i-MASK Protocol by FLCCC: COVID Prevention and Treatment (2022)

The I-Mask protocol for prevention and early treatment (is now divided into I-Prevent and I-Care protocols) are physiologic-based combination treatment regimens developed by leaders in critical care medicine. All component prescription medicines and vitamins are FDA-approved, inexpensive, readily available and have been used for decades with well-established safety profiles.

FLCCC I-Prevent I-CARE


McCullough et al. Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine, 2020

Please check this post regularly for updates – new medications may be added and/or dose changes to existing medications may be made as further scientific studies emerge.

I-MASK+ Prevention & Early Outpatient Treatment Protocol for COVID-19 was designed for use as a prevention and in early outpatient treatment, for those who test positive for COVID-19. Component nutrients include vitamin D, C, melatonin, quercetin and zinc.

To help you get quality supplements in this protocol, we've put together a supplement and over the counter recommendations.

1. Vitamin D3 - Anti-inflammatory and Anti-coagulant

Vitamin D deficiency affects the body’s susceptibility to infection and has been associated with influenza, hepatitis C, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other viral diseases. Surveys indicate that most people in the United States consume less than recommended amounts of vitamin D [Source]. 

Sun exposure, which increases serum 25(OH)D levels, is one of the reasons serum 25(OH)D levels are usually higher than would be predicted on the basis of dietary vitamin D intakes alone.

The FLCCC recommends Vitamin D3 for prevention (I-Prevent Protocol) and early treatment (I-Care Protocol). 

According to this webinar (below) by Dr Pierre Kory and Dr. Keith Berkowitz:


(Video time: 11:30 - 12:30) - Vitamin D3 (regular form) does not work in acute illness. It doesn't become active for at least a week... Vitamin D3 is for prevention and you should continue to take it if your levels are below 50 ng/ml...

There is only one form of vitamin D that will have an acute impact and that is calcifediol (vitamin D3 analog) (Amazon).

d.velop Vitamin D Supplements 2400 IU, 20 mcg – High Potency Vitamin D3
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Safety: Daily intakes of up to 25–100 mcg (1,000 IU–4,000 IU) vitamin D in foods and dietary supplements are safe for children (depending on their age) and up to 100 mcg (4,000 IU) are safe for adults. These values, however, do not apply to individuals receiving vitamin D treatment under the care of a physician. Higher intakes (usually from supplements) can lead to nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, confusion, pain, loss of appetite, dehydration, excessive urination and thirst, and kidney stones. In extreme cases, vitamin D toxicity causes renal failure, calcification of soft tissues throughout the body (including in coronary vessels and heart valves), cardiac arrhythmias, and even death.


2. Quercetin - Anti-inflammatory, anti-coagulant, zinc ionophore and anti-viral

Quercetin is a pigment that is found in plants, vegetables, and fruits, and serves as an immune nutrient offering many health benefits. Elderberry, red onions, white onions and cranberries are the richest sources of quercetin. It is a flavonoid and antioxidant that may help to reduce inflammatory cytokines, infections, allergies and anti-blood clot property. Research has found that quercetin may be particularly beneficial for viral respiratory infections.

Quercetin Dosage for COVID

The FLCCC recommends quercetin 250-500 mg daily for prevention (I-Prevent Protocol) and 250 mg twice daily for early treatment (I-Care Protocol). 

Quercetin works best when taken with vitamin C and Bromelain, as vitamin C helps activate it and bromelain helps with the absorption.

Type and Form of Quercetin for COVID

Evidence for quercetin phytosome: A Randomised Controlled Trial of 152 outpatients with COVID-19 in Pakistan, 76 treated with quercetin phytosome, showed lower mortality, ICU admission, and hospitalisation with treatment (International Journal of General Medicine, May 2021)
Precaution: Quercetin should be used with caution in patients with hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone) and relevant thyroid hormone levels should be monitored.
Quercetin and ivermectin interactions? According to Drugs.com: "No interactions were found between ivermectin and Quercetin. This does not necessarily mean no interactions exist. Always consult your healthcare provider."

3. Vitamin C - Anti-inflammatory

Vitamin C may be one of the most well-known immune nutrients that protect against immune deficiencies and which supports the prevention and recovery from the common cold and upper-respiratory issues, and also protects your cardiovascular system, eyes, skin, and other parts of your body. Research has found that vitamin C may help to optimize the immune system.

Do take note that the vitamin C dosages given in the hospitals intravenously are different from those over the counter vitamin C supplements. Therefore, when you come across studies on vitamin C, you need to differentiate those that are given intravenously vs oral vitamin C.

Vitamin C and COVID-19
 
Check out the evidence tracker on vitamin C and COVID-19 from c19vitaminc.com (constantly updated).

Most people turn to vitamin C after they've caught a cold. That’s because it helps build up your immune system. Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells. These are key to fighting infections. Some of the most vitamin C-rich foods include citrus fruits, from tangerines to limes, along with leafy greens, bell peppers, papaya and broccoli. Berries are another great source, and they all provide this and other potent antioxidants, which support your immune response and help to rebuild collagen. Because your body doesn't produce or store it, you need daily vitamin C for continued health. Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C.

Vitamin C might help prevent COVID-19 and also lessen the inflammatory reactions behind some severe COVID-19 cases, according to a review of research on the topic published in the latest issue of the journal Nutrition.

The U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is 75 to 120 milligrams per day.

The FLCCC recommends vitamin C 500-1,000 mg twice daily for prevention (I-Prevent Protocol) and for early treatment (I-Care Protocol). 
Safety: 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 take high doses of vitamin C, you can compromise your immune system.

While generally considered safe even in high doses, way too much vitamin C — anything above 2,000 milligrams daily—can cause headaches, insomnia, diarrhoea, heartburn, and other issues. Temporarily taking megadoses of vitamin C supplements to combat a case of the cold or flu is likely not going to cause a problem.  

Many vitamin C supplements that are above the US RDA are sold in the market. It’s important to seek a physician’s advice if you intend to take high dose vitamin C on a long term basis. To be on the safe side, you may also request for your kidney functions to be monitored.

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. 


4. Zinc - Anti-viral

Zinc is another powerful immune nutrient known for its benefits for providing immune health support and inflammation reduction as well as for improving cold and respiratory symptoms, wound healing, acne reduction, and lowering the risk of age-related diseases. This trace element is essential to to cell function and involved in over 100 enzymes. Research on atherosclerosis and diabetes mellitus suggests that zinc deficiency may contribute to low-grade systemic inflammation.

Aging is associated with compromised immunity, that just means that your immune response to pathogens and infections starts to slow and is less robust, including a reduced vaccine immune response/efficacy. ⁣

Improving zinc intake/zinc status improves/modulates/enhances immune function. The flip side is, while some aspects of immunity slow, others increase. Uncontrolled immune responses drive excess inflammation. Zinc helps to balance all of this. ⁣

Zinc Form and Dosage

There are several types of zinc supplements. Supplements contain several forms of zinc, including zinc gluconate, zinc citrate and zinc picolinate. The percentage of elemental zinc varies by form. To find out the percentage of elemental zinc in each form, check out elemental zinc percentage. Most supplements will normally indicate the amount of elemental zinc on their product labeling.
Chelated zinc is a general form of supplementary zinc in which the zinc is chelated — or bound — to a compound to make it easier for the body to absorb. Zinc picolinate or zinc gluconate are formed when zinc is chelated to picolinic acid or gluconic acid, so the main difference between zinc gluconate and picolinate is what compound it is bound to.

For prevention of respiratory viruses, zinc lozenges are preferred in order to spread the zinc through the tissues of the nose, mouth and throat. Unlike swallowed zinc, lozenges can spread zinc through these tissues quickly in response to symptoms, because their ability to spread zinc through these tissues is not limited by intestinal zinc transporters.

To find out which zinc supplement to consider, check out best zinc supplement.

Most people do not lack an intake of zinc, but in disease state, there might be an increase in demand by the body. 
The FLCCC recommends zinc 30 - 40 mg daily for prevention (I-Prevent Protocol) and 75 - 100 mg daily for early treatment (I-Care Protocol). 
Caution: This should not be taken long term without evaluation of your zinc/copper ratios.
Safety: 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). Be aware that typical daily doses of zinc provided by zinc lozenges generally exceed tolerable upper limits for zinc, and for this reason, they should not be used for longer than about a week

Excessive doses may interfere with copper absorption, which could negatively affect your immune system as it can cause copper deficiencies, blood disorders and potentially permanent nerve damage. Zinc can also impair the absorption of antibiotics, and use of zinc nasal gels or swabs has been linked to temporary or permanent loss of smell.

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.

Do take note that you should keep the dosage back to within 40 mg/d once the exposure risk is back to normal.

5. Melatonin- Anti-inflammatory and anti-viral

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain, mainly during the night, that helps regulate circadian rhythms [Source]. Its levels decrease with aging. Most melatonin supplementation studies have evaluated its ability to control sleep and wake cycles, promote sleep, and reduce jet lag.

The potential utility of melatonin in treating COVID patients has not gone unnoticed, with a PubMed search combining melatonin and COVID producing more than 50 citations.

Check out the evidence tracker on melatonin and COVID-19 from c19melatonin.com (constantly updated).

As of July 2022, there have been more than 15 published clinical studies of melatonin for treatment and prevention in COVID-19 and the results are promising even when it's given as a late treatment.

The FLCCC recommends:
  • Begin with 1 mg and increase as tolerated to 6 mg before bedtime (causes drowsiness). Slow- or extended-release formulations preferred for prevention (I-Prevent Protocol) and 
  • 5-10 mg before bedtime (causes drowsiness). Slow- or extended-release formulations preferred for early treatment (I-Care Protocol). 
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Safety: If you take a melatonin supplement, be careful: Too much can cause daytime sleepiness. There is no federal RDA nor any formal advice on supplement dose ranges. Based on an on-going Spanish study, a 2 mg daily dose protocol is being investigated for prevention of COVID-19. Do take note that the dosage for 'prevention' and 'treatment' is different, For prevention or maintenance, a lower dosage is normally recommended whereas a 'treatment' or 'therapeutic' dosage is normally higher.

Typical doses of 1–10 mg/day melatonin appear to be safe for short-term use (Source). Reported side effects, which are usually minor, include dizziness, headache, nausea, upset stomach, rash, and sleepiness. However, some reports have linked high blood levels of melatonin with delayed puberty and hypogonadism.

Studies have not evaluated melatonin supplementation during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but some research suggests that these supplements might inhibit ovarian function (Source). Therefore, some experts recommend that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding avoid taking melatonin.

6. Curcumin and Turmeric - Anti-inflammatory and anti-viral

Curcumin, a yellow carotenoid from turmeric, is a nutritional therapeutic recommended as part of the FLCCC I-CARE early treatment protocol, and has antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune modulating properties.

18 completed studies of curcumin in COVID-19 suggest that it improves clinical outcome of patients.

Curcumin also acts as natural zinc ionophores and can promote the cellular uptake of zinc and can be used with zinc to increase the effectiveness of these compounds in the inhibition of the virus (Ref).

Curcumin has been demonstrated (Ref) to suppress several inflammatory cytokines and mediators of their release such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), IL-1, IL-8 and nitric oxide synthase.

The FLCCC recommends curcumin 500 mg twice daily for prevention (I-Prevent Protocol) and for early treatment (I-Care Protocol). 

7. Nigella Sativa (Black Seed Oil) and Cytokine Storm - Anti-inflammatory

Nigella sativa (N. sativa) is a small flowering plant that grows in Southwest Asia, the Middle East, and Southern Europe (Source). This shrub produces fruit with tiny black seeds. Commonly referred to as black seed, N. sativa seeds go by many other names, such as black cumin, black caraway, nigella, fennel flower, and Roman coriander (Source).

Black seed oil is extracted from N. sativa seeds and has been used in traditional medicine for over 2,000 years due to its many therapeutic benefits.

Thymoquinone which is the active ingredient in N. sativa seeds has demonstrated effects in significantly reducing the cytokine storm chances and consequent mortalities (Source).

Summary results of 7 published clinical studies are available on this dedicated webpage: c19ns.com. The 4 RCTs (Randomized Controlled Trials) provide promising evidence that Nigella Sativa was associated with an impressive average improvement of 83% in decreasing the likelihood of death and hospitalization if given as early treatment.

The FLCCC recommends black seed oil 80 mg/kg daily for both prevention (I-Prevent Protocol) and early treatment (I-Care Protocol). 

8. Mouthwash

The COVID-19 Delta variant replicates to achieve high viral loads in the throat. Therefore, appropriate mouthwashes will likely reduce the viral load in the throat and thereby reducing the risk of severe disease due to the viral load in the lungs.

One of the key approaches to minimize the risk of severe COVID-19 and also transmission would be to reduce the viral load of COVID-19 virus in the saliva and throat. A lab study demonstrated that CPC (CetylPyridinium Chloride) was highly effective against a human coronavirus (BioRxiv 2020BioRxiv 2020). CPC mouthwash is also part of the FLCCC protocol for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

There are lots of great mouthwashes out there, and this list is by no means complete. For a recommended list of therapeutic mouthwashes with proven anti-COVID-19 ingredient that you can buy over the counter, check out best mouthwashes for COVID-19.

Scope Mouthwash
  • Instruction: twice a day or after having been out for prevention, and three times a day for early treatment of COVID-19.
  • Ingredients: Cetylpyridinium Chloride (CPC), Water, Alcohol (15 Wt%), Glycerin, Flavor, Polysorbate 80, Sodium Saccharin, Sodium Benzoate, Benzoic Acid, Blue 1, Yellow 5.
  • Price: $6.86 | Buy on Amazon

Key Takeaways

As soon as you have symptoms, consult your healthcare provider and start treatment as early as possible. If treatment is delayed i.e. after 5 days of symptoms, your chances of severe COVID are higher.

For the updated version of the prevention and early out-patient treatment protocol, check out I-Prevent Protocol and early treatment I-Care Protocol.

For post-covid or long covid syndrome, check out Long Haulers Treatment Protocol


Related Product: Z-Stack Supplement
Z STACK Zelenko
In an effort to make it easier for patients, Dr Zelenko has developed an oral supplement that contains all four key ingredients: vitamin C, quercetin, vitamin D3 and zinc. It’s referred to as 'Z-Stack Supplement'.

Z-Stack Vitamin cocktail provides key ingredients needed in order to help your body fight off this deadly invader. 

The cost of the Z-STACK vitamin cocktail is $55 per bottle for a one month supply. 

Where to buy Z-Stack: Z-stack is available on Dr Zelenko's website. Here is the link: Z Stack Supplement 

Note: To get 5% OFF, please use this coupon code: DRFRANCIS


Disclaimer: Recommended products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult your healthcare provider prior to adding any nutritional supplement to your routine.

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