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A Physician’s Personal Remedies for Beating COVID

Wow, what a year in which to turn 60! According to the WHO and the CDC I am about to enter the "vulnerable and high risk group" for COVID.

Time to take care of myself the best I can. I have already been through quite a bit health wise as described in detail here. The short story is that I have a very rare autoimmune disease called Achalasia as well as another rare disease called Gastroparesis. Not a good thing when you are diagnosed with TWO diseases that are listed on the National Organization for Rare Diseases website.

By age 40 my body started yelling at me pretty loudly and conventional medicine had only surgery to offer as a treatment. Not a cure, just "procedures" to "manage" the diseases. I started doing lots of research on, the National Library of Medicine’s database of peer-reviewed biomedical literature. Please take a look at this website as you will have access to the papers, not articles about the papers. Big difference!

I learned more about Achalasia and investigated which institutions were performing research and providing care. That is how I chose the surgeon I used. So, at 46 I had my first surgery. It failed. By age 50, things got bad, and I did more research. FYI: the cool thing about the research papers is that the lead author’s email is usually listed or relatively easily found. When you access the paper, click on "Author Information."

I emailed a concise medical history to a dozen authors and received nine responses. My wife and I flew around the country to the top four physicians I found via the literature. They all agreed that I needed an esophagectomy. Gotta love that an esophagectomy is #6 on The 10 Riskiest Medical Procedures list!

What I discovered was that there were two basic "approaches" (surgical methods) to performing the surgery. Of course, two doctors said one method was the best and the other two said the other method was the best. OH MY! I did more research in order to be knowledgeable enough to ask good questions. I chose both the surgeon and method I thought would be best and had this very scary surgery.

Thankfully, my recovery has been nothing short of amazing! I will be competing in the USPA Drug Tested North Texas Open on my 60th birthday. Yes, I was told I’d never (and should never) lift again. That response just didn’t work for me.

Why do I tell you all this? Because I’ve gotten pretty good at reading the literature, thinking outside the box, finding experts I trust, and acting on this knowledge for myself and my family.

So how am I preparing my body and mind for COVID? Full disclosure: I have a very strong (yes, pun intended) bias toward functional medicine and the general health approach discussed in the fantastic book: Strong Medicine.

Dr Steve Horwitz Deadlift 501 Front

Disclaimer: This article is written for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.

For general medical information on COVID, I subscribe to both JAMA and NEJM. I receive emails daily with many COVID related articles. I also enjoy Dr. Seheult’s YouTube page called MedCram. He provides almost daily updates in an apolitical manner. However, to dig deeper, I read from many different sources and follow many researchers and physicians on Twitter.

The article Evidence Supporting a Phased Immuno-physiological Approach to COVID-19 From Prevention Through Recovery provides a great overview of a four phase approach: "Prevention, Infection, Inflammation and Recovery"

Premise #1: Prevention or Prophylaxis. The aforementioned paper states, "the task is to support the patient in anticipation of the possibility that they'll contract the virus. This is accomplished by A) identifying and addressing ways to reduce baseline inflammation, and B) identifying and addressing deficiencies in key nutrients that are central to healthy, robust immune system activation." Think about how you are taking care of yourself on a daily basis. Food, exercise, sleep, sunlight, and stress management are the big five. Nothing really new here to the Dragon Door tribe.

Getting healthy and staying healthy is the key. As this paper (amongst many) states, "Among laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19, patients with any comorbidity yielded poorer clinical outcomes than those without."

What I have added due to COVID is:
  1. When I’ve been out and about (No, I have not stayed in place and get out as much as possible. That said, I do work from home) I bring the requisite hand sanitizer and also keep some zinc lozenges in my pocket and will pop one in my mouth if I am with people for more than 15 minutes or so.
Zinc. This paper states, "Zn may possess protective effect as preventive and adjuvant therapy of COVID‑19 through reducing inflammation, improvement of mucociliary clearance, prevention of ventilator‑induced lung injury, modulation of antiviral and antibacterial immunity."

The most important function of zinc is its ability to decrease the replication of the virus. In addition, zinc decreases the activity of an enzyme called "angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, or ACE2 receptor. The enzyme provides the entry point (like a cellular doorway) for the coronavirus to hook into and infect a wide range of human cells (Source).

I wash my hands immediately after getting home and disinfect anything I have touched (especially my phone). I also gargle with Listerine (yes, it is awful tasting, but it will kill COVID) and clean my nose with hydrogen peroxide. Remember that COVID starts collecting in the mouth and throat. The key is to immediately reduce the viral load, i.e. the amount of viral RNA in the nose and throat if any. "The relationship between viral load and infectivity is not well understood as viral load is a proxy measurement of infectivity and may not translate to transmissibility."

I take 25 mg of zinc picolinate per day.
  1. Quercetin. Quercetin is a plant antioxidant. It also is a Zinc ionophore, a substance which transports specific ions across a lipid membrane in a cell. I take 500 mg per day with Zinc.
  2. Vitamin D. Many papers discuss that vitamin D deficiency is likely to be a significant factor in COVID-19 transmission and complications. I take 15,000 IU per day due to both COVID and my poor absorption of Vitamin D due to the surgeries.
  3. Vitamin C. Many papers discuss the use of vitamin C in both the prophylaxis and treatment of COVID. Here is an article about how Dr. Andrew Weber is using IV Vitamin C for COVID. In addition, there are more than a few Clinic Trials that have commenced using Vitamin C. Take a look at – another great site with which to be familiar. Liposomal Vitamin C may be the best oral supplement. I take 3000 mg of powdered Vitamin C daily.
  4. N-Acetylcysteine. Not as frequently mentioned in the COVID literature, NAC’s ability to enhance the production of the powerful antioxidant glutathione is one of the ways NAC "could act as a potential therapeutic agent in the treatment of COVID-19." I take 1200 mg per day.
Premise #2: Early Treatment. Much has been written about the importance of early treatment of COVID to ensure a positive outcome. It appears that the viral load may be the highest or close several days prior to the appearance of symptoms. The protocol of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and zinc as per Dr. Zev Zelenko and others. Specifics of the protocol can be found here and here.

A White Paper on Hydroxychloroquine reviews research on HCQ. Read it carefully and decide for yourself.

Finally, if you’d like to know your COVID age, see The Stanford COVID Age Risk Calculator. It informs me that my COVID age is 51. Yeah!
Dr Steve Horwitz Deadlift 501 Record
Feel free to contact me and tell me how you are preparing yourself.

Dr Steven Horwitz Age 24 and Age 59Steven Horwitz, DC, CCSP, CSCS, RKC, PCC: Two Time TSC Master's Champion (2016), 1996 United States Olympic Team Medical Staff Chiropractor, Washingtonian Magazine Top Expert in Sports Medicine Chairman, Maryland Council on Physical Fitness 2002 - 2004, National Strength and Conditioning Association Maryland Director 2004 - 2010. 214-531-7939 or on Twitter: @drhorwitz