With the advent of the CoVid19 virus in the world, and its rapid spread, along with the dramatic and scary news stories, it seems everyone is scrambling to grab supplements to boost their immune systems. While nothing takes the place of a healthy diet full of high antioxidant foods, a good night’s sleep, stress reduction, exercise, and vitamin D from the sun—supplements can be helpful—for sure.
Once the SARS-CoV-2 or Coronavirus gets inside the human respiratory tract, it infects and multiplies in the cells lining the airways and lungs. This kicks the body’s immune system into action. In most people, the immune system does its work, then recedes and the patient recovers.
Normally, an immune response which causes inflammation is a normal and good thing in the fight against a pathogen or an injury. However, with this coronavirus, the Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome that occurs in some people, happens as a result of a dysfunctional immune response to the presence of the virus. The uncontrolled immune response triggers an overproduction of immune cells and their signaling molecules which leads to a ‘cytokine storm’. This cytokine storm is generally what causes the severe and potentially fatal symptoms of severe pneumonia and breathing difficulties with a Covid19 infection.
So it’s thought that overdoing the immune ‘boosting’ supplements could possibly contribute to causing an overreaction in the immune system. Instead of ‘boosting’ the immune system, treatments targeting the body’s inflammatory responses that support the immune system are far more important for survival.
There are several supplements that actually help to strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation, without overstimulating the immune system. One of the top supplements for this is Quercetin.
What is Quercetin? It is a potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral substance found in many vegetables, including red onions and apples. Many people take Quercetin in the fall and spring to help their allergies to tree and weed pollen. Lately research has been looking into Quercetin as a powerful agent to fight against SARS-Covid19.
Quercetin is considered a bioflavonoid, which is a type of antioxidant. Quercetin is found in the highest concentrations in red onions, berries, red wine, green tea, buckwheat, and apples. Quercetin acts as a powerful antioxidant, getting rid of free radical molecules that damage our cells as we age.
Quercetin is now also undergoing trials in China for its effectiveness against Covid19. In a recent analysis published by the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Labs, they used high-powered computer modeling to look at which compounds or supplements might best prevent the coronavirus from binding to our cells.
This is key, because this is how this virus gets into to our bodies and starts reproducing. It enters our bodies through nasal passages, mouth, eyes, or respiratory passages. Once it binds to a cell, it finds its way into the cell, starts reproducing like crazy, and takes over the respiratory system, especially the lungs.
The coronavirus uses the ACE2 or Angiotensin Converting Enzyme receptor in our bodies to enter the cells. This is important too, because ACE2 receptors have to do with regulating our blood pressure—I’ll talk more about that below.
The analysis from Tennessee looked at several different compounds and supplements to see which ones worked best at interfering with the virus’s ability to attach to a cell and get inside to do its damage. One of the top 5 virus-fighting natural compounds is Quercetin.
Quercetin is a natural supplement that has other big benefits including lessening reactions to allergies, as well as fighting aging and free radicals. Well worth it to start taking since it has multiple benefits for our health. According to most research, the usual dose is 500mg to 1,000 mg a day. Quercetin is often compounded with a digestive enzyme like bromelain, plus Vitamin C, to improve absorption. All good things.
Quercetin is also inexpensive, especially compared to some of the pharmaceutical grade antiviral drugs that are being used now. This broad-spectrum antiviral supplement has already proven successful for treating the Ebola and Zika viruses, according to Dr. Michel Chrétien, a researcher at the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal.
Does it work for sure? It’s too early for standard clinical trials to show positive proof, but the circumstantial evidence is strong in favor of its anti-inflammatory and antiviral capabilities. The best thing about quercetin is, even without clinical trials, we know that quercetin will not harm you, or cause your immune system to overreact, in the way that some other supplements can. Including quercetin in your Covid19 weapons seems like a wise idea, along with these other practices as well:
Poor sleep increases the risk of infectious illness. One study found that getting less than 5 hours of sleep over the course of a week, can increase the chances of catching a cold by 350%. Let’s apply this to Covid19 as well. Also, important to note is that lack of sleep can increase inflammatory levels in the body, creating higher risk for a cytokine storm. If you are having trouble sleeping, a small dose of melatonin may help you sleep and help fight off Covid19.
It’s no secret that stress definitely disrupts our immune function and increases our levels of inflammation, making us far more susceptible to getting seriously ill. Stop reading the news, follow precautions and find something relaxing to do—meditation, breathing exercises and exercising outdoors all go a long way to manage stress, reduce anxiety and strengthen your immune system.
Zinc has been proven to reduce the activity of coronavirus and may prevent its entry into our cells while reducing its power. Zinc has proven powerful in fighting off regular influenza and the common cold as well. The suggested dosage for zinc is about 15mg – 30mg daily.
Vitamin C has shown great promise in inhibiting inflammatory reactions and is thought to be very effective against Covid19 virus as well. Several clinical trials have found that vitamin C shortens the frequency, duration and severity of the virus that causes the common cold (a type of corona virus) and the incidence of pneumonia. Vitamin C can be taken in reasonably high doses as any excess is washed out of the body. In Wuhan China, a high dose vitamin C study is actually being conducted against Covid19 right now, but results are not in yet.
Organic, fresh and colorful fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants and flavonoids that help to reduce inflammatory response in the body. Plus, they are full of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B and other amazing phytochemicals to help you fight off most illnesses and disease. And don’t forget lot of red onions, apples, and buckwheat—all of which are high in quercetin.
In addition, be sure to add in lots of fresh garlic, fresh ginger, and tomatoes, nuts, berries and even grass fed butter and organ meat–full of vitamin A and other virus-killing natural compounds.
So now that you understand a little about the role of inflammatory cytokines in the disease behavior of COVID-19–combined with the fact that it is difficult to find out which individuals are most susceptible to this deadly inflammatory reaction, it’s best not overdo these supplements as they could possible overstimulate the immune system response—especially if you think you may have already contracted the virus–
• Some medicinal mushrooms
• Echinacea angustifolia
• Larch arabinogalactan
• High doses of Vitamin D
One additional note about blood pressure and blood pressure medications involved in Covid19 risk. As I mentioned above, the Covid19 virus attaches to the ACE2 receptor on the cells. A receptor is like a doorway on the cell.
The ACE2 receptor or Angiotensin Converter Enzyme is a natural enzyme involved in the function of regulating our blood pressure. The coronavirus actually hijacks this receptor to get inside our cells. Many people who have high blood pressure take a pharmaceutical medication in the form of ACE2 inhibitors. This is what helps to lower blood pressure.
When the ACE2 receptor is blocked because of blood pressure medications, your body may actually work around this creating more ACE2 receptors. More ACE 2 receptors may mean that more the Covid19 virus can enter cells. This is one reason why those with high blood pressure may be more at risk for Covid19 infections. The best way to avoid that, is to follow natural solutions to help lower blood pressure, and thereby helping you prevent getting sick from Covid19.
Stay well, be healthy, and remember, a healthy body is the best defense against any disease.