This blog is for educational purposes only and is a guide on how to support and enhance your immune system during this cold and flu season. If you have any of the reported symptoms of COVID-19 please seek medical attention.
First and foremost why exactly is this type of virus called a Coronavirus? Coronaviruses are named for their crown-like protein spikes on their surfaces. Corona is the Latin name of crown, essentially making this virus royally attired with a colossal vendetta against the human race.
COVID-19 is a new form of coronavirus that was undiagnosed in humans before 2019 and has originated from the city of Wuhan in China. It has been closely linked to a bat coronavirus, but the source is still unknown.
If we look back on the lineage of this royal virus we can see it’s predecessors – SARS and MERS (also classified as coronaviruses). These 3 viruses all have something in common wherein they affect the upper respiratory tract and replicate in both the nose and throat making them HIGHLY contagious. It spreads via droplet transfer through sneezing, coughing and being transferred onto surfaces where it patiently waits (sometimes up to 9 days) to hitchhike a ride on its next unsuspecting victim.
The virus affects the cells ion channels which sit on the cellular membrane (a permeable wall). The virus allows calcium to leak out of the cell whilst simultaneously inserting its genetic material (without consent) into the cell to hijack it in order to go on a replication frenzy. Once the virus is inside the cell it can make up to 10,000 copies of itself in a matter of hours. Think of it like an uninvited house guest that eats all your food, ruins your furniture and makes lots and lots of babies. In a few days the infected person will carry millions of viral particles in every teaspoon of their blood.
Once inside the cell an inflammatory response is triggered wherein cytokines are released (protein messengers) that notify the immune system to up-regulate its response to the virus. The virus then progresses from the throat down into the lungs.The lungs airbags -(alveoli’s) become damaged as the walls begin to harden and their sacs fill with fluid, slowing the transfer of oxygen leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome which in some cases that can be fatal. Inflammatory markers such as interleukin 6 and C-reactive protein have been found to be significantly increased in severe cases. Sustained lung damage has been shown in some cases with reduction in lung function by 30% post viral.
The virus prefers to survive in the atmosphere in temperatures between 5-11 degrees and can live between 5-9 days without a host. Once inside the body it prefers temperatures below 38 degrees. A fever raises the bodies temperature and elicits an armed attack of white blood cells to help eliminate the virus. A temperature over 40 degrees should always seek medical attention. WHO released a statement saying Ibuprofen and Advil have been shown to aggravate the virus and the recommendations are to take paracetamol if needed.
Virologists believe the ultimate goal of viruses is to be gentle on it’s host so it has a relatively healthy host that allows it to continue being contagious and infecting other hosts. SARS and Ebola burnt themselves out as they left no one alive to spread them – it lived fast and died young so to speak.
This current coronavirus that is killing thousands worldwide is effectively like a toddler. It is destructive and fatal and hasn’t learnt there is a more effective way to survive. Ideally as time goes on the RNA of this virus will change making it less virulent and becoming another common cold coronavirus.
The best thing to do at this time is to follow proper hygiene protocols and stay home! Be kind to yourself and others and use this time to reconnect with what’s important – family, sleep, healthing eating with home cooked meals, exercise, nature and hobbies.
People at risk:
- Older aged and elderly
- Comorbidities such as lung conditions, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hepatitis B, pulmonary disease, kidney disease and cancer sufferers
- People deficient in zinc, iron, phytonutrients, vitamin C, vitamin Bs and selenium as they find it harder to recover from viruses.
Daily practices to enhance immunity:
- Exercise daily
- Drink water consistently throughout the day – every 15 – 20 mins as well as hot/warm liquids (bone broth and herbal teas).
- 20 minutes of sunshine daily (non-peak times)
- Reduce stress response – meditation, yoga, warm baths, 10x deep breaths every hour, slow eating, cooking, reading, painting, watching a comedy, calling a friend.
- Eat an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables daily
- Increase gut immunity foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, resistant starch, prebiotics, beta glucans (yeast) and garlic.
- Reduce refined sugars, white breads and pastas, fried foods.
- Reduce alcohol and caffeine intake
- No blue light after dark – turn night-time mode on phones and laptops and stop bedtime scrolling!
- 8-9 hours of sleep each night
Vitamins and minerals to enhance immunity:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B complex
- Vitamin D
- Medicinal mushroom – reishi and cordyceps
- Quercetin and curcumi
- Probiotics – strain specific for immunity (Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Saccharomyces)
- Melatonin. Children between the ages of 1-9 years and pregnant women in their 3rd trimester have 10x the amount of melatonin than adults and have been shown to be the groups of people who are least affected by COVID-19. Melatonin has a protective mechanism for the lungs by reducing oxidative stress and apoptosis (cell death). Eat tryptophan rich foods as this converts into melatonin in the body such as a warm glass of almond milk before bed, bananas, pineapples, rice and oats, walnuts.
Herbs for immunity and viral specific: Licorice, Reishi, Isatis, Astragalus, Codonopsis, Coptis, Echinacea, Cats Claw to name a few.
Please contact your health professional to best advise you on the correct health care plan.
Book a complimentary 15 min Zoom (video call) consult today to discuss how we can help to enhance your immune system during this time! Express postage on supplements and herbs.
We also offer 1-hour naturopathic consultations via Zoom for a more in-depth session. Use code: NAT20 to get 20% of initial consult: $120 (usually $150).
- ATP project: COVID-19 Virus Update
- Bulletproof Radio with Dave Asprey: Support Immune Health in Two Steps: Modulate Gut Bacteria and Neutralise Inflammation