Main MessageThe number one thing I want you to remember is that fear, panic and stress lowers immune strength so our aim really is to keep as calm and as positive as possible. That comes mainly from feeling informed, taking positive, helpful action and being as in control as you can be. Our task is basically to help our immune system be strong enough to fight the virus easily and keep severity of it low. Many people – probably the vast majority – will have a mild case or not even know they had it. What we don’t want is a severe case, and the social distancing measures are to hopefully make sure we don’t all get it at once and overwhelm the health care systems across the world, so do please play your part in that.
Get Quality InfoFor good quality coronavirus info, I would suggest you eschew the news channels and head straight for WHO, NHS, UK Govt ,NIH and Johns Hopkins University, who all seem to be giving calm, straightforward expert advice. There is a LOT of info around, much of it very speculative (which it must be given the nature of this novel virus). It is easy to become overwhelmed and this is really not going to help the amygdala fear-firing levels! Bear in mind that the statistics we are all hearing are very speculative currently because of the lack of testing. We simply don’t know the true rate of infection or true mortality rates because we don’t know who’s had it and who hasn’t. It could be a lot better than we are anticipating, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to take action just in case. Whatever we do is only going to help save lives now and help us learn and be better prepared for when this happens again. Pandemics are relatively frequent across the world. Our current situation is actually not as unusual as you’d think, even though our response to it is! To compile this document, I have been trying to stick to good sources: people I rate for their extensive knowledge, clinical experience and/or research abilities. Those include (but are not limited to) Dr Zoe Harcombe, Dr Sarah Myhill, Biocare, Nutri-Link, Nutrigold, Dr Datis Kharrazian, Dr Michael Murray – we thank them for their work 🙂
Why are some people more vulnerable than others?That’s the $50m question isn’t it? Experts will be trying to work the answers to that out for a very long time, I suspect. For me, it comes down to how strong the body and immune system is. Everyone comes into contact with germs and viruses all the time, but the difference in how our bodies can fight them off. Some people may be simply more genetically weak immunologically or have some kind of genetic uniqueness that makes them more or less susceptible – although don’t forget your genes are not ‘set’, they are affected mostly by diet and lifestyle choices. And of course some people have other conditions that mean their immune system is already ‘busy’ or overwhelmed either systemically or in the localised area of attack (lungs, throat etc in this case), making them less able to fight effectively. Here’s some more info on that vexing question from a Biocare blog post I saw recently:
[Ed: In fact, only today I saw figures from a study in Wuhan where they found most people who died from COVID-19 were over 50, male and had at least one chronic illness, the top ones being high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes – if that describes you, it is even more important you take more care of yourself using the info below and from your doctors, please. That’s not to say you’re even going to get the virus and you might have it mildly or not even know you’ve got it; just that having one or more chronic conditions makes the severity risk higher. Knowledge is power. I do also wonder if it is the meds people are taking for these things that might also be causing some problems, which brings us neatly onto the next point Biocare made…]
Why are older people at more risk?An age-related decline in immune function is one of the most recognised consequences of ageing.[iii] This age-related change is driven by reduced production of white blood cells, free radical damage, and increased inflammation.[iv] The immune system of older individuals is therefore prone to mounting a weaker response to ‘threats’ such as bacteria and viruses than that of younger individuals. It is common for older individuals to have one or more health conditions which can compromise their immune system further. A health survey published in 2018 reported that 33% of women and 42% of men aged 75 and over were living with cardiovascular disease,[v] whereas the prevalence was around 5% for both genders aged 16-34 years.
Use of multiple medications is prevalent amongst the older population. 1 in 10 people aged 65 and over take at least 8 different prescribed medications a week, with this increasing to 1 in 4 of those aged 85 and over.[vi] But did you know that certain medications can actively deplete nutrients? For example, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can deplete iron and vitamin C, blood pressure medications (e.g. diuretics, beta blockers) can deplete zinc, and bronchodilators and statins can deplete vitamin D.[vii] Commonly prescribed medications can therefore reduce an individual’s level of the very nutrients required for a strong immune system! For those on multiple medications, we encourage them to contact us, the Clinical Nutrition team, so we can advise them about which nutrients they might need to increase their intake of. [Ed: or ask me :)] Dehydration is common amongst older individuals. Some dislike the taste of water, while others opt for a cup of tea instead, not realising that tea and coffee are ultimately dehydrating due to the caffeine. [Ed: I’m not sure that’s true anymore actually, but….] There is even a suggestion that older individuals may be less likely to experience thirst and more likely to drink less as a consequence.[viii] Dehydration can impair blood flow and cellular activity which might then compromise immunity. It is also a risk factor for urinary tract infections (UTIs) and poor kidney health,[ix] which can put further strain on the immune system. Poor digestion – as we get older, stomach acid production tends to decline by 30-40% which can compromise our ability to digest and absorb nutrients efficiently from food.[x] This can make us more prone to nutrient depletion, which can then compromise the health of the immune system and beyond. Many medications also directly impact our gut microbiome, such as antibiotics[xi] and PPIs,[xii] further compromising our digestive and immune system. [Ed: see more on low stomach acid and enzymes here.] Poor digestion coupled with other factors such as low dietary diversity and use of multiple medications, is likely putting older individuals at risk of nutrient deficiencies/insufficiencies which are weakening their immune system, including:
Zinc supports the function of white blood cells and low levels impair immunity.[xiii],[xiv],[xv]Zinc deficiency may increase the risk of pneumonia amongst older individuals.[xvi]
Vitamin A supports multiple aspects of the immune response.[xvii],[xviii] Deficiency is associated with an increased risk of infection.[xix]
Vitamin D supports bone health,[xx] immune function,[xxi] and mental health[xxii] to name just a few functions. Up to 50% of adults aged 65 and over in the UK are deficient in vitamin D though![xxiii] Vitamin D has specifically been shown to help prevent and manage the symptoms of viral infections in older individuals.[xxiv]
Iron is vital to healthy oxygen transport around the body.[xxv] Iron deficiency therefore limits oxygen delivery to cells, driving fatigue and decreased immunity.[xxvi],[xxvii]
If you were to look at just one intervention…there is mounting evidence that vitamin D for example is a negative endocrine regulator of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) (a prime site for the ACE2 receptors that SARS-Cov-2 uses to enter the cells), and that optimisation of vitamin D levels can lower RAS activity via transcriptional suppression of renin expression. Since at this time of the year (spring), the lack of vitamin D in the population of the northern hemisphere and in the black, Asian and minority ethnic population is widely observed, it is likely that the role of RAS in COVID-19 disease is not negligible. Indeed, the world distribution of COVID-19 fatalities appears to overlap with that of the vitamin D lacking population. [My emphasis, Ed]. Not to mention that people lacking vitamin D have a weaker innate immune defence against SARS-CoV-2. Vitamin D supplementation at 2-5000iu a day for adults is a very low risk, immune resilience generating option worth exploring.Note the link with Vitamin D to the ACE receptors there. This is also why experts think men might be more at risk. They have more ACE2 enzymes in their blood than women do. High levels are found in blood, testes, kidneys, heart and blood tissue linings in men – which is where a lot of the COVID symptoms are appearing, I note. You can see my recommendations on Vitamin D testing, products, foods and dosages below. Glutathione It is well-known that levels of the ‘master antioxidant’ glutathione drop off as we get older. there is some research and suggestion now that glutathione levels might be key to Covid, as a preventative, managing severity and in recovery. Have a read of Dr Murray’s piece here and the original research is here. In my view – especially if you have absent glutathione genes as I do – it might not be a bad idea to boost it. In this case, less is more because high dosages of glutathione are likely to downgrade absorption, so about 100-200mg of reduced glutathione like this or NAC – the precursor – would be a good idea. Both are TGF (grain and dairy free). See below in Supplements for more information on how to take etc.
How do you know if your immune system is strong?Well, you tend to fight things off easily, of course, but you can get some clues from your GP or blood test results (see Blood Chemistry tests). Check your white blood cell count, especially lymphocytes. Check your IgA levels (the Biolab Total Immunoglobulins includes it). Secretory IgA (SIgA) is particularly important as it is the first line defence system in the mucosal systems, which is what is under attack with this virus. If testing, you need the salivary one preferably rather than gut although both are a good idea as the gut and mucosa are the main routes of entry for this virus. That’s why some of the supplements below are to boost that specifically. Bear in mind that it might be difficult to get blood samples taken given the current situation, but I share the info anyway in case. If low, your immune system is not as strong as it might be and you can use some of the suggestions below to improve things. You’ll note that many of the immune strengtheners below are about making sure we have enough Natural Killer (NK) cell activity and I’m working on a test to check that soon.
Testing: COVID, Antibodies and AppsThere are two main tests around. The first ( a swab test usually) is to test if people have COVID-19 at that current moment. You must bear in mind it might not test positive just before or after the virus. The second test is to look for antibodies. This is really crucial in my view because we need to know if people have developed antibodies such as IgM or IgG to the virus as this should confer immunity. There are two things to know about the antibody tests: first, even though I am being offered them from all over the place, I do not believe they are fully validated yet and I am not going to recommend a test that could be giving you a false positive or negative. People who think they have immunity will feel they are OK to go out and about again. However, people can still have virus on their hands etc and can still pass it onto others easily. And we don’t know if having antibodies actually does confer immunity or not. The jury is out on that one yet. Some people I believe have not shown any antibodies, others very few and still other people have loads. We’re not sure why. We don’t even know yet if COVID-19 will only provide immune protection for a few days, months, years or whatever – a bit like why we get the flu regularly or some people choose to have vaccines: the immunity doesn’t last in some coronaviruses. The upshot is that we desperately need info on who has had the virus and who has immunity, but we are not able to test effectively yet to get that data. I know some of my colleagues are offering test kits. I have chosen not to until I am certain we have them properly validated and the results can be relied upon. That may not be for many weeks yet, but my view is a bad test is worse than no test. In the meantime, we can do something to help. Please use one of the apps daily to give data on how you are – whether you have symptoms or not. This is really important information as the app will help to tell us where hotspots are, how many people might have had or currently have the virus etc. Information is power. So do please add yours to the mix. It only takes 1 minute a day. Please help the frontline gather more data: https://covid.joinzoe.com/ You can read more about it here.
MasksQuite frankly, I’m surprised we weren’t advised weeks ago to wear masks when out in supermarkets, queues etc and certainly it should have been announced that it was compulsory to wear one when we were all advised to go back to work – many people were unable to avoid crowded public transport. But then again, I am surprised at a lot of the way this crisis is being handled if I’m honest! I suspect the reason we weren’t has nothing to do with science and much to do with not having enough PPE for the people for frontliners and carers. It does make me mad. Anyway, I thought I’d share why I think masks are a good thing. I still think the idea should be only go out if you have to, but if you can’t avoid it, here’s my advice on mask effectiveness. Just because you’re wearing a mask doesn’t negate the need to wash your hands or social distance; that is still the best advice. Also, you need to handle the used masks very carefully, taking them off by the straps/ties well away from anyone else and put them in a sealed plastic bag to be thrown away, or in the closed washing machine ready for washing. Nose Entry It seems the primary entry point for the virus, researchers found, is the nose. No real surprise there. The virus gets a foothold in the nose, then sneaks down the respiratory tract when breathed into the airways. This would make masks seem a useful thing to use – stop the virus at the point of entry – as long as the mask is actually covering the nose; I’ve seen plenty of examples where it is loose or hardly over the nose at all! Nasal cleansing would also seem a good idea – neti/salt pots, inhaling essential oils as I do – see more on this below. DROPLETS LAST IN THE AIR FOR 14 MINUTES! Here’s some research about why masks might help avoid transmission – I have bolded some bits for emphasis:
New research confirms that masking is still one of the most important methods of preventing the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. A study published online May 13 in PNAS found that normal human speech emits droplets that can linger in the air up to 14 minutes, which is plenty long enough for them to be inhaled by someone standing nearby. This study suggests that these floating particles could be the primary method of person-to-person transmission of the virus. The researchers used an intense sheet of laser to measure the size of the droplets emitted during speech that were small enough to remain airborne. They estimated that 1 minute of loud speaking generated at least 1000 droplets capable of carrying the virions that can result in infection. Face masks should go a long way toward blocking these droplets.That makes quite a case, doesn’t it? That means that it is wise to avoid standing in the same place as someone else did a few minutes before (queues, checkouts, at shop tills etc), being near people for extended periods of time (public transport) and getting in the slipstreams of joggers and cyclists going past you at speed. I would wear a mask in all those situations. T-Shirt masks Of course, the PPE issue is a very real and serious one; there just isn’t enough around for everybody. So, buying the usual masks is a no-no in my view. Many clever crafters are making them – just beware they are actually effective and not just ‘pretty’! I shall be making a T shirt mask myself, not being one of life’s crafters! Here’s how to do that and the government’s guidance on masks generally. Essential Oils to Boost Mask Effectiveness The other bit of useful info I have come across to do with masks is using essential oils to boost their effectiveness. Some people are using teatree or other anti-viral oils on the mask itself or within the layers, so anything they do breathe in through the mask inadvertently can be killed or at least hopefully weakened before they inhale it. There’s no guarantee with this but it seems a sensible approach to me. As you know, I have been using essential oils throughout for this very reason. I carry little bottles of them with me when I go out and inhale them frequently. It makes sense to put some on any mask you’re using too. Some people are using a coffee filter paper in between layers with essential oils on, or even a sheet or two of folded kitchen towel or loo paper. I think this is a good idea. Here’s the advice from NHR Essential Oils, for example:
Coronavirus Covod-19 and organic essential oilsAny recommendations here are at your own risk and for you to evaluate your self and take full responsibility for their effectiveness we are not giving any guarantees, basic hygiene and handwashing is the most important. To be fully protected you will need full-face double filter rubber masks, as worn with Hazmat suits in hospital, but organic essential oils below can add a very useful additional layer of protection which adds to a simple paper mask.We have been having lots of enquiries about the antiviral properties of organic essential oils, and advice on what might help with the Coronavirus Covod-19, especially when travelling on planes and trains and public transport etcThe most effective idea we have come across from some of our customer’s recommendations is:To put 5-10 drops of organic Tea Tree essential oil onto your face mask every few hours or twice a day. Other Essential oils that have strong antiviral properties are Organic Eucalyptus, Organic Oregano, Organic Sage, Organic Thyme and Organic Manuka essential oils. These will add the traditional antiviral properties of organic essential oils to the lining of the mouth lungs and throat when you breathe them in through the N95 mask.Please be aware of sensible use of essential oils and to rotate use of oils and give the body a day or two breaks between using oils, so as not to overload one’s system. Always get advice from a professional practitioner. See research papers below on anti-viral nature of Tea Tree essential oils.
Antiviral activity of Australian tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil against herpes simplex virus in cell culture.
Activity of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil on Influenza virus A/PR/8: study on the mechanism of action.Tea Tree Oil Tea tree oil is a traditional medicine used by indigenous Australians and has been shown to have excellent activity against a range of bacteria, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), yeasts, and herpes simplex virus. From: Tropical Dermatology (Second Edition), 2017
LifestyleLifestyle changes/actions are more powerful for keeping your immune system strong than any supplement, so these are important, not a nice to do! Essentially, these are found to increase natural killer (NK) cell activity in the immune system, which is precisely what you want in the current situation.
- The key immune strengthener is enough sleep. Take steps to do what you can to ensure you get enough proper, good quality rest. Check my Insomnia factsheet here for more info.
2. Gut health and diet are the next things to focus on. The very worst diet you could be on for immunity strength is one full of allergens, concentrated or refined sugar, fried foods, little water and eating the same foods every day.If you are sensitive to foods, now is not the time to be testing yourself out on more or new ones: doing so is likely to take energy away from infection-fighting and therefore increase your susceptibility to either getting the virus or the severity of it. Stick to the diet you feel best on for now. High concentrated sugar diets (so that might include juices you’re doing to get your extra Vitamin C) are known to suppress NK cell activity so stick to having ‘sugar with fibre’ options like whole fruit and maybe eat it with some form of protein like nuts. This slows down the glucose hit and the effect on the immune system that causes. (See the Belly fat diet mentioned above). Another good thing to do would be to make sure your diet is diverse as it can be. Essentially, you need to keep your gut microbiome (bacteria balance) as diverse as you can, which confers natural immunity. By having a diverse diet, your microbiome will expand and you will increase your level of the important short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These help control T-reg cell activity in the immune system. Those are needed to modulate the immune response to stop it being either to low or too high. The way to do that is to have plenty of fibres from different foods, particularly veg. A ‘veg shot’ is a good idea. Freeze lots of cubes of as many veg as you can and then put a handful into a blender with water and some kind of flavour (apple?) and drink every day. If you have something like SIBO or FODMAPs, you could take a butyrate supplement instead. Butyrate is the key SCFA in the gut. Even better, do both! Fasting has a good pedigree for supporting immune strength so you could try that if you are so inclined. Don’t do that if your blood sugar is not controlled though (see above in the sleep bit!) as it will then have the opposite effect as you’ll stress the body. Finally, hydrating yourself by sipping water and hot drinks throughout the day is important. Dehydration suppresses immunity and also mucus gets thicker – since we know that COVID-19 seems to thicken mucus and since it seems that’s what’s causing many of the severe lung issues (see more on this below), we particularly want to guard against being dehydrated.
3. Endorphin release is critical to our immune strength and cannot be overestimated. Simply put: being fearful, miserable, lonely, unhappy, panicked (amygdala and limbic activation for those of you who have read my Healing Plan) will lower your immune strength. But the opposite is true: being happy, calm, joyful, socially-connected, hugging, laughing and even crying to release emotions are all important because they improve NK cell activity again.I admit it’s tough to feel happy and calm in the current climate, but we must try to let go of fear and worry as much as we can. The first good idea might be to stop watching the news. Limit yourself to one 10 minute catch up for new developments/advice using the news sources I have given above. Do not watch rolling news or even news programmes, which are essentially entertainment programmes and are more likely to edge your fearful state up than not. Take steps to keep connected with people. We have never had that so good with current technology. Follow my Keep Calm & Boost Your Immunity blog post series where I am posting useful activities for you to do. So far, we have meditation and audio books, but I have several more ideas to share with you so do subscribe to the blog if you haven’t already (why not?!). Personally, I am walking, meditating and doing Qi Gong every day. I limit my news, am reading inspiring books and am listening to lots of music. I chat with my family and friends every day virtually, look at lots of memes that make me laugh (kittens anyone?) – and am working a lot, which makes me happy as I am helping you, I hope :). Some of the best mental health advice I have seen so far is on a Facebook post here, where psychologist, gives us a rundown of the key advice she is currently giving to clients in-clinic. Sorry I can’t copy it here for you; it won’t let me, but you don’t need to be on Facebook to read it.
4. Exercise is another great way to boost immunity, but you need the right amount – not too much! In effect, after exercise you get a rise in inflammation, but also a rise in antioxidants. The inflammation comes down pretty quickly but the antioxidant boost (to offset free radicals produced during the inflammatory response) continues for hours. This is great for immunity. The effect will happen after just 5-10 minutes of getting your heart rate up so your daily walk or whatever your chosen exercise is will help. Just don’t overdo it and cause a large spike in inflammation.A little bit of muscle work and even trampolining will help too. You need to keep your lymphatic system flowing well, we don’t want any stagnant lymph hanging around. Doing stretches like yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong etc or weights will physically ‘squeeeeeze’ your lymph through the lymph channels and nodes, keeping your immune system healthy and flowing well. Jumping up and down, and even skin brushing are other great ways to encourage good lymph flow. There are some great free exercise classes going on online currently so why not choose one of those and do 10-15 minutes a day if you can? As always I like Lee Holden’s Qi Gong and I see he’s done a free Emergency Immune Kit we can follow. I would also start doing some lung exercises. There are several good breathing exercises around but this video (credited by JK Rowling as helping her and recommended by her doctor husband) seems to be a good one. You can do this before any infection but certainly during one. The aim is to get air into the base of the lungs to prevent secondary pneumonia and keep oxygen levels high. Here’s a summary:
1. SIT UPRIGHT: Deep Breath + Hold 5 seconds x 5 [When exhaling, sometimes you can strongly HUFF the breath out which helps with the base of the lungs]. Deep Breath + Cough Into Cloth x 1 Repeat the whole sequence again. 2. LIE ON STOMACH: Pillow under your chest. [Breath slightly deeper than normal] Continue for 10 min. 3. REPEAT REGULARLY. About once an hour or so with an infection, a couple of times a day without seems to be a good idea.Some of the tips in comments under the video are also useful, such as these for helping to keep mucus moving: 1. HEAT on your mid-back. It keeps the mucus from hardening in your lungs. Lying on a warm surface, on your stomach, IN THE SUN, will warm your lungs AND add vitamins D and K to your beleaguered body. 2. Kids’ warm-air humidifier, WITH eucalyptus drops in the water, unless allergic to it. 3. Pummeling your lungs, gently but firmly, however you can, keeps mucus moving. [This is cupping or thumping across your chest]. 4. Taking multiple short breaths in before you release can help to keep the bottoms of your lungs oxygenated. 6. Prop up. Propping your lungs more vertically will help mucus from settling in the backs of your lungs [ie. don’t lie on your back, or flat]. There are some more tips here on relieving mucus congestion. In addition, here are some tips on how to prevent mucus settling into your lungs, which is seemingly what is causing issues with this virus. Postural Drainage Breathing exercises to keep airways clear Positions to help with shortness of breath
DietOur immune system is dependent upon many nutrients to work effectively, not least Vitamins A, C, D, zinc and selenium. At the moment, it might be a good idea to make sure your diet contains plenty of those, so I’ve prepared two free diet resources that might help. The Immune Support Meal Plan – a weekly plan for you to follow, complete with a shopping list and notes. It’s is traditional gluten and dairy free, but you can always swap different meals out or adapt to fit any other dietary requirements. 20 Top Immune Support Recipes – I couldn’t fit them all into the plan so here are some extra ideas for you! You can download both of them for free here. And here are some more general tips for you. Eat more vegetables. This will increase your phytonutrients, such as flavonoids and polyphenols. Mix your colours and get at as many different ones as you can because they all contain different types of antioxidants. Consume anti-viral foods like garlic, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, elderberry and mushrooms. I am having fresh ginger tea every day – just chop up some peeled ginger and steep in boiling water, top up throughout the day. If I could eat it, I’d be having a lot of garlicky, spicy curries!! For extra Zinc, eat pumpkin and sesame seeds, also seafood, beef and lamb, spinach, pumpkin seeds, cocoa, chicken, beans, mushrooms are high in zinc. For extra Selenium 4-5 Brazil nuts a day is enough For extra Vitamin C, eat citrus fruits – kiwi fruits are also an excellent source as are peppers, broccoli, spinach, strawberries, pineapple, oranges, cantaloupe, and cauliflower. Eat raw or cook very lightly to preserve the Vitamin C content. For extra Vitamin A: meat, oily fish, eggs, butter. Fruit and vegetables; carrots, sweet potato, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, cantaloupe melon, and peppers, contain carotenoids which can be converted to vitamin A in the body. Daily turmeric and/or ginger tea.
SupplementsObviously, you may have some trouble accessing these things as there will have been a massive run on them! This represents what I am doing for my family and is based on my latest reading/webinars etc. Bear in mind, COVID-19 is a new virus so this is all speculative. I have tried my hardest to find good quality, well-referenced information from people I trust to devise this – and it will inevitably evolve as we go along. For those of you following a TrulyGlutenFree (grain and dairy free) approach, it’s very hard to find alternatives, but Christine and I are doing our best and have included ideas where we can so far. For those of you who are pregnant or breastfeeding, I have included some ideas for you below too and these are based on information on Pregnancy and Immunity from Biocare. Where I say ‘pregnancy,’ this counts for breastfeeding too. Stick to your multi, extra calcium and magnesium, zinc and Vitamin D with a probiotic. You might also find my Pregnancy factsheet helpful. In short, this can only ever be based on what’s researched and helped viruses in general and I am working in specifics as I come across them for COVID-19 as appropriate. They may or may not help in coronavirus. You must always be led by your chosen health practitioner; I can only give general ideas here. The safest, and most researched supplements would seem to be Vitamins A, C and D and the mineral zinc, see those below. Below is a mix of preventative and acute ideas. Please use the links and codes given here if buying anything which will trigger a small commission for me for all this work, but not cost you any more. Thank you, your support is very welcome x A good immune complex containing elderberry, beta glucans, Vitamin C, zinc and Vitamin D. This acts as a preventative but may also help to shorten the life of any infection. There is a children’s version here. TGF: we can’t find an equivalent yet. Autoimmune: you may want to steer clear of elderberry – jury is out but best be safe. Pregnancy: consider this multinutrient and consider adding extra calcium and magnesium especially for stress and helping sleep. Max magnesium is 350mg per day. Vitamin C: in divided doses up to bowel tolerance level. Start at 3g (3000mg) per day as a good immune boost level. At the first sign of any issue, increase to 10,000mg per day. When your bowel becomes loose, stop and go back down. That is your dosage level. You may need to go higher than this. TGF: Bio-Health Vitamin C (buffered) or Ecological Formulas Pure Vitamin C Powder. Pregnancy: maximum level is 1800mg/day. In fact, Dr Myhill recently did a video using Vitamin C like this, but also iodine breathed into the nose via a salt pipe as a viral killer. See that here: https://youtu.be/mSt8GZ6cOl0. I have got some in! You wouldn’t want to take iodine for too long but it may act as a short-term helper as she describes. Pregnancy: Do NOT do this. Vitamin D3: 2,000 International Units daily. There may be enough in your multi/complex, remember. (Start with 5,000 IU/day for two weeks, then reduce to 2,000) consider having a test to determine needs. You are aiming for between 50- 80ng/mL or 125-200nmol on test results, so if low you may need considerably more than above to pull it up more quickly. Further information can be found here. TGF: Nutrasal Micro D-3. Pregnancy: maximum is 4000iu per day but I recommend you test first. Vitamin A (not beta carotene, but retinol). Aim for 5000iu per day – not if you could be pregnant or are breastfeeding. TGF: Biocare Vitasorb A. Pregnancy, do NOT do this, it could harm your baby. Zinc: 20 mg daily – may be enough in your multi/immune complex [or try zinc lozenges which get straight to the vulnerable mucus membranes.]. TGF: Pure Encapsulations Zinc 15. Or this liquid zinc, which is very low dose but can be used as a spray. Pregnancy: maximum is 34mg/day and you’d do it short-term for about 1-3 months. Quercetin: An excellent preventative. Dr Murray (see below) thinks that the malarial drug chloroquine that is being used in COVID-19 cases quite successfully may be acting as a zinc ionophore. Zinc is needed to stop the virus replicating, however, it needs to be in its ionic form. Quercetin acts as a zinc ionophore apparently, and he says it is 35% as strong as chloroquine, but without the side effects. You need a specific form of Quercetin, though called Phytosome. Quercetin Phytosome, 1-3 per day. You would take this instead of the zinc above. If you can’t get a Phytosome form, use the normal type and take 1g twice a day. TGF: we have checked the Phytosome product out and the ethanol could be from corn, but they can’t tell us. We are also checking out Aqua Biome Sports Performance and will let you know. Pregnancy: do NOT do this. Selenium:100 mcg (micrograms) daily. [May be enough in your multi/immune complex or 4 brazil nuts should do it.] There is some evidence that a selenium yeast form is better for viral infections and absorption. TGF: this is TGF. Pregnancy: there should be enough in your multi. Probiotics. There is some info coming out that there are two routes for infection: via the gut and via the respiratory system. Also that there is a possible increase in leaky gut and a change in the gut bacteria microbiome. It therefore makes sense to keep the gut healthy with a probiotic. Try Bio-Acidophilus Forte, 1 per day away from food or herbs. Also, to keep the so-important SIgA mucosal immunity strong, use Saccharomyces. Boulardii: 3 Billion 3 x daily. I would also make sure your butyrate level is high as discussed above Both probiotics are TGF, use this butyrate: BodyBio Cal/Mag Butyrate. Pregnancy: use 1 -2 per day of Bioacidophilus. Humic-Monolaurin Complex, as a preventative 1-2 per day. As soon as you feel anything, 3 in the morning and 3 in the evening for several days. Take with or without food. You could also try Virese. I like the first one mainly because it also helps to bind the viral pathogens too, but both are excellent. I’ve used this for many years for ME sufferers who have post viral issues as part of their case picture. For more info, you can read here. TGF: both are TGF. Pregnancy: do NOT do this. Specific mucosal health supplements I have added these after reading some really useful information from Dr Murray, who I really rate, and have been waiting to see his take on it. We have to wait until there is enough information on how the virus actually works in the body. There will no doubt be much more information but it seems protecting our mucosal and respiratory membranes and systems makes a lot of sense to me. You can have a read of his very good article here: See here. Also read a fascinating, if somewhat controversial, newsletter he wrote here. For example, he talks about the possibility that a new type of flu vaccine in Italy could be why the mortality rate is so much higher there. He is also worried about whether using PPIs and antacid meds may not be helping some people. NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine), helps to build glutathione, the major antioxidant for the respiratory tract and is also used for reducing mucus thickness and helping the lungs disperse it, which is turning out to be one of the main problems with this virus. Dosage is generally 500-1000mg per day, divide dose with 200mg or so every 2-3 hours for reducing mucus (split the capsule). Max is 2000mg per day. TGF: this product is TGF acc to ARG. You can also eat a lot more sulphurous foods if you can, such as garlic, leeks, onion which will also help build glutathione levels Alternatively, you can take some reduced glutathione as above at 100-200mg per day instead of the NAC. Pregnancy: do NOT do this. Enzyme Defense, a proteolytic enzyme containing mucolase, an enzyme specifically to break down mucus. It also comes in a higher strength version. Follow the tub instructions, depending on which strength you are taking. TGF: there is nothing TGF to match this. The enzymes will be grown on possibly corn sugar but should be none left. Should be Ok unless hypersensitive. Pregnancy: Do NOT do this.
ChildrenIt can be a good idea to make sure children are getting a good level of nutrients currently too, even though, happily, they are much less likely to succumb it seems. Here is some useful information I picked up from Biocare for you, with my comments and changes as always for you: Summary: A great strategy for supporting immunity in children would be a children’s multinutrient formula which includes a range of immune-supporting nutrients such as vitamin A and zinc, alongside probiotics, and perhaps extra vitamin C and elderberry, when needing additional support. See below for more on what else you can do to help if they do pick up an infection. Start with a good all-round multi like this or a slightly stronger one here for 4 yrs plus, and then add anything else on top to match their needs. Vitamin D deficiency is common and has been linked to tonsillitis in children,[i],[ii] so ensuring adequate supply could be useful in preventing infection. The Department of Health recommends a daily supplement of 10mcg (400iu) for children from 6 months to 5 years of age. Higher levels (1200iu) in school children can reduce the incidence of flu by 40%.[iii] At times of need, you can increase the level for a short period of time (1-2 weeks). Vitamin D upper limits for short-term in children:
- Vitamin A rich foods: meat, oily fish, eggs, butter. Fruit and vegetables; carrots, sweet potato, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, cantaloupe melon, and peppers, contain carotenoids which can be converted to vitamin A in the body.
- Probiotic foods include full fat yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh and sourdough bread. A great dessert or snack option could be natural yoghurt with a homemade fruit compote (berries for extra vitamin C or stewed apples for fibre). Kefir can be added to a simple smoothie – strawberry, banana, and kefir. Miso paste can be added to soups, spread onto salmon or chicken before baking, or mixed with some oil and apple cider vinegar and drizzled onto salad or roasted veggies.
- Remember a fever is the body’s natural process of dealing with an infection. The raised body temperature can kill off bacteria and viruses that are sensitive to temperature changes. A low-grade fever is a body temperature of over 38oC (100.4oF), and above 39oC (102.2oF) is a high grade fever.
- Natural ways to support a fever include ensuring they are well hydrated (water, coconut water, homemade ice lollies with water and some fruit), get plenty of rest, give them a bath with lukewarm water, and open a window in the bedroom to keep air circulating.
- A traditional remedy used to ‘draw out’ a fever is a washcloth soaked in diluted apple cider vinegar (1 part vinegar to 2 parts water) then placed on a forehead or the abdomen.
- If you feel the need to use medication, speak to a doctor or pharmacist about any medication you or your child might need.
- For older children with a sore throat, they can also gargle with salt water, or use manuka honey with lemon to relieve irritation.
- Prioritise sleep with restricted access to electronic devices. Children may try to persuade you to let them stay up late if they don’t have school in the morning. However, it is important to try to stick to regular sleep routines and practice good sleep hygiene. Try to limit screen time 2-3 hours before bedtime as electromagnetic radiation and bright screens can contribute to environmental stress and inhibit immune function. Turn off the Wi-Fi and listen to the birds outside or read favourite books together.
|Supplement name and brand||Preventive Dose|
|Buffered Vitamin C powder (ARG)||1/8th tspn (0.6 gm) (250mg) one to two times a day|
|Bio-D-Mulsion Forte (BRC) (2,000 iu per drop)||1-2 drops (2-4,000 iu) with dinner for 2 weeks, then 1 drop with dinner (2.000 iu)|
|Bio-Ae-Mulsion (BRC) (2,000 iu per drop)||2-5 y.o. take 1 drop with breakfast 6-13 y.o. take 1-2 drops with breakfast|
|BioProtect (BRC) (multi antiox)||2-5 y.o. take 1 caps per day with food 6-13 y.o. take 1 caps twice daily with food|
|Zn-Zyme (BRC) (15mg per tab)||If taken with BioProtect, no extra zinc suggested for under 5 y.o. children. If taken with BioProtect, 5-13 y.o. take 1 tab with dinner|
|Humic Acid (ARG) (375 mg per caps)||2-5 y.o. take 1/2 caps per day with food 6-13 y.o. take 1 caps per day with food|
|Prolive (ARG) (500 mg per tab)||2-5 y.o. – not indicated 6-13 y.o. – take 1 tab per day with food|
|S. Boulardii (ARG) (3B per caps)||2-5 y.o. – ½ caps per day with food 6-13 y.o. – 1 caps per day with food|
HomeopathyDon’t forget to consider homeopathic treatment. Here is a statement from the Society of Homeopaths. I have had some reports in from various people who have found taking remedies for the symptoms has really helped. This is not the time to self-prescribe though so I suggest you get in touch with your local homeopath for guidance and support. I am also trying to follow up Heels and Guna complex remedies for you, but not getting very far with emails being answered, unsurprisingly. Meantime, these newsletters and poster from my homeopath colleague, Karen, may help. Note she advises to try Aconite 30c 3-5 x day for up to 3 days if you feel symptoms starting. I would also add that taking that or Arsen Alb is said to help if you are worrying and feeling fearful about the virus in general. The Bach Flower remedies will also be invaluable here, especially Rescue Remedy. You can do an online questionnaire here to help you find the right Bach remedy for how you are feeling. Epidemics and Homeopathy Essential Homeopathy and Natural Health Support in the Current Situation Another homeopath colleague as also been very helpful. You can contact Carole here.
Essential OilsFor inhalation, I am using Defensive Qi essential oil mix from Materia Aromatica. I inhale it several times a day and use it on a candle at night. I’ve used this for years when colds and flu are about. I also have the Children’s Bug Beater for when the grandchildren come round, but I also keep some in my handbag and use it on my hands as a (hopeful) contact-killer especially when there is no soap about or I can’t touch it (grain alcohol, see). I need to research the oils properly – my favourite book is stuck in the storage unit somewhere!) but these are good all-rounders to start with. I know some of you are essential oil lovers so do share what you are using/would suggest.
MouthwashesSince the start of the pandemic, I have also been using an essential oil mouthwash to rinse morning and night – just in case it had any effect on anything lurking in my nose, mouth or throat. It seems I’m not daft. Experts have been researching whether various types of mouthwash could help deter COVID-19 spread. There needs to be a lot more research, but one of the experts has it right when he says:
“The bottom line is, you’ve got nothing to lose and potentially a lot to gain,…. So just get on with it.”I would agree with that. It seems there is existing research that suggests some lipid-envelope viruses, like the coronavirus, can be killed by a mix of ethanol and essential oils:
In 1995, researchers tested 26.9% ethanol plus essential oils against herpes, influenza, rotavirus, and adenovirus in vitro. Both herpes and influenza (which are enveloped) were significantly affected, whereas adenovirus and rotavirus (which are not enveloped) were not. This led the investigators to speculate that the oral rinse may alter the viral lipid envelope.
A 2010 unpublished follow-up study by the same group showed that a 30-second in vitro exposure to 21.6% ethanol with essential oils led to a more than 99.99% reduction of infectivity of H1N1 influenza.That is huge! Of course, it doesn’t mean it can affect COVID-19, but I’d say odds-on that it will end up being proven to do so. I can’t personally do the alcohol – it is derived from corn, my nemesis, but I can do the essential oils. Other possibilities mentioned by the researchers include povidone-iodine (remember the iodine inhalations Dr Myhill recommended right at the start…?! – details are in the Guidance doc for you), chlorhexadine and hydrogen peroxide:
Commenting for Medscape Medical News, Stephen J. Challacombe, PhD, King’s College London, United Kingdom, was more definitive in his assessment of certain oral rinses and their role in curbing the spread of COVID-19.
In a review published earlier this year, Challacombe and colleagues assessed current evidence and concluded that povidone-iodine stands the best chance of reducing cross-infection. “Although we haven’t the evidence to absolutely prove that, the risk to healthcare workers is so high that there’s every justification for going ahead and using it,” Challacombe told Medscape Medical News. He also recommends 1.5% hydrogen peroxide ― even though it is not known whether it is inactivated in the presence of other organic matter. “Furthermore, it hasn’t been tried in vivo against a coronavirus,” he noted.So, my message for you today is to get a mouthwash going if you haven’t already, even if it is just filtered water with some essential oils – especially teatree.Chlorhexidine has been subject to less research, though its virucidal properties make it an attractive possibility in this context. “It was tried against a coronavirus some years ago, and it wasn’t terribly effective against them. But that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be effective if you couldn’t get hold of anything else. It’s just that you’ve got far less of an evidence base than with povidone-iodine or hydrogen peroxide,” Challacombe said. Research notwithstanding, he sees little downside to using oral rinses in the fight against the spread of COVID-19.
Hand Washing/MoisturisingWith all the increased hand-washing, many of us are getting very chapped and cracked hands. Personally I am using Faith in Nature Handwash with extra essential oils added (see the Bug Beater above). You could also use Green People’s one for Sensitives with essential oils added. Most handwashes won’t be TGF-safe but you are washing it right off so it should be OK. As I am TGF, I can’t use the alcohol-based ones as they contain grain-based alcohol. You may not be as sensitive and those containing alcohol are preferred for their ability to kill the virus, of course. Soap-wise, people tend to like Oliva mostly. But Akamuti do a great range of TGF soaps and handwashes too so have a look there. Their black soap has great reviews. I am moisturising with Akamuti’s Frankincense Body Moisturiser or Rose & Almond Hand Cream, both of which are TGF.
Other tips sent in….Gargling with salt water at the first sign of a sore throat and to help with throat restriction throughout. If you can’t tolerate iodine or essential oils just steam inhalation helps to keep air passages moist which helps with the coughing. Please also sanitise all shopping, packaging, parcels and post coming into your home either by washing the items or leaving them in a safe area to ‘air off’ for 24 hours. Tins would need to be washed/sanitised as the virus can remain active on metal much longer than 24 hours. You could use diluted bleach, disinfectant or an essential oil like teatree. Best to unpack deliveries at the doorstep if possible so the outside packing can stay outside and if goods not washable or if it’s post, put them into days you know they’re safe that way you don’t have to remember! Then of course wash your hands! And the door handle! If they are in cardboard then open 24 hours later. It depends what is inside, but if items in plastic are inside, then leave them 4 days from when they would have been packed before removing and putting away. Obviously you can’t do that for anything which needs refrigeration. Mucus and phlegm-shifting tips.
Medical Information Document for Hospital VisitsIf you end up going into hospital and you have sensitivities, especially to corn, it pays to have some people ready to advocate for you with doctors and to have an information document ready to hand them. It’s not a nice thought and I found it rather depressing to create one – although it did show me how much better I am now than I was! – but it’s best to get one done. To help, here is an example for you based on mine. Make sure your contacts know where to find it, where your stock of meds etc are if needed and keep a copy in your handbag/purse/wallet at all times if you can. Alternatively, you could get one of those bracelets or tags with medical info on. Let us know if you have a nice one!
Ideas To Aid Recovery After Covid-19I am aware that whilst some people get only mild cases of Covid-19, others really go through the mill with it and the recovery process can be lengthy and arduous. I was considering how we might be able to aid recovery in some way and a few things have occurred to me, so I thought I would share them with you in case they help you or any of your family and friends. Obviously, I can’t make any guarantees here and you need to talk these options through with your chosen health practitioners, but this is what I might do if it were me.
Get the Covid recovery basics rightFirst, the most obvious thing to do is to get plenty of rest, ensure sleep, eat a good rebuilding diet with plenty of good proteins and fats (wild fish, organic, grass-fed meat, olive oil, nuts, avocados etc) and ensure your nutrient levels are high enough for your repair job. Clearly, you may be on meds, so I can’t say what you can take individually, but I’d be considering a really good multivitamin and mineral powder for easy absorption (like this kind of thing maybe), a protein powder (like this maybe), some essential fatty acids (eg. this), plenty of Vitamin C, D, zinc (all fabulous anti-virals, immune-supporters and general repairers) and magnesium especially – really helps fatigue and stress. I would also add some probiotics and gut support to help your gut. This is because the virus affects it and because it will help you absorb nutrients better from that food. This one works well for repair and has some of the extra nutrients in for you too. I might also consider some CoQ10, especially if there was heart involvement in your case. Read up on the various options and please talk to your chosen health practitioners to check you are OK to take stuff, especially if you are on meds.
Make sure there’s no residual coronavirusI think the people I have come across who are struggling seem to go in and out of the virus in waves. This reminds me of chronic fatigue patients who have had their problems start after a viral infection. The first thing I always do there is make sure we kill off any residual virus if we can. It usually really helps them get better more quickly. The way to do that is with monolaurin or lauric acid. This comes from coconut and acts to disrupt the biofilm of the virus – in simple terms, the outer shell that stops our immune cells getting in to destroy the virus. It’s a classic approach in post-viral chronic fatigue cases so I have to wonder if it could be helpful here too. Of course, it is tough to get at the moment; demand for any anti-viral supplement has, understandably, gone through the roof. But if you can get some, try it for 3 months, although people generally feel better symptom-wise after a couple of weeks. Here is some information on it for you from Ecological Formulas, who make one of the products:
WHAT IS MONOLAURIN Monolaurin is an anti-microbial agent that protects the immune system from a range of infectious agents. Monolaurin is a glyceride ester derivative of lauric acid, a fatty acid found naturally in breast milk and certain vegetable oils. This fatty acid has been used as a germicidal agent for centuries. Lauric acid was originally discovered when microbiologists studied human breast milk to determine the antiviral substances which protected infants from microbial infections. It has been shown to protect newborns, whose immune systems are underdeveloped, from Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and other respiratory tract viruses (1,2). Monolaurin was found to have even greater viral activity than lauric acid. As a dietary supplement, Monolaurin has shown exciting results as an anti-viral and anti-bacterial agent. HOW DOES MONOLAURIN WORK Monolaurin works by destroying lipid-coated viruses such as herpes, cytomegalovirus, influenza, and various pathogenic bacteria and protozoa. Monolaurin works by binding to the lipid-protein envelope of the virus, thereby preventing it from attaching and entering host cells, making infection and replication impossible. Other studies show that Monolaurin disintegrates the viral envelope, killing the virus. WHAT IS MONOLAURIN EFFECTIVE IN TREATING In general, Monolaurin can help fight colds, flu, EBV, shingles, herpes, and chronic fatigue syndrome. In studies performed at the Respiratory Virology Branch, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia, Monolaurin was found effective against 14 human RNA and DNA enveloped viruses in cell culture (3). These included influenza, RSV, Rubeola, Newcastle’s, Coronavirus, Herpes Simplex types 1 & 2, Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) and cytomegalovirus. (Monolaurin has no effect on naked viruses, such as polio, encephalitis virus, coxsachie, or pox viruses.) Monolaurin removed all measurable infectivity by disintegrating the virus envelope. In addition to its antiviral effects, monolaurin has also been shown to have antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus agalactiae, Groups A, F & G streptococci, Chlamydia, H. pylori, and against yeast and fungi as well, including Candida and ringworm. HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF DURING THE COLD AND FLU SEASON Monolaurin serves as a valuable nutritional adjunct for people who feel that they are coming down with a cold or flu. Many physicians have developed their own clinical protocols in their cold and flu prevention program and recommend taking several capsules of Monolaurin on an empty stomach. Monolaurin is not the type of nutritional supplement you have to take on a daily basis (although many people take it regularly for prevention purposes), but only when the need arises. If you have a fever or swollen lymph glands, it is always best to see a physician, but if you sense the early warning signs of the flu, like sniffles, sore skin and perhaps a scratchy throat, Monolaurin may offer the first line of defense. ANTIBIOTICS, MONOLAURIN AND THE FLU Antibiotics kill unwanted micro-organisms, but they also kill many friendly micro-organisms. Monolaurin, on the other hand, does not appear to have an adverse effect on desirable digestive bacteria, but rather only on unwanted microorganisms. In addition Monolaurin can reduce the resistance of germs to antibiotics. Frequent antibiotic use can lead to major disruptions in health and especially immune system function. Antibiotic resistance, resulting from the over-use of prescription drugs, is one of the biggest problems facing the medical community today. Resistance is cumulative (and comes in part from antibiotics in our food supply). That’s why it’s important to consider starting with nutritional agents, such as Monolaurin, first. Uncomplicated flu, while unpleasant, is not life threatening and doesn’t necessitate drug therapy. Nutritional physiologic agents, such as Monolaurin, may be a good first choice. IS MONOLAURIN SAFE Not only is Monolaurin included on the GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) list, but it may, by virtue of its source of origin, be safer than many other food supplements that are designed to boost the immune system. One of the safest substances known to man is breast milk. This is where the monoglyceride of lauric acid (Monolaurin) is found. When an infant is born, it is totally dependent on food factors in the mother’s milk for immune protection. In analyzing the composition of human breast milk, medical researchers found lauric acid monoglycerides in high concentrations, which is what led them to study Monolaurin as an anti-viral agent (4,5). Monolaurin is also found in coconut oil, butter, and heavy cream; only recently has it been isolated and purified. It is highly unusual in pharmacology to find chemicals that are toxic to lower forms of life (bacteria, fungi, and viruses) but non-toxic to man. DIRECTIONS: For those who feel as if they are coming down with a viral infection:If you are struggling, I would consider up to 2g per day for a month and then drop down. I usually keep chronic fatigue post-viral patients on it for 3 months to make sure. Chat with your chosen health practitioner always, of course.
For those with a sensitive stomach, Monolaurin can be taken with food. The dose can be tapered off as symptoms decrease. Of course, you should always seek the advice of a physician if you have fever, pain or if symptoms persist. Young children can also take Monolaurin at a reduced dose. If you are giving Monolaurin to children (or adults) who have difficulty swallowing capsules, you can break them open and sprinkle the Monolaurin into something such as applesauce or yogurt. For Epstein-Bar Virus, Herpes 1 & 2, or other chronic viral conditions: 600 mg Capsules – 3 capsules of Monolaurin when there is a flare-up and 1 capsule as a maintenance dose during dormant periods.
- 600 mg Capsules – 3 capsules of Monolaurin on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning, and for more severe cases, 3 more at night.