New Revelations about COVID-19

If you, like me, are growing restless and are wanting to bust out of the “Safer at Home” orders and y’know, just do a little more travel, or visiting, or pushing the limits, I would caution you not to.  In Los Angeles County, we have the highest number overall and the highest number of new cases in California.  Orange County’s numbers are doubling at a faster rate than LA County, thought to be due to the heavy traffic seen at the beach three weekends ago.  I know it is a huge sacrifice.  I feel it too.  But these little transgressions and the increased amount of movement by people are causing an uptick in the spread of the virus.  It’s not easy to remain vigilant but please do so.  Continue to wash your hands, maintain physical distance, and wear your face coverings.  Reduce your visits to the grocery store and other public places by planning ahead.  The COVID-19 Crisis is evolving on a daily basis.  What I want to tell you about is new understanding of the disease process by leading physicians and scientists on the front lines.  

The bottom line is that COVID-19 is emerging as a cardiovascular disease more than a respiratory disease and explains in part why those with pre-existing high blood pressure and diabetes are at greater risk.  The virus enters the body through the respiratory passages and possibly the eyes.  Since the virus attacks the ACE2 enzyme receptor, it then sets into motion a cascade of inflammatory reactions. Ultimately, it is the oxidative stress of this cascade that causes hypercoagulation and blood clots.  These blood clots then cause damage everywhere there are small capillary beds: brain, lungs, kidneys, toes, and the blood vessels themselves. The blood vessels and the heart have a thin lining of cells, called endothelial cells.  These cells release among other things, a clotting factor called Von Willebrand’s Factor (VWF), which has been shown to be wildly elevated in severe cases.  Good news: people with blood type O have less VWF.  One of the best things you can do to prepare your immune system is to increase your Nitric Oxide (NO) which is highly protective to the endothelial cells.  NO can be increased in the body by utilizing specific breathing exercises that entail nasal breathing only, and humming through the exhale so the front of the face vibrates, and then slowly inhaling through the nose.  Here is a link to Patrick McKeown (author of Oxygen Advantage) teaching this type of breathing.  This exercise would fit nicely into a meditation practice…even 5 or 10 minutes, morning and night.  Another thing you can do is make sure your antioxidant enzymes (metalloproteinases) are supplied with the minerals they need: notably zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, and iron.  We have talked about zinc and selenium in this prior newsletter.  Copper, manganese, and iron are found in nuts, seeds, legumes, and leafy greens.

Understanding this, when should you go to the hospital if you are ill? Since only 31% of COVID-19 patients have a fever, one way of knowing is by using a pulse oximeter, a little device for your fingertip that tells you the percentage of oxygen in your blood.  Generally, a reading below 95 is the time to go.  This will help reduce the number of people who are waiting until it’s already too late, and instead, get you to help with a greater fighting chance.  Remember to call ahead.

I mentioned in my last newsletter about using hydrothermal therapy to prime your immune system against SARS-CoV-2. After doing several of the treatments myself and getting feedback from a small cohort of my patients, I would say there are too many variables to recommend it widely.  If you do not have cardiovascular disease and/or diabetes, there is a website devoted to this home therapy:  Even if all you do is a cold shower at the end of your hot shower, that will help a little.  Please talk to your doctor before attempting this beyond hot and cold showers.

I assisted a small cohort of my patients to do antibody testing from a top-notch lab in California.  Of the 18 that were tested, only two were positive for antibodies.  These two patients have some degree of immunity, although it is not yet known to what degree they are immune to new mutations of the virus, nor for how long the immunity lasts.  If you are interested, I may be hosting another antibody testing day. Please let us know.  Here is a link to the test.

Importantly, what I recommend you do during this challenging time of extended quarantine is to work on your immune system.  Re-read my prior newsletters, which you can do here to refresh your memory on the Functional Medicine/nonpharmacological strengthening of your immune system, specifically against this virus and the damage it does.  I mentioned N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) before, as it is a precursor to reduced Glutathione, a major factor in reducing the vascular damage caused by the virus through oxidative stress.  I recommend taking 600mg NAC and 200-400mg Liposomal or S-Acetyl Glutathione. Both can be taken together in the morning, on empty.

California is fortunate in that we have had clear, strong leadership that is based in science from early on.  I am proud of each and every one of you for your sacrifices to physically distance and the contribution you have made to flattening the curve.  We have not had the tragic loss of life per capita experienced by New York and the utter overwhelm of our health care system.  Still, in California, some of our frontline health care workers do not have the PPE they need, and 88 have lost their lives.  Let us bravely continue to do our part by following the official guidelines put out by Governor Newsom and Mayor Garcetti:  physical distancing, stay home, do not travel unless absolutely necessary, and always wear a face covering when you are near others.  We need to model nations like New Zealand.  They went at it hard and early, with nearly 100% cooperation from their residents.  They are already opening up their economy and beginning to explore allowing international travel with Australia.

Lastly, maintaining your psychological and spiritual wellbeing throughout this difficult time will be key to your going the distance.  Quarantine fatigue is real.  Check out this free course by Yale University on the Science of Wellbeing/nurturing your happiness:

Together, we are stronger.

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