Dear clients, friends, and family,
I hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. My office has received a lot of emails and calls from clients requesting some extra support and recommendations during this time. Despite all of the bad news that surrounds us, there is a lot we can do to build our resilience, optimize our health and that of our families, and grow as a human tribe in the midst of these modern challenges. It is key that we all be proactive and informed about not only how to stay healthy during this pandemic, but that we learn and teach our kids how to develop and maintain good immune resilience for the long-run.
In this newsletter I will focus on what you can do to support your immune system to stay healthy, but also to care for individuals who are suspected to have COVID-19 cases. Since our understanding of the virus and its impact is changing on a daily basis, it’s important to stay informed and know that recommendations will evolve with the data.
This virus is in the family of Coronavirus we’ve seen before. It is not “the plague” but is a respiratory virus that comes with a higher statistical fatality versus influenza and deserves respect with an empowered, not panicked approach. The reason why the coronavirus seems to have a higher than normal death rate, is currently attributed to its potential to induce a “cytokine storm,” or increased inflammation. A cytokine storm happens when your immune system starts pumping out so many cytokine proteins that they start attacking healthy cells, causing an overload of inflammation. A recent Chinese paper suggested that the main culprit cytokine is interleukin-6, commonly known as IL-6. This is helpful in both the prevention and treatment of someone with this inflammatory cascade, as we have good evidence (not yet for treating COVID-19), but inhibiting IL-6 before and during infections.
Your mucosal immunity
The borders of our bodies are made up of mucosa. If you put your tongue on the inside of your cheek, that’s mucosa. Mucosa protects our nasal and respiratory passages, digestive tract, genitourinary tract and skin. This is where the mucosal immune system lives working to protect us everyday. These borders are bolstered by various vitamins and minerals and other supplements that I will recommend later in this newsletter. Some of you are already take many of these supplements for immune balancing, skin issues, lung issues, digestive issues, brain, memory, mood, and exercise recovery just to name a few. If you do so, keep taking them. See below for more specific recommendations for supplements.
What you can do to prevent COVID-19
Hand-washing, good hygiene and not touching your mucosal membranes with your hands greatly helps prevent the spread of COV-19. Researchers and clinicians have demonstrated that the virus is spread through droplets, not through breath. Thus it is key to regularly disinfect commonly touched surfaces inside your home, to continually wash your hands and disinfect them when touching objects outside of your home. Following these simple rules plus social distancing will help contain the virus in your home and throughout our communities.
If someone in your home becomes ill
If you suspect someone is ill with COV-19 in your family, don’t panic. Quarantine them into a room, ideally with their own bathroom. Make sure they wear a facemask and disinfect objects that they touch. If they are experiencing shortness of breath it is time to go to the hospital. The supplements listed below are good for acute infection, although amounts taken would likely increase. Please contact your primary care provider for indications.
Diet and Lifestyle
There are important diet and lifestyle changes that you can make with your family starting today. Read my blogs about re-wilding your gut to learn about building a healthy and resilient gut microbiome for life-long health. In the meantime, here are a few key points:
- Eat greens greens greens! Blend a tasty anti-inflammatory green shake for the whole family! (recipe on my website www.lumbiota.com).
- Eat red, blue, purple, and orange vegetables! Dark berries. These colorful fruits and veggies are loaded with polyphenols which act like prebiotics and food for good bacteria.
- Eat garlic: to use garlic as a natural remedy, mince two cloves and let them sit for 15 minutes for the active compounds to develop. Combine with olive oil and salt, then spread on your tasty snack of choice.
- Drink ginger lemon tea: Ginger is soothing and warming — great for when you’re feeling a bit run down.
- Cut back on SUGAR! Sugar is toxic and dramatically reduces your immunity for hours to days depending on your body’s chemistry and health history. This includes fruit juices and many sweet fruits. Cutting back on sugar can also reduce your anxiety levels and help you sleep better.
- Go easy on Alcohol
- Laugh and watch a comedy, and love each other.
- Get your body moving to relax your mind. Check out Peloton, they are offering 90 days free streaming. Try two weeks free at YogaGlo, or support your local yogis by signing up for their classes. If you can, get out and walk. The air is as fresh as ever!
- Do something creative, completely out of your routine. Draw, paint, sculpt! Ridici studios is offering free zoom art classes for all ages Wednesdays 2pm PST, and many more affordable online workshops!
- Breath and meditation exercises:
- Wim Hof breathing method showed modulation of potent inflammatory markers after subjects were injected with endotoxins. Endotoxins trigger the innate immune response, yet the reaction was dampened and calmed with the Wim Hof Breathing technique. This breathing technique can actually support your body in the event of a cytokine storm, which seems to be the problem with the COV-19 respiratory viral infection. An overzealous immune response can be worse than the virus itself.
- Here’s a good video for the groundbreaking study
- Here’s a narrated breathwork video, and another
Supplements that bolster your immunity
Vitamin A- is critical for enhancing immune function and mucus integrity in the body. Don’t take if you’re currently pregnant.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)- blocks the NLPRS inflamasome pathway, preventing the inflammatory cascade that leads to ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome), the main concern for hospitalization with COVID-19
Vitamin D (Capsules or liquid)- can modulate both the innate and adaptive immune responses. Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as an increased susceptibility to infectious disease. There are multiple ICU (Intensive Care Unit) studies that show a decrease in all cause mortality when patients had higher Vitamin D levels upon admittance
Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) – EGCG is a powerful polyphenol found in green tea that helps protect cells from damage. Research shows it inhibits interleukin-6, which can help protect your lungs
Glutathione- is required by the immune system for two important reasons: it protects host immune cells through its antioxidant mechanism and it provides the optimal functioning of lymphocytes and other cells of the immune system. It has a special protective quality for lung tissue which is something you want if suffering from COV-19
Melatonin- is a potent antioxidant and inhibitor of the NLPRS inflamasome pathway (an immune molecule that inflames and destroys multiple tissue targets, but particularly the lungs)
Sulphoraphane- Broccoli sprouts, or sulforaphane is shown to inhibit IL-6. You can grow your own broccoli sprouts, or order sulforaphane in capsules
Tumeric (Meriva 500) – known for its an antiinflammatory effects, tumeric is a potent immunomodulatory agent that can modulate many activities of the immune response. It can also downregulate the expression of IL-6 as well as enhance antibody responses
Zinc- is crucial for normal development and function of cells mediating nonspecific immunity such as neutrophils and natural killer cells. Also some of the lowest death rates from COVID are coming out of South Korea. Early in the crisis they started using Chloroquine (an antibiotic) and Zinc, both of which are show inhibition of COVID
Again, this list is constantly evolving with the research coming out daily. As always, consult your primary care practitioner if you are unsure. In the coming weeks we will be setting up an online store for supplements that we recommend. Sorry for the delays in doing so.
Also if you’re pregnant or nursing little ones, check out my upcoming blog about what to do if you get sick.
Warm wishes for health and resilience…
Dr. Gabi and the LIH team