[last updated April 21, 2020]
[Pg 1: Intro to How Covid-19 attacks, inflammation, immune health]
[Pg 2: Nutrition & Herbal Info]
[Pg 3: Exercise and Immunity]
[Pg 4: Sleep for Protection]
[Pg 5: Stress, anxiety, and mood]
[Pg 6: Bottom Line – What You Can Do]
[Pg 7: Sources and citations]
The government, CDC, and Public Health leaders keep saying “it’s when, not if” you will get sick. So instead of just sitting back, hoping social distancing and hand washing keeps you out of the battle, start preparing your body now for the fire that is all but inevitable within the next few weeks, and take control. Become empowered; be proactive – there ARE things you can do.
“We don’t necessarily die by having the virus in us, we die by our immune response’s over-reaction to the virus.”–Dr Todd Lepine
ABOUT COVID-19 AND WHAT IT DOES TO YOU
INFLAMMATION IN THE LUNGS
The coronavirus produces a protein that kicks off this domino-chain reaction of inflammation in the lungs:
The virus triggers NLRP3 inflammasomes (fancy name for chemicals that cause internal damage in your body) which then triggers the specific inflammatory agent IL-1β (Interleukin 1β, a pro-inflammatory cytokine), thus causing more inflammation. This cascade of inflammatory chemicals targets the thin membrane where your lungs and blood normally exchange oxygen and CO2, thickening the tissues and making the exchange difficult. All of this uncontrolled progressive inflammation continues, and the diminished gaseous exchange leads to hypoxemia (below normal levels of oxygen in the body) and damages alveoli in the lungs. Patients often develop Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome/Acute Lung Injury (ARDS/ALI).
When you have the flu and feel “run over by a truck,” that is usually the result of excessive cytokines and inflammation. COVID-19 is similar, but those inflammatory agents more specifically attack the lungs.
What that means: the virus causes your body to release a host of chemicals that cause inflammation in the body. The inflammation seems to target the lungs in many patients, thickening up membranes there. This makes it harder to get oxygen from your lungs into your blood, and the CO2 back out – so breathing becomes more rapid and forced. This all results in shortness of breath and often an elevated heart rate. [this is explained in a Facebook video here]. You need to reduce inflammation in your body now, and boost your immune system to prepare for anti-inflammatory protection later.
COVID-19 and GUT HEALTH
More recent research shows that the coronavirus is also very dominant in the GI (gastrointestinal) tract.
Digestive symptoms (such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or diarrhea) were tied to worse COVID-19 hospitalization outcomes: “Whereas 60% of patients without digestive symptoms recovered and were discharged, only 34.3% of the patients with digestive symptoms recovered.” The virus seems to be able to get into the GI tract; a strong and healthy gut may have a better likelihood of protecting your body from this invader.
What that means: in addition to inflammation in the lungs, many patients seem to have their gut lining attacked. The gut is one of the key aspects of health and immune protection. A damaged gut is often at the root of many other health problems. So if your gut is already weak, and gets attacked by the virus, it is a damaging circle that sets you up for more health problems later in life. Diabetes, autoimmune disorders, bone and joint problems, cardiovascular disease and more all have links to leaky gut and inflammation. You need to strengthen your gut health now to build better defenses and minimize your risks.
CO-MORBIDITY AND OTHER DISEASE STATES
“Today, a large percentage of the world’s population is either elderly and/or living with one or more chronic medical conditions [such as heart disease, obesity, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and/or diabetes mellitus]. The number of immunosuppressed individuals (due to untreated HIV infection, transplantation or/and chemotherapy) is also increasing. This changing population demographic is of significance as each one of these host factors is known to increase the severity of even mild influenza virus infections.”