Strengthen your immune system to fight COVID-19!
Updated: Apr 18, 2020
Covid-19 is a novel virus that has created fear and brought changes in our lives. Many of us are uncertain if we should panic or stay calm. Let me share facts that I have read about in different research studies and knowledge from other Functional Medicine practitioners in order to allow us to prepare and make rational decisions. I will discuss what you can do to strengthen your immune system. I will also talk about different lifestyle changes that can positively influence your health status.
As we know, Covid-19 is a respiratory disease and often causes pneumonia that can lead to death in elderly and immunocompromised individuals. Coronavirus can lead to pneumonia- dangerous conditions when the pathogen causes inflammation in the air sacs in your lungs due to protective immune reactions. Fluid or pus building up in lungs causes difficulty breathing. I think the important question we should ask about this virus is why are the elderly more seriously affected than children.
There has been research done over pneumonia. It is not specific for pneumonia caused by COVID-19, but pneumonia caused by different bacteria and influenza virus. One in particular was a pilot study titled, “Oxidative stress in immunocompetent patients with severe community-acquired pneumonia”, where healthy volunteers and pneumonia patients had measured oxidative stress in their body. Our body fights infection by producing ROS (Reactive oxygen species) also known as free radicals. Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants. ROS destroys pathogens but also can damage our own tissue. The role of antioxidants is to balance this action and not to allow ROS to get to dangerous levels. It is not the only source of free radicals. ROS in our body can also be a result of exposure to chemicals, herbicides, heavy metals, UV, gamma rays and also caused by nutrient deficiencies.
It is possible that is the reason why the elderly are at a higher risk as they may have a bigger imbalance between ROS and antioxidants due to longer exposure to all things that can create oxidative stress in the system. At the same time, it is known that the elderly have impaired digestion and may not absorb certain nutrients and fats from food which can also lead to vitamin deficiencies and lack of antioxidants.
The pilot study that I mentioned suggests that people who are severely sick with viral pneumonia may not have had enough antioxidants in their body and could not bring the inflammation to a safe level. There is a need for a bigger study that could confirm this, but as for now, this information suggests that you can protect yourself from dangerous pneumonia by elevating antioxidant status.
As a preventative action, one of the supplements I would recommend is glutathione. It is a powerful master antioxidant in our body and could possibly prevent damage to the lungs. I do not recommend taking glutathione during the normal mild sickness as we need ROS to fight the pathogens. If you or somebody in your family is in the high risk group, I suggest taking glutathione as a preventative measure. I like to use glutathione from Designs for Health. In my opinion, one of the best forms is S-Acetyl Glutathione. It is a special form that protects glutathione from stomach acids.
Elderberries are one of the most known medicinal plants. It has the ability to clear mucus in sinuses and lungs. It has powerful antiviral properties. A Norwegian randomized study confirmed that elderberries had antiviral activity against influenza and Herpes Simplex. It is possible that elderberries can work in a similar way on today's COVID-19. I don't recommend going and buying elderberry syrup from grocery stores as some are full of sugar. Sugar feeds pathogens and lowers our immune system. I also experience much better results with homemade elderberry syrup. You can also save some money by making your own syrup. Please click here to check the Elderberry recipe.
Vitamin D is another immune system supporter and regulates your immune system. A study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirms that premature death from cardiovascular disease, cancers, and respiratory disease are linked to chronically low levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D Levels below 30 mg/nl drastically increases the chances of premature death from any cause. Today most of us are deficient in Vitamin D. The optimal levels that are protective are somewhere between 70-90 mg/nl. I truly think that everyone should be tested to check their levels. Vitamin D increases natural killer cell activity, reduces inflammation, improves bone density and mineralization and improves genetic expression. I believe that vitamin D levels are very important in the fight of any respiratory disease and I really encourage you to be proactive and check your levels. Vitamin D should be taken with K2 and magnesium.
You can ask your doctor to give you a referral for this test or you can purchase it on my website if you are in the USA (restrictions apply).
Vitamin C is another extremely important and probably the most in-depth researched antioxidant. Recently there were 3 clinical trials instrumented in Shanghai by Richard, Z. Cheng, Dr, PhD which confirms the effectiveness of Vitamin C in reducing symptoms of Coronavirus. Dosage recommended by Dr. Cheng depends on the severity of illness but generally it ranges from 50 to 200 milligrams per kilogram body weight per day to as much as 200 mg/kg/day. If you or any of your loved ones are in the hospital, I encourage you to ask your doctor about high dose IV Vitamin C therapy. At the same time, Dr. Cheng, together with another, Dr. Yanagisawa from Japan, are recommending people to orally take Vitamin C as a prevention. I usually recommend taking 1000 mg in the morning and 1000mg at the night time. If you would develop diarrhea you should lower your dose. In another study, 1.5 grams of IV Vitamin C was given every 6 hours with hydrocortisone and thiamine, and it was found to significantly decrease mortality and prevent organ failure in patients with sepsis. Patients treated with the IV vitamin C had an 8.5% death rate compared with 40.4% in the control group.
Lomatium Dissectum is not very widely used and recognized. It is an amazing antiviral herb. It is a Native American root that protected Washoe Indians from dying during the influenza pandemic in 1918.
Vitamin A is a very important immune modulator. Vitamin A plays a major role in immunity. Recent clinical trials are indicating that Vitamin A lowers mortality in different infectious diseases. With the first signs of disease, you can take a higher dose of Vitamin A as palmitate before you go to bed.
Keep in mind, you should always discuss dosage of any supplements with your healthcare provider. The proper dose of any supplement depends on your health status and age. If you are pregnant, you should consult with your doctor regarding supplementing Vitamin A as it can lead to complications and can be toxic.
Covid- 19 is a new virus so we do not know a lot yet but are learning step by step. We can suspect that Covid-19 could react similarly to previous corona-viruses we had since the 1960's. Supplements mentioned above are not meant to cure or prevent you from getting sick but possibly to lower severity of the infection.
Wish you Health and Happiness!!!
The information provided on this website and my services are not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified Medical Doctor and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as sharing of knowledge and information from my own research, experience and other experts in this field. I encourage you to make your own health decisions based on your own research and in partnership with a qualified healthcare professional. The articles on this website are provided for informational purposes only and no promises, guarantees, representations or warranties of benefits have been made. I shall have no liability for any failure or success and the use of this information.
©2020 Katarzyna Booss-Cortez. All right RESERVED.