6 Items to Stock Up during CMCO in Malaysia

The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted, practically overnight, trends in consumer buying behaviors, turning previously mundane items into hot commodities. Toilet paper, cleaning supplies and non-perishable foods flew off store shelves in the pandemic's early days while, in the weeks and months that followed, disruptions in manufacturing and the supply chain contributed to shortages among appliances, aluminum cans, meat and even coins.

With that in mind, it's always a good idea to be prepared in the event you find yourself quarantined, isolated or living in an area with strict lockdowns in place that trigger another round of panic buying.

Following are some of the important supplements to stock up on now, but first it's important to understand the psychological reasons why lockdowns may contribute to panic buying and increased hoarding — even when it's not necessary.

Perceptions of Scarcity Trigger Panic Buying

In a letter to the editor of the journal Psychiatry Research, researchers noted that public health emergencies have prompted panic buying, or increased buying behaviors, since ancient times. There are some psychological explanations, including the fact that a perception of scarcity is linked with panic buying and hoarding, along with feelings of insecurity that trigger people's desire to collect things.

At the same time, a pandemic can contribute to the perception that you're losing control over your environment, and along with it induce fear and anxiety. When you feel you can't control the pandemic, the ability to control your purchases and collect necessities may help bring back a sense of control.

Meanwhile, the stockpiling of goods may be perceived as a method of preparing for and coping with pandemics, and when people see others in their community panic buying, "people tend to indulge to buy madly," they wrote, adding that it may be a form of herd instinct.

That being said, it's often the case that people overestimate the risk of danger and underestimate the options for relief, and this lack of trust and belief that resources could be exhausted also triggers panic buying. Importantly, sensationalized movies, media reports and fear-mongering also contribute to unnecessary panic, which is why sometimes turning off the news is your best recourse for staying sane. The items that follow are important for health. Some of them quickly became in short supply when the recent lockdowns were imposed, while others may help you stay well and avoid infectious diseases. All of them can also be stored for longer periods, making them ideal staples during a lockdown.

1. Vitamin D 

Vitamin D is noteworthy in terms of COVID-19, as an editorial review (Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2020) published in June 2020 by Irish researchers; people with vitamin D deficiency appear to be far more prone to severe COVID-19 infections.

The statement released on 2 October by the U.S. president’s physician said that in addition to the antibodies, Trump “has been taking zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and a daily aspirin.”

Several publications and studies have suggested that maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D would seem potentially beneficial in fighting the COVID-19 infection.

A recent study, published in JAMA (JAMA Netw Open. 2020) found that persons who are likely to have deficient vitamin D levels at the time of COVID-19 testing were at substantially higher risk of testing positive for COVID-19 than were persons who were likely to have sufficient levels.

The same team above, has also published a preprint article: A study at the University of Chicago of over 4,000 patients that found that untreated vitamin D deficiency was associated with an increased risk for COVID-19 infection.

Another observational study involving 212 patients in Southeast Asia found that of those with a critical or severe case of COVID-19, only 4% had normal levels, while 96% of those with a mild case of COVID-19 had normal vitamin D levels.

A preprinted study published in June 2020 from Singapore (CW Tan, MedRxiv 2020), among 43 patients age 50 or older who were hospitalised with COVID-19, found that those who were started on a daily oral dose of vitamin D3 (1,000 IU), magnesium (150 mg) and vitamin B12 (500 mcg) within the first day of hospitalisation and continued up to 14 days were significantly less likely to require oxygen therapy and further intensive care.

The epidemiology of COVID-19 provides evidence that vitamin D might be helpful in reducing risk associated with COVID-19 deaths. A May 6, 2020, report published in Aging Clinical and Experimental Research (its prepublication featured in the Daily Mail) found that countries with lower vitamin D levels also have higher mortality rates from COVID-19.

Another May 6, 2020 report (Nutrients. 2020) in the journal Nutrients pointed out that vitamin D concentrations are lower in patients with positive PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests for SARS-CoV-2. As noted in this report, which retrospectively investigated the vitamin D levels obtained from a cohort of patients in Switzerland.

The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) published in April 2020, suggested that vitamin D deficiency could have serious implications for COVID-19. Results from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA), showed that vitamin D plays a critical role in preventing respiratory infections, reducing antibiotic use, and boosting the immune system response to infections.

Another study, published in the journal Nutrients (April 2, 2020), carries the telling title, "Evidence That Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Death."

A preprinted study published in May 2020, looked at Vitamin D levels and inflammatory markers in hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Germany, South Korea (S. Korea), China (Hubei), Switzerland, Iran, UK, US, France, Spain, Italy (Daneshkhah, MedRxiv 2020). Patients with the lowest Vitamin D levels were about 15% more likely to get severe COVID-19 and cytokine storm. Vitamin D3 plays a role in inhibiting the cytokine storm that causes viral infections to become lethal.

In a May 18, 2020, letter to the Federal Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel; Bernd Glauner and Lorenz Borsche highlight these and other studies and ask whether a nationwide supply of vitamin D has been considered in Germany.

While large controlled studies demonstrating vitamin D's effectiveness in COVID-19 are still lacking, there are many such studies underway. You can review the status of these trials on clinicaltrials.gov. As of October 2020, more than 30 studies have been launched to investigate the benefits of vitamin D against COVID-19.

As for the dosage, anywhere between 1,000 and 4,000 IU of supplemental vitamin D per day is sufficient for most people, though those with more serious deficiencies often require much higher doses (PubMed).

Vitamin D ensures that your blood levels of calcium are high enough to meet your body’s demands. However, vitamin D does not fully control where the calcium in your body ends up. That’s where vitamin K steps in.

Some researchers claim that fat-soluble vitamins work together and that it’s crucial to optimize your vitamin A and K intake while supplementing with vitamin D3 (Trusted SourceTrusted Source).

This is especially important for vitamin K2, another fat-soluble vitamin that most people don't get enough of (Trusted Source). That's the reason why most of the vitamin D supplements come together with vitamin K2.

Buy Online Malaysia: You can purchase Vitamin D3 and K2 as a dietary supplement online or from local health stores i.e. Guardian and Watson. The issue with most multivitamin and mineral (MVM) supplements is that most of them do not come with vitamin K2.

2. Vitamin C 

While large controlled studies demonstrating vitamin C's effectiveness in COVID-19 are still lacking, there are many such studies underway. You can review the status of these trials on clinicaltrials.gov. As of October 2020, more than 40 studies have been launched to investigate the benefits of vitamin C against COVID-19.

For the actual treatment of COVID-19, the dosages needed generally require IV administration. Prophylactically, it is not recommended to take high doses of vitamin C. In fact, we discourage people from taking mega doses of vitamin C on a regular basis if they're not actually sick, because in high doses it is essentially a drug — or at least it works like one — and doing so could result in nutritional imbalances.

For example, taking large doses of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) on a regular basis lowers your level of copper, so if you are already deficient in copper and are taking high doses of vitamin C, you can be counter-productive and compromise your immune system.

So, whereas temporarily taking megadoses of vitamin C supplements to combat a case of the cold or flu is likely not going to cause a problem. For long-term, daily use, your best bet is to eat a diet that is full of high quality organic vegetables and fruits that are minimally processed. Not only will you get vitamin C, but you will get all the other accessory nutrients and micronutrients that are needed to optimize it.

Related: Best Vitamin C Supplements in Malaysia

3. Zinc 

Zinc is an essential mineral that may help thwart a COVID-19 infection. Zinc is important to your immune health as it not only helps halt the replication of viruses inside the cells, but also functions as a signaling molecule for the body's T-cells, which are white cells tasked with destroying infected cells.

Zinc has also been shown in a lab study to inhibit regular coronavirus (not the current SARS-CoV-2) in a 2010 publication.

Foods that are high in zinc include oysters, crab, lobster and mussels.

What’s more, supplementing with zinc may be beneficial for those who are already sick.

As of October 2020, there are more than 30 studies that have been launched to investigate the benefits of Zinc against COVID-19. You can review the status of these trials on clinicaltrials.gov.

Research is also underway at Cleveland Clinic in Florida, where they will investigate whether newly diagnosed COVID-19 patients are less likely to require hospitalization when given vitamin C and zinc. They'll also assess whether the combo might reduce disease severity and duration. The goal is to enroll 520 patients and start them on the supplements within two days of diagnosis. 

Dr. Vladimir Zelenko is among those who have also published the positive effects using a protocol with hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and zinc sulfate. In the Zelenko protocol, hydroxychloroquine functions as a zinc ionophore, moving zinc into the cells where it halts the replication of the virus.

This allows him to prescribe lower doses since zinc is the key component of the treatment. According to Zelenko, the combination of zinc and a zinc ionophore can be used preventively to reduce the risk of acquiring a COVID-19 infection. Hydroxychloroquine is a zinc ionophore. If increased intracellular Zn ion concentration is required to disrupt viral replication, perhaps using multiple zinc ionophores would increase that concentration thus decreasing viral replication further. Other OTC zinc ionophores include quercetin (QCT) and epigallocatechin-gallate (EGCG – green tea extract).

Taking zinc long term is typically safe for healthy adults, as long as the daily dose is under the set upper limit of 40 mg of elemental zinc (PubMed).

Excessive doses may interfere with copper absorption, which could compromise your immune system. In one study, 300 mg/d of zinc as two divided doses of 150 mg zinc sulfate decreased important markers of immune function, such as the ability of immune cells known as polymorphonuclear leukocytes to migrate towards and consume bacteria.

However, too much zinc can also negatively affect your immune system as it can offset your zinc and copper balance. This lowers superoxide dismutase activity, which is an important antioxidant in immune function. If you are taking zinc prophylactically for COVID-19, restricting your daily intake to 100 mg per day or less except for short-term use when you're sick.

The ideal dose for prevention while the COVID-19 risk is high is 40-100 mg/d, a portion of which comes from zinc lozenges to spread the zinc through the tissues of the nose, mouth and throat. It should be accompanied by at least 1 mg copper from food and supplements for every 15 mg zinc.

Other adverse effects of zinc include gastrointestinal distress at 50-150 mg/d and stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and headaches at 225-450 mg/d. 

Zinc can interact with certain medications. It should be taken at least two hours away from the antibiotics cephalexin and penicillamine, the antiretroviral drugs atazanavir and ritonavir, tetracycline, and quinolone antibiotics.

You can purchase Zinc (in combination with copper) as a dietary supplement online and from local health stores i.e. Guardian and Watsons. The issue with most multivitamin and mineral (MVM) supplements is that most of them do not come with copper.

4. Quercetin 

2004 study showed that Quercetin blocked the entry of another SARS coronavirus into cells. A 2012 study basically concluded the same thing (Trusted Source).

This coronavirus is called SARS-CoV-2 and is different from the others in its family. So has Quercetin been shown to do anything that prevents this novel virus from entering cells? A lab study in 2020 that has yet to be peer-reviewed demonstrated that Quercetin and other compounds showed promise in blocking the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus from entering cells.

Another study published in 2020 by the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Labs used the most powerful IBM supercomputer to model which FDA approved compounds or supplements might interfere with the coronavirus binding to cells. The study modeled various compounds and at number 5 on the list as those that has the potential to block the virus was Quercetin.

A clinical trial that will investigate the use of oral quercetin in patients with COVID-19 has been planned, or may already be underway, in China. Details about the exact form (quercetin or 3-beta-O-d-glucoside) and dose of the formula (produced by Swiss drug manufacturer, Quercegen Pharmaceuticals) do not appear to have been made public, but in a February 2020 interview posted online by the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC News), researcher Michel Chr├ętien stated he hopes to have preliminary results in the upcoming months. However, he cautioned that he does not want to give "false hope" about the potential benefits of quercetin until more research is conducted.

Dr. Vladimir Zelenko suggested that if people cannot get HCQ to move zinc into the cells, then quercetin is a second option. In much the same way Zelenko uses hydroxychloroquine and zinc as a preventative against COVID-19, you have access to quercetin and zinc to perform the same function.

Vitamin C and quercetin also have synergistic effects that make them useful in the prevention and early at-home treatment of COVID-19. Both are part of the MATH+ protocol developed by the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Working Group (FLCCC), which recommends vitamin C, quercetin, zinc, melatonin and vitamin D3 for COVID-19 prophylaxis.

You can purchase Quercetin as a dietary supplement online at Lazada Malaysia.

5. Melatonin and COVID-19

Melatonin is part of the MATH+ protocol and also one of the treatments given to the U.S. President when he had COVID-19.

You may know about melatonin as a supplement that can support your healthy sleep cycle. Assisting sleep and rest is already an immune system-supporting benefit, but melatonin has more to offer. It is a powerful antioxidant that supports your immune health, brain, eyes, digestion, and more.

A paper that was published in July 2020 (Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2020) discussed the potential benefits of melatonin as an antioxidant, anti inflammatory and immuno-modulator (to calm the cytokine storm) in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

Published on Jun 2020, a study of patients tested for COVID-19 found that those who reported taking melatonin were less likely to test positive, but this does not prove that taking melatonin supplements can prevent COVID-19 (Jehi, Chest 2020). 

Rationale for use of melatonin in COVID-19 appears to stem from the fact that it can affect immune responses. Experiments in mice, for example, have shown melatonin to increase levels of certain cytokines (immune-regulating molecules) in those infected with various viruses and to reduce virus-related mortality, but this benefit has yet to be demonstrated in human clinical trials — and, theoretically, there could be a risk to increasing cytokines during COVID-19. Melatonin may also indirectly cause fewer ACE2 receptors to be available for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus to attach to cells in the body.

clinical study is underway in Spain to test this. As of October 2020, 8 studies have been launched to investigate the benefits of melatonin against COVID-19. Ultimately, the results of the above trials will offer more definitive evidence.

6. N95 Masks

This is not your regular 3 ply surgical masks that you can get easily nowadays. N95 masks are usually purchased for hospital use and they are not easily purchased from your local health stores. They are more effective in filtering potential COVID-19 virus-laden droplets as compared to your normal surgical masks that are worn by the public.

Where to buy N95 masks in Malaysia? You can purchase N95 masks online at Lazada Malaysia.
Get Prepared, Not Panicked

Panic is contagious, which means the more panic buying that ensues, the more shortages are likely to continue. 

Other items have also been placed in high demand due to changing lifestyles, which are more focused on the home. Home exercise equipment, board games, sewing machines and bicycles are examples of items that you may want to purchase sooner rather than later if you're at all in the market.

The key to remember, however, is to avoid buying into the panic and instead stay sensible. Get prepared and stock up on the things you'll use and that promote your health and well-being, but avoid purchasing products solely out of fear or the perception of scarcity.


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