Since we are currently experiencing an uptick in the cases of COVID-19 in Texas and a number of other states, I thought it might be helpful to discuss what you can do to stay strong, resilient and healthy. You might have read last week’s article on your health and immunology.
We know the basics of the Corona Virus, aka: COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2. We know the primary mode of transmission is through to be person-to-person spread of respiratory droplets and can cause respiratory, intestinal, liver and neurological consequences. The NIH (National Institutes of Health) states that COVID-19 can be found on plastic surfaces up to 2-3 days, cardboard up to 1 day and stainless steel for up to 2-3 days. The average incubation time period is 3-7 days and can be up to 12 days from infection to manifestation of symptoms. We’ve also learned that COVID-19 appears to be deactivated at 80.6° Fahrenheit. Oh, joy to live in a hot environment! The challenge is staying in the heat, right? Also, we can inactivate the virus by using 75% ethanol (alcohol in hand-sanitizers) and of course by thoroughly washing hands with soap and water.
Over the past 25 years I have worked with thousands of people dealing with many types of viral conditions. Since I practice as much as a Naturopath as a Chiropractor, I love health and normal physiology. I also love discovering and working with pathology that devitalizes health. Since virology is currently top of mind, let’s take a deeper look at how you can mount a stronger immune response to viruses – all of them!
What undermines viral susceptibility?
- Stress. We’ve heard this a million times and while we try to stay de-stressed, life is very stressful right now. So, if you’re not exercising every day, start now. Exercise is one of the best ways to improve your health by lowering your stress response. How? We increase serotonin levels and decrease cortisol (stress hormone) when we move our bodies. We can also improve sleep quality and quantity from regular exercise, thanks to that increased serotonin. Exercise additionally helps flatten blood glucose levels and supports healthier endocrine balance.
- Nutrient deficiency/poor diet. Many Americans don’t realize the vast importance dietary nutrition plays in creating and maintaining a strong foundation. Central to having great health is being at or close to your ideal body weight and size. Another way to avoid viral infections, as there appears to be higher incidence with overweight and obesity. If you’re asking yourself why, it’s because overweight and obesity creates degenerative diseases, most of which are sitting on top of chronic inflammation.
There are many nutritional and herbal supplements that can bolster immune function. Below are some of my favorites.
- Probiotics – powerful additives to your gut flora, also known as the gut microbiome. Prebiotics are what we eat that help our gut stay as healthy as it can be. Probiotics are what we add to the gut to be healthier. We know that roughly 80% of our immune system resides in the gut. Makes a great case to support the small and large intestines.
- Apple cider vinegar – stimulates a more acid stomach, in order to start digesting protein in the stomach. Super cheap and easy way to aid healthy digestion in the upper gut – stomach. Dilute a tablespoon in water – 2-3 oz. and drink before you eat. Do not use if you have esophagus, stomach or duodenum ulcers!
- Andrographis – a powerful herb for improving acute immune stress. Available in both liquid (tincture) form and tablets or capsules.
- Olive leaf – another powerful immune herb with antioxidant strengths.
- Green tea and green tea extract – awesome antioxidant, helps reduce inflammation in the body.
- Vitamin D – about 2000 mg/day as a standard dosage amount. Inverse links between Vitamin D and mortality – Dr. Rose Anne Kenny, MD, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland has co-authored an article published in Medscape Medical News, Vitamin D: “A Low-Hanging Fruit in COVID-19?” that discusses Vitamin D’s role in fighting the severity of a COVID-19 infection.
- Zinc – mitigates the inflammatory effects (80 mg/day for the short term) and helps control oxidative stress in the involved tissues, organs and glands. Zinc is also involved in anti-viral activity and in vitro experiments have shown that Zn2+ (Zinc ion) decreases the activity of ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2) known to be the COVID-19 receptors for entry into the cells.
- Vitamin E – has been shown to protect the lungs from the oxidative stress of COVID-19.
- Ascorbic acid – (a form of Vitamin C) has also been shown to support normal immune response when under stress.
There are so many choices and options when it comes to supplementing to stay strong or treat yourself when sick. The idea is to choose organic, high-quality supplements in addition to all of your good dietary choices. Remember to stay hydrated as well. Water helps everything stay normalized and working optimally. Sleep is another great way to keep your immune system strong, so get plenty of rest.
Keep it simple! Stay healthy and try to stay relaxed. Your immune system will love you for it!