(This is an article in progress. I am posting what I have as I compile it so you can have the information right away. I will update it daily, and remove this when it is complete.)
SARS-COV-2 infects the body in three stages. This information can be helpful as a guidepost in finding a way to try and protect ourselves. Let us take a look at these three stages, for a more detailed overview please see this link.
Infection takes place, the incubation period begins, and the virus begins to replicate. The most common form of transmission is through aerosolized droplets, where the virus establishes itself in the lungs binding with the ACE2 receptors. The infected person may present with mild symptoms including fever, dry cough and malaise. At this early stage of infection antivirals can have the most effectiveness. However it is thought that immunosuppression could be dangerous during this stage. 80% of patients will not progress past this stage.
During this stage progression leads to viral pneumonia, with cough, fever, and in some low oxygen levels. In patients that present with hypoxia they are often intubated at this stage. At this stage antivirals can be given and may be helpful but they are most effective when taken early on. During this stage the adaptive immune response takes place. At this stage mild inflammation begins, and may cause tissue damage. Immunosuppression could be helpful for patients who develop complications at this stage such as ARDS acute respiratory distress syndrome.
During this stage the adaptive immune response is dysregulated and can lead to a severe cytokine storm, resulting in a hyperinflammatory state. This can lead to respiratory failure, intravascular coagulation and multi organ failure. During this stage cytokine inhibitors can be administered, as well as corticosteroids.
As of today there is still confusion on how to treat people who get this virus, as well as confusion as to how we can prepare our bodies to fight at their best. In the beginning I thought we simply needed to stop these cytokine storms, but it goes much deeper than that, it is multifaceted. To seek a pure cytokine inhibitor would be a danger in phase one. Normal cytokine levels produce fever, and that is a vital part of fighting the infection. Powerful cytokine inhibitors should be reserved for phase three, this would be where pharmaceuticals are used.
This being said what do we want? We want to fuel our immune system so that it can be an efficient machine, that will function properly. When our immune system functions as it should, it will regulate the cytokines on it’s own. We have what are called Suppressor T cells and when our immune system is functioning properly those T cells will ensure that we don’t have a run away cytokine cascade.
What can we do? We can give our bodies everything it needs by way of a healthy diet, and taking immune boosting supplements that will regulate our immune system in the hopes that we don’t progress past stage one of infection. There are no guarantees, but at this point all we can do is give our bodies the best fuel to help it function as it was meant to.
Let’s delve right in. I will include natural compounds that are antivirals, while also helping our cytokine responses to function as they should, and have the potential to aid in proper cell function that can inhibit cytokines naturally if the need should arise. They will also be immune system boosting compounds. I will not include any antiviral compound that are known to increase cytokines, solely as a precautionary measure.
I also want to say I am not an expert, I am just sharing information in the hopes that it can help to save lives. This information is for adults only. Children seem to be able to fight this on their own. A healthy diet and some playtime in the sunshine may be all they require, do not take my advice though consult with your physician. I do not know if this is the case. I only state this out of an abundance of caution.
I would place Vitamin D at the top of the list. The best part is that it’s free, you can get Vitamin D simply with 15 to 20 minutes per day of direct sun light. Vitamin D could be vital in fighting COVID-19. It has antiviral properties as well as has been studied and proven to help modulate the cytokine response.
It has been proven to modulate the adaptive immune system through direct effect on T-cell activation. Evidence supports an important role for Vitamin D in influencing T-Cell responses and in tempering inflammation and tissue damage.
It enhances protective innate immune responses, as well as helps maintain self tolerance by dampening overly zealous adaptive immune responses. This is everything we are looking for to help fight this virus.
Mother nature has given us the perfect way to get this essential prohormone. If you can’t get out in the sun, then the next best thing is a supplement. I highly recommend you take D3 with K2 in it. The K2 is vital, when we take vitamin D it can cause calcium build up in your soft tissues, the K2 helps it to go to the bones where it belongs. This makes it much safer.
I would also highly recommend that if you do supplement with vitamin D that you also supplement with Magnesium.
If you decide to supplement you should consult with your doctor. I cannot recommend a dosage as that may not be the same for everyone. I would however recommend to get a blood test to see where your levels are at. That would tell you how much you need to take. If it is low you would take a higher dose than if you had good levels. Personally I take 5,000 IU’s, but not every single day, sometimes I take a day off here and there.
Also there are some people who have trouble processing Vitamin D in their body because they do not have the proper gut bacteria. I myself was one of those people. I took Vitamin D for years and my levels simply wouldn’t go up. I started eating Kimchi which is fermented cabbage that has the good bacteria, and my levels went up within a month. If you happen to be one of those people who have trouble getting your levels up perhaps probiotics could help. I myself prefer natural over pharmaceutical, but just make your own judgements on that. Here is the Wikipedia on Probiotics.
There are medications that can interact with vitamin D do your research before you supplement.
Vitamin D can cause side effects in some people with certain health conditions, talk to your doctor.
WARNING: There has been reports of Vitamin D harming unborn babies in pregnant mothers. Do your research.
I would like to include Vitamin C as it has been well recommended by other health experts, as well as being currently used on patients in China in this fight to save lives. I have poured over many studies, Vitamin C has been found to be an antiviral, in most of the studies I read it was stated that this vitamin had the most effect if taken before infection. It has been found to be a cytokine modulator. In this study it lowered cytokine levels in Marathon runners, who would normally see high cytokine plasma levels after a race.
It has also been found to be a powerful antioxidant, that can help protect our cells, and their function enhancing our cells ability to kill pathogens.
This Vitamin may also shorten ventilation in critically ill patients.
I myself do not know what would be the proper recommendation for safe dosing. I personally take 1,000 mg but not every single day. Please do your research on this.
The best way that we can get our nutrients is from natural sources, our bodies recognize these much better than when we take them in the supplement form.
Here is a list of natural foods that are high in vitamin C. There is also supplementation, there are several different kinds of vitamin C supplements on the market. I have heard that a good type is called Liposomal, and another L ascorbic acid. You will have to do your own research, and go with what feels right. I am not selling anything, so I don’t want to give links to any brands here.
One thing to keep in mind is when you get these nutrients in their natural form such as a lemon or Oranges you are getting more than just vitamin C, you are getting tons of other micronutrients along with them. When we take vitamin C supplements, they can deplete the magnesium in your body, so it may be necessary to take a magnesium supplement. You can also consider magnesium rich foods. If your magnesium levels get depleted it can lead to undesirable side effects such as headaches, and muscle cramps. I would say if you do opt to take the vitamin C supplements to make sure to take magnesium along with it.
Here are some possible interactions for existing health conditions such as high blood pressure and so on. There is said to be some risk of kidney stones in those who take high doses.
This is one of the nutriments that has some conflicting studies, I would suggest you do a fair amount or reading and then use your own best judgement. Because of the newer studies that claim Omega-3’s can help your immune function and act as an immune system booster, as well as regulate cytokines, I will include it.
In this study it was found to enhance B cell function, aiding in the immune response and dampening the inflammatory response. Here is an in-depth study on it’s effect on immune cells.
What I have noticed is that in nearly every study the recommended source of Omega-3 for immune boosting qualities was from Marine fish sources. Honestly just writing that makes my heart feel heavy. Being a vegetarian and an animal lover, I find it difficult to recommend. The article linked above recommends Harp Seal oil. I will let you make your own choice on that one. There are other Marine sources besides fluffy adorable seals. Land source and Marine source omega-3’s are different molecularly and have different effects on your cells.
For those interested here is a great article that explains the difference between terrestrial Omega-3 sources and marine. Here is another link that has wonderfully detailed information.
Whether you decide to get your Omega-3 from a marine source or terrestrial, eating a varied healthy diet is always a good thing. Although terrestrial sources do not have the same function in your body as Marine sources, they certainly do have health benefits, so why not include them in your healthy diet?
Here is a list of food sources that contain Omega-3. There are plenty more links don’t end your search here.
You can also supplement if you wish. It is up to you, as always there are less potential for side effects when you get your nutrients from a natural food source vs a supplement.
There are drug interactions with Omega-3’s. The most notable interactions are with those that thin the blood. Taking Omega-3’s can lead to bleeding for those on blood thinners. Here is another link. Do your research on this.
Omega-3 can also interact with some health conditions, those with arrhythmias, and liver disease.
For pregnant mothers do your research studies do suggest that Omega-3’s can be beneficial. Don’t end your search with this one link, and as always consult with your physician.
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant, that protects our cells from oxidative stress. Selenium checks all the boxes it enhances our bodies initial immune response, while at the same time it’s also an immunoregulator. It can modulate your immune cells to have proper signaling and function. It has been known to prevent excessive immune responses such as we are seeing with COVID-19, with run away cytokine cascades. Selenium is thought to modulate our cytokine response. Please see this link for an in depth study.
In one study conducted on mice it was found that viruses were more likely to mutate into more virulent strains when they infected a mouse that was Selenium deficient. Mice who were deficient would also have more severe cases of the flu, they were found to have more lung pathology, and the duration of illness was longer than mice who had sufficient Selenium levels. Here is one more link on the many health benefits of Selenium.
Selenium is known as “the viral birth control pill“, because it can reduce the ability of viruses to increase in numbers.
As amazing as Selenium is, it is a compound that you do not want to take in excess. Consuming too much can be just as detrimental to your health as not having a sufficient amount. It is vital for proper cell function but taken in large amounts can become toxic and harm cell function. The daily recommendation is around 55 mcg. You can easily get this in a healthy diet. Here is a list of 20 foods high in Selenium. At the top of that list are Brazil nuts. One Brazil nut contains around 90 mcg. That is nearly double the daily recommendation. You could easily eat 1/2 of a Brazil nut per day and meet your daily needs. The Brazil nut does not cease to amaze, not only does it have Selenium but it has copper, Zinc, Thiamine, Vitamin E and a host of other essential nutrients. It reads more like a multivitamin than a nut.
Selenium can interact with many different medications, always ask your doctor if it is safe. Make sure to do your research before you take this. Here is another link, that has more interactions. Here is a list of side effects.
Selenium may also interact with some health conditions such as renal dysfunction, and Malabsorption syndromes.
WARNING: In this one article it states that those who took the supplement form were more likely to have serious diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Because of this I would recommend only a low dose from natural foods, do not exceed your daily allowance 55 mcg. It was not known if it was the supplement that caused these diseases.
This article states that Selenium is safe for pregnant women, however ask you physician, and do your research. Do not exceed your recommended daily amount.
I want to give my thanks to Dr. Faire for the links, and broadening my perspective. Thanks to you I now see this with a newly enhanced perspective, with much more depth. Thank you.