The Coronavirus that started in in Wuhan, China—the “ground zero” of the virus—back in January, has been the talk of the town lately.
Healthcare authorities affirm that contamination spread from the butchered animals to humans and other live animals (chickens, bats, etc.) in the markets there, and, since then, the illness outbreak has seemed like the “domino effect.”
Enter: Hourly New York Times, USA Today and CNN reports updates about Corona.
Given the current unknowns about the illness (and more importantly, how to stop the pandemic), It’s easy to believe that many of us are helpless. That there is not much we can do about it, then just…wait.
However, although there are many unknowns about the virus, there are 5 things that we DO know about the Coronavirus (that many news reports will not tell you about):
Coronavirus Fact #1: Corona Virus is a Micro-Organism That Grows & Thrives in the Perfect Storm
To understand Corona, we need to understand viruses—how they start, how they spread, and what happens in your body when “under fire.”
Simply put: A virus is a pathological microorganism (a “bad guy” or “pathogen”)that rapidly reproduces inside cells of living organisms (ie. Humans, animals, plants).
Viruses contain their own set of DNA genes that allow them to replicate and grow (fast) in strength and numbers inside a living organism.
Yes, viral infections can cause disease.
However, viruses are typically eliminated by the immune system…only IF that living organism’s own immune defenses or personal warfare tactics are DOWN—not strong enough or abundant enough to fight back on its own.
I call this the “perfect storm”—if your immune system is “tee-ed up” (ie. Less than healthy), then both catching and keeping a virus may be in the cards for you.
This is why the CDC reports that the most susceptible individuals to Corona are those with pre-existing medical conditions and the elderly; and to date, no pediatric cases (kids) have been reported.
(Kids of all people should have stronger immune systems).
Note: Although this is not good news for those of us with chronic illness or poor immunity (ie. Me: 3 autoimmune diseases, Lyme disease co-infections), if and when we understand how to support and strengthen the immune system, we are still not a lost cause against viral infections.
Coronavirus Fact #2: There Are More Cases of Chronic Illness Right Now Killing Thousands Everyday Than Corona
Heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disease, diabetes, COPD—more than 1 in 2 Americans (over 50% of all people) have a chronic illness (just like Corona Virus is being called an “illness”) that are killing us every day.
Moreover, more than 40,000 people in the U.S. every year are diagnosed with a chronic infection from Lyme disease alone—an infectious disease that is thought to be a “root” cause behind many chronic illnesses. And the CDC does not report on numbers of other similar co-infections, like Bartonella, Rickettsia, Ebstein Barr, driving an immune and health cascade.
As for acute illnesses, like the flu and pneumonia, last year, the CDC estimates that, for the U.S. alone, there were more than 35.5 million cases of the flu and 34,200 deaths. For pneumonia, last year, there were about 3 million cases and 49,157 deaths.
Loss of life is not justified—no matter the illness; But to put this into perspective, as of March, 2020, a little over 3,000 people have died worldwide since the Corona outbreak began in January and 92,0000 confirmed cases during this Corona season.
That is about 1500 deaths per month worldwide for Corona Virus, compared to:
- 53,954 heart disease deaths/month
- 49,925 cancer deaths/month
- 6,963 diabetes deaths/month
- 2850 flu deaths/month
- 4,000 pneumonia deaths/month
- 3,233 car crash fatalities/month
—Again, all of these just in the U.S.
Coronavirus Fact #3: A Strong Immune System + Oxygen Crushes Viruses
It’s no secret that, the stronger our immune system, the more resilient we are to illness—of any sort.
A strong immune system, coupled with cellular respiration (ie. oxygen—cells that are fueled by life and air), are a one-two punch to viruses, infections, and all sorts of other pathogens and bugs. In the presence of viruses and infections “reactive oxygen species” are created (i.e. a lack of oxygen), which in in high doses, become cytotoxic, often leading to cell death and inflammation throughout the body.
Although a “strong” immune system sounds like a no-brainer, what really defines a “strong immune system”?
- A healthy gut
- A balance of Th1/Th2/Th17—immune regulating cells
Given that 70-80% of your immune system is housed in your gut microbiome in your GALT (gut associated lymphoid tissue).
If your gut health is good (ie. Healthy gut bacteria, yeast and bacteria balance, healthy gut function), then your immune cells are generally healthy. If your gut microbiome is out of whack, then your immune system is more than likely out of whack.
An “out of whack” gut presents in multiple forms—leaky gut, to dysbiosis (bacteria imbalance), yeast and/or bacterial overgrowth (SIBO, candida), fungal and bacterial infections, and more.
Given the gut microbiome’s connection to immunity and illness, I’d easily guesstimate more than 60% of folks (ie. The 60% who have a chronic disease in our country) have “gut problems”—that’s more than 1 in 2 people. This stat doesn’t even bat at eye at the millions of other Americans who are, not necessarily diagnosed with a chronic illness, but struggle with daily, regular gut-related pathologies—including allergies/asthma, infertility, crazy PMS, IBS, constipation, and migraine headaches.
The bottom line: gut imbalances lead to immune imbalances.
As for your Th1/Th2/Th17 systems and cells—there’s a lot to be said about these than time in the article here, but simply put, your “T cells” are immune cells produced by thymus gland that actively participate in the immune response.
T cells play a major role in defense against pathogens (such as viruses, bacteria, mold, fungus)— providing help for the antibody response (the counter response to antigens—foreign invaders).T cells, along with plasma cells, mast cells, dendritic cells and macrophages, work together to keep your immune system strong—again, the majority of them in your GI tract.
Coronavirus Fact #4: Fear Sells (in the News)
“If it bleeds, it leads.”
Take it from me—a former news reporter and broadcast journalist, the news industry is built upon producing news that sells, gets clicks and shares.
Sensationalism, controversy and adversity are among the top topics of choice—often breeding with them fear. In local news, this looks like house fires, homicides and burglaries. In national news, this looks
Notice this the next time you watch the news:
- The “A” Block (i.e. the first 6-10 minutes) is devoted to politics, infidelity, maybe some disaster (weather, celebrity death, plummeting stocks) and…
- The “C” or “D” Block (last 3-5 minutes) is devoted to: “Good news that matters” (my favorite beat!)—Fluffy, the dog, that came home after 7 years of being lost; 3rd grade students “giving back” to elderly nursing home residents; a health trend like celery juice.
And, like most things, the news is typically here today, gone tomorrow. Whatever seems to be the hot topic of the moment is what all of the outlets are going to cover—and compete—for your views, likes, tweets and ad clicks. Only to eventually become…old news…when something newer, sexier, crazier or scarier comes into the public interest queue.
To put this in context, I have a pop question for you: Do you remember the Swine Flu? Or SARS?
Not really. Although these were big outbreaks and scares at the time, today, we’ve practically forgotten about these diseases that, similar to Corona, caused a nationwide upheaval: school cancellations, flight and travel cancellations, mask-wearing, an urgency for vaccine creation, etc.
And then…something else (in the news) happened.
I don’t recall what—and neither do you; but we’ve somewhat forgotten about these scary outbreaks that no longer hit news headlines.
Coronavirus Fact #5: When Given the Right Tools, Your Body Innately Wants to Heal Itself
Simply put: A body that is strong can fight pathogens more readily and easy.
And, more than likely, if you’re like the majority of Americans (again, more than 60% with a gut-related chronic illness), your body (gut health, immunity) can be made stronger.
Additionally, if you’re like the majority of Americans (ie. 60% of Americans who primarily consume ultra-processed foods as the foundation of their diet; 80% of people who exercise less than 3x per week; 70-90% of folks who are significantly deficient in essential vitamins and minerals), there is GREAT opportunity for improvement.
That said, know this: When given the right tools—the most basic essentials for human health (like nutrients, hydration, sleep, movement, sweat and lymph flow for your detox channels)—your body innately wants to (and can) heal itself.
Our bodies are designed with amazing inner mechanisms and capabilities to survive and thrive. If you break a bone, for example, your body’s natural repair processes go to work. If you catch a cold or stomach bug, your body’s immune system responds quickly to try to fight illness. If you fall and scrape your knee, your skin forms a scab to repair.
We compound these effect, when we give and support our body with the basic essentials for human function and life (sleep, water, food, digestion of nutrients, and connection—community).
So now…what to do with this information in relation to Coronavirus?
I’m glad you asked…
10 At-Home Immune System + Coronavirus Prevention Strategies
Antibiotics have no effect on viruses, and only some antiviral drugs and vaccines have been developed to treat life-threatening infections.
However, no vaccine is 100% effective. In fact, statistically according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 58% of folks who do get a vaccine for an illness or virus may still be infected by the virus itself (in other words: over half of the time, the vaccine doesn’t work anyways).
Regardless, this is NOT a case for pro or no-vaccine; but instead, it’s important to realize that there are a TONS of tools you have in your toolbelt (and medicine cabinet, pantry and fridge at home) already that will not only arm your body with protection against Corona virus, but also guard your body against other infections as well.
Here are 10 At-Home Immune System Boosters + Corona Virus Prevention Strategies
1.) Salty Bone Broth + Fluids
Hydration is king when it comes to illness because if your body is dry, then your lymph system can’t flow (leaving pathogens and wastes more “stuck”) in your tissues. Homemade or quality Bone Broth may be “over hyped”, but it does provide your body with an extra oomph of nutrients (especially minerals to balance cellular fluids: magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium; Vitamin A, K2 and liver and gut-boosting glycine and glutamine) during a time when appetite and digestion is typically not the strongest.
2.) High Dose Low-Histamine Probiotics & Sacchromyces Boulardii
Considering the profound role of your gut health on your immune health, a steady stream of probiotics during illness can help boost your gut army reinforcements. However, it’s important to be aware that:
(1.) Not all probiotics are created equal; and
(2.) Probiotics alone are not enough.
First, over 90% of probiotic formulas on shelves do not contain the probiotics they claim. You can read more about that here; but the key is to invest in a quality formula, and to mix it up too. (I keep 3-4 different formulas at home to keep my body guessing). Additionally, you generally want a low histamine probiotic formula—strains that are NOT likely to cause a “histamine” immune response, further exacerbating immune conditions.
Second, if you are just relying on taking lots of probiotics alone to support your gut, good luck. Probiotics NEED pre-biotics (special fibers) in order to help them actually stick and populate in your gut (read: vegetables and starchy tubers, some fruits, gluten free steel cut oats, some nuts and seeds).
Mindful intake of prebiotics, as well as possibly a probiotic itself is essential. Lastly, sacchoromyces boulardii (technically a yeast) is definitely worth considering—studies show it is capable of activating the unspecific immune system, and, in case of an infection, S. boulardii is able to bind pathogens and to neutralize their toxins.
Recommendations: 1 probiotic dose, 3-4 times per day; 1 pre-biotic dose/1x per day along with 2-3 cups of vegetables—about 6 servings—daily. Try: Seed, Megaspore Biotic, Primal Defense ULTRA, Gut Pro Probiotic, Bifido Maximus and Terra Flora Synbiotic.
3.) High Dose Vitamin C
It’s no secret that vitamin C may alleviate or prevent infections caused by bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. The most extensively studied human infection is the common cold. Regularly administered vitamin C has shortened the duration of colds and other infections, indicating a biological effect.
Recommendation: Buffered Vitamin C, to bowel tolerable level. Note: High doses of Vitamin C can lead to loose stools; most folks can take Vitamin C up the this threshold when bowels become looser; from 5000 to 10,000 mg spread throughout the day.
4.) Elderberry Syrup
Nature’s miracle immune booster—specifically containing Vitamin A, potassium and Vitamin C. People have used elderberry for its health benefits for hundreds of years.In particular, elderberry has powerful effects on upper respiratory symptoms associated with the flu, pneumonia and common cold. Elderberry is not just hype either—a recent study of elderberry’s immune boosting effects in 180 people overwhelmingly confirms that elderberry is beneficial for most people. The patients who took elderberry vs. those who did not experienced an incredibly large effect on the reduction of flu symptoms. It also had a large effect on the reduction of symptoms from the common cold. Ironically, both groups had received the flu vaccine.
Recommendation: 1 tbsp/every 1-2 hours for 24 hours at first signs of illness or illness itself; then 1 tbsp/3 x per day for 1 to 2 weeks while recovering from illness; 1 tsp-1 tbsp/1x per day for immune support. Tip: Make your own, or try to find a local supplier; if no local supplier, I recommend GAIA. GAIA’S capsules are also awesome to keep on hand to boost your immune system when feeling under the weather.
5.) High Doses Vitamin A + Vitamin D, Together
Deficiency in both Vitamin D and Vitamin A is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as an increased susceptibility to infection. Since Vitamin A is also pertinent to cellular replication, it is a powerful anti-inflammatory modulator for helping your healthy immune cells fight back. Short term use (about 7 days or less) of this power-packed combo is foundational for immunity.
Recommendation: At least 10,000-20,000 IUs/Vitamin A + 5,000 IUs-10,000 IUs/Vitamin D/daily. For Vitamin A, I love Viracid by Orthomolecular (1 capsule every 1 to 2 hours for 24-48 hours; followed by 2 capsules/3x per day for 7-14 days if still sick), and Ultra D Omega 5000 by APEX Energetix or Vitamin D Supreme by Designs for Health. For maintenance, good ol extra virgin cod liver oil is also excellent, as well as eating organ meats 1-2 times per week in a small medicinal dose (the most potent source of Vitamin A out there).
6.) Liposomal or Nebulized Glutathione
Glutathione is the “Master Antioxidant” that helps fire up your detox pathways to usher toxins out and support immune function. Studies show that after just 1 week of high dose supplementation with glutathione (500 to 1000 mg of glutathione, twice per day), natural glutathione levels were elevated by 40% in the body; after 2 weeks, the body was at 100% Although long-term (longer than 1-3 months) of this daily dose is not recommended (there is speculation that over support can undercut your body’s ability to produce glutathione on it’s own), for defending against infection, it’s worth a boost.
Recommendation: Trizomal Glutathione by Apex Energetics, Liposomal Glutathione by Numedica, or Nebulized with Glutathione (prescription, or can DIY with a quality source. Check out this nebulizer and this video on how to use it).
7.) Olive Leaf
Olive leaf extract prevents viral infections of nearly all types thanks to two powerful anti-infection agents: oleuropein and calcium elenolate.
Recommendation: I use this in tincture form, 2-3 droppers, 2-3 times per day, during illness.
8.) Viral &/Or Bacterial Homeopathic Support
Some may call homeopathics “voodoo”, but homeopathics have been around for thousands of years—perhaps even considered the original vaccines. And they work!
9.) Food as Medicine
“Let food be thy medicine.” Hippocrates’ famous words could not ring more true than when fighting illness. Our bodies can only absorb 30-40% of supplements we take at most; nutrients in foods are a different story—more bioavailable than anything synthesized in a lab. The key foods to reach for are those that naturally support immunity, gut health, detoxification and antioxidant activity. Top picks include:
- Celery juice
- Bone/meat broth (as noted above)
- Cruciferous veggies (sulfur is uber important for detox)
- Fresh herbs: Cilantro, basil, oregano, sage, thyme
- Tea: Ginger, Thyme, Fennugreek, Ginseng, Stinging Nettle
- Coconut water (electrolytes)
- Fresh spices: Ginger, garlic and turmeric
- Dark leafy greens
- Coconut yogurt/greek yogurt
- Wild-caught salmon
- Oranges, blueberries, green-tipped bananas
(Notice: No BRAT diet here). As appetite allows, build meals upon easy-to-digest proteins (as tolerated) and vegetables (steamed or softened), and moderate healthy fats (extra virgin olive oil, MCT oil, avocado, etc.). If your body is really not into food, listen: Broths—with natural herbs and spices—teas and water at least are essential.
10.) Hot Epsom Salt Baths & Sauna
Sweat it out. Heat stimulates detoxification. Hit the infrared sauna daily if you can and/or soak in an epsom salt bath (how to do it here).
Phew! How’s that for some viral fighting power? Although this list is not exhaustive, it’s a start to helping arm your body and immune system to fight Corona (or any other virus or infection for that matter).