UPDATED 3-24-2020 by: Erik Lundquist, MD
Like it or not, coronavirus is descending upon us. School closing, travel bans, and quarantines are happening in and to the majorly affected countries. There is good news and bad news surrounding coronavirus, officially called COVID-19, right now. The bad news is that it continues to spread worldwide. Now almost all countries are affected, with hundreds of thousands of total cases. These numbers are continuing to grow rapidly and on a daily basis. The other bad news is that it appears to have a mortality rate of somewhere between 2% and 10% depending on age and country (https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30195-X/fulltext).
Further bad news is that companies within the dietary supplements and natural products industry are feeling the shockwaves. Many ingredients and raw materials for supplements are grown, produced, or processed in China. Industry executives say they expect significant supply chain disruptions.
The good news is that it does not seem to be gaining ground in China as the number of infected individuals seems to be hovering around 80,000 and not growing. Some cities and areas where a strict quarantine was in effect are now starting to see those restrictions loosened. This is a good sign that it may start to fizzle out in China.
More good news is that “Unprecedented, aggressive efforts have been taken to contain the spread and mitigate the impact of this virus.” As of today, there have only been 43 Confirmed & Presumptive Positive cases in the entire United States. An additional 47 people with confirmed Cases of COVID-19 have been repatriated to the United States, with the utmost care taken to ensure that these people do not spread the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is regularly providing official updates. You can find the official current number of cases here.
The purpose of this article is to provide some basic recommendations and information regarding possible prevention and treatment of COVID-19. There are a few things that need to be clarified before we make any recommendations.
First, no preventative or treatment recommendations have been approved by the FDA or have been substantiated by significant scientific research or studies. Therefore, all recommendations should be taken with the understanding that they are recommendations to help strengthen one’s immune system and support the body in eliminating environmental toxins through natural means.
The second thing to clarify is that anyone's best hope against COVID-19 is to strengthen their immune system and avoid possible exposure. This is the reason that quarantines have been put into place and why individuals with a weakened immune system are most susceptible.
What is coronavirus and what symptoms does it cause?
Coronavirus is one of the most common causes of the common cold. What makes this particular strain of coronavirus, COVID-19, deadly, is that it gets down into the base of the lungs and causes the immune system to become overactive. Then, the immune system releases lots of inflammatory products that lead to increased mucus and fluid production in the lungs. This leads to a scenario called acute respiratory distress syndrome in those who are more susceptible. These individuals are most often smokers, or individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or cardiovascular disease. It seems to be affecting men twice as often as women. It also seems to be affecting middle-aged to older men.
An article released by the Lancet on some of the first infected with COVID-19 from the Wuhan, China area became the world’s first detailed case analysis. Chen and colleagues looked at 99 individuals and reported that fever (83%), cough (82%), and shortness of breath (31%) were the most common symptoms among the patients. Other symptoms included muscle ache (11%), confusion (9%), headache (8%), sore throat (5%), rhinorrhea (4%), chest pain (2%), diarrhea (2%), and nausea and vomiting (1%).
What to do if you have symptoms.
First, realize that COVID-19 is nearly impossible to distinguish symptomatically from the common cold or influenza virus since symptoms are the same. If within 14 days of symptom onset, you have traveled to infected areas or had contact with someone who has, then you may have contracted the virus. Otherwise, treat it as the common cold or flu.
If you have a medical appointment, call the office to tell them that you have flu symptoms or may have COVID-19. This allows the office and providers to take steps to keep other patients from getting exposed.
Treatment is primarily supportive, and your provider will discuss specific signs and symptoms in which you would need to seek medical attention. These include difficulty breathing, being unable to keep food/liquids down, and fevers that are not coming down appropriately. As with colds and influenza, not everyone needs to be seen, and staying home reduces spread. If you are unsure about whether you need to be seen, feel free to call us and we are happy to provide advice for your situation.
For optimal benefit, start treatment dosing of supplements as soon as you develop symptoms.
If you are looking to stock up on supplements ASAP, they are available at TCIM.
How do we strengthen our immune system?
The goals that we target to strengthen our immune system are as follows:
Enhance barrier integrity: improve the lining of our respiratory tract, gut, blood-brain barrier, and skin.
Increase production of antimicrobial peptides: small amino acid linked chains that fight against infections.
Promote phagocytosis: a process when white blood cells, such as macrophages, are better able to recognize and consume infected cells, microbes and/or viral capsids.
Decrease inflammation and restore redox balance: lots of oxygen free radicals lead to immune imbalance and increased inflammatory products.
Activate intracellular defense pathways: a process that allows cells that take on bacteria to kill them before they can replicate or cause damage (Nrf2 and SIRT1 activation.)
The recommendations that we give in our immune-boosting prevention kit and immune-activating treatment kit are focused on vitamin and nutraceutical support targeted at achieving these immune support goals.
There are some preventative measures that can be accomplished without taking any supplements. These actions will help to boost the immune system and protect against exposure.
Wash your hands. It is super simple but incredibly