Research Review: COVID-19, enhancing prevention, protection through nutrition and lifestyle

Review of Webinar:

Current Controversies in Natural Therapeutics of Immune Support:
A roundtable discussion with three renowned clinicians

[Dr David Brady, Dr Todd Lepine, and Dr Peter D’Adamo)
Hosted by Designs for Health and Diagnostic Solutions, Jason Bosley Smith

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. 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, which then triggers  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.

POSSIBLE NUTRIENT THERAPIES

Various nutrients are essential for immunocompetence, particularly vitamins A, C, D, E, B2, B6, and B12, folic acid, iron, selenium, and zinc. Micronutrient deficiencies are a recognized global public health issue, and poor nutritional status predisposes to certain infections. These nutrient deficiencies are also seen as part of the aging process; but in a way, aging IS inflammation, possibly cyclically because of leaky gut and nutrient deficiencies. Diet alone may be insufficient, and tailored micronutrient supplementation based on specific age-related needs may be necessary, as well as person-specific needs (gender, exercise routine, stress level, genetics, diet, etc).

Vit D plays a huge role in preventing respiratory viral infections and decreases gene expression of various pro-inflammatory cytokines (such as TNF-α, IFN- β, ISG15, CXCL8, IL-6, and RANTES.)

Melatonin is a potent inhibitor of the NLRP3 inflammasomes; melatonin spikes in childhood and then tapers off as we age. This may be another reason children seem to have milder versions of this illness.

Nitric Oxide can inhibit NLRP3 inflammasomes. It also reduces oxidative stress (oxidation damages the body), regulates hypoxia signaling (helps get more oxygen to your body), supports the strength and integrity of your mitochondria (mitochondria are the “energy factories” in your cells, making energy for your body), and modulates the immune defenses to stem the progression of cytokine storms (boosts your immune system to help calm over-production of pro-inflammatory cytokines). Nitric Oxide is most commonly found in beets. 

Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) can inhibit NLRP3 inflammasomes in proper doses, which decreases the inflammatory IL-1b secretions, without inducing any cytotoxic effects or cell death. Best Vitamin C food is papaya, followed by bell peppers. [you can read more in my Facebook post about Vitamin C here.]

Elderberry should be safe if you’re not in respiratory distress. If you’re not symptomatic, Dr. Brady says he would keep taking it. “Cytokine Storms” usually mean the cytokines are boosted 6,000x normal; elderberry is meant to be a gentle therapy, and so typically only boosts cytokine levels 1.5-3x normal.

[Side Note: “Cytokine Storm” warnings have been flying around social media, telling people to avoid Advil and Elderberry and probably other “anti-inflammatory” or “immune boosting” items. Yes, Cytokine Storms are a real thing, where the boosting of pro-inflammatory cytokine triggers the boost of another, and in an inflamed body, this can become a dangerous downward spiral of health. But, there are many types of cytokines as you may have noticed in this reading, some pro-inflammatory, but others anti-inflammatory. And it takes a lot to trigger a “Storm.” Elderberry does boost a few pro-inflammatory cytokines that normally help gently kill off microbes, but in normal dosing is not likely to have a negative effect on a person because it is such a gentle therapy, especially if a person is asymptomatic.]

Stinging Nettle tea made from the leaves can help reduce the production of pro-inflammatory markers, such as TNF-α , IL-6, and CRP. Stinging Nettle root also has protective properties; it may have cytokines that kill off viruses and inhibit viral fusion. It has been shown to help protect against SARS. In mice, it also helped reduce fluid in the lungs, a common trait of pneumonia. 

Quercetin is being studied for its anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties. It’s a pigment, found in many plants and foods: green tea, apples, berries, Brassica vegetables, capers, grapes, red wine, onions, shallots, tomatoes; many seeds, nuts, flowers, barks, and leaves; various kinds of honey. 

Resveratrol significantly inhibited MERS-CoV infection, and decreased its ability to replicate itself. So it is speculated that resveratrol may have similar effects on SARS-CoV-2. Found in red grapes

What that means: the foods you eat matter. Quality supplements matter. Find a clean eating diet, join my group for anti-inflammatory eating, or get personalized food help tailored to your specific inflammatory food sensitivities. 

BOTTOM LINE:

When our immune system is balanced and working well, it can usually take care of things! 

“We don’t necessarily die by having the virus in us, we die by our immune response’s over-reaction to the virus.” A controlled inflammatory response towards infection is good. It is part of a healthy immune system. But an uncontrolled inflammatory response can cause complications, and COVID-19 poses a greater risk of triggering a systemic over-reaction. Complications include pulmonary edema (fluid, swelling), and the cytokine storm. It is these uncontrolled, over-reactions of the immune system and inflammatory response that have been associated with more severe disease states and higher mortality. Thus, lessening and suppressing the hyper-inflammatory response may be very beneficial in preventing immunopathology.

What that means: if you can build a strong immune system, and keep inflammation controlled, you may be able to help prevent getting sick, having such severe symptoms, and have a better chance for a longer, better quality life after all of this is over.

STRENGTHEN YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM,
AND MAKE YOURSELF FIRE-PROOF
(or, at least, Fire-Resistant)

Think of the Coronavirus like an arsonist trying to set your home on fire. First, he has to make it to your home… then he has to get inside your home… then, he has to be able to ignite something. If you already have small fires in place, it is easier to fan those flames into something devastating. If you have flame-retardant materials everywhere, though, it will be more difficult. And, if he does happen to get something lit, it’s good to have a fire extinguisher available to try to squelch the little fire before it catches on to one thing then another, and quickly spreads through your house, destroying everything it can. How you protect your house, and have back-up plans, determines how great a chance you have at preserving your precious home.

Likewise, how you protect your body, and what healing systems you have in place, can reduce your risk of a devastating “fire” in your body, as the coronavirus sweeps through the country.

  1. So, keep your “home” (your body) away from the coronavirus exposure as much as you can! Stay home, avoid crowds, keep your physical distancing
  2. Keep the outside of your “home” strong and sanitized. Wash your hands; wipe grocery cart handles; clean after touching door knobs, car handles, delivery packages, etc; sanitize your countertops; wash work clothes immediately if your job keeps you in higher-risk areas; and practice other good general hygiene. 
  3. Put out current fires in your “home” as quickly as possible by reducing inflammatory foods and behaviors. 
    1. Cut way down on (or eliminate completely) processed foods, sugar, white flour/bread/pasta, high amounts of caffeine or alcohol, fried foods, margarine
    2. Remove common food sensitivities such as gluten, wheat, dairy, soy. Find out your specific food sensitivities
    3. Reduce exposure to toxic chemicals (cigarette smoke, pollutants, pesticides, sprays, fumes, etc)
    4. Reduce stress and cortisol
    5. Repay “sleep debt” from too many nights of too little sleep
  4. Make your “home” as fire-proof as possible.
    1. 70% of your immune system resides in your gut. So get it healed up.
    2. Get on high quality supplements (multivitamin, probiotic, omega-3s)
    3. Eat nutrient-rich foods with good antioxidants: dark, colorful vegetables; berries and other fruits; omega-3 fatty fish; whole grains or whole starches; nuts and seeds
    4. Get 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night
    5. Get sunshine daily
    6. Get your heart rate up at least 30 minutes a day
    7. Get off the couch, or out of the chair, and stretch every hour
    8. Drink more water
    9. Smile

SOURCES:

over 30 research sources from this webinar and on this topic can be found here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1cQVap50vBpKDC1bgpfVtjIfDwaLSv6Dj