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Keeping Your Immune System Strong – Covid Times

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE TERRAIN – PART 2!

HOW TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM IN “COVID TIMES”

Last week I discussed the basics of immune system building:  DIET, GUT and HORMONE BALANCE.

Let’s be honest – you can’t just supplement your way to a good immune system so I NEVER recommend to take a bunch of “stuff” without doing the important work behind the scenes!

We learned last week it’s all about the terrain.  So focus on that FIRST! 

BUT, with that being said, there are supportive protocols to boost your immune system during these times!

Below I discuss my favorite nutrients to take and I have added natural food sources and also my favorite brand recommendations HERE!

VITAMIN D3:

Vitamin D3 is one of my absolute favorite supplements for just about everything.  The reason is that it is extremely rare to test someone with normal levels (normal to me is 70ng/ml)– so pretty much everyone is low.  And vitamin D deficiency is linked to everything from Multiple Sclerosis to Cancer to the Common Cold.   But vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to obesity, diabetes and clotting issues – all shown to be big risk factors for contracting Covid and a higher mortality rate for those that have Covid.

Best way to get it is from the sun on our skin.  But people have grown terrified of sun exposure!  Instead of getting a healthy dose of sunlight on our skin to make that beautiful vitamin D many slather sunscreen all over their bodies, wear long sleeves and avoid sunshine like the plague!  If sunshine on our skin helps create vitamin D which is crucial to every part of our body how can it be bad, right??!!  SUNSHINE ON THE SKIN IS NOT BAD!  However, burning is bad!  Use common sense! 

A study published in April 2021 found those with vitamin D deficiency were an almost FIVE times more likely to get Covid – a significant increased risk for contracting Covid¹ and an uber simple fix is to make sure your vitamin D levels are up to par. 

Also, Covid is marked by a significant increase in inflammatory cytokines – small protein cell-signalers.  A low level of Vitamin D is also connected to an increase in inflammatory cytokines and an increased risk of viral upper respiratory tract infections².

Big connection here, folks! 

Food Sources:  Wild-caught fish, beef liver, egg yolks, dairy

Recommendation:  Get out in the sun, eat foods high in D3 and take my favorite brand of Vitamin D3 – a liquid that is highly absorbable and contains some K2 as well – FIND IT HERE.  And you need way more than 600iu daily to get and maintain those levels near 70ng/ml!   

 

ZINC:

Zinc has long been a supportive nutrient against the common cold – in essence it prevents cold viruses from sitting on their receptors therefore preventing colds and/or shortening the duration/severity.

Zinc has also shown to have great promise in preventing and treating Covid³.  Zinc blocks important enzymes that are responsible for viral replication therefore having a possible role in prevention, decreasing duration and severity of Covid.  BUT it has to get INTO the cells!  Therefore using a zinc ionophore (a substance that transports ions like zinc across cell membranes) has been deemed crucial.

Risk factors of low zinc levels are quite similar to vitamin D deficiency – many of those with co-existing conditions such as chronic disease, tend to have zinc deficiencies – making them predisposed to contracting Covid or suffering more severely if they do get it.

It has been suggested for use with Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and Azithromycin in the Zelenko protocol in which HCQ acts as both a zinc ionophore as well as inhibiting inflammatory cytokine production (prevalent in Covid).  Zinc has also been used in tandem with Quercitin (an over-the-counter zinc ionophore) to successfully prevent and treat many cases without the use of medications.

Word of warning:  Long-term zinc supplementation can cause copper deficiency and may interfere with absorption of some medications.  While higher doses during Covid are likely more effective – you don’t want to stay on daily Zinc supplements forever.  And many physician-grade brands will contain copper to prevent you from off-setting that delicate balance.

Food Sources:  Red meat, shellfish, legumes, seeds, dairy, eggs

Recommendation: A few fantastic companies have come up with blends of Covid immune boosting nutrients.  My fav contains both the quercitin and zinc and other ionophores – FIND IT HERE!

 

QUERCITIN:

Quercitin is a useful nutrient for so many reasons – a power anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, promotes heart health and fights allergies.  But in the prevention and treatment of Covid it acts as a natural zinc ionophore (as described above).    Since HCQ has been banned in most states during Covid – many have been using Quercitin in place of it to naturally transport zinc into the cells. 

Food Sources:  Garlic, onions, kale, blueberries, broccoli

 

Recommendation:  As stated in the Zinc section – a few fantastic companies have come up with blends of Covid immune boosting nutrients and my fav contains both – FIND IT HERE!

 

VITAMIN C:

I think we can all appreciate that vitamin C is “king” when it comes to cold and flu season.  And it’s no different with Covid.  It’s a super powerful anti-oxidant not to mention supportive in collagen production, prevention of sunburns, as well as boosting immunity!

In studies, vitamin C has been shown to reduce the risk of contracting viruses as well as lessen the severity and well as duration of viruses⁴.  But a new study shows that is also might reduce ICU stays for those hospitalized with Covid.⁵  That’s huge!

There have been protocols in place for decades for use in prevention and treatment of viral upper respiratory infections using 2000+mg/day.  Given that Covid can be a “stronger” virus than the standard cold or flu it is often recommended that the dose be increased to at least 3000mg daily  (divide your dose to avoid diarrhea).

Food Sources:  Acerola cherries, rose hips, yellow bell peppers, parsley, kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, lemons, oranges

Recommendation:  Liposomal Vitamin C is superior to other forms because it has much higher bioavailability – it’s absorbed into the body and cells much better.  My favorite brand is HERE.  Just make sure to divide your doses even with liposomal so it doesn’t cause diarrhea!

 

PROBIOTICS:

Last week we discussed gut health and the fact that at least 70% of the immune system is in the gut.  However probiotics are proving to be VERY beneficial to protect against multiple diseases outside of the gut by “reinforcing immunity” and restoring balance within the gut microbiome.⁷ Changes in the microbiome result in changes in the immune system – both positive and negative.

While many turn to dairy, such as yogurt, for their probiotics I have to say I’m not the biggest fan of conventional, store-bought yogurt.  It’s simply not cultured long enough to make a big impact.  Making your own yogurt at home and and culturing for at least 24 hours and leaving out so much sugar makes a much more beneficial version. 😊

Food Sources:  Fermented food, cultured food

Recommendation:  I have one brand of probiotic I recommend to clients found HERE but I also recommend testing your microbiome using the BiomeFX test (HERE) to see what’s out of balance and can be corrected!  When it comes to the gut – more information is KEY!

 

GARLIC:

Garlic is known to be one of the most potent antimicrobials out there.  I have personally used it my practice for 17 years with great success in prevention and treatment of all sorts of infections (viral, bacterial, fungal, spirochete, etc.).  The main component in garlic contributing to it’s great power is allicin – a organosulfur compound created once the garlic is chopped or crushed.  Allicin must be in a stabilized form to give you the most potentized and useful version and many companies do not stabilize it. 

Garlic has many benefits:  acts by blocking entry of a virus into a cell, inhibits viral replication but also has immunomodulatory effects/enhances the immune response so acts strongly in prevention of microbial illnesses⁶.  Garlic is actively being studied as a great option in prevention and treatment of Covid due to it’s ability to inhibit a main enzyme in SARS-CoV2 that is responsible for it’s rapid replication.⁸  Garlic is amazing!!

It’s definitely one of the most important supplements I have carried with me pretty much everywhere I have traveled in the world – just in case!

During cold and flu season I have suggested to clients to take 1 cap/day to prevent microbial illness – more if exposed.  On occasion – those super sensitive or flat-out allergic to sulfur drugs have had a minor reaction to garlic supplements.  Be careful using if you are one of those people!

Food Sources:  Garlic 😊

Recommendation:  While I support eating garlic (as long as you have no known sensitivities to it) you simply cannot eat enough daily to have a consistently strong immune response as you can get by taking my favorite stabilized allicin product HERE!

 

REMEMBER – Balance is everything!

Keep your primary focus on your terrain to make sure you mount the appropriate immune response in all situations.  You simply cannot rely on taking every supplement on the market to keep you “healthy”.  But during these times it doesn’t hurt to have a few supplement “tools” around to add an extra layer to your immune system!!  Once again HERE is my list of favorites!

Stay Happy and Healthy!!

Dr. K

 

References:

  1. Katz et al. 2021. Increased risk for COVID-19 in patients with vitamin D deficiency. Nutrition Apr;84:111106.
  2. Weir, et al.   Does Vitamin D deficiency increase the severity of Covid 19? Clin Med (Lond)., Jul; 20(4): e107–e108.
  3. Arentz et al.   Zinc for the prevention and treatment of SARS-CoV-2 and other acute viral respiratory infections: a rapid review  Adv Integr Med., Dec; 7(4): 252–260 
  4. Karlowski TR, Chalmers TC, Frenkel LD, et al. 1975. Ascorbic acid for the common cold: A prophylactic and therapeutic trial. JAMA, 231:1038-1042.
  5. Hemilä H, Chalker E. Vitamin C can shorten the length of stay in the ICU: a meta-analysis. Nutrients, 11:708
  6. Rouf et al. 2020. Antiviral potential of garlic (Allium sativum) and its organosulfur compounds: A systematic update of pre-clinical and clinical data. 
    Trends Food Sci Technol., Oct;104:219-234
  7. Shabazi et al.   Probiotics in the treatment of viral respiratory infections and neuroinflammatory disroders.  Molecules, Oct 22;25(21):4891
  8. Khubber, et al.   Garlic (Allium sativum L.):  a potential unique therapeutic food rich in organosulfur and flavonoid compounds to fight with Covid-19.  Nutr J, Nov 18;19(1):124

 

 

 

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