You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
top story

Aging for Amateurs: Don't fall for any of the COVID-19 quackery

  • Updated

Have you ordered your supply of blood and saliva from COVID-19 survivors?

That’s right, it’s available on the dark web.

Well, really it’s not. It’s a hoax. You’ll never see anything except a charge to your credit card for whatever you thought you were getting, and perhaps additional charges added on by the seller for other equally worthless, or even nonexistent stuff.

We don’t have a very effective treatment, much less a cure for COVID-19, but that doesn’t keep many charlatans from offering many types of herbal products or dietary supplements that are supposed to enhance our immune systems to enable us to fight off the virus more effectively.

Before we talk about what doesn’t work, let me say a little about what we believe does work to enhance our immune function.

  • Get adequate rest.
  • Keep your bedroom dark and cool.
  • Limit screen time or get a blue light filter or glasses.
  • Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, fish and olive oil; use spices like rosemary, basil and turmeric in cooking.
  • Limit pro-inflammatory foods like red meat and egg yolks, processed foods, sugary foods and refined grains.
  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Exercise regularly. Walking is great, so is dancing or exercising to music.
  • Brush and floss twice a day.
  • Practice some form of relaxation or meditation.
  • Form emotional bonds. Having human or animal friends reduces stress, as does living in a calm environment.

What are the most frequent quack cures being touted for COVID-19?

Chlorine dioxide, sometimes called “Miracle Mineral Solution” or MMS and colloidal silver products are widely advertised, but have no research supporting their use.

Our president even dangerously suggested using bleach internally. Chlorine dioxide, sounds a lot like Clorox. That may be what got him confused.

Many herbal combinations are marketed, but again have little or no supporting data, common ingredients: berberine, echinacea, eupatorium perfoliatum (boneset), agaricus and astragalus.

Kratom and CBD oil are both being touted by advertisers but have no research to support their use in COVID-19.

Get a weekly recap of South Carolina opinion and analysis from The Post and Courier in your inbox on Monday evenings.


Homeopathic remedies, including genus epidemicus, and a homeopathic nCOV19 spike protein vaccine have been marketed. There is no benefit, except perhaps the placebo effect, for any homeopathic product for COVID-19 or any other illness.

I also found this interesting combination of grapefruit seed extract, colostrum and “cod liver oil products” and a honey-based COVID cough syrup. (Maybe the honey would help the cough, but not COVID.)

Since March, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent warning letters to more than 60 distributors or manufacturers of products, like those listed above, being sold (mostly on the web, but sometimes in newspapers and magazines) that claim to help us fight off the virus.

Most herbal and dietary supplement manufacturers avoid directly claiming to diagnose, treat or cure COVID-19, or any other disease, which is a no-no under the Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act. They instead use phrases like “strengthen the immune system” or “assist your natural resistance” or “boost your resistance to COVID-19.”

The “bad” companies that got warnings from the FDA stepped over the line and claimed being able to treat or cure COVID, or at least implied that they could in their advertising or labeling.

But, the 60-plus distributors represent just the tip of the iceberg of folks out to get your money, and if taking these products or others like them leads you to decrease your attention to washing your hands often, wearing a mask when outside and keeping adequate social distance, they are doing much more than harming your pocketbook. They are putting you at greater risk of getting COVID-19.

If I sound like I’ve been sitting at home searching the web way too much, I don’t think I’m overstating the problem.

Anything that causes us to let down our guard puts us at risk, even good things like marches to protest racism and police misconduct. And, not-so-good things, like putting greater value on our economy than on human life by going ahead with further “opening up” despite growing numbers of cases and hospitalizations due to the virus.

So don’t fall for something that seems too good to be true. It very likely isn’t, and might even do more harm than good.

Bert Keller and Bill Simpson write the occasional column, “Aging for Amateurs.” Simpson, a retired physician, wrote this installment. Comments, questions and suggestions are welcome at agingforamateurs@gmail.com.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News

Columbia Breaking News

Greenville Breaking News

Myrtle Beach Breaking News

Aiken Breaking News