a COVID-19 therapeutic, and you can read my original letter to the medical journal editor on drug repurposing.
Plant lectins perform with notable effects on other pathogenic diseases and cancer cells.
Stinging nettle contains quercetin and has significant zinc ionophore activity.
We have also confirmed stinging nettle to be effective against coronaviruses in animal studies.
The nettle leaf and not the root should be used.
Natural Zinc Ionophores
(From Quercetin Food Sources)
We find quercetin in plant-based foods, such as fruits, grains, seeds, and vegetables.
Quercetin is a plant-based antioxidant flavonoid, sometimes called the “master flavonoid.”
While we don’t know how much in terms of zinc ionophore dosage is sufficient for food-sources, some are better than none.
- Apples (Red) *
- Apricots *
- Asparagus *
- Broccoli *
- Buckwheat *
- Capers *
- Celery *
- Cherries *
- Citrus *
- Cocoa/ Coffee *
- Dill *
- Grapes (Red) *
- Lettuce (Red)
- Onions (Red, White, Chives, Shallots) *
- Peppers (Green and Yellow) *
- Red Wine *
- Tea (Black and Green) *
Benefits of Quercetin
- Anti-inflammatory protection (COX-2 and CRP)
- Blocks pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-alpha and IL-6)
- Free radical protection
- Increases DAO enzyme activity blocking histamine release, improving allergies and mast cell disease
- Increases glutathione levels
- Possible anticancer and antitumor actions
- Reduce oxidative fat cell damage
- Stimulate the body’s overall antioxidant defense
How to take Zinc
Hospitals report the use of 225 mg of zinc sulfate with their COVID patients.
By this time, it is perhaps too late, with a fully active and replicated virus already in control.
Many suggest not using large ongoing daily zinc dosages because of the gut microbiome, copper, and iron disturbances, amongst other complications.
Food-based Zinc Sources
- Cocoa/ Chocolate
- Fortified Cereals
- Red Meat
Several types of zinc supplements are available, including zinc acetate, citrate, gluconate, orotate, oxide, and picolinate, sulfate.
The amount of elemental zinc varies, with organic zinc salts such as zinc acetate, zinc citrate, and zinc picolinate delivering superior absorption over zinc oxide
We can see zinc deficiency is a common medical problem, as the WHO attributes it as the cause of 1.4% and 1.5% of male and female deaths worldwide.
With the continued spread of the coronavirus, we can expect this statistic to rise.
Generally, 15 mg of daily zinc is a preventative dosage, with doses up to 30 mg to correct a deficiency.
We can and should get daily zinc needs using a good high-quality daily multi-vitamin.
We show for adults 40 mg per day as the tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL), or the highest daily intake not likely to cause adverse health effect risks for almost all individuals.
Zinc intakes over 200 mg per day can cause acute negative effects, such as cramps, diarrhea, headaches, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting.
Ongoing daily supplemental zinc doses of 50 to 300 mg per day can cause copper and iron deficiency, lowering of HDL and immune function, and nervous system toxicity.
The coronavirus has forever returned our focus back to the power of micronutrients, such as vitamin A, C, D, E, K, omega-3, selenium, magnesium, and even other basics such as melatonin, and their role in our health.
To quote Dr. Carol Savage, “when this is all over we should all likely keep supplementing with an ionophore and zinc to prevent a lot of other potential viral infections.”
While we need more zinc during an active infection, for daily ongoing use, a good high-quality multivitamin containing 15 to 30 mg of zinc should be sufficient.
Zinc picolinate appears to be the most bioavailable source of zinc as a stand-alone source.
Bromelain and Vitamin C increase quercetin absorption, and quercetin increases EGCG absorption.
On average, one cup of green tea contains 50–100 mg of EGCG, so one cup alone would likely not be sufficient.
Green tea can inhibit or slow down the COMT enzyme, which can be beneficial to some and problematic to others.
Hepatotoxicity, (liver damage), is a side effect of EGCG at dosages of 800 mg per day in rare cases, so daily green tea remains an optimal alternative.
Daily matcha green tea is a top choice for health optimizers as it contains over 3 times the antioxidants as standard green tea, with a higher EGCG and PQQ content.
Capers are the densest quercetin food source, with apples being the most commonly found quercetin food source.
Black seed oil is an interesting zinc ionophore alternative, delivering an array of other benefits.
We can use cinchona bark as a quinine source to replace tonic water.
Stinging nettle is a potent zinc ionophore.
Lower or eliminate virus activating arginine intake during an active infection.
Your Friend in Health