Natural Health and Wellness for the Whole Family

Staying Healthy in the Time of a Pandemic

By Joanne Aponte, ND April 28, 2020

Many of you may be concerned about all that is happening regarding the spread of the coronavirus. Even I find this a little unsettling. 

Yes, let’s take extra precautions but let’s not let our fears take over.  For most people, if you do get sick, the illness will be mild …just another cold.

For those of you who at higher risk of serious illness, it is reasonable to ramp up your immune support. Those over 60 or who have an underlying health condition that weakens your immune system are at higher risk. If you have diabetes or an underlying heart or lung condition there is also more risk.

Keep it simple. For most healthy adults and children, there is no need to take loads of supplements.  These tried and true immune support supplements should be enough. They help build up your natural immunity and will help you fight off viruses more quickly and easily.  You may still get sick, but it should be milder and you should recover faster.

Start with the basics:

These are just as important as taking supplements.

  1. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds (sing your ABCs!!)
  2. Get plenty of sleep – at least 8 hours!  A couple weeks ago my husband and daughter had the flu so I was sure to sleep a little longer every night. And this saved me, because I hardly got sick.
  3. Eat a healthy diet
    • lots of colorful veggies (beets, peppers, carrots, greens)
    • eat mushrooms, garlic and onion.
    • Increase Vitamin C rich foods such as oranges, kiwis, peppers, broccoli, strawberries and Brussel sprouts.
    • avoid sugar and white refined foods, keep dairy low
  4. Stay hydrated – drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day.
  5. Eat this immune strengthening soup
  6. Get outside in the fresh air!!! And open your windows to air out your house every day.

Immune supportive supplements:

The below recommendations are aimed at strengthening and building up your immune system. While past science and research has demonstrated the immune supportive effects of these natural substances, there is no research on their effectiveness for COVID-19. I still think it a good idea to take extra support during this pandemic – it won’t hurt and it might help!!! (Dosing recommendations are for adults)

  • Vitamin D3 – 4,000 iu per day (DO NOT TAKE IF INFECTED WITH COVID-19)
  • Probiotics – choose one with strains of lactobacillus and bifidobacteria
  • Elderberry syrup 1 tsp 1x/day . We carry Wise Woman’s brand at the clinic. Gaia herbs makes a great product as well and is sold at many natural food stores. (DO NOT TAKE IF INFECTED WITH COVID-19)
  • Vitamin C 1000mg per day.  Increase to 2000mg 2x/day if you get sick.
    • My favorite vitamin C is Liposomal Vitamin C by Quicksilver Scientific. Liposomal vitamin C is fat soluble and more highly absorbed. I have found Liposomal vitamin C to be far more effective. When taking this, hold it in your mouth for 90 seconds before swallowing.
  • Zinc picolinate 15-30mg per day. Zinc inhibits activity or viruses and provides protective effects in the upper respiratory tract.
  • Astragalus – this herb builds up an army of your own immune cells and will strengthen your immune system. It is well supported by research and has a long history of use. Consider adding this immune building herb if you at higher risk of having more serious illness or if you have a compromised immune system. For most healthy adults and children, Vit D, Elderberry , Zinc, Vitamin C and probiotics should be enough support.

Immune support for COVID 19 infections:

If you are infected with COVID-19, use caution when taking immune supportive supplements and seek care from your medical doctor.

COVID-19 infections are dangerous for some people because of a storm of immune cells called cytokines that are released in response to the infection. The rapid release of these cytokines in COVID-19 infections is what leads to serious illness and respiratory failure. Several nutrients and herbs that we use to support our immune systems actually stimulate the production of these cytokines. When it comes to COVID-19 we do not want to stimulate this part of the immune system any further. The following substances have been shown to increase the cytokines involved in COVID-19 infection: Elderberry, Echinacea, Vitamin D and Larch arabinogalactan. These should NOT be taken if infected with COVID-19 and experiencing fever and difficulty breathing. Vitamin C, Zinc, and Astragalus do not increase the same cytokines and are likely safe to continue if infected. For more information about this please refer to the article written by Lise Alschuler ND, Integrative Considerations During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Stay healthy everyone, this too shall pass!

Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.

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