This 4-part article from the Diamond Physcisians website describes how we can use natural methods to strengthen our bodies against COVID infection. It breaks down the natural approach into four parts, and give a short description of the prescribed treatment and therapeutic strategies.
The approach was based on research on supportive therapy for COVID patients 1 You can read the summaries below, or click on the links if you want to see the full articles and citations.
Part one describes how you can create a good baseline of immune health through proper routine and vitamin intake.
- Reduce Stress and Fear. These two emotions, especially if experienced frequently, weakens the immune system.
- Get enough sun exposure. 2-3 hours a day are important for Vitamin D absorption.
- Ensure 1000mg daily Vitamin C intake. If ill, increase intake up to 5000mg.
- Ensure 10,000 IU intake of Vitamin A daily.
- Consume 15-40 mg of Zinc daily.
- Ensure you eat Potassium-rich food.
- Ensure that you get enough sleep (7-10) hours during the night. (Night shifts are not good for immune health, even with sufficient hours of sleep due to the Circadian rhythm)
Antioxidants are substances that remove free radicals (environmental pollutants) from the body, counteracting and preventing oxidative stress. Levels of oxidative stress are direct contributors to progression of COVID symptoms 2 . The following pointers on increasing antioxidant levels were given:
- Eating a varied diet full of plant foods is likely to provide you with complete and diverse range of antioxidants. Nuts, Seeds, Berries, Greens and some fruits are considered super foods due mainly to their antioxidant content.
- Glutathione is emphasized as the most important antioxidant in the context of COVID infection. This nutrient is responsible for protecting lungs against oxidative stress and can be found in very high levels in Avocados, Okra and Asparagus.
- Aside from diet, supplementation is also suggested to increase antioxidant levels:
- Same Vitamin supplementation as mentioned above.
- NAC/N-acetylcysteine: Consider 600mg 2-3 times per day. If you become ill, increase the dose to 900mg 3-4 times per day. Cysteine is the limiting factor for our body’s natural Glutathione production.
- 2-3 daily doses of Glutathione. Dose is 500mg Glutathione or 100mg if Liposomal Glutathione, which is more easily absorbed.
Research on COVID-19 has shown that the virus works on evading and destroying cells of the Innate Immunity, namely Natural Killer Cells and Macrophages in an attempt to establish itself before Adaptive Immunity kicks in. By supporting production of these cells using natural substances we can reduce chance of severe infection. The following strategies were suggested:
- Astralagus & Echinacea – These Eastern herbal medicines have been found to increase white blood cell production 3 and also provide antiviral and antibacterial protection. 4 Take at 500mg 1-3 times daily.
- Andrographis- This plant has been proven to increase the levels of Natural Killer cells, as well as enhance antibody production. 5 Take 400mg of extract daily.
- Reishi Mushroom- This fungus is a proven anti-inflammatory and also supports production of NK cells. 6 400mg 2-3 times a day.
- Baicalin (skullcap)- Another Eastern herbal medicine, Scutellaria Baicalensis has been shown to reduce proliferation of COVID-19 viral cells in tests. 7 300 mg 1-2 times a day is recommended.
- Berberine – A plant extract that has proven to be effective against other viruses and inflammation. 500mg 2-3 times a day is recommended if you are feeling ill.
Over the past year and a half, doctors have identified uncontrolled inflammation as one of the main causes of progression of COVID symptoms to severe and life-threatening stages. If a patient is experiencing worsening symptoms, or if symptoms have lasted more than a week, anti-inflammatory should be prioritized, will immune support can be reduced (cytokine storms and inflammation can be products of malfunctioning aimmune system) The following strategies for reducing inflammation were provided:
- Increase intake of Potassium and Magnesium. These two nutrients are the primary regulators of inflammation in the body. Seeds and Nuts are great dietary sources for Magnesium while Bananas, Oranges and Spinach can provide you with Potassium.
- Curcumin, the active anti-inflammatory substance in Turmeric has been recognized for a long time for it’s ability to support the immune system in cases of severe infection and inflammation. It also reduces oxidative stress. 8 500mg 3-4 times a day is recommended, with an increase to 1000mg in case of severe inflammation. Liver function tests should be conducted to reduce risk of toxicity.
- Bromelaine- this is a substance derived from pineapples and has also shown great anti-inflammatory properties. 600-2000 GDU between meals is recommended. 9
These strategies are not meant to replace all other methods of medical intervention, or act as a cure-all for COVID 19. They do however provide a strong support to the patient’s immune health that will greatly reduce the chance of any danger from infection, or may prevent any infection at all.
Overall I liked this article as it outlines a very systematic, functional and practical approach to ensuring your natural immunity stays strong. There are a few things I would like to add in each of the 4 parts.
1. Part of the foundation for good immune health is also the mental state you are in. Meditation, and control over your mind and spirit helps in keeping your body healthy. Evidence shows that it is associated with immune cell production and regulation of inflammation. 10
2. Organic Food has up to 60% more antioxidants than conventional produce, and is free from chemical residue that causes oxidative stress. If you are aiming to boost your antioxidants, organic food is the way to go.
3. You may not be able to get access to many of these exotic substances. If so, increasing your intake of Zinc and Magnesium are good ways to strengthen your innate immunity as these minerals aid in production of Macrophages.
4. Your Gut Microbiome plays a big role in regulating inflammation in your body. Ensuring that it is healthy and functioning correctly is essential in fighting off severe COVID symptoms, as shown by research on the direct connection between gut bacteria and the virus’ severity.