Infectious disease has always come with the changing seasons. Influenza, pneumonia strep throat, the common cold, and now COVID-19. It is vital that we look toward evidence-based nutritional methods for lowering the risk of contracting a number of potential infections. Before diving into this, I want to note that this advice is meant to be used for educational purposes only and should not replace medical diagnosis or treatment.
First, begin in your kitchen. Stock up on foods that are nutrient dense, NOT processed, FREE of refined sugars and FILLED with color.
Incorporate anti-viral spices such as oregano
Cook with them, supplement with them, diffuse them, and take advantage of their affordability and powerful infection-fighting properties!
Second, supplement where you need it. Often, we can more easily get the recommended amount of immune-boosting compounds needed during times like these with a high-quality supplement in addition to choosing foods like the ones listed above. Especially since some of our go-to grocery orders may be temporarily out of stock or hard to come by. I mean, thank goodness toilet paper is nowhere on my list for you!
This is a plant compound that acts as a powerful antioxidant. Top food sources of this compound are grapes (especially muscadine), red wine, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, peanuts, pistachios, cocoa powder and dark chocolate.
Both the concentration and the bioavailability of resveratrol is better when consumed via an emulsified supplementation. Meaning it is absorbed into our gut and distributed to our bloodstream much better when taken as a liquid, micronized supplement. My go-to product is Resvero made by Apex Energetics. This particular supplement is made from the Japanese Knotwood plant and is proven to lower cytokines (which means it would be helpful to take when battling an infection and not just for prevention of one). This particular supplement is also proven to inhibit growth of the Middle East upper respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection.1 This is NOT among the same strands of Coronavirus that we are dealing with in the U.S., but it is still good to know that such a non-invasive and widely available supplement can be used as an immune-booster that happens to have this powerful inhibition ability.
Glutathione is the body's primary endogenous antioxidant. This powerful antioxidant plays a major role in many functions of the immune system, but what I want to note in terms of COVID-19 specifically is it's role in lung health. Glutathione plays a large role in how the lung lining functions, and it even helps to reduce the destructive inflammatory response called a "cytokine storm" that often accompanies a viral infection. There is also correlation between lower levels of glutathione in the body and increased severity of community acquired pneumonia similar to the cases that are being seen in conjunction with the COVID-19 virus.3 Apex Energetics' (again-I LOVE this company, they have incredibly high-quality and highly-absorptive supplements) Trizomal Glutathione is what I am using to increase my intake of this great immune-supporting antioxidant. The N-acetyl L-cysteine (NAC) in this particular supplement is also beneficial for breaking up mucus in the lungs, symptoms of sinus congestion and wet cough.4
Vitamin D can modulate both the innate and adaptive immune responses. There have been multiple cross-sectional studies associating lower levels of vitamin D with increased infection. One report studied almost 19,000 subjects over a six-year period. Individuals with lower vitamin D levels (<30 ng/ml) were more likely to self-report a recent upper respiratory tract infection than those with sufficient levels, even after adjusting for variables including season, age, gender, body mass and race.5 Levels of Vitamin D change throughout the year, and they are typically lowest during the Winter months due to lack of exposure to the sun. On top of that, over 80% of Americans are deficient, which means that adding an appropriate daily dose is never a bad idea. The Vitamin D that I am using is Ultra-D5000 by Apex Energetics. It is emulsified and micronized, again, to ensure high absorption and to encourage better bioavailability.
This essential fatty acid is one of my favorite nutrients. It contributes to SO MUCH within our biochemistry, and of course, immune function is one of them. Omega-3 is essential, meaning our bodies cannot make it, but we need it to live optimally. When it comes to infection, the main role that Omega-3 plays is in reducing inflammation in order to prevent it in the first place, however, studies are now showing that EPA and DHA (two strands of the Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid) may have actual immune-enhancing effects as well.6 Specifically, they could aid in the immune response associated with clearing the infected pathogens from the bloodstream and reducing the impact of the inflammation that the infection would cause to the body as a whole.6
Third, GUT SUPPORT is a key player in immune health. This is because the microbiota (bacteria) in our gut directly influence immune system homeostasis.2 When infection is detected in the intestinal lining, those good bacteria send signals to the immune cells via virus transmitters to signal an immune response. In order to boost the presence of good bacteria within that microbiome, a probiotic is a very helpful tool. Sibotica by Apex Energetics is a fantastic probiotic and one that, again, I use everyday! When it comes to probiotics, you can find them in food sources as well. A capsule is typically best for guaranteed absorption, however, adding meals rich in fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, kefir, tempeh and drinking kombucha are all great ways to boost your intake as well.
If you are interested in adding any of these supplements into your infection-fighting regimen, visit my E-Store at https://www.advantagetherapysolutions.com/supplements for delivery. The entry code is ATS, and you will automatically receive a 15% discount with your order when purchased! You can also call (252) 689-8729 to pay over the phone and schedule curbside pick-up at 212 E Arlington Blvd in Greenville, NC.
Lastly, if you want to know more about what game plan is going to be best for YOUR body, let's chat. Everyone is different, so what works for one person may not work the same way for the next. When it comes to nutrition, how our bodies respond is always dependent on our unique biochemistry. If you have been wanting to start fresh with food and work towards optimal health, there could not be a better time than now to set aside an hour for yourself to do just that. Visit https://www.nutritionwithnoel.com/new-patient-info to schedule your appointment today. I am currently offering in-person AND Zoom Telehealth consultations, so we can video chat from wherever you are! You can also call (252) 689-8729 to schedule these appointments.
1. Lin, Shih-Chao et al. “Effective inhibition of MERS-CoV infection by resveratrol.” BMC infectious diseases vol. 17,1 144. 13 Feb. 2017, doi:10.1186/s12879-017-2253-8
2. Wu, Hsin-Jung, and Eric Wu. “The role of gut microbiota in immune homeostasis and autoimmunity.” Gut microbes vol. 3,1 (2012): 4-14. doi:10.4161/gmic.19320
3. Natalja Voskresenska, Julija Voicehovska, Sergejs Babikovs, Vladimirs Voicehovskis, Aivars Lejnieks, Andrejs Skesters, Alise Silova European Respiratory Journal 2017 50: PA988; DOI: 10.1183/1393003.congress-2017.PA988
4. Tirouvanziam, Rabindra et al. “High-dose oral N-acetylcysteine, a glutathione prodrug, modulates inflammation in cystic fibrosis.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America vol. 103,12 (2006): 4628-33. doi:10.1073/pnas.0511304103
5. Aranow, Cynthia. “Vitamin D and the immune system.” Journal of investigative medicine : the official publication of the American Federation for Clinical Research vol. 59,6 (2011): 881-886. doi:10.2310/JIM.0b013e31821b8755