Coronavirus Update: Functional Medicine to Improve Your Outcomes

It has only been two weeks since my last newsletter, and there is new information on what we can do to protect ourselves against Covid-19.  As we prepare for a period of time at home, which is necessary in order to reduce the spread of Coronavirus, I want to share with you recent studies and evidence of what we can do to strengthen our immune systems to resist infection, and also should you come down with it…keeping in mind, up to 80% of cases are mild enough to resolve at home.

Vitamin D3 has been shown to both reduce the severity of and shorten the length of OTHER coronavirus infections.  There has not been time for proper studies to verify whether it’s true of this one, however optimizing your vitamin D is a good thing to do.  This means continuing your daily low dose (which was found to be most effective) of 1,000-2000 IU, as most of you under my care have already been doing.  If you have an immune condition that precludes you from taking Vitamin D supplements, then get some sun on your skin whenever possible.  Even 20 minutes a day on bare arms and legs will help.

Zinc has been found to inhibit the enzyme that the virus uses to replicate itself.  Very little zinc is stored in the body, and we need to consume it at a low level on a regular basis.  I usually recommend 15mg per day.  The challenge with zinc is that it is an ion, and therefore needs assistance getting inside your cells.  The various chelated forms (such as picolinate, gluconate, arginate, glycinate) are already better absorbed than plain Zinc ions.  There is a tiny channel in the cell wall, called an ionophore, that transports zinc into the cell.  There is a prescription medication, Hydroxychloroquine/Plaquenil that does this well, but with side effects.  The good news is, there is a nutraceutical called Quercetin that is also a good ionophore for zinc.  You may already be on Quercetin if under my care.  If you are considering using Quercetin, the studies were done using 3 grams.  Depending on your size, you could take up to 2 x 500mg capsules with 3 meals per day. Adjust downwards from this. I myself am taking 1 x 500mg capsule, twice a day on empty. Foods that commonly contain quercetin include: watercress, cilantro, radicchio, asparagus, onions, elderberry, cranberry, blueberry, blackberry, apples.  Zinc-rich foods include: Legumes which contain high amounts.  However, they also contain phytates, which reduce its absorption. Processing methods like soaking, heating, sprouting, or fermenting can help improve its bioavailability. Seeds like hemp, pumpkin and sesame seeds contain significant amounts of zinc.  Raw cashews, as well.  May as well make a cozy pot of lentil soup as we spend more time at home…soak the lentils first.

Nanoparticle Silver/Argentyn has only a few studies in treating coronavirus.  In feline coronavirus, it reduced infection by 25%.  Like Vitamin D, there are no studies on how it works against CoV-19.  However, anecdotally, I have used this nutraceutical many times at the first sign of any cold/viral infection (OTHER coronaviruses cause 20% of the common cold).  9 times out of 10, I awaken the next morning with the symptoms all gone.  Many in my patient population have reported this same result.  In my last newsletter, I mentioned using it as a nasal spray; to vigorously sniff it. This is preventative.  If you feel you may have been exposed to the virus, then DO NOT sniff it.  Instead, lay on your back and put a few drops in your nostrils, allowing the fluid to drip back into your nasal cavity. And continue to coat the back of your throat with it.

Selenium has been shown effective in supporting a robust and healthy response to other RNA viruses (Corona is an RNA virus), such as Influenza A and HIV.  Everyone: eat 2 raw brazil nuts per day if you are not allergic.  That will give you approximately 200mcg per day, which is the recommended amount. Otherwise, it can be had from a supplement.

In my 32 years of practice, I have never seen anything reduce seasonal flus and colds the way probiotics did when I began widely prescribing them in my practice since about 2006.  Beginning that year and ever since, only a handful of my patients get the flu each year.

Pardon the delicate nature of this next part: the first autopsies in China of Covid-19 victims shows a very sticky mucus in the lungs.  This would imply that we should limit or avoid consumption of dairy products for this period of time.  NAC is a nutraceutical that helps clear thick mucus from the lungs. 300-600mg daily with breakfast or before the meal.

Plastic is the surface on which the virus can survive the longest.  Please reduce the number of items you carry with you, take it down to 1 credit card, be sure to disinfect that card, your phone, and even the outside of the bottle of your hand sanitizer.  More good news: rubbing alcohol kills SARS-2 CoV-19.

Please get a thermometer, if you haven’t already.  Remember if you are sick, stay at home unless you have fever (temp above 100.4), lethargy, and shortness of breath.  If you must go to the hospital, call ahead.  Perhaps by the time of this writing, we will be able to get the test through our PCP MDs or at a drive-through test point.

Let us all pull together during this time of crisis.  Be considerate of and kind to one another and do your part in staying home to slow the spread of Coronavirus.  Only by working together and following the rules can we flatten the curve so our health care systems do not become overwhelmed by a large spike of new cases.  If you are 70 and above, please do your best to implement what Great Britain is recommending of her citizens: be prepared to self-quarantine for up to 4 months, if that’s what it takes.  That means absolutely staying home for anything that is non-essential, starting now.  Be willing to ask for help.  There are family members and/or delivery services to bring groceries.  Of course, it is important that the delivery simply be left on the doorstep if possible.  Regarding social distancing, it should be 8 feet, not 3.  Try not to breathe if you must pass near others.  Thank goodness we can use Facetime/video chat/telephone to keep in touch with loved ones.  

In summary:
Vit D 1000-2000 IU or sunlight
Argentyn spray(or drizzle) plus coating the throat
Bio-available zinc or zinc paired with quercetin.  
Selenium/Brazil nuts

Eat clean and avoid animal dairy.
Practice good hygiene, stay hydrated, get plenty of rest, especially sleep before midnight…lights out 10PM everyone.

Together, we will stay strong.  If we all do our part, we will have a better outcome. 

Copyright © 2020 Dr. Jeanette Ryan, DC, IFMCP, All rights reserved.
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