On Thursday, October 1st, the President of the United States and his wife, Melania tested positive for COVID-19. President Trump’s health is monitored constantly, and he is tested daily for the virus which has taken the lives of more than 1 million people worldwide, at the time of this writing.
On Friday, President Trump was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center by helicopter, dealing with mild symptoms of fatigue, a hoarse voice and headache, coughing, difficulty breathing and a low-grade fever (at the time of this writing (October 2nd, late evening). He was able to walk to Marine One and give a thumbs up, later tweeting from the hospital, “Going Well, I Think! Thank You to All. LOVE!!!”
Later that night, he was given remdesivir (see below). If you understand how quickly the virus replicates and raises cytokines, you understand why the leader of the free world was immediately taken for a trip to the hospital despite mild symptoms that you and I would face at home. He’s older and in a high risk category.
He was pushed to go into the hospital on Friday, his campaign stating they are simply taking an “abundance of caution” on his behalf and that his symptoms were mild.
President Trump will receive constant monitoring, much better than being in his own bed in the White House. They can monitor heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, oxygenation and blood clotting status. Plus, if things take a turn for the worse, there are physicians close by. At Walter Reed, there are bedrooms available, and nice office spaces where he can continue to do some work -if able- while remaining closely monitored. Even though his symptoms were not serious at the time of this writing, I think it’s a good idea they took him because of his risk factors …one, being a senior, and two, being overweight. That said, he has an extraordinary amount of vigor and energy, atypical for most 74 year old men! He does not drink, or smoke which benefits him because those would be additional detrimental risk factors. But he has been burning the candle at both ends, and flying all over the country lately, mixing with many people so it’s no surprise to me that his immune system has weakened making him susceptible to illness.
I do not know what supplements or medications that the First Lady is taking because this information has not been made public. I can only speak to what was made public and share my opinions. Do not misconstrue this as medical advice for yourself and furthermore, please speak to your physician about what is right for you.
Some media outlets are referring to a “kitchen sink” approach. I do agree that multiple approaches are beneficial to someone with COVID-19, because it is a complex disease attacking ALL tissues in the body. As a pharmacist, I can tell you that the medications and supplements they gave to President Trump are useful to do the following:
1. Provide symptomatic relief
2. Offer immunoregulatory effects
3. Simulate antibody activity
4. Act as a direct anti-viral agent
5. Control Cytokines (reduce inflammation)
6. Keep blood thin
Currently, here are the president’s supplements and meds:
They gave him zinc which is good. My favorite form of this mineral is “zinc picolinate.” Zinc deficiency will cause a person to fare out worse if they get COVID-19 due to immune suppression and higher amounts of inflammatory cytokines. Zinc is well-documented to support immune function, while also reducing the misery phase. It’s an immunoregulator, and in normal doses, this supplement won’t hurt and can only help. It increases T cell response. For something like acne or prostate support, about 10 – 30mg daily would be appropriate, whereas for an infection, the oral dose may be 50 – 60mg/day.
In studies, patients given zinc had higher absolute lymphocyte count and lower troponin and procalcitonin levels compared to those who did not receive zinc. Troponin levels correlate with heart damage so zinc was helpful with cardiovascular function. (Procalcitonin levels are used to evaluate sepsis during acute serious infection).
President Trump takes a baby aspirin each day, which is to keep his blood thin and flowing smoothly. Many Americans take this medication as a tiny 81mg dose to reduce cardiovascular risk. Studies show that COVID patients have thicker blood (a hypercoagulable state), and are prone to blood clots so this medication is an appropriate intervention. A baby aspirin is enough, you don’t need a full 325mg tablet according to studies. I suspect he’ll receive heparin in the hospital in one of his IVs, (or SQ shot) instead of aspirin. Heparan reduces blood clotting, but in a different way than aspirin.
A cocktail of antibodies (made by the pharmaceutical company called Reneron) was given intravenously. This is given to eat up the virus which reduces the body’s viral load, and speeds recovery. REGN-COV2 is considered investigational right now, meaning it has not been FDA-approved, however it is in late-stage Phase III clinical trials for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19. When you are faced with a viral or bacterial pathogen, your immune cells typically produce antibodies to fight the invader (the antigen). Specifically, the immune system produces anti-viral antibodies that recognize, find, bind to and destroy the virus. This is the basis by which some vaccines work.
Regeneron’s cocktail of monoclonal antibodies are actually just proteins. It provides fast, efficient anti-viral antibodies that are genetically similar to your own. It’s sort of like you got a vaccine and your body formed the antibodies… only you didn’t get a vaccine. With this medication, you get the antibody proteins given to you by injection in the form of Regeneron and it’s used for treatment, not for prevention (vaccines).
You can learn more about Regeneron at their WEBSITE. There is another similar drug called Abcellera made by Eli Lilly, and this is another front runner in the monoclonal antibody field. Finally, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals has another medication approved for Rheumatoid Arthritis called Kevzara® (sarilumab) and it is being tested for COVID-19 due to its ability to bind to IL-6 and reduce inflammation. President Trump has not received Kevzara.
The news outlets are reporting that this is for sleep, because as you know the body secretes melatonin upon darkness and then we go to sleep. However, melatonin is also a strong antioxidant and powerful immune modulator. It is quite possible that the natural hormone (sold as a dietary supplement) is being used in the context of helping to boost President Trump’s immune function. I think it’s a brilliant adjunctive treatment with no real side effects.
Veklury® (Generic name Remdesivir)
This medication can be used in hospitalized patients with the FDA’s “Emergency Use Authorization.” In other words, it is not available to the masses due to lacking studies, and there are no studies at all for some groups of people (for example, pregnant women.) The medication is used for emergencies and is being studied right now for its promising effects against this coronavirus. In Japan, it is completely approved, but outside of that country, it is considered “investigational” as we await Phase III studies. It is very expensive, but holds promise in terms of reducing clinical complications such as the requirement for a ventilator.
The drug is given via intravenous injection. It’s typically given to a patient one time each day for up to 10 days. It has strong anti-viral activity. It can slow the spread of COVID in the body and therefore speed up recovery. It inhibits the virus’s ability to replicate so it works best when given at the early stages.
Side effects of remdesivir are not fully known because it is still so new, but may include the following:
* Nausea or vomiting
* Liver function abnormalities
* Pain at the injection site
* Elevated bilirubin
* Kidney failure
* Either high or low blood pressure
* Anaphylaxis if allergic
Now for the Supplements and Medications That I Suggest
I wrote an entire article on this topic that should should read when you have a minute, In Defense of Precious Elderberries. They can help by impacting ACE 2 receptors. Also, elderberry extracts and its constituents may exert different antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects on the body, plus it’s so easy to administer. Herbal preparations are widely available as are teas, and in the beginning stages of illness, this could be very helpful.
Thymosin Alpha 1.
This is NOT something Trump has taken to my knowledge, but I highly recommend it for him, and anyone dealing with a serious infection. My rationale for this suggestion is to strengthen his immune system so that it will go after the virus particles in a more efficient stealth manner. It’s a pretty easy, painless shot. He would receive in the belly area, and it could begin working very quickly.
This may be something you’re interested in learning about. Thymosin Alpha 1 is not just useful for COVID and other infections. It’s also useful for people with cancer, as well as those with chronic severe infections such as Lyme disease. So someone with PVFS (Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome), Lyme disease or Crohn’s, lupus, cancer, scleroderma, mold, Epstein Barr Virus, melanoma, HIV and many other disorders of the immune system could benefit from Thymosin Alpha 1. It stimulates the production of mature NK (natural killer) cells and T cells which fight for you.
Thymosin Alpha 1 is a peptide that was originally isolated from the thymus gland, and we naturally make it up to a certain age. Today, you can receive it as a medication if your physician is willing to prescribe it for you. The medication is not something you buy at a retail pharmacy, it must be prepared at a compounding pharmacy, such as Tailor Made Pharmacy and the medication comes as a vial for you to inject. In other words, you take your medication doses several times a week by subcutaneous shots, using an ‘insulin’ needle. I will write about this novel peptide in another article soon.
Matcha tea is something that is so simple, and yet so strong, I’d suggest they give the President a drink of Matcha tea twice a day. It’s easy to make, you put a teaspoon of the green powder in some hot water and if desired, add some honey. A spritz of lemon wouldn’t hurt because it adds to the flavor and provides some instant natural vitamin C.
Matcha is basically ground up green tea leaves. If you don’t have matcha, the next best thing is plain green tea. But matcha is exponentially stronger in my opinion because it is not a water extraction of the tea, it’s actually the crushed up green tea leaves mixed in water! Matcha (and green tea) provide an enormous antioxidant effect, and gives you some powerful immune-boosting catechins, the most famous of which is EGCG: Epigallocatechin Gallate.
EGCG was studied as an antiviral in people with RNA viruses such as MERS and SARS. It can help with COVID too. It works as an antiviral by blocking the binding site on cells where the virus would normally attach and harm. You can read about this yourself, here’s a REVIEW which supports the use of green tea as a prophylactic treatment for COVID-19.
Probiotics and Prebiotics.
These supplements are simple and easy to implement. Considering the President’s passion for delicious treats from his favorite fast food places, he may have intestinal dysbiosis which would lower immunity. Most of us have this condition to some degree because none of us are eating a clean, healthy well-balanced diet ever day that is free of sugar, refined foods, gluten, dairy, soy and pretty much everything else! So I’d say with confidence that most of us have intestinal dysbiosis to some degree. I would suggest probiotics and prebiotics right now to help improve the gut microbiome. That is where the immune system ‘lives’ so supporting it with a high-quality supplements is something that is fast-acting and helpful during infections (or treatment with antibiotics).
Gut permeability problems may be involved in acid reflux, peptic ulcers and heartburn. Just FYI, probiotics are also fabulous at reducing the incidence of diarrhea and upset stomach which is commonly associated with oral administration of antibiotics. President Trump is not on one of those because COVID is a virus so antibiotics would not work, but I want you to know about that specific use for probiotics in case you, yourself are taking one for your infection. Ask your doctor what is right for you.
Since coronaviruses (including COVID-19) can invade your enterocytes… the cells inside your small and large intestine… and hide in there, probiotics serve to improve the environment of the GI tract.
If the enterocytes are acting as a reservoir inside a person for COVID, then probiotics will also help to reduce the population of the virus particles.
Reducing the population of pathogens (such as viruses, bacteria and food-borne mycotoxins like ochrotoxin a and candida) are critical during acute infection, intestinal health comes to the forefront of treatment. On that note, a friendly yeast might be something else of value. I’m thinking of Saccharomyces boulardii to help improve the fungal species in the gut for anyone who has GI problems related to the organisms above. You can be tested via stool tests so ask your doctor about this.
If you’re interested in the topic of immune function, read one more article I wrote by clicking HERE. It’s about a fascinating flower extract!
In closing… I’d like to reiterate that I do not have access to President Trump’s medical chart, or history, or his team of physicians. I am providing my opinion here based upon the public list of vitamins and medications so his privacy remains intact.
Since I’m not a doctor, but rather a pharmacist, I can comment on the benefits and side effects of the items listed above, and not how they might work for you or your personal conditions. We are all so unique.
I hope my article has been interesting and enlightening, and I am wishing Trump, his aides and all of you with COVID a speedy and full recovery! It takes time, but with the right meds and nutrients, positive outcomes are more likely. You may be interested in making your own hand sanitizer, if so, get some DIY recipes by reading, How to Make your Own Sanitizer. If you don’t want to make your own, you can find out about the best ones on the market by reading, Hand Sanitizers – What to Buy and What to Avoid.