Building and Maintaing Immunity During Pandemic
In order to understand why certain supplements are helpful in this pandemic, understanding how this virus works is helpful. This particular virus is uniquely affecting us for several reasons. For one thing, it is new to our bodies; therefore, our bodies don’t recognize it at first. By the time our bodies do recognize it, they tend to over-react. What is a usual normal survival mechanism can end up causing too much inflammation which affects the tissues of our lungs making them produce too much fluid and less flexible.
A second reason is that this is a corona virus in the same family as SARS. The real name is actually SARS-CoV-2. Corona viruses have spike-like proteins that attach to a receptor on our cells called ACE2 ( angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 ). The ACE2 is like a “knob on door” and the virus hijacks the “knob” using its spike-like protein to open the door into our cells. This virus has a particular affinity to lung cells.
There are several stages of Covid-19. The first stage is having the virus and incubating it. A person may be asymptomatic ( no symptoms) and presymptomatic ( before symptoms ), or very mildly symptomatic. These symptoms are usually like those of a common cold, but they also be loss of sense of smell and taste or an eye infection. This stage usually lasts for 3-6 days but can last for up to 2 weeks. During this time, they can spread the virus. 80% of people who have Covid-19 have mild symptoms.
The second stage is symptomatic. This is when the virus is spreading in the nose and throat. A person may have a sore throat, runny nose, slight fever, chills, diarrhea, fatigue, dry cough, joint and muscle pain, headaches, malaise and fatigue. This is a stage when a person is still considered capable of stopping the virus from moving deeper into the body.
In the third stage the symptoms move to the lungs and become severe. These cases tend to worsen 5-10 days after increased symptoms begin. About 15% of people get to this stage. A person develops a definite cough ( still dry ), chest pain, shortness of breath, bluish lips, abdominal pain, and a fever above 101. The virus has become viral pneumonia. About 5% become critically ill. They develop ARDS ( Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.) This is when patients are admitted to the ICU, given oxygen, and possibly placed on a ventilator. The fatality rate of Covid-19 is about 4%. Most of these patients had pre-existing health conditions, such as diabetes, COPD, and hypertension.
The fourth stage is recovery, the stage of most people who get the virus. There have been reports of relapses; therefore, it is important to continue to be diligent in keeping a strong and healthy immune system.
In China, where many pandemics have originated for over 2000 years, an integrative approach to this virus is said to implemented. They use TCM ( Traditional Chinese Medicine) for the first, second, and fourth stage. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be effective in balancing the body, enhancing immunity, curbing viral activity, and treating the symptoms. They use Western medicine for the third stage. This includes drugs like Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine used for malaria and inflammatory diseases like Lupus as well as anti-viral drugs like Remdesivir. In the U.S. Z Pac is being used in addition to Chloroquine. Patients are also given oxygen and placed on a ventilator if necessary.
Chinese herbal formulas that are usually given include Isatis, lonicera, Forsythia, Platycoden, Wild Chrysanthemum, Citrus peel, Xanthium, and Androgaphis.
I believe in a similar integrative approach, i.e. using natural medicine to enhance the immune system, balance the body, and curb the proliferation of the virus in the first two stages, using Western medicine for the third stage, and using natural medicine for the fourth stage of recovery.
In the West we are more familiar with Western herbs, supplements, etc. than Chinese herbs. There has been some evidence of the effectiveness of IV Vitamin C in all four stages of the virus. There is also some experimentation using convalescent plasma. This is the use of plasma from people who have recovered from Covid-19 and who have antibodies to it.
What I use for prevention:
Healthy lifestyle- good food, sleep, exercise, community, being in nature, rest and recreation
Vitamin C, Vitamin D3 with K2, Quercetin, NAC ( N Acetyl L-Cystine ), Vitamin A, Omega 3, zinc lozenges, Vitamin B12 and folate, Wellness Formula or Defense Plus, colostrum and a probiotic, selenium, glutathione, a multi vitamin, Cat’s Claw, Melatonin, and the Chinese herbs Astragalus and Reishi. I make a hot lemon water drink several times a day- slice of lemon, TBSP raw apple cider vinegar, slice of garlic, slice of ginger, and honey. I also drinking herbal teas, such as green ginger, chaga and Reishi mushroom.
All of these supplements have a positive effect on the immune system. We know that sleep is important for the immune system and that melatonin support restful sleep, but it is also believed to support the immune system and to even have a possible effect in protecting the body from viruses, such as H1N1. Quercetin is believed to help prevent a virus from entering the cells and enhances the effects of zinc in protecting the mucus membranes. Astragalus and Reishi are Chinese herbs that have an adaptogenic effect on the body, support the immune system, and are believed to have some anti-viral effects. Glutathione supports the body’s detoxification system with a beneficial effect for inflammation of the lungs and NAC is a precursor to glutathione.
I diffuse some essential oils, such as Tea Tree, Lemon Grass, Ecualyptus, Lavender, and Thieves, especially after I go out in public. I also add to my supplement regimen colloidal silver nose spray and internally, an anti-viral formula from Dragon Herbs called Virugo Max, lemon balm tincture, L-Lysine, Echinacea, Olive leaf extract, Bupleurum, and black elderberry syrup.
About a week ago I started feeling like I was catching a cold. I didn’t have a runny nose, sore throat, cough, or shortness of breath, but my nose felt sensitive, I felt tired and had some malaise. I doubled the dosages of the supplements I was already taking and added oregano oil and garlic (anti-viral), Yin Chao Jin ( Chinese Herbal Formula used for colds, Oscillococinnum ( a homeopathic remedy for flu), and licorice root tincture ( anti-viral, especially for the lungs.)
I purchased a nebulizer (a small portable one which works just fine) and have been nebulizing hydrogen peroxide (food grade 3%) 1-3 times a day. There is a little tray where I can also place a cotton ball with the essential oils I have been diffusing. I also started doing Reiki and Pranic Healing on myself.
So far, so good. I’m feeling better!
We are being told that a vaccine for Covid-19 is 12-18 months away. However, there are two promising treatments being researched for this and other viral pandemics. One is something called Convalescent Plasma. This is giving the plasma of someone who has recovered from Covid-10 and has antibodies in their blood for it. The hope is that this will give the recipient antibodies as well. The other is the Vitamin C IV’s I mentioned. This treatment is being used in other countries, and I believe, a bit in this one. This allows giving a higher dose of Vitamin C than we can take orally, and is a treatment that boosts the immune system and is considered safe.
Here’s to self-empowerment with our own health!