It seems that everywhere I turn, we are being inundated with information about COVID-19. How many people died today? How many cases in this state or that country? What evil organization is out to get us today? This constant barrage of information has a guaranteed effect; stress and anxiety. Many of us have never faced this level of uncertainty about our health, and so we are hungry for information that could help us make even the simplest of daily decisions, like, “Do I dare go outside today?”
Of course, it makes sense that we are all somewhat concerned about being exposed to SARS-CoV2, getting COVID-19, and suffering a negative outcome of hospitalization or death. We’re all looking for some good news that will lessen our stress levels.
While the mainstream media is busy updating us about the race to create vaccines and drugs to treat this disease, the natural healing community is also pressing forward with research to find natural approaches that can be game-changers in building immune resilience.
Science has known for years that the immune system is dependent on the health of our digestive tract, our hormones and neurotransmitters, and the strength of our detoxification pathways. We’ve also known for years that simple daily habits like sleep, movement, hydration, and stress management all dramatically impact the immune system. Unfortunately, not a word about these discoveries ever makes it to the nightly news.
Here are just a few studies that have been published within the last few months, directly looking at nutritional and lifestyle factors that have a significant impact on COVID-19 clinical outcomes.
The impact of nutrition on COVID-19 susceptibility and long-term consequences – This paper highlights how our typical western diet is woefully deficient in many vital nutrients and how that creates a state of chronic inflammation that disrupts healthy immune regulation and leads to worse outcomes from COVID-19.
COVID-19′ ICU’ risk – 20-fold greater in the Vitamin D Deficient In this study, researchers looked at the blood levels of vitamin D in over 200 patients who had COVID-19. Turns out, the lower the vitamin D status, the greater risk of having a severe outcome. The difference wasn’t subtle. We’re talking about at 20 x greater risk of hospitalization and death in those with the lowest levels of circulating vitamin D.
Evidence that Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Deaths This paper reviews several mechanisms by which vitamin D has been proven to reduce the incidence and severity of respiratory infections.
Link identified between dietary selenium and outcome of COVID-19 disease These researchers found that the COVID-19 cure rate was significantly associated with selenium status, as measured by the amount of selenium in hair, in 17 cities outside of Hubei. The regions in China with the lowest intake of selenium had a five times higher death rate than the other areas, and the area with the highest intake of selenium had three times lower death rate of the other regions.
This association corresponds with other older research that has shown the link between selenium and infectious diseases.
COVID-19: Melatonin as a potential adjuvant treatment I found this paper quite impressive, as well. We have all heard that COVID-19 disproportionally affects the older population and spares children and young people. In addition to the fact that older people have more degenerative diseases overall, another significant difference between the old and young is that melatonin levels progressively decline over the years.
Most people rightly connect melatonin levels with sleep, but that is only part of the melatonin story. One reason that sleep is so essential is that melatonin is a potent anti-inflammatory hormone, not only in the brain but throughout the body.
This neurohormone has powerful effects on modulating and regulating the immune system. This regulation is critical in diseases like COVID-19 because this condition causes our healthy immune response to go into hyperdrive and overreact in what is called a cytokine storm. Melatonin and other natural substances may keep our immune systems from overreacting.
Optimal Nutritional Status for a Well-Functioning Immune System Is an Important Factor to Protect against Viral Infections This paper is an excellent summary of the interrelationship between vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids like fish oils on balancing the immune system and preventing viral infections.
Considering the Effects of Microbiome and Diet on SARS-CoV-2 Infection: Nanotechnology Roles I’ve written on the importance of a healthy gut microbiome on our immune function before, and now many scientists are researching the microbiome’s impact on COVID-19.
Fear or Empowerment?
Well, I hope that I have made my point that the relative impact of becoming infected with SARS-CoV2 is in no small measure determined by our overall health and, more specifically, our nutritional status.
This message is the most empowering message that anyone could share in this time of tremendous stress and worry. I think it would be awesome if this message was being shared on the nightly news and on social media instead of the fear-inducing stories and political vitriol.
What is the Strategy Now?
Each of us has a simple task over the next days and months – increase our nutrient levels and reset our lifestyle to be able to mount a potent response to the inevitable exposure to this virus.
In addition to the Simple 7 Lifestyle (Eat well, drink well, sleep well, move well, think well, love well, and play well), each of us should seriously consider proper nutrient supplementation. We recommend the following supplements for the majority of our patients. We call them the Functional Four.
Of course, we should strive to have a nutrient-dense diet as the basis for our entire lifestyle, but we know that even with healthy choices, the nutrients in our foods have diminished dramatically over the years. There simply aren’t as many nutrients available in our soils, and so our veggies and fruits are mere shadows of what they used to be. That sets the stage for the critical role of a high-quality multivitamin and mineral.
Recommendation: Primal Multi from Designs for Health.
While the multivitamin has enough vitamin D to help with the absorption of calcium, it isn’t enough for most people who spend 90% of their lives indoors. We just aren’t getting enough sunlight to create adequate levels of this critical hormone. This is even more of an issue for non-Caucasian ethnicities as they require even more sun exposure to develop sufficient levels of vitamin D in their skin. We should strive to have our blood levels well above the lowest “normal” levels, and that typically requires about 5,000 iu of vitamin d per day for the average adult, 2,000 iu/day for younger kids, and 35 iu/lb of body weight for little children.
Recommendation: Liquid D3 w/ Vitamin K2 from OrthoMolecular Products
As mentioned above, your microbiome is your gut bacteria, and your gut bacteria play a huge role in immunity. The wrong gut bacteria can create unhealthy inflammation, allergies, and harbor infections. The right gut bacteria immune balance and decrease inflammation.
Recommendation: Megasporebiotic from Microbiome Labs
Essential Fatty Acids are another critical piece of the puzzle. Particularly beneficial are the Omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA from fish oil. Adults should be getting 3 grams of EPA and DHA each day. Studies have continually shown that these fatty acids are more effective at controlling inflammation than most NSAIDS and COX2 inhibiting drugs.
Recommendation: OmegAvail Ultra from Designs for Health
I know that if we take advantage of the opportunity we each have to increase our wellness level by focusing on these simple solutions, we will be in a much better position to deal with all of the things that we can’t completely control.
If you have specific questions about how to create a comprehensive lifestyle approach and how to make sure you’re taking the appropriate supplements, please reach out to our office. We’re always happy to help.