This article is not meant as full guideline for dealing with the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Please visit the CDC website to stay informed on this pandemic. You can also visit the John Hopkins Coronavirus Rescource Center to see updated numbers of where the virus is spreading. The focus on this article is on natural strategies to improve your immune system, lifestyle and nutritional approaches.
The CDC has estimated that each year, there are approximately 9 million–45 million flu illnesses in the United States. On top of this, individuals face the threat of viral illnesses — including the new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) — which can result in symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, and a cough. While it can be challenging to fully prevent exposure to these viruses, there are natural strategies that you can use to best protect yourself from illness.
Your role in stopping the COVID-19 virus
Many of our patients have (understandably) expressed concern regarding their susceptibility to the coronavirus — also known as COVID-19. Amid the continued rapid spread of the illness, and warnings from the CDC, it is crucial to know how to best protect yourself and your family from the coronavirus.
Also, it is important not to forget about the current high risk of developing the flu. While you can become sick with various strains of the flu at any time of year, the end of winter/beginning of spring is a time when your risk is elevated.
In addition to social distancing and thoroughly washing your hands throughout the day, there are several natural ways in which you can reduce your chances of becoming sick. Currently, much of the focus on people avoiding contact with others is to reduce the chance to spread the COVID-19 to others who are immunocompromised.
Explore strategies you can begin using immediately to naturally prevent coronavirus and the flu, and other viral illnesses.
Boost Vitamin C Levels
For decades, vitamin C has been utilized for both its preventive and healing properties. This is especially true in relation to viral illnesses. Daily consumption of the vitamin, whether through supplementation and/or diet, can ward off viruses and reduce the duration of illness.
When boosting your daily intake of vitamin C, it is also crucial to avoid excess sugar consumption. Not only is sugar bad for the immune system, but it can also deplete your body’s supply of vitamin C. Therefore, when working to prevent the flu, coronavirus, and other viruses, be sure to skip the sweets whenever possible. Look for food-based vitamin C products or liposomal versions which can increase absorption.
Vitamin C deficiencies can result in impaired immunity and a higher incidence of infections (1). Proper vitamin C levels impact the immune system by enhancing inflammation and metabolic requirements. Trials have also been shown when vitamin C is combined with zinc it shortens symptoms and duration of respiratory infections and the cold (2).
Supplement With Vitamin D3
Another exceptional vitamin for boosting your immune system is vitamin D3. However, according to the latest figures, it has been estimated that around 42% of Americans are deficient in this vitamin. This is why it is especially critical to ensure that your levels are not hovering too low.
To be certain that your vitamin D3 levels are where they need to be, check your levels 2-3x a year. If you are getting sick often, this could be a sign that your levels are too low. For the general population, it is best to strive for vitamin D3 levels that are between 60-85 ng/ml. My general recommendation during flu/virus season is 5,000-10,000IU.
There is strong evidence that the best micronutrients for basic immune support is the use of Vitamins C, D and Zinc (3). In our current environment with the coronavirus spreading rapidly, these 3 nutrients should be taken by every man, women and child in our country at a minimum!
Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) for cold and flu prevention
Sambucus nigra or also known as “Elderberry” is one of the plants most commonly used for medicinal purposes in the world. In addition to it's medicinal properties it has a pleasant taste, which makes it useful in creating a pleasant tasting liquid herbal extract suitable for children.
There are certain herbs and other natural compounds that have potential for antiviral, antibacterial, as well as the ability to stimulate natural killer cell, T-cell and B-cell immunity, but very few have all the properties of Elderberry.
Elderberry has show significant improvement in an array of conditions such as influenza, respiratory tract infections, sinusitis, cancer prevention, viral hepatitis, and various bacterial infections. It’s been found safer than the use of over the counter drugs for cold and flu while being more effective (4)
Utilize Essential Oils
Essential oils have long been utilized for their strong antiviral properties. Multiple studies have even backed up this claim, revealing that specific essential oils can help prevent the flu and other viruses.
Which essential oils possess antiviral properties?
- Cinnamon bark
- Lemon (more specially, lemon balm)
- Tea tree
- These are just to name a few
To harness the maximum antiviral and immunity-boosting properties of these essential oils, you can diffuse your favorite blend throughout your home and office. Alternatively, you can create a blend for topical application, using both the essential oils and a carrier oil (such as olive, coconut or jojoba oil). Some essentials oils are approved for ingesting but please exercise caution or seek the advice of a physician, chiropractor or functional medicine practitioner.
Increase Garlic Intake
In addition to providing delicious flavoring to dishes of all kinds, garlic is well-known for its antibacterial and antiviral properties. By crushing or chewing garlic, it produces a compound known as allicin. This compound is what ultimately helps boost the immune system. Taking a liquid form of allicin is one of my favorite strategies.
One recent study found that garlic is so effective that it can prevent the onset of viral illnesses. If a person is already sick, it can reduce the length of time an individual experiences symptoms. On top of the antiviral capabilities, garlic has been effectively used in regulating blood pressure, assisting in high cholesterol and addressing bacterial, viral and parasitic infections (5).
Natural Viral Strategies That Don’t Get Enough Attention
Silver has been used throughout history for its ability to disinfect and assist with pathogens. The medical uses of silver include wound dressing, antibiotic coatings, medical devices and topical use on external infections.
Although you may have heard of nanoparticle silver you may not be aware of its long list of benefits such as:
- Catalytic Action - more effective than how colloidal silver works. This process allows the silver molecule to destroy over and over again where colloidal silver does not possess this ability.
- Viral Disruption - can bind with the charged, viral molecules, preventing replication.
- Non-toxic even if used multiple times per day for weeks
- No side effects safe enough for those with compromised immune systems.
- Does not encourage resistant microbial strains.
A Brigham Young University report found nanoparticle silver to be effective at killing every pathogenic bacterium it was tested against at less than 10 ppm. Among this list were salmonella and E. coli (food poisoning), Klebsiella pneumonia and oxytoca (pneumonia), Haemophilus influenza (ear infections, meningitis), Enterobacter aerogenes (UTIs), and Streptococcus mutants.
Get Over Eight Hours of Sleep
One commonly overlooked method of preventing illnesses of all kinds is simply getting enough sleep. For the immune system to function at its peak, most adults need between seven to nine hours of sleep. On top of helping the body fight off viruses, getting proper rest can help you recover much quicker if you do become ill.
Hydrate with Bone Broth
It has been estimated that as many as 75% of American adults experience chronic dehydration. With increasingly busy schedules, it can be a challenge to remember to drink enough water during the day. Unfortunately, chronic dehydration is a lifestyle factor that can put you at an even greater risk for developing viral illnesses.
In addition to drinking at least eight glasses of water, hydrate during the day with bone broth. Bone broth has the added benefit of containing minerals, which is an essential component of staying hydrated.
Clean Your Air & Environment
For many people steps can be taken to clean and disinfect the air of your home. Some research suggests our in-home air is more toxic than the outdoor air. It’s important to consider as people self-quarantine or avoid crowds, how toxic is your indoor air?
The COVID-19 Coronavirus is obviously so new that it hasn’t been tested against air purification systems but systems have been tested against other viruses such as H1N1, MERS, and MRSA some studies have found a virus and bacteria reduction of between 86-99 percent.
Read up on AirOasis Ionic Air Purifiers this could be another option to add further protection to your loved ones. Personally, these units are in my office and home although I receive no financial incentive or get paid to share information about these units.
Warnings and Precautions with Hand Sanitizers
Using hand sanitizers multiple times a day hasn’t been proved more effective than hand washing. Stay away from excessive use of hand sanitizers. Unless you are frequently in a hospital setting washing your hands with soap and warm water for 30 seconds is best, many hospitals and medical authorities agree (6).
*Please note there is not much known about the COVID-19 Coronavirus until recently. There is not research into exactly which natural strategies will work best. It is always best practice to increase the body's natural immunity and resilience to fighting any disease instead of waiting for sickness.
If you have questions or are looking to speak with someone on our team you can book a free 15-minute call at no charge. Hopefully this will provide some hope in these times of uncertainty.