Tag Archives: Supplements

What is Quercetin and Can It Protect You Against COVID?

At first, I couldn’t even spell it! I first heard about quercetin in this interview with Dr. Mark Gordon, and was intrigued that an over-the-counter supplement might help protect against COVID and even colds and flus. But I was a little skeptical, so I decided to do some digging.

I found this widely cited study which concluded that although we can’t say to a certainty that quercetin can protect us from COVID, there is some good evidence for it, especially if taken with vitamin C. What’s more, the risks seem quite low:

Quercetin displays a broad range of antiviral properties which can interfere at multiple steps of pathogen virulence -virus entry, virus replication, protein assembly- and that these therapeutic effects can be augmented by the co-administration of vitamin C. Furthermore, due to their lack of severe side effects and low-costs, we strongly suggest the combined administration of these two compounds for both the prophylaxis and the early treatment of respiratory tract infections, especially including COVID-19 patients.

The study authors are careful to note that this is an “experimental strategy,” and I found another study that questioned whether using quercetin to protect against COVID is well-founded.

That said, given the reasonable cost, low risk, and emerging evidence of efficacy, I decided to order some here. I’ll take it in conjunction with the vitamin C and vitamin D I already take and hope for the best!

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Is There Real Science Behind Taking Vitamin D to Prevent COVID?

Many of us have heard that vitamin D might protect us from COVID, but is there real science behind these claims? Yesterday, I received a very thoughtful message from Dr. Peter Attia on the subject. Dr. Attia cites a randomized controlled trial from Spain that found the following:

patients not treated with vitamin D had 33.3 times the risk of ICU admission compared to patients treated with vitamin D

Vitamin D seems to help with disease severity even if it doesn’t prevent you from catching COVID in the first place. Dr. Attia also provides some good perspective on dosing.

there is virtually no risk to supplementing, say, 5,000 IU/day

I had heard that too much vitamin D could cause kidney stones, but Dr. Attia put those concerns to rest as well:

Too much vitamin D results in hypercalcemia, most commonly due to an overproduction of calcium that can result in kidney stones. However, vitamin D toxicity is not easy to come by: a review article noted that all published cases involved an intake of at least 40,000 IU/day. Even though the Food and Nutrition Board established a conservative dose threshold of 2,000 IU/day, some studies suggest that doses of up to 10,000 IU/day is safe for most adults.

I’ve taken 5,000 IU of Vitamin D for nearly 3 years with no ill effects that I can discern. I based that decision on information from this book that it may boost testosterone levels. I was also informed by this book, which noted that those who live in the north struggle to get sufficient vitamin D in the winter, regardless of the amount of sun exposure. The next step I need to take is to get blood levels of vitamin D taken to confirm the supplementation is getting me into the healthy range.

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Reversing the Aging Process in Mouse Eyes… and Maybe Someday, Us?

I just listened to a fascinating discussion with Dr. David Sinclair, PhD, on his lab’s recent success in reversing aging in mouse eyes. Sinclair and his team damaged the optic nerves of mice and then, using Yamanaka factors, reprogrammed the cells to “remember” their youthful vitality and regenerate. The mice could then see! The paper was recently published in the journal Nature.

This has significant potential for treating glaucoma in humans as well as someday reversing aging in general. If cells can be reprogrammed to recover the information they had when they were young, many conditions associated with aging could be reversed.

In this discussion (available as a YouTube video or a podcast), Dr. Sinclair also details some of the key things he does to try to prevent and reverse aging

  • Supplements/medication: NMN, resveratrol, oleic acid, metformin
  • Exercise, in particular weight training
  • Intermittent fasting, about 1.5 meals daily
  • Monitoring of biomarkers through regular blood testing. He uses a company called Inside Tracker and advises them. This is something I intend to look into further.
  • Wears Apple Watch and Oura Ring to track sleep, heart rate variability, etc. This and blood tests can provide an idea if certain interventions are working.

I read Dr. Sinclair’s amazing book shortly after it came out and started taking NMN on that basis. I do seem more energetic these days, although whether that’s due to NMN is anyone’s guess.

You can also get up-to-the-minute insights on aging research from Dr. Sinclair by going to his website here and signing up for his email list, Lifespan Insider (bottom right of page). I just did and am eagerly awaiting some useful tips!

Why I Just Did a 3 Day Fast

I just completed a 3 day fast this morning. I celebrated by munching on chocolates and having some of my mother-in-law’s outstanding banana bread. It’s a great feeling to have made it!

No, you do not die if you don’t eat for three days. In fact, fasting for 3-5 days can regenerate the immune system. Older cells are eliminated through a process called autophagy, and new ones generated. Fasting also has significant life extension benefits. I also feel a sense of accomplishment and I get a chance to hone my willpower, which is critical in all areas of life.

But aren’t you hungry? Yes, of course you are, sometimes. But that’s okay! You’ll get comfortable with it. I’ve done quarterly 3 day fasts for about 2 years and countless 24 hour fasts. Here are my top tips for coming through your fast comfortably:

1) Supplement electrolytes. You’re as good as your electrolyte supplementation. If your electrolytes are at a good level, you’re comfortable. If they get low, your life sucks until you replenish. The first day, I was beginning to feel a bit run down, but then I supplemented and I felt fine. Often the fatigue is related much more to electrolytes than to actual hunger.

I use a supplement similar to this, but generic (bought at a local store). I recommend 1 liter per day, consumed gradually. The mixed fruit or fruit punch flavors tend to be the best. Some sources recommend starting supplementation after several days, but I find I need it starting right away.

2) Keep busy! The more you do, the less you’ll think about being unable to eat.

3) Enjoy the freedom! You can do more without all the time involved with meal prep, eating, and clean up. I find myself focused and productive during these periods.

What are your experiences with fasting? Maybe you’re considering it and haven’t tried it yet? Leave a comment and let me know.

These Vitamins Are So Good I Took a Picture With Them in a Snowstorm

It’s been snowing for over 20 hours straight here in the New York City area. But I’m inside enjoying, among other things, the excellent vitamins that just arrived from iHerb. I got the best tasting Vitamin C gummies I’ve ever had, from California Gold Nutrition, along with melatonin, magnesium, etc.

I almost bought the vitamin C on Amazon, but I did a quick Google search right before pressing “Place Order.” Good thing too, because I found them for $7.00 rather than $12.55 on Amazon.

Note that the Amazon ones are actually coming from iHerb too! You’re buying the exact same product from the exact same seller for almost twice the price. Why? My guess is Amazon is just marking it up through the roof because people default to Amazon, and iHerb just has to live with it. But who knows.

I had never heard of iHerb, but my always-astute wife had and assured me it was legit. It is. I got my shipment in a couple of days (first day in the delivery window they specified) and got texts when it shipped and when it was delivered.

iHerb adds a lot of additional value through their iTested program. They take the supplements they sell, send them to a third party laboratory, and find out if they actually contain what the manufacturer says. Then, they share that result with you. Here’s the report on the vitamin C I bought. They contain 250 mg of vitamin C dead on, as advertised, and virtually zero trace heavy metals or any other contaminant.

This is important when many vitamins don’t contain what they claim to. I intend to shift all future supplement purchases to iHerb based on this experience.

New customers get 25% off their whole order right now, and minimum shipping is $20. That’s hard to beat.