Probably the topic I have received the most questions about recently is what supplements I’m using to help in our family’s battle with Covid-19. Unfortunately, it’s not a very simple and straightforward answer, but hopefully it’s one that will be worth the read!
Our family got Covid in mid-June. Before we were exposed, I was already more focused on health than ever. I’ve been working with a nutritionist, Kelly Hall, over the past year or so. It started with me hiring her to help my mom with some long-time health issues and the more I learned, the more I wanted to get some help as well. I did some testing and she made some suggestions. I purchased the supplements that she recommended and they promptly sat on my kitchen shelf for way too long. (If you know me well, this isn’t all that surprising.) Like with many other things, I had the best of intentions, but I got overwhelmed by all of the instructions and figuring out when to take what and sort of shut down. After all, life is busy. I also struggled with the “trial and error” part of it all. I prefer nice, neat formulas, but that isn’t always how good health works.
When Covid first came to the US, I started paying more attention to supplements. One friend of mine told me about a supplement that was sure to prevent it and rather than jump on the bandwagon right away, I contacted Kelly to ask her opinion. Boy, am I glad I did! She researched the supplement and found it on the Environmental Working Group‘s (EWG) list of food additives to avoid. Yikes. Lesson learned. Do your research. Thankfully, Kelly had been doing hers. Back in March, she had already been attending webinars and doing lots of reading about Covid and the supplements that might potentially help. I felt like she really needed to get her message and knowledge out there to help others during this time, so I set up some social media accounts for her. She was completely new to Instagram and I helped her get started. One of the things she wanted to post really struck me. It was a quote that is attributed to Louis Pasteur, the father of microbiology, on his deathbed. “The microbe is nothing. The terrain is everything.”
It clicked with me that Louis had a great point. While Covid is super scary, it’s the way that it interacts with our bodies that is scariest, and yet, it seems to interact with different people in vastly different ways. Some people are stunned when they test positive, because they never have a single symptom. (This is as hard for me to believe as those woman who swear that they didn’t know they were pregnant and then a baby just popped out, but we’ll just attribute it to the fact that my experience was so vastly different on both fronts.) For other people, it is fatal. We know that often times when it is fatal, there are underlying comorbidities going on, but it still begs the question – what can we do to put our bodies into the best possible shape to handle this scary virus?
Since I had already been working with Kelly for a while, she had all of my medical history and had some of my blood work labs already and had a good baseline on what we were dealing with health-wise. Apparently, the world of nutrition and supplements are a bit of an art form. There are myriad things that you can do and you basically have to navigate what works best for your body and what works well taken together. It can be a bit of trial and error, unfortunately. And that is partly why it’s not a simple answer to tell you what to take.
The other reason is that not all supplements are created equal. It’s hard to just say – take a probiotic – when they are so varied and apparently, the same goes for all of the vitamins and supplements and protein powders out there as well. I have zero monetary interest in selling anything here – zero. However, I do trust Kelly and her research. She used to be a nutritionist for MD Anderson, which has been ranked as the very best hospital in the world for cancer care, according to US News and World Report. So, she’s not new to the nutrition scene. She has relatively recently gone out on her own to help people directly, rather than through a hospital, however. She purchases all of the supplements that she gives me from one of several “prescription-only” wholesalers who work exclusively with registered dietitians. So, that’s the other limiting factor in me simply linking to some good supplements. They’re not all created equal and zero of what she has given me can be purchased on Amazon.
With all of that being said, before I wrote this post, I reached out to Kelly to explain that I wanted to be able to answer the questions people have been asking me and to ask her what she is comfortable with me sharing and what among the supplements I am taking are generally good for everyone. It probably goes without saying, but just in case – I am NOT a medical doctor. Nothing that I say in this post or on my blog should be taken as medical advice. I have no training in health whatsoever, other than my own personal experiences. Kelly Hall is a registered dietician and you are more than welcome and encouraged to message her directly on her Instagram account, linked here. She has told me that she will offer my followers the opportunity to buy quality supplements through her wholesalers without a full-blown consultation with her. She’s offered to do sort of a virtual mini-consult and let you order through her. Yay! Just tell her that I sent you. (Again, this is in no way sponsored or anything, I just want everyone to have their best health possible.)
I also want to pause for a moment here and stress the following to you… If you are committed to getting your body in its healthiest state in order to hopefully avoid getting Covid or lessen its impact on you, there are plenty of free things to do as well. Sleep is likely the most important. I always roll my eyes when people talk about this because I tend to do too much and rest too little so I’m almost always lacking on sleep. (That and I have four boys aged nine and under!) Sleep, however, is crucial to your immune system functioning well and is the time when your body repairs itself. Don’t skimp on sleep. There are lots of things that you can do to help your body get good sleep and I’ve tried lots of them! Stopping electronics at least thirty minutes to an hour before going to sleep is one of them. Creating a lovely, quiet, dark, serene and comfortable space is another. A good mattress and good pillows and great quality bedding is another. (Personally, I have a mix of high-end bedding and bargain items. I love my Kumi Kukoon silk pillowcase from Longoria Collection and my Hunt Slonem bunny sheets, but I mix in my Mellanni bed sheets as well from time to time.) I have a great silk eye mask on my nightstand because I’ve become way more sensitive to the early morning Summer sunrise in my older age. I swear by my Dohm sound machine as well. We literally don’t travel without it. It has saved my sleep since becoming a mom and enduring the lightest sleep patterns I can remember. (I blame having kids!) Sometimes, I use an acupressure mat to relax before I fall asleep. I have also recently started taking Melatonin before bed. Again, I buy that through my nutritionist. During these stressful times, I’m finding that I have to do more in order to sleep well. Frustrating, but true.
Another free thing that you can do is try and eliminate stress. I know, I know. We live in a stressful world right now, but we still have to do all that we can to eliminate any of it that we can. For me, a huge part of that has been mentally working to let go of the things that I cannot control. And heaven knows, there is so much of that right now. Stress is depleting to the body, so pay attention to anything that elevates your stress levels and do your best to avoid any of it that you’re able to. Meditation is another great exercise for this. I’m working on it, at the suggestion of my longtime and very wise friend, Mike Herzog, but I’m definitely not there yet. Good thing he assures me that it’s a practice that takes time!
It isn’t very fun to hear, but nutrition is also key to your health. During my battle with Covid, I avoided sugar, alcohol, gluten and dairy in an attempt to prevent unnecessary inflammation while healing. I focused on whole food nutrition (lots of vegetables!) and made smoothies with nutrition supplements at least once a day. I also upped my fluid intake and drank as much water as possible, along with electrolyte drinks, like Drip Drop or Nuun. I’ve also been drinking bone broth and hot teas, such as peppermint, ginger and camomile and Throat Coat. I gargled warm water with salt and baking soda and used saline nasal spray to keep things cleared out.
I’ve also been using my trusty Young Living essential oils, specifically the Thieves essential oil, which is my very favorite – especially when our family is sick! We put it into diffusers in our bedroom, our children’s bedroom and our living room when someone is sick. Not only is it antibacterial, but it also smells amazing. I also drink a couple of drops on a spoonful of honey when I have a sore throat and I use it in a rollerball format on my temples and chest. It is fabulous, as are their Thieves all-natural cleaning supplies.
Lastly, you can also work on simplifying your life as much as possible. We’ve all got a LOT more time at home (and free time, to some extent), and this is something that I’ve been working on. I don’t feel as though I’ve made very much progress, but every little bit helps. Progress, not perfection, is my motto on most things. Okay, on to the supplements…
I’m taking about thirteen supplements daily and I’m giving my kids four each day. Each of them was chosen by my nutritionist for me, specifically. Before we got Covid, we took Vitamin C and Elderberry daily. Once we got Covid, however, we stopped the Elderberry. According to my nutritionist, Kelly Hall, the goal is to boost and support your immune system before you actually get Covid, but once you do, the goal shifts entirely to supporting your immune system. You don’t want to over rev your immune system, because it can attack your body in addition to the virus. When that is taken to an extreme, you end up with the dreaded cytokine storm. Once I actually got Covid, I upped my Vitamin-C dose greatly. You can’t really overdose on Vitamin C, though it can mess with your GI system if you take too much, so Kelly recommends only taking as much as can be tolerated. I’ve been taking about 10,000mg a day. I’m taking some of that in vitamin pill form and some in drinking Emergen-C packets. I’m also taking Zinc (about 30-60mg) and Vitamin D. Vitamin D is something that you CAN overdose on, so it’s best if you check your levels before deciding how much to take for the long term. Another supplement that I’m taking that shows promise in helping fight Covid is NAC and yet another is called Immuntix. I’m also taking a probiotic and also a nutritional supplement called IG26+ which I put in a smoothie. I’m also taking several other things that Kelly recommended specifically for me, based on my medical profile. Again, if you want more information on things that would be specifically good for you personally or to order some of her high quality supplements, you can schedule a virtual mini-consult with Kelly directly by messaging her on her Instagram feed. To be very clear, I am receiving absolutely nothing from her for referrals. I have every confidence that there are lots of great nutritionists out there. She’s just the one that I am using and I like her, so I want to be as transparent as possible, in case you want to try her as well!
For my children, I’m giving them smoothies with the IG26+ along with an active nutrients vitamin chewable, some Vitamin C gummies and some sugar-free Vitamin D dummies, all of which my kids LOVE the taste of. Winning! I’m also trying my best to give them healthy foods and less sugar, but let’s be honest – that’s super challenging right now.
If you have any questions about my vitamin and supplement routine or anything else, please feel free to drop me a note in the comments below. I’m happy to help in any way that I can!