It is June 18th, 2020 as I am writing this blog. We are, from the looks of it, coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. There was a nation wide lock down on travel, business, and social events. Moreover, we are strongly encouraged to wear a face mask whenever we are close to anyone, and we need to practice “social distancing” by staying at least six feet away from everybody in public.
The rational? COVID-19 is a virus that is easily transmissible, even if people are asymptomatic. Supposedly, it even stays active on surfaces for up to eight hours or or longer. Worse still, the virus is very deadly, especially with the older population and those with a compromised immune system such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer, and heart disease. The goal of the lock down originally was to slow down the spread of the disease in an effort to “flatten the curve” for health care professionals. It was believed that the health care system would be overwhelmed by the onslaught of new cases to a degree that would be near impossible to handle.
Later on it became an effort to stop everyone from getting the virus, thus the lock-down continued for two months. Even now there are strong restrictions put in place in most major cities to limit contact in an effort to keep the virus at bay.
No doubt these measures are meant to keep as many people as possible from getting the virus, but they make it seem like we should not get the virus at all to stop the spread and the corresponding large amounts of death, but is that really possible? Is it even feasible?
- How likely is it that you would be at least six feet away every time you go to the grocery or liquor store?
- How good of a job does wearing a mask really do to protect the spread of the virus?
- Are you planning on never playing your grand-kids again?
- How about air travel? Getting on a plane most certainly increases risk. Will you decide to never travel again?
Unless you are planing to stay locked up in your home for the rest of your life (and even that is not 100% full-proof), it is just a matter of time before you will be exposed to the virus. It can’t be any other way. Personally, I believe this is not living. This is slowly dying. After all, how can you enjoy all the pleasures of life if all you do is stay locked in?
It does not make sense long term. I think what makes more sense is to be proactive about your health. Take steps to build up your immune system.
Strengthen Your immune system
Both Bill Sardi, a highly respected researcher and author on alternative medicine and health, along with Sally Fallon, who is also an author on diet, nutrition, and health as well as the president of the Weston A Price foundation feel very strongly that a strong immune system can keep the corona virus at bay. I am 100% on board with that sentiment. On that note, let’s explore some steps you can take to boost your immune system and stay healthy, not only against the corona virus, but all viruses.
- Exercise regularly. This goes without saying, and clearly I endorse it because it is both my profession and my passion. Having said that, a fit and strong body does help keep the immune system healthy. I prefer brief and intense workouts, but any form of consistent exercise is very beneficial.
- Manage your stress. High, chronic stress releases the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is good in limited doses as part of the fight or flight response, but chronic stress and prolonged high cortisol levels in the body lead to weight gain, anxiety, depression, sleeplessness and heart disease. To be honest, I really struggled with this during the lock down. Business ground to a halt, and we were told we had to move in a couple of months. It was very stressful. I did, however, listen to tranquil music every day in the morning and many times during the day, and I did meditation almost every day. Sometimes it did not help, but many times it did.
- Eat a lower carbohydrate diet. There is considerable controversy around what is a healthy diet. A big disagreement is between the low carb and ketogenic camp versus the plant based proponents. I don’t want to choose sides about that on this blog, but I do think that, for most people, cutting back on carb intake can be beneficial. Here’s why: those most vulnerable to the corona virus have pre-existing conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. These conditions are typically caused by a diet high in carbohydrate intake. Dr Jason Fung is a nephrologist in Canada who specializes in helping people reverse type 2 diabetes. He has been remarkably successful, so it’s clear that lowering carbohydrate intake works. You don’t have to cut carbohydrates out completely to be successful, but you should consider cutting back. Refined carbs such as candy, pastries, breads and pasta should go. Less refined carbs such as rice, beans and fruit, I would recommend cutting portion sizes about 50 to 75%. Sodas and fruit juice (and all energy drinks) should not be consumed at all.
- Get out in the sun. The UV rays from the sun is the primary germicide in nature. It literally kills viruses by chemically altering their genetic material. Moreover, vitamin D, which the body synthesizes from the sun is a key component of a strong immune system (see here and here.). Bill Sardi suggests to take vitamin D supplements during the winter months to keep the immune system functioning optimally. Higher daily doses of Vitamin D in the winter seems especially beneficial. Research has shown that taking up to 10,000 IU/d of vitamin d3 for a few weeks followed by 5,000 IU/d thereafter can reduce risk of corona infections and death.
- Eat Saturated fats. You read that right. I’m talking fats like butter, ghee, coconut oil and fattier cuts of meat. A little known fact is that the lungs use saturated fats as a surfactant (lubricant). The lungs are the most vulnerable to the corona virus, so any added protection they can get would be helpful. Do not eat industrial oils. The lungs would have to try to use them instead and they are subpar for the job.
- Get enough daily vitamin C intake. It is tough for me to give a good recommendation on this because of the different recommendations from people I respect. For example, Bill Sardi and other nutritionists and biochemists recommend a high amount of intake (sometimes up to 2,000 milligrams a day), and yet other nutritionists say that too much vitamin C intake can cause deficiencies with co-factors. Moreover, the type of vitamin C is important too. Ascorbic acid is the type of vitamin C found to cause co-factor deficiency in too large of quantities. I think it would be prudent to focus on eating as many vitamin C rich foods as you can. Surprisingly, sauerkraut is very high in vitamin C, as are fermented veggies overall.
- Supplement your diet with Zinc. The immune system cannot function without it. We store and process less zinc as we age, and this is a major factor of a compromised immune system as we get older. Foods that contain high amounts of zinc are oysters and red meat.
Governments around the world took rather draconian steps in an attempt to slow the spread of the corona virus. Never before have we seen a lock down like this, and it will be some time before we have enough data to really know if the lock downs were necessary, and to what extent. On the other hand, the pandemic shined a spot light on the need for better ways to deal with a potentially pernicious virus. Big Pharma is working overtime to create a vaccine, and that is all well and good. However, whether or not a good vaccine is developed…and whether you choose to get vaccinated or not, your best bet is to do everything you can to have a strong immune system. Moreover, maintaining a healthy immune system is not very costly. It is a matter of making consistent lifestyle choices that lead to not only a strong immune system, but a higher quality of life.
Let’s live, shall we?