No vaccine for coronavirus yet, but we don’t have to just sit defenseless. A new study just released shows us ways to support viral defense mechanisms with nutraceuticals.
Titled Nutraceuticals have potential for boosting the type 1 interferon response to RNA viruses including influenza and coronavirus1, several nutritional supplements
One author, James DiNicolantonio, is a pharmacist I have referenced here before. Mainly from his book The Salt Fix: Why Experts Got It All Wrong – and How Eating More Might Save Your Life. I like and trust his work.
A table in the article summarizes presents recommendations:
Other reasons exist to consider these supplements as well, so you can enjoy viral support and other benefits as well.
I am choosing lipoic acid, or alpha lipoic acid (ALA), as we have a choice and it brings other documented benefits. ALA helps our mitochondria (energy producing organelles in the cell) to work better, in part from its antioxidant activity. More efficient mitochondria, more energy, better health. It also helps system handle a high fat meal by supporting the blood brain barrier2. It also helps with blood sugar stabilization.
Virally, lipoic acid can support type 1 interferon response
Spirulina is a blue-green algae with many health benefits. From my readings:
-improved exercise performance
-protection from junk vegetable oils such as canola
-reduce blood pressure
-improve insulin sensitivity
-chelates (binds) heavy metals
Pretty good list!
It too can support type 1 interferon response as well.
NAC is a precursor to glutathione – the body’s major antioxidant.
Managing oxidative stress may help the type 1 interferon response. Further, DiNicolantonio references researchers who have shown NAC helps the elderly avoid flu symptoms.
Selenium is an element with antioxidant properties.
Selenium has come up a few times on these pages, mainly in relation to thyroid. It helps ensure proper thyroid hormone conversions from inactive to active.
Solid selenium status aids viral defense mechanism, similar to NAC above.
We know glucosamine for its joint support properties. However, readers of this site have seen other uses.
Glucosamine can aid blood sugar stabilization. It also binds to lectins, keeping them from causing inflammatory reactions in sensitive people.
The reasons above are why glucosamine is a favorite of mine. Then, add in can up regulate a key mediator of type 1 interferon response called mitochondrial antiviral-signaling protein (MAVS).
Zinc provides countless benefits. From hormones, mental health, thyroid, metabolism, and all the way to immune support.
Mushrooms help with immunity. Beta glucan components in their structure are contributory. The paper references immune stimulating properties, specifically toward influenza.
Elderberry receives attention often for immune support. The paper here identifies viral support through similar mechanisms as described in the ALA section above.
I came across a great new product last week. It originally caught my eye because one ingredient, Ashwaghanda, provides stress management properties. I ordered it for my daughters who are in honors classes, sports, 4H, and constantly on the go to use during homework/test prep and other busy/stressful times. And they liked it – as evidenced by using it on their own without threats or bribes!
So, it helps with stress AND boosts immune function with zinc, elderberry,
Pick some up today!
Four additional strategies
Adding to the study’s list, four more considerations.
We make Vitamin D internally when the sun hits our skin, withOUT sunscreen. Vitamin D supports immune function, and is included in the gum above. Supplements are beneficial, but safe sun exposure is the best. Read more about that here. We’ve seen the more sun the less virus transmission3.
Seek the sun when possible!
Nasal Epithelial Support
The epithelial cells lining our passage from our nose/mouth all the way to the exit provide important functions. Relevant here, airway epithelial provide frontline defense against viruses and other invaders4.
Epithelial cells become damaged by a variety of mechanisms. I have highlighted Roundup (glyphosate) and gluten, especially in the gut lining.
Restore is the product I recommend to repair the tight junction between epithelial cells
Relevant to this topic, they also produce a nasal spray, which I highly recommend – especially with coronavirus looming and any air travel.
Exercise is one of nature’s best remedies. Moderate intensity (not talking to you 100 mile marathoners!) improves immune function5. If New Year resolutions didn’t get you to the gym, maybe the coronavirus threat will?
I have shared my workout and nutrition strategy previously – see this white paper, Why When To Eat Matters. There, and in this article Preserving Muscle While Aging – Your Life Depends On It , you will find details of my post workout nutrition of choice – whey protein (organic, grass fed, cold processed. Whey has immune system benefits6. It also has the amino acid cysteine, which has we saw with NAC, supports glutathione status.
I’ll throw one more out here. My workouts are most often fasted to build up growth hormone (details in the white paper). Another growth hormone supplement I use after most workouts is colostrum (grass fed too!). Colostrum adds immense immune benefits7
Notice how your sleep drive skyrockets when you come down with an illness? The reason, at least in part, is that sleep integrates with our immune system.
The immune system involves the response to infection, cancer, and participation in the inflammatory process. A four-hour sleep decreases natural killer (NK) cells 70%! NK cells attack and kill cancerous and virus-infected cells. Under slept mice display 200% larger tumors, and more metastases. A 25,000 person European study showed those sleeping less than 6 hours had a 40% increase in cancer. The World Health Organization now classifies night shift work as a carcinogen – easy to see why.
Melatonin, the hormone released at night in response to darkness, we know to have anti-cancer effects. Artificial light at night (ALAN), which reduces melatonin, increases breast and prostate cancer.
Sleep also shows antioxidant properties. Short sleep therefore increases oxidative stress. Oxidative stress and inflammation go hand in hand. Increased inflammation is contributory in most chronic disease, including Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
Researchers have shown vaccines are less effective on insufficient sleep.
Those participants who obtained seven to nine hours’ sleep in the week before getting the flu shot generated a powerful antibody reaction, reflecting a robust, healthy immune system. In contrast, those in the sleep-restricted group mustered a paltry response, producing less than 50 percent of the immune reaction their well-slept counterparts were able to mobilize. Similar consequences of too little sleep have since been reported for the hepatitis A and B vaccines.
Why? They design vaccines to provoke an immune response. With less sleep, less of an immune response. Get a week’s worth of good sleep before and after your vaccine.
Well, I think it’s anybody’s guess. I think this image shows we have slightly less than certainty:
What we know is that coronavirus cases are rising rapidly. We also know that we don’t know the full story – it is a very fluid situation and all countries involved may not be sharing all the data (purposefully or not).
Like the flu, it is
Collection of interesting coronavirus stats including death rate and impact on age/health status here.
Also, check out a new update on coronavirus I put together: COVID-19 Defense | Out: BP Meds, ibuprofen? | In: Salt, Fevers, Fresh Air and another installment COVID-19 Defense: More Prevention and Treatment Considerations.
- https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0033062020300372 ↩
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3693897/ ↩
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2835877/ ↩
- https://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247(18)31304-4 ↩
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26477922 ↩
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29565716 ↩
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25781716 ↩
- twitter.com 2/25/20 ↩