Updated 16 Dec 2020 — Two new scientific papers from Harvard researchers here and a Cedars-Sinai doctor here describe a potential breakthrough COVID-19 treatment using the longevity compound NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide). A near fatal COVID-19 patient fully recovered directly after they were given the treatment and similar results have been seen on moderate cases. The treatment consists entirely of supplements that are available in most countries for anyone to purchase without a prescription. See the end of this article for the exact protocol directions and amounts of the supplements needed along with links to the scientific papers.
Who I am
I am a citizen journalist. I am not a medical doctor or professional medical researcher. I have a degree in aerospace engineering and have been studying longevity science for 15 years. The medical statements in this article have not been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration and come from two non-peer reviewed scientific papers. This means the facts and theories that I am sharing here, although they come from top researchers and a very experienced and respected medical doctor, have not been formally reviewed by the wider scientific community. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 please seek the treatment of a doctor or medical professional and maybe bring this article along with you.
I hope you find this information useful, feel free to share this as you would like, it is not copyrighted in any way. To confirm the facts in this article I exchanged emails with Dr. Huizenga and did a phone interview with another of the involved parties. To better withstand scrutiny I limited the information shared here to just what is in the scientific papers, some non-essential facts and definitions from Wikipedia, and the email exchange with Dr Huizenga where he confirmed details of the prescribed treatment. I also found a story in the main stream media with nearly identical facts here.
I created the name TZNMN, pronounced “Tee-Zin-A-Min” to better describe this combination of supplements. The T stands for Tri-methyl-glycine which is part of a normal diet and is found in wheat bran. The Z stands for Zinc Sulfate which is an essential element for humans and is found in meat and many plant seeds. The NMN stands for Nicotinamide Mononucleotide which is a chemical that has been safely tested in humans and in mice has shown to “mitigate age-associated tissue and organ decline”. Salt is the final ingredient in the protocol in the form of sodium chloride (NaCl).
Robert Huizenga grew up in Rochester, New York competing in football, wrestling and track and went on to study at the University of Michigan and Harvard Medical School. He has been a medical doctor for 37 years and was appointed the chief medical resident at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Later he served as the Los Angeles Raiders National Football League team physician. His fame grew after he wrote the popular books “You’re Okay, It’s Just a Bruise” and “Where Did All the Fat Go?”. You may know him as Dr. H on NBC’s TV show “The Biggest Loser” where he advocates a drug-free, non-surgical approach to losing weight. Today unfortunately, like many health care professionals, his new job is treating patients with COVID-19. One of the realities of treating these patients is that typically out of every 100 hospitalized patients, a handful will die. In the early spring of 2020, just a few weeks ago, Dr. H faced just such a patient.
She was 55 years old, borderline obese/overweight and on March 16th, 2020 she sought medical attention for body aches, a choking cough and a fever of 100 F. She tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Following doctor’s orders, she took Tylenol for her fever and she stayed at home to self isolate and rest. Two days later she complained of new muscle aches and an aching chest. Four days after that she could not get out of bed. She had chest pain, shortness of breath, a cough, an increased fever of 102 F with a saturated oxygen level of 93%-95%. Saturated oxygen measures the amount of oxygen that your blood is carrying and 95%-100% is considered normal. Her oxygen level was just a bit low and a chest x-ray taken that day also came back normal.
The next day, 8 days after she first felt symptoms, she was prescribed Zithromax, Hydroxychloroquine and Zinc Sulfate. Zithromax is an anti-bacterial drug which is used to prevent bacterial infections that often occur as patients struggle to fight off viruses. Hydroxychloroquine is a drug that is widely used to treat malaria and has been used with mixed success against COVID-19. Zinc Sulfate, as was discussed earlier, is an essential element found normally in one’s diet and is added in to help the Hydroxychloroquine fight the virus. Three days later she was much worse. Her saturated oxygen had dropped down close to 90% which is a clinical threshold for hypoxemia which means low oxygen. Her fever had risen to 103 F and a new chest x-ray clearly showed infection in both of her lungs. She was admitted to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center hospital where blood tests highlighted her deteriorating condition.
According to Dr. H, her C-reactive protein was “astronomically elevated”. C-reactive protein is found in the blood and rises during inflammation which is part of the body’s natural response to infections. A normal C-reactive protein level is between 0.8–3.0 mg/L. Her C-reactive protein was 217 mg/L, or 72 times higher than the maximum normal reading. Other blood markers showed similar signs of distress. Two days later she felt “she was unable to breathe” and a new chest x-ray showed even more infection in her lungs. Dr. H, though, was not flying blind and in his paper describing this case he included statistics from a Chinese study where they measured the C-reactive protein levels of 150 hospitalized patients with confirmed COVID-19. Of the 150 patients only 82 survived and those survivors had an average C-reactive protein measurement of 35 mg/L and a max of 125 mg/L. Put another way, no one in the study survived who had a C-reactive protein level greater than 125 mg/L. Dr. H’s patient had a C-reactive Protein level of 217 mg/L, almost twice the lethal level in the Chinese study. In Dr. H’s own words, the blood tests “strongly predicted a fatal outcome.” In other words, she was dying.
3,000 miles away in Boston Massachusetts, a young biomedical researcher was putting the final touches on a paper she would be lead author on. Amber L Mueller, PhD. is a researcher at Harvard Medical School and more importantly a member of Harvard’s famed “Sinclair Lab”. The paper’s authors would also include lab intern Meave S. McNamara, and lab founder David Sinclair, PhD. The lab’s quest to understand “why we age and how to reverse it” was obviously very important to Amber Mueller as her twitter name is “Immortal Amber” (@AmberMueller PhD).
The paper Amber was working on would be titled “Why does COVID-19 disproportionately affect the elderly?” It deals with the question of what happens inside the bodies of older people and why they die at a greater rate. In the paper the authors write that “over 80% of hospitalizations (for COVID-19) are those over 65 years of age with a greater than 23-fold greater risk of death.” This isn’t news, doctors know from their experiences that the old are at much greater risk of dying from COVID-19. Amber and her co-authors wanted to know why.
The paper starts by going into great detail describing how COVID-19 affects a typical older person. The virus typically enters the nose, mouth or eyes and binds to human epithelial cells that form the surface layer of tissues and organs in the body. The virus often spreads from the back of the nose to the throat and lungs which can, according to the paper “result in widespread endothelial dysfunction in the lung, heart, kidney, liver and brain.” The authors continue, “Even if viral loads decline, a type of cytokine release syndrome can rapidly develop”. Cytokines are powerful chemicals released by the human immune system when it attacks a virus. The researchers go on to explain how these cytokines not only attack the virus, they can directly attack the body itself. This self inflicted wounding of the body can be “characterized by disseminated intravascular coagulation (body wide blood clots), . . . liver damage, renal dysfunction (partial kidney failure), cardiovascular inflammation (inflammation of the heart and blood vessels), coagulopathy (excessive bleeding) and death.” When this happens researchers call it a “cytokine storm”.
It was March 26th, 2020 and Dr. H had a big decision to make. His patient had been sick for 12 days and was not doing well. The Zithromax, Hydroxychloroquine and Zinc that she had been taking for the last 5 days should have killed off the virus, yet she had gotten worse and worse. The next day a blood test for the COVID-19 virus would come back “negligible” confirming Dr. H’s idea that the virus was essentially gone. Something else was at work. In his paper on the patient, Dr. H wrote, “Her deterioration (at the time) was therefore felt to be the result of (a) cytokine storm.” Giving her more Zithromax and Hydroxychloroquine was probably not going to help. She needed something to help her body defend itself from its own cytokines. One way was a drug called Tocilizumab that inhibited or deactivated a pro-inflammatory cytokine called IL-6R. According to Dr. H, Tocilizumab had been used to treat arthritis and was now being used “experimentally for COVID-19”. A lot was unknown and to make matters worse the hospital where she was staying had a strict policy limiting the use of Tocilizumab. “Strict hospital protocol prohibited the use of . . . (Tocilizumab) outside of the intensive care unit — and because her saturated oxygen on high flow nasal oxygen (6 liters) was still ≥ 90% (i.e. 91%–92%) — she did not meet criteria for ICU transfer (transfer to the intensive care unit).” The intensive care unit is part of a hospital dedicated to the sickest of patients and has more staff and more monitoring equipment to offer the best possible treatment outcomes. There are some treatments, therefore, that are only allowed to be given to patients that are in the intensive care unit and because space in the intensive care unit is limited, only the sickest patients are allowed to be transferred there. If Dr. H waited a day or two, his patient would probably decline further and then she could be transferred to the intensive care unit and begin taking the Tocilizumab drug. Was there anything Dr. H could do for her right now?
Back in Boston, Amber L Mueller, PhD. and the team at Sinclair Lab were furiously working to answer the same question, though not for one patient, for the whole world. Their paper would go into amazing detail describing the varied chemical pathways and cellular interactions that occur as the human immune system battles the COVID-19 virus. This was not the point though. They would go much further. The Sinclair Lab is world renowned for researching how different combinations of drugs and supplements can increase longevity and reverse certain diseases. Amber and her co-authors would recommend compounds that could potentially stop the cytokine storm. They would read through and reference a total of 150 other scientific papers that among other things, identified a depletion or lack of NAD+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) as a key factor in cytokine storms. NAD+ is found in all living cells and your body naturally creates and attempts to maintain an optimal level of NAD+ inside each of your cells, though this does not always work.
According to the authors “During aging, NAD+ levels decline . . . (and) this decline, exacerbated by COVID-19, might therefore promote hyperactivation of NLRP3 (a protein coding gene) and . . . trigger cytokine storms in COVID-19 patients”. According to their theories, certain compounds could help boost NAD+ and potentially halt cytokine storms. They would write, “Given the increasing evidence that lower NAD+ levels in the lung and vascular endothelium contribute to poor COVID-19 outcomes, NAD boosters . . .such as NMN (Nicotinamide Mono-Nucleotide) and NR (Nicotinamide Riboside) have been suggested as first-line treatments against COVID-19, especially (in) aged patients.”
This was the clear scientific reasoning that other researchers would need to set up clinical trials and the critical advice that front line doctors would need to evaluate new treatments for their most serious COVID-19 cases. The world needed this information now. Normally scientists preparing a paper submit it to an academic journal where other scientists review it for errors before it is published. This is called peer review, and it helps make science more factual and accurate. It also takes alot of time that the world in the middle of a pandemic does not have. Like many scientists, Amber and her co-authors would skip this peer review process and release the paper online. The only problem for Dr. H was that even so, the paper Amber was working on would not be released until April 30th 2020.
Dr. H had a critical decision to make. Should he wait for his patient to decline further and hope she could recover in the intensive care unit or was there something he could do for her right now? Dr. H decided not to wait. On March 26th he prescribed Tri-methyl-glycine, NMN, Zinc Sulfate and Salt, all four components of TZNMN. He may well have been the first doctor to use this combination treatment on a COVID-19 patient. How did he know to do this? We don’t know this from his paper and above all, none of that mattered for his patient. All that mattered to her was would TZNMN work. Could it boost her NAD+ and would this stop the cytokine storm?
The following is Dr. H’s prescription from the case study and confirmed by email from him:
“Betaine 0.835 grams BID” (taken mixed into water 2 times per day)
“Zinc 220 mg PO QD” (taken orally 1 time per day)
“NMN 1.67 grams BID” (taken mixed into water 2 times per day)
“Na Cl 50 mg BID” (taken mixed into water 2 times per day)
Dr Huizenga added 835 mg of Trimethylglycine powder (TMG) (as Betaine Anhydrous), 1.67 g of NMN powder (Nicotinamide Mono-Nucleotide) and 50 mg of Salt (Sodium Chloride — Na Cl) to 400 cc of water which she would drink on an empty stomach two times per day, once in the morning and once in the evening. One time per day she would also swallow one 220mg Zinc Sulfate capsule which yields 50mg of elemental zinc.
On March 26th, 2020 she had been sick for just 11 days, had been in the hospital for just 2 days, and was on the verge of being admitted to the intensive care unit with low oxygen levels and what Dr. H called “astronomically elevated C-reactive protein” and “sky-high cytokine output”. She would take her first drink of the TZNMN cocktail that evening. Within 24 hours and “quite unexpectedly” according to Dr. H, a blood test would show her Absolute Lymphocytes had recovered and almost doubled from a very low reading of 291/uL to a much better 540 /uL. After 48 hours taking TZNMN she was out of bed walking and tests showed her blood chemistry had “dramatically improved”. After a total of five days on TZNMN she was discharged from the hospital and returned home. Her saturated oxygen level was up and a chest x-ray showed less infection in her lungs. After 6 days the NMN dose was reduced to 625 mg two times a day (1,250 mg/day total) and this was continued with the same TMG, Zinc and Salt for 6 more days.
At the end of her 12 day TZNMN treatment she had no negative symptoms, had tested negative for the COVID-19 virus and her breathing and saturated oxygen levels were normal. Dr. H wrote that since then he has treated two other elderly patients with what I call TZNMN. They had confirmed COVID-19 and were suffering from fever, chest pressure, cough, headaches and low energy. The two patients both took the TZNMN “cocktail” at home and within 36 to 48 hours they both reported improvements in their symptoms.
In discussing the safety and benefits of the ingredients of his treatment, Dr. H writes that “in Phase I and II clinical trials, (NMN) is safe and well tolerated in humans and has been documented to raise NAD+ levels in (the) blood.” Additionally TMG (Betaine Anhydrous), Zinc Sulfate and Salt “are also safe and well tolerated”. Finally, all of the ingredients that make up the TZNMN cocktail are available “over the counter”, do not require a doctor’s prescription to buy and are available at reasonable prices.
I coined the term “TZNMN” to give everyone a more accurate way to talk about this new COVID-19 treatment. I want to recognize the following people as co-inventors of TZNMN and thank them for their contributions. First Dr. Robert Huizenga for successfully trying out this new treatment on his near fatal patient and anyone else who helped him come up with the detailed protocol. Secondly Amber L Mueller, PhD., Meave S. McNamara, and lab founder David Sinclair, PhD for describing and illustrating the complex biological chemistry involved in how the body’s immune system can be affected by COVID-19. In their paper the Sinclair Lab authors recommended NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide) and NR (Nicotinamide Riboside) to help boost NAD+ in COVID-19 patients at nearly the same time as Dr. H was prescribing NMN for his first patient.
Doctor H’s Protocol in “Doctor Speak”
This is the EXACT Prescription as given by Dr. H in the referenced paper and confirmed by email from him, it is written in “Doctor Speak”:
“Betaine 0.835 grams BID” (Starting evening of day 1 thru day 12 taken mixed in 400 cc of water 2 times per day)
“Zinc Sulfate 220 PO QD” (Starting evening of day 1 thru day 12. “Zinc Sulfate-220” is 220 mg of Zinc Sulfate yielding 50 mg of pure elemental Zinc, taken orally 1 time per day)
“NMN 1.67 grams BID” (Starting evening of day 1 thru day 6 taken mixed in 400 cc water 2 times per day)
“NMN 1.50 grams BID” (Days 7–12 taken mixed in 400 cc water 2 times per day)
“Na 50 mg BID” (Starting evening of day 1 thru day 12 Table Salt taken mixed into 400 cc water 2 times per day)
Dr. H’s Protocol written out in common English
This is the EXACT TZNMN PROTOCOL as described in the paper by Dr. H as described above translated for the common person into English:
TMG = Trimethylglycine powder (as Betaine Anhydrous) (A total of 20g of TMG powder required for complete 12 day treatment)
ZN = Zinc Sulfate 220 mg tablet, each tablet yields 50 mg pure elemental zinc (A total 12 tablets of Zinc Sulfate 220 mg required for complete 12 day treatment)
NMN = Nicotinamide Mono-Nucleotide powder (A total 36.4 grams of NMN required for complete 12 day treatment. Note 30 grams of NMN gives slightly shortened 10 day treatment)
Salt = Regular Table Salt or Sodium Chloride (Na Cl) (A total of 1.2 grams Salt required for 12 day complete treatment)
Day 1–6 (Take on an empty stomach 1 hour before eating food, start evening on day 1)
6 AM —Mix into 400 cc of water, 835 mg TMG, 1,670 mg NMN, 50 mg of Salt, drink slowly over a few minutes and swallow one ZN 220 mg tablet
6 PM — Mix into 400 cc of water, 835 mg TMG, 1,670 mg NMN, 50 mg of Salt, drink slowly over a few minutes
Day 7–12 (Take on an empty stomach 1 hour before eating food)
6 AM —Mix into 400 cc of water, 750 mg TMG, 1,500 mg NMN, 50 mg of Salt, drink slowly over a few minutes and swallow one ZN 220 mg tablet
6 PM — Mix into 400 cc of water, 750 mg TMG, 1,500 mg NMN, 50 mg of Salt, drink slowly over a few minutes
Non peer reviewed Case Study by Robert Huizenga, MD, Cedars Sinai Medical Center “Dramatic Cytokine Storm Reversal with an Over the Counter NMN Cocktail” SSRN.com, Date Written: April 20, 2020
Peer reviewed paper by Amber L Mueller, PhD, Meave S. McNamara, David Sinclair, PhD, preprints.org > doi: 10.20944/preprints202004.0548.v1 “Why Does COVID-19 Disproportionately Affect the Elderly?”
Paper by Qiurong Ruan, Kun Yang, Wenxia Wang, Lingyu Jiang, and Jianxin Song, Intensive Care Med. 2020 Mar 3 : 1–3. “Clinical predictors of mortality due to COVID-19 based on an analysis of data of 150 patients from Wuhan, China”
Conflict of Interest
I certify that I have no affiliations or involvement in any organization or entity with any material financial or non-financial interest in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript.
This story is not copyrighted in any way.
Wesley R. Lapp, B.A.E. May 15th, 2020