Supplements and COVID-19

Many of you already take supplements to help support your overall health. During this time of widespread SARS-Corona Virus-2 (COVID-19), many are reaching for supplements to help them combat symptoms or to keep themselves safe. The usual supplements that we might reach for may not necessarily be the best ones to take during this outbreak as they may interact with the immune system in a manner that could actually put you at risk or not be as supportive for your healthcare with respect to this particular conference. Let’s go through a few of the basics about this particular coronavirus.

The following information is an abbreviated form from Chris Masterjohn, PhD ( He is a well-informed individual who is obsessive about thoroughly researching each topic. The full article along with updates is available on his website*.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. The coronavirues have a fatty layer (lipid bilayer) that coats the virus which helps protect the virus from our own immune system. This fatty layer, also leaves the virus vulnerable to detergents/soaps and some supplements that can breakdown this covering. Some strains cause the common cold. The current strain is very similar to the virus outbreak that occurred in 2003 that caused SARS thus the name SARS coronavirus 2. This strain attacks a substance in the body, ACE2 (angiotensin converting enzyme 2) which helps control blood pressure and has functions in the heart and lungs as well.

Here are some recommendations that might be helpful or have some scientific evidence of anti-viral support and a few that might be surprising to you (they were for me).

  • Elderberry – this supplement stops the attachment of the virus to the ACE2 and can help destroy the lipid layer of the virus
  • Zinc – this supplement will stop the virus from replicating
  • Copper – overall toxic to the virus

These supplements can also be supportive during the COVID-19 outbreak:

  • Garlic (or it’s active constituent Allicin) – this hasn’t been tested against any form of the coronaviruses but it is supportive in other viruses and it is thought to destroy the lipid layer
  • Echinacea – this is another supplement that hasn’t been tested against coronaviruses but it is supportive of the immune system overall.
  • N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) – This supplement helps to raise your own metabolism defenses, specifically glutathione, which can help the lungs during an infection but isn’t thought of as a preventative supplement.

Supplements that should be limited or avoided: The supplements listed below should be used in limited amounts. Vitamins A, D and C are all supportive to the immune system but with the novel SARS-Coronavirus-2 these might not be correct to use in this virus.

  • Vitamin A – Can increase ACE2 at high doses (beyond the amount that is found foods)
  • Vitamin D – Can increase ACE2
  • Vitamin C – can either increase or decrease interferon (interferon-β when upregulated/increased has antiviral properties). The current literature on vitamin C is mixed with respect to coronaviruses.

Keep in mind during the normal cold/flu season the above supplements can be quite supportive and has research supporting their effectiveness. We are dealing with a novel virus and some of standby supportive supplements may not be appropriate.

This is not intended as medical advice. If you are sick, please seek appropriate healthcare.

* I have no financial ties associated with Chris Masterjohn or his website.

Christopher Hardy, D.O. MPH CSCS

Christopher Hardy, D.O. MPH CSCS

Practice Philosophy and Focus:

My practice focuses on two main areas. First, I provide comprehensive non-surgical musculoskeletal treatment, using a variety of approaches, including osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), medical acupuncture, and corrective exercise. Each treatment is tailored to the individual and aims to treat the underlying cause of the problem instead of just superficially treating symptoms with medications.

Strong Medicine cover

My other area of expertise is Lifestyle/Integrative Medicine, using individualized nutrition and exercise prescription as well as addressing often overlooked issues with sleep and chronic stress. Through this holistic approach, we can work together to get you to your body composition goals (weight loss) and help reverse conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes and high blood pressure.

My lifestyle programs are not for the passive patient that expects me to “fix them,” without wanting to do the work I prescribe. I will work hard to help you meet your goals, but I expect you to work just as hard. That being said, lifestyle change can be very difficult and we may just start with small changes and build on them over time. Slow and steady progress is always better than trying the latest fad diet that you can’t sustain and ending up back where you started, or worse. Working together, we can achieve your goals!


Christopher Hardy, D.O. MPH CSCS with his bike

I grew up in a military family, spending my childhood both in the United States and Europe. After high school, I enlisted in the military and became a Deep Sea Diver doing underwater construction and military diving operations. I left the military after four years and started college, eventually earning a degree in biochemistry from Old Dominion University

I was accepted to WVSOM in Lewisburg WV and graduated as an osteopathic physician in 2003. I then re-entered the military as a medical officer in the US Navy. I spent 9 more years in the military, deploying to the Persian Gulf as medical officer on the USS WASP and serving later on admiral’s staff. I completed specialty training in Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Johns Hopkins University and later a two-year academic fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona under Andrew Weil, M.D. I am also the author of Strong Medicine, a comprehensive wellness book published in 2015 after three years of research and writing.

I am a strong believer in practicing what you preach, and being a good role model for my patients by staying in good health and physical condition, especially as I near age 50. I am an avid mountain biker, rock climber, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner and play guitar every day.

Education and Training:

  • B.S. Old Dominion University (Biochemistry)
  • D.O. West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Master of Public Health (MPH) Johns Hopkins School of Public Health
  • Residency in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Johns Hopkins
  • Fellowship in Integrative Medicine, University of Arizona
  • Medical Acupuncture – Helms Medical Institute
  • Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (McKenzie) – Part A,B,C
  • Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) – NSCA

Holly Hagglund, ND

Primary Care Naturopathic Physician

I am so incredibly proud and thankful to be the owner of Stanwood Integrative Medicine. Running a small town medical clinic where we can genuinely get to know our patients and be a part of the community is really something special. It may sound cliche, but I truly feel as though I am “living the dream.”

Being both a clinic owner and physician is not easy, but witnessing the health transformations of our patients definitely makes it worth it. I certainly could not do this without the incredible support of our team: Dr. Hardy, Lexi, and Janet (and of course my wonderful husband who does a lot of the “behind the scenes” work).

One of my favorite principles of naturopathic medicine is docere, which literally means “to teach,” is also the root of the word doctor. I believe that one of my most important responsibilities as a doctor is to help educate patients in order to empower them to take control of their own health. Another important job I have is not only to teach, but to be teachable. I am always ready to learn and am constantly trying to do so whether it be from formal continued education, research updates, clinical experience, or information that patients bring me.

As a primary care naturopathic physician, my goal is to help you utilize your body’s innate ability to heal itself in order to achieve optimal wellness. I enjoy working with patients of all ages in treating both acute and chronic health issues. My special areas of interest include pediatric care (including well child visits/sports physicals and assistance with vaccine information/ alternative scheduling), fertility and preconception care, and digestive disorders.

I was raised in Tennessee and lived in various parts of the country before moving to the beautiful state of Washington. After graduating from Bastyr University, my husband, Jeff, and I moved to Stanwood and feel very blessed to be part of such a great community. We love spending time outdoors and playing with our son and energetic labradoodle!


Carrie Hardy, ND

Primary Care Naturopathic Physician

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a doctor. My path to becoming a doctor was a long winding road. My story began in a small farming town in Northwestern Indiana. After graduating from high school, I proudly served in the United States Navy as a hospital corpsman for 7 years. After the military, I returned to school earning an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and a Master in Chemistry from Old Dominion University.

In 2010, my husband Chris, a military physician, was stationed in Lemoore California. Science jobs were at a minimum in this rural town and I found myself back in medicine, this time from an administrative perspective at a small military hospital. Through this job, I rediscovered my love for medicine, but I noticed that the system seemed to be broken with patients having 15 minutes to address only their most immediate concerns and abnormal lab values.

In seeking a better approach to healthcare, I found Naturopathic medicine. My husband left the military and we moved to Washington in 2012 so that I could start my training at Bastyr University.

As time came closer to graduation, I had to make some decisions about what type of medicine I wanted to practice. I thought back to my own family physician when I was growing up who took care of the entire family (children, parents and grandparents) and I knew that was my path. In addition to practicing family medicine, I have an expertise in physical medicine. I provide a hands-on approach for musculoskeletal disorders (strains and sprains), headaches, and stress relief, using various techniques, including myofascial release, craniosacral therapy, dry needling, and perineural injection therapy.

Time away from the clinic is spent with my best friend and husband, Chris, cooking, hiking, archery, mountain biking, and training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Additionally, I am always looking at additional training to continue to grow as a physician.


Lexi – Office Assistant

Previously I was a stay-at-home mom with a background in medical assisting. In April of 2015, I joined the practice and can honestly say I love my job! I could not be more excited about the transformation and growth of our clinic and I am so thankful to be a part of it!

As the front line for our patients, my highest priority is to help each person have the best experience possible. I will always go the extra mile for our patients.

While I’m not working, I love to spend time with my family, explore new places, go bicycling, and do some crafting and reading!!!

Go Hawks!

Janet – Office Manager

Hello! I am an East Coast transplant to the Pacific Northwest via Utah. I have spent the majority of my professional career as a chemist working for the federal government. Last year I made the leap to retire early and move to be closer to my family and friends. I have found a new professional home here at the Stanwood Integrative Medicine Clinic working with an amazing staff. I share the office’s priority to make sure that each patient is well taken care of and has a unique but fulfilling clinic visit.

In my free time, I love spending time with my furry children (3 large dogs and 3 cats), hiking, scuba diving, and cooking. I look forward to getting to know the current patients and meeting the new patients that join our clinic each week.