More Natural Considerations for COVID 19

COVID-19 – Are We Right To Panic?
March 14, 2020
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More Natural Considerations for COVID 19

Written by Dr Sandra Miranda, ND

I would like to continue the conversation on natural approaches that you can consider in order to improve your health and immune system for the prevention of a COVID-19 infection and associated pneumonia.  Of course, these are only supplemental recommendations to the current emphasis on hand washing, social distancing, stopping non-essential travel and getting tested if you develop symptoms.

A collegue, Dr Lise Alschuler, ND (A Naturopathic Physician from Arizona) wrote a great review on Integrative Considerations during COVID-19 pandemic.  I would like to share the main highlights and recommendations with you.

Unfortunately there is no integrative measures that have been validated in human trials but there are many available in-vitro evidence and with the understanding of the virulence of COVID-19 there are a number of strategies to consider in order to be proactive in boosting your immune system.

  1. Adequate sleep – Shorter sleep duration increases the risk of infectious illness. One study found that less than 5 hours of sleep (monitored over 7 consecutive days) increased the risk of developing a viral associated cold by 350% when compared to individuals who slept at least 7 hours per night.  Adequate sleep also ensures the secretion of melatonin, a molecule which may play a role in reducing coronavirus virulence (See Melatonin below).
  2. Stress Management – Psychological stress (including panic!!) disrupts immune regulation and is specifically associated with the increase of inflammatory cytokines which will lead to a higher likelihood of getting sick with COVID-19. Please don’t panic! I can’t emphasize this more. Various mindfulness techniques such as meditation, breathing exercises, guided imagery – can reduce stress and balance out these inflammatory cytokines.
  3. Vegetables and Fruits – have many flavonoids which have been found to reduce inflammatory signaling activated by corona viruses.  This can decrease risk of developing or worsening of an acute respiratory distress syndrome.  Curcumin (found in turmeric) is a specific flavonoid that has been shown to have this effect. 
  4. Zinc – COVID-19 appears to be susceptible to the viral inhibitory action of zinc. Zinc may prevent the coronavirus entry into the cells and appears to reduce the aggressiveness of the virus. A typical daily dose of Zinc picolinate is 10-15 mg or Zinc citrate or gluconate – 20 to 30 mg.  Zinc Lozenges also provide direct protective effects in the upper respiratory tract.
  5. Vitamin C – just like flavonoids, can inhibit inflammatory signaling activated by corona viruses. Clinical trial have found that vitamin C shortens the frequency, duration and severity of viral infections and the incidence of pneumonia.  Typical daily dosing of vitamin C ranges from 500 mg to 3,000 mg with even higher doses during times of acute infection.
  6. Vitamin D – Vitamin D has been found to decrease inflammatory cytokine activation in addition to boosting up your immune system.  It is a great vitamin to take preventatively however, take with caution or discontinue if you have symptoms of infection because one report found that vitamin D can increase IL-1B (inflammatory cytokine) during an acute infection.
  7. Melatonin – Melatonin has been shown to inhibit inflammatory signalling as well.  In fact, the age-related decline in melatonin production is one proposed mechanism to explain why children do not appear to have severe symptoms and older adults do.  Melatonin also reduces oxidative lung injury during viral infections.  Typical dosing of melatonin varies from 0.3 mg to 5mg per day (best taken at night).
  8. Sambucus nigra (Elderberry): There is a preclinical evidence that elderberry inhibits replication and viral attachment of certain corona viruses.  Sambucus appears to be most effective in the prevention of the early stage of a corona virus infection.  But please note that Sambucus significantly increases inflammatory signalling so should be discontinued with symptoms of infection (or positive test).  Typical dosing of 2:1 elderberry extract is 10mls to 60 mls daily for adults and 5 mls to 30 mls daily for children.

If you are not sure what supplements are best suited in you specific health condition.  Please call us at 905-239-3900 for a phone consultation.  I am happy to assess your current health status and decide which approach or treatment plan you should follow preventatively. 

Please stay tuned to my next blog on natural tips to consider during symptoms of infection or positive test for COVID-19.

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