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Natural Awakenings Greater Boston - Rhode Island

Stay Well This Winter: Steps and Supplements for Immune Support

Dec 30, 2020 10:46AM ● By Gary Kracoff
We are now at a critical time in the pandemic. The holidays have come and gone; many people may have been exposed to viruses unknowingly. We need to be prepared as we move through the winter months.

Winter brings shorter days, more inside time, less ability to socialize outside and socially distancing is harder to accomplish. There are some actions that people can take to lessen the chances of catching an illness and supplements that can be taken to boost our immune system, especially during the pandemic.

The first line of defense is prevention. Everyone should be practicing these easy steps every day to help prevent the spread of colds, flu and the coronavirus.

Wash hands properly

Most of us wash our hands often during cold and flu season, but many do not wash properly. The CDC states that proper washing of our hands is more effective than hand sanitizers. Wash hands often, properly and especially before touching our face, nose, eyes, food or food preparation surfaces. The CDC has provided a video on the proper way to wash hands:

Think before touching

Some of the most common contaminated surfaces are:

~Elevator buttons and escalator handrails
~Bathroom door handles
~Light switches
~Airplanes-seat belts, tray tables, tv screens
~Cell phones

Things to do daily

~Eat healthy food; limit prepared foods and fast food
~Stay hydrated
~Get a good night’s sleep
~Decrease stress
~Do not have the TV or radio on all day long listening to the same news cycle over and over
~Enjoy each day. This stressful time will pass.

Supplement recommendations

There have been many months of trial and error in the medical community, trying different treatments and preventive measures. There have been successes and failures. Now the Eastern Virginia Medical School has come up with some guidelines ( for their physicians and patients which contain supplement recommendations.


~Vitamin C 500mg two times a day
~Quercetin 250mg daily
~B complex vitamins
~Zinc 30-50mg daily
~Melatonin (slow release): Start with 0.3mg and increase as tolerated to 2mg at night
~Vitamin D3 1000-3000 iu daily

Mildly Symptomatic Patients (at home):

~Vitamin C 500mg twice a day
~Quercetin 250mg-500mg twice a day
~Vitamin D3 2000-4000iu daily
~B complex vitamins
~Zinc 75-1000mg daily
~Melatonin 6-10mg at night
~Aspirin 81-325 mg /day (unless contraindicated)

In symptomatic patients, monitoring with home pulse oximetry is recommended. Those with levels below 94 percent should call their physician or go to the hospital.

Vitamin C is critical to the proper functioning of the immune cells. Vitamin C has been used for years to reduce the symptoms of colds, and studies have shown it also reduces the risk of contracting colds/viruses. A study published last February demonstrated that vitamin C reduced symptoms in patients with sepsis and acute respiratory distress syndrome caused by other viruses.

Quercetin has shown preclinical benefits as an antiviral, and a study found that it bounds with the spike protein in the novel Coronavirus, reducing its ability to infect cells.

Zinc is essential for the development of immune cells, and studies have found zinc reduces the risk of contracting respiratory infections.

Melatonin can be used for sleep and to help reduce anxiety, and this improves the immune system. It also blocks inflammasome activity, reducing inflammation in the lungs.

Vitamin D3 levels in countries which the general population had low levels were more likely to have serious outbreaks and higher mortality rates.

Aspirin reduces fever and aches associated with Covid-19. It may also reduce the risk of blood clots which is a serious problem in Covid-19.

Although this is a challenging time for everyone, following some simple steps can help our body and immune system fight off threatening infections.

Dr. Gary Kracoff is a naturopathic doctor and registered pharmacist at the Johnson Compounding and Wellness Center, located at 577 Main St., Waltham. For more information, call 781-893-3870 ext. 2 or visit