Could improving my Immune health also combat COVID-19?
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The strength of the immune system.
After noticing how infrequently I was ever sick with flu or the common cold, I decided to explore the changes I’d made to my health to better understand the reasons for this. I realised all of the additional elements I’d added to my diet had improved my immune system in some way. The immune system is the intelligent multifaceted guard of the body. It learns from every adversary that it encounters and never forgets how to deal with each of them (Newman, 2018).
So when the corona virus pandemic arose, my research efforts focused on whether improving my immune system could also prove beneficial in fighting COVID-19. Could vitamin C make a difference? Could vitamin D be essential? What of magnesium and it’s multitude of benefits? Continue reading to find out what I discovered.
How vitamins and minerals support the immune system.
When I started supplementing with vitamin C, I observed a reduction in the length and frequency of colds and flu. I used vitamin C tablets combined with eating more vitamin C – rich foods. Vitamin C not only supports the immune system, but it also played a vital role in both prevention and treatment of infections (Carr and Maggini, 2017). I also discovered a different type of vitamin C supplement in liquid form called liposomal vitamin C. This is when the vitamin C is encapsulated by pockets of fat cells known as liposomes which allow vastly superior absorption, and better protection on their way throughout the body’s digestive system (M.D, 2020).
Liposomal vitamin C and COVID-19.
New research published in an article titled ‘The Role of High-dose Liposomal Oral Vitamin C Treatment for COVID-19’, suggests that high dose oral liposomal vitamin C, combined with nutritious food boosted the recovery time of COVID-19 patients (Revathy, 2020). Regardless of whether vitamin C can help COVID-19 patients directly or not, it makes sense to ensure our levels are sufficient, because patients that suffer acute respiratory infections, also suffer a drop in vitamin C levels; as do COVID-19 patients when they suffer from sepsis (when the immune system overreacts to an infection) (Chu, 2020).
How vitamin D helps prevent our immune system from overacting.
When I began supplementation of vitamin D3, (combined with vitamin K2), it was intended to improve my dental health as well as to allow for the lack of sunshine (Lin, DDS, n.d.). At the time I was not aware that vitamin D3 could help protect against acute respiratory infections, and that daily or weekly supplementation (for those most deficient in vitamin D), reduced their risk of respiratory infection by half (McGreevey, 2017).
In relation to the overreaction of the immune system; this is sometimes because it is not the invader that directly causes the person to become ill or to suffer greatly, but rather how the immune system responds to the threat. This is exemplified with COVID-19 – if the immune response is overactive (cytokine storm), then it can result in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). This can lead to catastrophic lung damage and even death (Fiore, 2020).
Vitamin D can help prevent our immune system from overreacting, therefore possibly avoiding such complications, and perhaps reducing chances of death. In fact, data suggests that it could potentially cut the mortality rates from COVID-19 in half (ScienceDaily, 2020).
How antioxidants support the immune system.
I realised how multifaceted the human body, immune system and nutrition is, and how well it works as a whole unit. I had adjusted my diet to address specific areas of my body, but in hindsight and in the body’s infinite wisdom, it had worked as a unit improving many different areas overall.
When I began iodine supplementation, I did so to benefit my thyroid function, and because iodine is strongly associated with cancer protection (Brownstein, 2014). However through its support of the thyroid gland, it also has a powerful influence on the immune system. This is because the thyroid gland is responsible for metabolism, growth, and regulation of the body. This would be of great importance in response to cold and flu (Nih.gov, 2018).
Glutathione – the ‘mother’ of all antioxidants.
As part of the iodine protocol, I was introduced to magnesium. I truly didn’t realise how powerful and important this mineral is. Magnesium assists in the production of one of the body’s most potent antioxidants called glutathione, often referred to as the ‘mother of all antioxidants’ (Martino, 2013). Since many of us are deficient in magnesium, it is likely we are missing out on some of these benefits. Glutathione also helps the body rid itself of toxins, heavy metals and protects it from oxidative stress (Shade, PhD, 2017). A study by Russian medical researchers has found a possible link between susceptibility to COVID-19 and glutathione deficiency, particularly in the elderly (News, 2020).
Could coconut oil help against COVID-19?
After discovering the importance of fat in the diet, I introduced consumption of coconut oil on a regular basis. I was glad to discover that its potential was also being investigated against COVID-19! (https://www.icp.org.ph/, 2020). This is due to coconut oils’ lauric acid and monolurin content – both of which have antiviral properties. Regardless of whether clinical trials take place, and given coconut oil’s safety record, I continue to feel confident consuming it in my diet, particularly given its potential benefits against viruses.
Safeguarding our health.
To conclude, there are numerous minerals, nutrients and supplements that can aid the body and immune system in its fight against disease and viral infections. The ones mentioned here are merely the tip of the iceberg. I believe it is possible to increase our resilience against disease, viruses and poor health through taking the time to understand and learn more about what we eat, and what we may need to supplement with in order to ‘fill any gaps’ to promote our immune health. The power is ultimately in our hands!
All information in this article is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Please consult your physician before implementing any new diet, exercise and dietary supplement programs, especially if you have preexisting medical conditions or are taking prescribed medications. The statements made on this website are for educational purposes only and are not meant to replace the advice of your physician or healthcare provider.
Brownstein, D. (2014). Iodine : why you need it, why you can’t live without it. West Bloomfield, Mich.: Medical Alternatives Press.
Carr, A.C. and Maggini, S. (2017). Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients, [online] 9(11), p.1211. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29099763 [Accessed 18 May 2020].
Chu, W. (2020). Hospital turns to high-dose vitamin C to fight coronavirus. [online] nutraingredients.com. Available at: https://www.nutraingredients.com/Article/2020/03/25/Hospital-turns-to-high-dose-vitamin-C-to-fight-coronavirus [Accessed 7 Jul. 2020].
Fiore, K. (2020). How Can the Coronavirus Become Deadly? This Disease is Commonly to Blame. [online] https://www.medpagetoday.com. Available at: https://www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/coronavirus/what-is-ards.
https://www.icp.org.ph/. (2020). The Potential of Coconut Oil and its Derivatives as Effective and Safe Antiviral Agents Against the Novel Coronavirus (nCoV-2019) – Integrated Chemists of the Philippines. [online] Available at: https://www.icp.org.ph/2020/01/the-potential-of-coconut-oil-and-its-derivatives-as-effective-and-safe-antiviral-agents-against-the-novel-coronavirus-ncov-2019/ [Accessed 20 May 2020].
Lin, DDS, S. (n.d.). Does Vitamin D Influence Your Dental Health? [online] Verywell Health. Available at: https://www.verywellhealth.com/does-vitamin-d-influence-your-dental-health-4144768.
Martino, J. (2013). The Mother Of All Antioxidants. [online] www.collective-evolution.com. Available at: https://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/04/13/the-mother-of-all-antioxidants/ [Accessed 19 May 2020].
McGreevey, S. (2017). Study confirms vitamin D protects against colds and flu. [online] Harvard Gazette. Available at: https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/02/study-confirms-vitamin-d-protects-against-cold-and-flu/ [Accessed 18 May 2020].
M.D, B.P. (2020). How to Pick the Best Liposomal Vitamin C (Plus Risks + Benefits). [online] Core Med Science. Available at: https://coremedscience.com/blogs/wellness/how-to-pick-the-best-liposomal-vitamin-c [Accessed 7 Jul. 2020].
Newman, T. (2018). The immune system: Cells, tissues, function, and disease. [online] www.medicalnewstoday.com. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320101.
News, T.M. (2020). Russian Study Indicates That Glutathione Deficiency Affects COVID-19 Susceptibility, NAC Supplements Helps. [online] Home – Thailand Medical News. Available at: https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/breaking-covid-19-research-russian-study-indicates-that-glutathione-deficiency-affects-covid-19-susceptibility,-nac-supplements-helps.
Nih.gov. (2018). How does the thyroid gland work? [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279388/ [Accessed 18 May 2020].
Revathy, L.N. (2020). Research shows high dose of oral liposomal Vitamin C helps Covid patients recover faster. [online] @businessline. Available at: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/research-shows-high-dose-of-oral-liposomal-vitamin-c-helps-covid-patients-recover-faster/article31788913.ece [Accessed 7 Jul. 2020].
ScienceDaily. (2020). Vitamin D levels appear to play role in COVID-19 mortality rates: Patients with severe deficiency are twice as likely to experience major complications. [online] Available at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/05/200507121353.htm [Accessed 18 May 2020].
Shade, PhD, C. (2017). The Glutathione System is Key to Optimal Detoxification. [online] Natural Medicine Journal. Available at: https://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/blog/glutathione-system-key-optimal-detoxification [Accessed 7 Jul. 2020].
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