When you hear the term “coronavirus”, it might elicit some type of fear…but why? Coronaviruses have actually been around for a long time, with the first case being acknowledged back in 1937 in birds and in the 1960’s with humans. These viruses are the cause of what’s known as the common cold in many people – eliciting symptoms such as a sore throat, cough, fever, and runny nose, just to name a few. These viruses can be passed in several ways, like through shaking hands, touching a surface with the virus and then touching your face, or through a cough or sneeze in the air.
However, unlike the typical coronaviruses that hits most folks each year, the newest strand, (known as COVID-19), is one that could be making people a bit more wary of a cough or sneeze. This virus, which was first identified in China, has spread to over 25 different countries and has lead to the World Health Organization declaring a public health emergency.
Granted, there are several stages of this particular coronavirus, and roughly 90% of people are able to recover after being sick; this is a vast comparison to the roughly <1% of people that this virus can be fatal for. According to the National Institute of Health, there are certain groups of people that are more susceptible to adverse complications from COVID-19; these include elderly people and pregnant women.
As scary as this new virus may seem, there are some basic sanitation rules that you can follow in order to keep you and your family healthy, especially since there is no vaccine available. The first rule of infection prevention is simple – wash your hands. Count to 20 while washing hands with warm soap and water, and if soap isn’t available, use a hand sanitizer that contains alcohol. Other tips for prevention include covering your mouth with your elbow when you sneeze or cough, washing your hands often, disinfecting surfaces within work and home that are touched frequently, avoiding sharing food or other items with people who have symptoms, and avoiding touching your mouth, eyes, or nose.
Aside from the basic sanitation tips and tricks you can implement in order to keep yourself healthy, there is another important body system that can help – and that’s your immune system! This system is first in line to recognize and fight off any bacteria or viruses that enter the body that are harmful, and for the majority of the time, it does its job well…until you get sick. This is where natural supplementation can come into play, in order to help your body to stay healthy and fight off any potential sickness.
A natural antioxidant that is probably unfamiliar to most is something called glycyrrhizin; this particular compound is found in liquorice roots, and has been noted to prevent the growth of coronavirus in relation to SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). Based off research, it’s been found that utilizing glycyrrhizin makes it hard for the virus to invade cells, which slows the overall growth and production of this disease…making it a good contender for effectively helping to treat this infection.
One of the most important micronutrients in regards to proper immune system functioning is zinc; without this element, there can end up being multiple dysfunctions within the immune system – and possibly even death. Zinc not only helps protect against oxidative stress, but also helps the body maintain proper immune system functioning, and has also been shown to inhibit the growth and replication of the virus. Deficiency of this micronutrient is apparent in almost half of the people in the world; without proper dietary supplementation, a lack of zinc can lead to issue with the GI tract, reproductive system, and immune system – and can lead to death by infection. Being deficient in zinc can cause cells to be more susceptible to oxidative stress, which can lead to the immune system not responding the way that it should to different types of inflammatory stress. Since a lack of this micronutrient accounts for 16% of the lower respiratory infections in the world, enhancing the diet with the appropriate foods and supplements would appear to help lower these risks. The US Food and Nutrition Board recommends consumption of 11mg/day for males and 8mg/day for females, and this can come from foods like red meat, whole grains, and legumes, just to name a few sources. I have found doses of 100mg/day effective at supporting colds and the only side effect can be temporary nausea. Decrease this dosage if that happens!
Two other micronutrients that can aid in boosting the immune system to fight off disease are Vitamins C and D. Studies have shown that taking a supplement of Vitamin C can actually prevent the occurrence of upper respiratory infections, and not getting enough Vitamin D can make the immune system more open to infection. With both of these nutrients being so vital to overall immune system functioning, it’s no surprise that we’re able to boost our healthy with consuming the right nutrients from food in order to protect ourselves from harmful viruses and bacteria – so make sure that your diet contains enough fruits, veggies, and healthy fats and lean proteins in order to supplement the immune system appropriately!
As we wait and see how this particular strand of the coronavirus progresses throughout the world, do your best to maintain your health and wellness through natural supplementation – and remember, wash your hands! Contact your local Boulder/Denver functional medicine doctor for more information on boosting your immune system naturally.
Ian Hollaman, DC, MSc, IFMCP
PS Don’t panic! Don’t get caught up in the frenzy and breathe normally. Help people, treat people with respect and dignity and maintain your positive mental attitude in spite of all the attention grabbing headlines that dominate our media outlets.
PSPS Xymogen supplements are high quality and since time is of the essence, there’s an easy online ordering option.
Here are the specific immune supporting supplements I recommend:
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