Gut health

Coronavirus, What Is It, Symptoms, Prevention, and Hopefully Relief!

Tragically, as everyone is well aware, there is supposedly a viral pandemic sweeping the Earth. The 2019 Coronavirus (COVID-19) is novel, meaning it is different from any Coronavirus strain that we know of that has caused infections before. Other serious novel Coronavirus strains include the previous SARS-CoV1 strain and the more recent MERS-CoV1 strain. Because COVID-19 is a novel strain, there is little herd immunity because people’s immune systems have never overcome a COVID-19 viral infection. Many people around the world are suffering and/or concerned about the Coronavirus pandemic. So what are Coronaviruses, what are the symptoms of having a COVID-19 infection, what can you do to prevent yourself from becoming infected, and if you do contract COVID-19, what can you do to find relief hopefully?

What Are Coronaviruses and COVID-19 Statistics/Symptoms?

Coronaviruses are a zoonotic subfamily of enveloped single-stranded ribonucleic acid (RNA) (+ssRNA) viruses that cause illness in humans (COVID-19 is a beta Coronavirus), mammals (alpha, beta), and birds (gamma and delta). Coronaviruses have the largest genomic structure of any RNA virus, approximately 30 kb in length. Coronaviruses were discovered in 1965 when Tyrrell and Bynoe found that they could culture a virus named B814 and would later be viewed using an electron microscope. They cultured the virus from human embryonic tracheal organ cultures taken from the respiratory tract of an adult with a common cold. Other researchers also cultured the virus from chickens suffering from bronchitis. The name Coronavirus is derived from Latin corona, meaning crown. The virions (inactivated virus, the virus that is not inside a host cell), when viewed by electron microscopy, have a fringe of large, bulbous projections from the surface, which are viral spike peplomers (proteins on the surface of the virion), making it look like a crown.

Mostly everyone reading this blog is likely to have been infected with a Coronavirus strain at one time or multiple times in their life. The Coronavirus is rarely the viral cause of someone suffering from the common cold (Rhinovirus is the leading viral strain associated with the common cold). However, Coronaviruses can cause a greater severity in symptomology, clinical presentation, and illness than a typical Rhinovirus infection. Many novel strains, including SARS-COV, MERS-COV, and SARS-COV2 (current 2019 outbreak), caused severe respiratory distress for specific populations suffering from Coronavirus infection. The median incubation period for COVID-19 is estimated to be 5.1 days, and 97.5% of those who become symptomatic will do so within 11.5 days of infection. People can spread COVID-19 by aerosolized droplets containing virions from sneezing (COVID-19 infection mainly begins deep in the nasal cavity from inhaling virions or nose-picking with contaminated hands), breathing, coughing, touching anything with their virion contaminated hands, and flushing the toilet without putting the lid down first by aerosolizing virions and fecal matter (if they have diarrhea from being infected with the virus). Coronavirus infections are somewhat different in presentation than the common cold (of Rhinovirus causation) and the flu (Influenza). The case-fatality rate of the 1918 (Spanish) flu was two to three percent (granted, many of the deaths that occurred during the 1918 H1N1 Influenza pandemic were caused by the ridiculously high amounts of aspirin doctors at the time were prescribing to treat the pandemic), and the rate of the average year from the flu is less than .10 percent. The current reported case-fatality rate by the John Hopkins University of Medicine for the United States is 1.7 percent. Tragically, some of these reported deaths were from medical error and not from COVID-19 itself. For example, the belief that the treatment of severe COVID-19 presenting with oxygenation issues during the start of the pandemic always required being placed on a ventilator, and when placed on a ventilator, the use of elevated levels of PEEP (positive end-expiratory pressure), causing increased severe inflammation of the lungs which can easily lead to death. I believe the case-fatality rate in the United States from COVID-19 infection is lower than 1.7 percent, but who much lower needs to be genuinely researched, if any answer can be truly determined.

COVID-19 virions can enter our cells through many different cellular receptor sites for replication. COVID-19 virions use their spike proteins (S-protein) to bind with many different cellular receptors(there was a paper previously released in February by Indian researchers that was “retracted” because of refuting opinions that mentioned COVID-19 had HIV S-proteins) to enter our cells. The COVID-19 spike protein can be activated by an enzyme called furin (a protease in our cells that cleaves sections of proteins to active them), allowing it to bind “at least 10 times more tightly than the corresponding spike protein of [SARS-CoV] to their common host cell receptor” and enhancing its virulence. Furin is an enzyme located within various human organs, including our liver, lungs, and our small intestine (which might explain the gastrointestinal symptoms associated with the disease for certain people). The spike protein is also primed by the serine protease TMPRSS2 (transmembrane protease, serine 2). The receptors that the virus can bind to using the spike protein and enter our cells include:

    • ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, found in our kidney tubules, lungs, heart, intestinal tract, gallbladder, oral cavity, nasal cavities, veins, arteries, and testis)
    • GRP78 (glucose-regulated protein 78, found in all organs)
    • CD147 (basigin, found in our cardiovascular system, nervous system, and within our T cells, which are part of our immune system)

Once a COVID-19 virion enters our cells, it uncoats, transcribes mRNA, produces virion components, assembles more virions. Finally, the virions are released from the host cell to infect other cells and produce more virions. Eventually, for someone to overcome a viral infection, our immune system inhibits virion production and virulence by many different mechanisms. Finally, our immune system can also impede virion production and virulence before we ever become symptomatic. We are exposed to so many different virions in nature, and our body has a virome that contains more viruses than any other microbe by far, and many of them never make us ill.

Symptoms of COVID-19 Infection

Primary Symptoms

      • Diarrhea (may also occur in children who contract Influenza)
      • Dry cough (frequent)
      • Fatigue (sudden severe fatigue is more common in Influenza than Coronavirus infections)
      • Fever and chills (frequent)
      • Reduced appetite (frequent)
      • Shortness of breath (dyspnoea)

Secondary Symptoms

If you do not have any of the primary symptoms, any secondary symptoms you are having are likely from a different infectious agent. For example, if you are dealing with nausea and vomiting, it is expected it is a Norovirus infection or food poisoning, even if you have a fever. However, you might have a Coronavirus infection if you are suffering from nausea, vomiting, and have a fever that turns into dry coughing and shortness of breath later.

      • Abdominal pain
      • Anemia
      • Arrhythmia
      • Blood in the urine (proteinuria)
      • Cough with sputum or blood
      • Dermatological health issues including COVID toes (red, sore, and itchy toes), pseudo-chilblains, hives, dengue-like petechial rash, rashes, petechiae, and plaques mimicking pityriasis rosea.
      • Elevated blood pressure
      • Leukopenia (low white blood cell count)
      • Lost of sense of taste (your food also might taste salty or disgusting)
      • Headache
      • Nausea
      • Lost of sense of smell
      • Sore throat
      • Tachycardia
      • Th1 dominance
      • Vomiting

If You Have These Primary Symptoms It Is Likely You Have Suffering From Either Rhinovirus or Influenza Infections or Are Dealing With Allergies

      • Muscle aches (more common in Influenza and Rhinovirus infections than Coronaviral infections)
      • Nasal congestion
      • Sneezing

Rare Serious Medical Conditions COVID-19 May Cause

      • ACE2 homeostasis interruption – Once ACE2 receptors are damaged by viral attachment and penetration, ACE2 levels within the cardiovascular system, kidneys, and lungs increase. The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system is a hormonal system that regulates blood pressure, fluid and electrolyte balance, and vascular resistance. One of the mechanisms of lung injury during Coronaviral infection may be through inappropriate effects of excess free angiotensin-II protein causing increased vascular permeability, edema, and neutrophil accumulation, hindering the function of our lungs.
      • Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) – ARDS occurs during a Coronaviral infection when virions infect alveoli cells, and they die. Alveoli are tiny sacs within the lungs where gas exchange occurs. Oxygen is diffused into the capillaries (tiny blood vessels), then the gas enters the bloodstream during inhalation, and carbon dioxide is released from the capillaries from the bloodstream during exhalation. The wall of our alveoli is quite thin, so that gas exchange can quickly occur. The Coronavirus damages both the alveoli wall and lining cells and the capillaries. The alveoli thicken from inflammation and damage, they can collapse, and gas exchange becomes poor. Carbon dioxide builds up in our blood, and oxygen levels plummet. When the alveoli capillaries are damaged, protein-rich fluid enters the alveoli and causes pulmonary edema. Since the lungs are inflamed and impaired, it is more difficult for the lungs to clear the excess fluid buildup, which causes further issues with gas exchange. Our lungs try to work harder to compensate, and in doing so, “tire out“. In addition, the virus infects cilia cells within our lungs. The cilia are likened to tiny hairs and they protrude from lung cells to move mucus and particulates upward so they can be coughed out of the lungs. Severe shortness of breath, rapid breathing, shallow blood oxygen levels, elevated blood carbon dioxide levels, and chest imaging shows bilateral opacities (lung infiltrates > 50%), which are not fully explained by effusions, lobar, or lung collapse. People with ARDS require either ventilation or the use of an ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, a machine that oxygenates the blood and removes carbon dioxide without the use of the lungs) machine to reoxygenate the blood and give our lungs a rest to prevent organ failure, coma, and/or death. ARDS has a high death rate between thirty-five to fifty percent, and lifetime comorbidities occur from ARDS, such as pulmonary fibrosis. More research has come to light recently that it may be the incorrect use of ventilators, causing ARDS in COVID-19 infections and not the virus itself. The following links are an excellent theorized video by a New York City doctor Cameron Kyle-Sidell and a recent Italian study that cautions the incorrect usage of ventilators in relieving COVID-19 symptoms. If you or someone you know is hospitalized because of a COVID-19 infection, make sure your healthcare professional knows this information, that the blood oxygenation issues associated with the virus might not be from ARDS (the lungs are not “tiring out” and requiring ventilation to rest/repair) but might be from interrupting heme metabolism (more information further down the list under the virus causing severe anemia).
      • Blood clots – causes an increased risk of myocardial infarction, pulmonary embolism, and stroke.
      • Central nervous system failure
      • Coma
      • Cytokine storms
      • Heart injury and failure (caused by negatively affecting the angiotensin aldosterone renin system [significantly increasing blood pressure], increased systemic inflammation from increased oxidative stress, medications used to treat COVID19. and from the increased risk of blood clots if one occurs and travels to the heart triggering a myocardial infarction)
      • Kawasaki-like disease in children
      • Kidney injury and failure (by negatively affecting the angiotensin aldosterone renin system and increased systemic inflammation from oxidative stress)
      • Iron overload – free and bonded iron levels increase within our body from the breakdown of hemoglobin, creating increased oxidative stress, organ damage, and mitochondrial toxicity. Iron is easily oxidized, leading to increased cellular oxidative stress, so iron is bonded to many different iron storage or utilization proteins until the body needs to use it. Free iron is iron that is not bonded and is very reactive, creating reactive oxygen species (ROS), which, unless counteracted with antioxidants, create excessive oxidative stress within our mitochondria. For example, bilateral alveolar damage may occur in the lungs from COVID-19 because of failures to maintain iron homeostasis, which leads to an abundance of free iron, causing increased oxidative stress and elevated inflammation and mitochondrial damage. Iron overload can be determined from testing iron markers (including ferritin) and liver function markers, and if they are elevated, you are likely suffering from iron overload.
      • Liver injury and failure
      • Myocardial infarction (caused by negatively affecting the angiotensin aldosterone renin system [significantly increasing blood pressure], increased systemic inflammation from increased oxidative stress, medications used to treat COVID19. and from the increased risk of blood clots if one occurs and travels to the heart)
      • Multiple system organ failure – once multiple system organ failure occurs, the case-mortality rate significantly increases (ranges from thirty to ninety-nine percent), especially the more organs that fail.
      • Pulmonary embolism
      • Respiratory failure
      • Seizures
      • Severe anemia – COVID-19 directly interferes with the assembly of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is found in our red blood cells and is responsible for transporting oxygen systemically. Hemoglobin comprises of four subunits of heme that are bonded to one iron atom and one oxygen molecule. Heme is a complex of porphyrins that contain an iron atom that can bond and carry one oxygen molecule. Porphyrin rings have nitrogen molecules at the center of the ring, which can bond with iron. Viral proteins produced by COVID-19 can theoretically be able to compete with porphyrins for free iron in our body and limit the production of heme, leading to severe anemia. Viral proteins ORF8 and virion surface glycoproteins produced by COVID-19 could combine with our porphyrins to form a different complex (instead of heme), which is unusable by our body. Viral proteins orf1ab, ORF10, and ORF3a produced by COVID-19 can deconstruct heme on the 1-beta chain of hemoglobin to dissociate iron and form incompatible with the human body porphyrin complexes. Overall because of the viral infection, the body will have less hemoglobin to carry oxygen and carbon dioxide, causing anemic hypoxemia (low oxygen blood levels) and hypercapnia (elevated carbon dioxide blood levels). The lung cells develop extremely intense inflammation from the inability to exchange gases and neutralize the free iron formed radicals, which lead to ground-glass-like lung images and the development of pulmonary fibrosis if left uncontrolled. Finally, elderly people and people suffering from diabetes have higher levels of glycated hemoglobin (which is tested during an HbA1c test to determine diabetes) when the virus deconstructs hemoglobin increasing blood glucose levels which creates further oxidative stress within the body. Blood glucose levels should be properly monitored and reduced if/when elevated.
      • Secondary bacterial pneumonia
      • Sepsis – symptoms of COVID-19 septic shock include respiratory manifestations such as severe dyspnea and hypoxemia, renal impairment with reduced urine output, tachycardia, altered mental status, and functional alterations of organs expressed as laboratory data of hyperbilirubinemia, acidosis, high lactate, coagulopathy, and thrombocytopenia.
      • Stroke
      • Viral meningitis
      • Viral myocarditis
      • Viral pericarditis
      • Viral pneumonia

Possible Lasting Health Issues From a Severe COVID-19 Infection

Diagnosis of COVID-19 currently is mainly through symptomatology, by X-ray or computed tomography (CT) lung scan results, COVID-19 real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction testing (rRT-PCR), and if you have had contact with people that are known to be infected with the virus or you have visited or live in regions where it is endemic. Lung scan results show in moderate to severe infections that “86% of COVID-19 patients have ground-glass opacities, while 64% have mixed GGO and consolidation, and 71% have vascular enlargement in the lesion“. “The lesions present on the CT images were more likely to have peripheral distribution (87%) and bilateral involvement (82%).”“They were also more likely to be lower lung predominant (54%) and multifocal (54%)“. Finally, “ground glass opacities indicate partial filling of air spaces in the lungs by exudate or transudate, as well as interstitial thickening or partial collapse of the lung alveoli.”

COVID-19 rRT-PCR testing is performed by either inserting a very long swab into the nasal cavity and a swab is taken from the posterior of the sinuses, throat, or sputum. COVID-19 rRT-PCR testing is when viral RNA samples are taken from human swab samples (if there are any) and are tested to see if they similarly match with supposed strains of COVID-19 and if so, the person tests positive for the virus. However, a negative test result is less definitive if you have COVID-19 because an infected person may have a “false negative” test (the test has a 60 to 70% sensitivity at best) result if the swab misses coming into contact with virions so its RNA can be tested. Also, just because someone tests positive for COVID-19, it does not mean that they will become symptomatic or if you have Coronavirus symptoms, they will become severe. A positive test result means that you supposedly came into contact with it and are asymptomatic, or you have contracted the virus. A combination of symptomatology and diagnostics should be used to determine if someone is suffering from COVID-19 or another viral infection like Influenza; the severity of the symptoms, including the development of ARDS, might be the difference. ARDS can occur for Influenza infections. ARDS, in most clinical cases, are caused by bacterial sepsis, trauma, pancreatitis, smoke inhalation, and drug toxicity. However, ARDS seems likely to occur more in novel Coronavirus infections (SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV2) than the standard seasonal flu (might be different during more virulent flu seasons, the 2019-2020 flu season supposedly is not one of them). It is also possible, as I have mentioned, that ARDS cases seen in novel COVID-19 infections could be from the improper usage of ventilators to “improve” lung function. COVID-19 might be different from SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, in that instead of causing ARDS it causes severe anemia and iron overburden from the destruction of hemoglobin and incorrect formation of heme which leads to severe symptomatology of the disease, which is different than the flu.

The development of severe medical conditions or death if you are infected with COVID-19 depends on many different factors, including age, immune system health, biological sex, blood type, lifestyle, and comorbidities. There have been some misconceptions flying around on social media and being reported on the news that if you are younger, you will not get very ill from the Coronavirus or you will not die from the infection; this is not entirely accurate. However, the younger you are, there is a much lower risk of disease severity or death. However, very few children tragically have gotten very ill and have died from COVID-19 infection. In the United States, states are reporting that 0.00%-0.03% of all child COVID-19 cases resulted in death. The case-fatality rate for Covid-19 in children is not much higher than the average Influenza season.

One preliminary non-peer-reviewed paper also stated that people who are blood type A are more likely to contract the COVID-19, and people who are blood type O are the least likely to contract the virus. Follow-up studies have concluded that if you are blood type A, you might be able more likely to contract COVID-19 and present with greater respiratory symptoms than other blood types. In Italy, men make up nearly sixty percent of confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than seventy percent of those who have died, according to Italy’s main public health research agency. Progesterone and estrogen are immune modulators, which might explain why women who have greater amounts of these sex hormones might be becoming sick and dying less often from the Coronavirus than men. As far as comorbidities and infection outcomes are concerned, hypertension was the worst (fourteen to twenty-two percent of cases in intensive care units in Wuhan), followed by diabetes (six to eleven percent), cardiovascular disease (four to ten percent), respiratory system disease (one to six percent), and cancer (six percent). In the United States, the intensive care unit rates for high blood pressure and diabetes are much higher for both, around thirty percent. Smoking and even vaping may when infected increase COVID-19 severity. However, one Chinese study showed that if you smoked regularly for months or years, you might not have as severe symptoms as previously thought if you become infected because chronic smoking down-regulates ACE2 cellular receptors within the lungs, leading to possibly less viral virulence within the lungs. Smoking does cause lung inflammation and damage over time, so time will tell if long-term smokers suffer from less severe disease than non-smokers. Being both underweight and obese are both increased risk factors for increased COVID-19 severity. Finally, people dealing with autoimmune conditions and decreased immune system functionality (from disease, genetics, lifestyle, or medication usage) are at a higher risk for increased COVID-19 severity.

You have probably seen headlines stating that ninety-nine percent of deaths from COVID-19 occurred in people who had comorbidities (other health conditions including high blood pressure, for example). Granted, the ninety-nine percent statistic does appear to be accurate so far in Italy for people that have tragically died from the disease and had other health conditions. However, the same argument could be made for most people who die from Influenza. The majority of people in the world are suffering from at least one comorbidity. Obesity, heart disease, lung disease, being underweight, high blood pressure, kidney disease, liver disease, an autoimmune condition, cancer, to name a few medical conditions, which would have some effect on your odds of recovering from a COVID-19 or even Influenza infection. I believe that even people that are believed to be healthy are also sadly developing severe Coronavirus infections and are dying as well, granted much less often.

How to Hopefully Prevent a Symptomatic COVID-19 Infection

Discuss all recommendations with your medical healthcare professional first before implementing them! Supplemental dosage recommendations are for people over seventeen and may need to be titrated based on weight, medication usage, and overall health.

I recommend making most of the following lifestyle changes during the winter to prevent viral infections, especially if there is an Influenza outbreak in your area. In addition, the subsequent lifestyle modification and supplement recommendations are also applicable to help hopefully protect you and your loved ones from Coronavirus infection as well. Washing your hands frequently, especially when you are out in public, with an organic soap (do not use antibacterial soap, triclosan is not approved as an antiviral agent and is harmful to the human body) for at least thirty seconds (a minute is better, especially if you are not home or just came home from being out in public) with vigorous hand scrubbing may help reduce your risk of contracting the virus. Washing your hands with soap works better, in my opinion, than hand sanitizer in removing virions from your skin. Soap contains fat-like substances known as amphiphiles, which are structurally similar to the lipids in the virus’s membrane. Amphiphiles compete with lipids within the virus membrane, allowing you to mechanically remove the virions easier from your hands when washing using soap than just using water. In addition, the amphiphiles and friction break apart the virion components and separate the proteins, lipids, and RNA, inactivating the virion. Hand sanitizer (sixty to seventy percent alcohol) also has some effectiveness in destroying the lipid layer of the virion, and combined with the friction of your hands, removes and inactivates the virus. I recommend using hand sanitizer only when you cannot wash your hands as the alcohol tends to dry out your skin more with repeated use. Using a good natural or organic lotion at night before you go to bed on your hands might help repair your skin and relieve dryness from frequent hand washing and hand sanitizer usage. Finally, I do not recommend shaking hands, hugging, kissing, or fist-bumping as a greeting if you believe you are ill with COVID-19 or have tested positive, which may spread COVID-19.

I also recommend that you avoid touching your face if all possible unless your hands are clean. I know this is easier said than done; it is almost a reflex to touch our faces frequently. Do your best to be mindful of touching your face and try to reduce the frequency, especially touching your nose, which is a main entry point for the Coronavirus virion to begin replicating. If you need to scratch your face, do it with your hand inside of your sleeve or use the collar of your shirt. I also recommend that you not visit elderly or immunocompromised family members if you believe you are ill with COVID-19 or have tested positive; a simple phone call, video chat, E-mail, or an old-fashioned handwritten letter should suffice to help prevent spreading COVID19 to them.

Proper sunlight exposure, primarily when your exposure to the sun produces endogenous vitamin D (vitamin D production occurs from exposure to UVB [relieves Th1 dominance], check your UV index, and it should be greater than five to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D) may help improve your immunity to viral infections. For dietary recommendations, you should reduce or eliminate your consumption of added sugar, caffeine, alcohol, iron-fortified food products, artificial trans fats, dirty dozen, unfiltered water, and processed foods to help bolster your immunity. In addition, avoid any foods that you are known to have sensitivities to as well. For example, if you are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease do your best to avoid all gluten consumption, even limiting cross-contamination. Eating during the daylight hours and proper intermittent fasting if you can tolerate it (some people with adrenal issues or hypoglycemia have to eat more frequently) can help boost your immune system. Proper sleep hygiene and length are also crucial for healthy melatonin (relieves Th1 dominance) production and a properly functioning immune system. Stress can also reduce the functionality of your immune system, so de-stressing as much as possible helps boost immunity. I myself try to relax away from electronics (like reading a book), ground, spend time with my family, sit in a chair outside when it is sunny, and pray to de-stress. Finally, I recommend reducing your exposure (the following link is an excellent book covering the negative effects of nnEMF and how to hopefully mitigate some of it) to non-native electromagnetic fields (nnEMF) if possible, especially if you are suffering from hypoxia, iron burdened, or are having issues with proper hemoglobin production. Frequent exposure to nnEMF can create (among other things) oxidative stress within our mitochondria (harming our mitochondrial health) by causing calcium channel influx and may worsen COVID-19 symptoms and virulence.

COVID-19 virions remain infectious on many surfaces for differing amounts of time. Differing concentrations of virions remain infectious when aerosolized by sneezing or flushing the toilet if you are infected for up to three hours. The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did not initially recommend public mask-wearing (N-95 or N-99 masks properly worn are the best at preventing or spreading certain viral infections) because they claimed social distancing at six feet would prevent virion inhalation from infected people sneezing around you. However, using logic, if virions are able to stay in the air for up to three hours, then it should matter if an infected person sneezed into an area you enter a few minutes later without wearing a mask. You might accidentally breathe in infectious virions, believing you will not become infected from not wearing a mask because you followed CDC social distancing recommendations. Yet, an infected person standing in the same area five minutes earlier was sneezing and coughing. Correct mask-wearing is essential to prevent infection in well-trafficked closed-in places like a grocery store, for example. The CDC is now, however, recommending everyone wear a mask when out in public. Congratulations on changing your stance on public masking wearing CDC. However, most masks will offer little protection against spreading or contracting the Coronavirus, unless they are rated at N95 or higher and are properly worn. So, should we be mandated to wear masks, if most wear masks that are not very effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19?

What are some supplements that reduce your odds of developing a symptomatic COVID-19 infection? I recommend talking to your healthcare professional about taking these supplements if there are active cases of Coronavirus in your area.

Echinacea – echinacea is herbaceous flowering plants in the daisy family. Multiple studies show that echinacea is efficient in reducing the severity of the symptoms of the common cold. Echinacea does increase the production of interferon-alpha, which is a potent antiviral and hinders the Coronavirus’s ability to infect your cells. Echinacea activates Th1 immune cell differentiation, which may help to put our immune system on defense for incoming virions and help prevent infection. Finally, there is a recent study (granted it was funded by the supplement company A. Vogel AG) that showed echinacea supplementation protected human lung cells from coronaviral infection in vitro. “However, we did observe a protective effect in an organotypic respiratory cell culture system by exposing pre-treated respiratory epithelium to droplets of HCoV-229E, imitating a natural infection. Finally, antiviral activity was not restricted to common cold coronaviruses, as the highly pathogenic SARS-and MERS-CoVs were inactivated at comparable concentrations. These results suggest that Echinacea purpurea preparations, such as Echinaforce, could be effective as a prophylactic treatment for all CoVs, including newly occurring strains, such as SARS-CoV-2..” I recommend taking two capsules of Gaia Herbs Echinacea Supreme with breakfast as long as you are not Th1 dominant as a Coronaviral prophalytic.

Vitamin A – retinoic acid is produced by antigen-presenting cells, including macrophages and dendritic cells that are found on the skin (which is why vitamin A supplementation helps with acne) and mucosal cells that line your airways, urinary tract, and digestive tract. Retinoic acid regulates the differentiation, migration, and the antigen capacities of dendritic cells. Retinoic acid is required for the differentiation of cluster of differentiation four (CD4) T-lymphocytes into regulatory T-lymphocytes (cells that suppress the immune system, hopefully when needed to prevent autoimmunity) and is required to differentiate them into Th1 helper cells (which are used to overcome viral infections) specifically when required. Retinoic acid is essential for the integrity of our immune system and our gut mucosal barrier. Sources of dietary retinyl esters include animal liver, cod liver oil, butter, eggs, cheese, and milk. So, for most people ingesting four to eight ounces of the pastured animal liver (contains dietary heme bonded iron, zinc, cholecalciferol, and vitamin K2, all factors needed for proper vitamin A absorption and utilization) weekly and ingesting pastured organic eggs, pastured organic butter, and organic goat cheese throughout the week is enough dietary vitamin A ingestion. I do not recommend nutritional sources of beta carotene (carrots, for example) to be your only ingested dietary or supplemental form of vitamin A because of potential absorption and conversion genetic and intestinal issues. Proper cholecalciferol production or dietary ingestion is essential to prevent hypervitaminosis A, do not supplement vitamin A without cholecalciferol. The fat-soluble vitamins A, vitamin D, and vitamin K2 all help keep each other in balance. If you get your vitamin A from animal liver or cod liver oil, there is some cholecalciferol in those sources that will help protect you as well.

Vitamin C – I recommend five hundred milligrams of whole food vitamin C with each meal, daily, for possible COVID-19 infection, prevention.

Vitamin D – usually, I recommend proper sunlight (that contains UVB) exposure to increase endogenous vitamin D production and utilization or the ingestion of vitamin D in cod liver oil. However, depending on where you live geographically, endogenous production might not be feasible. If your vitamin D levels are deficient, then supplementation of vitamin D might be needed during the winter. I recommend taking 5,000 IU daily taken around noon with lunch. If you are supplementing with vitamin D, you should also supplement vitamin K2 and magnesium to make sure vitamin D is utilized by your body correctly. In addition, make sure that you are eating enough food sourced retinol (animal dairy, eggs, animal liver) and sulfur (meat, eggs, cruciferous vegetables, onions, and garlic) to facilitate proper utilization of vitamin D. Finally, proper liver function is crucial for the conversion of vitamin D from 25-hydroxy (cholecalciferol) to its active form 1-25 hydroxy (calcitriol).

Zinc – I recommend the supplementation of thirty to sixty milligrams of zinc if you are an adult (acetate, picolinate, and glycinate are recommended zinc chelations) daily. Always take with food, zinc supplementation (except for zinc carnosine) on an empty stomach may cause severe nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Zinc is crucial for proper immune system functionality, specifically for normal development and function of cells that mediate both innate and adaptive immune responses. Zinc also blocks viral RNA polymerase, which is needed for replication. The cellular receptor site for zinc is also the ACE2 receptor, and zinc may interfere with COVID-19’s ability to enter the cell through the ACE2 receptor. Supplementation of too much zinc may hinder the immune system, so take no more than one hundred milligrams daily. Finally, zinc acetate lozenges might be superior in hindering the Coronavirus’s ability to colonize the throat, but they might cause a temporary hindrance to your sense of taste which is usually restored once the lozenges are discontinued.

Quercetin – quercetin is a popular supplement that is generally recommended for people who have asthma, allergies, and histamine intolerance because it works very well as a mast cell (cells that release histamine) stabilizer. Quercetin is a plant flavonoid that is found in many fruits, vegetables, plants, honey, and buckwheat. Quercetin is one of the most abundant flavonoids in our diet, and average daily consumption ranges from twenty-five to fifty milligrams. Quercetin is found in decent quantities in capers, dill, cilantro, fennel, red onions, radicchio, cocoa, kale, and cranberries. Quercetin has been shown in invitro studies and animal models to possibly inhibit COVID-19 from entering into the cell by binding the spike protein. Quercetin also functions as a zinc ionophore and has been shown to facilitate the transport of zinc across lipid membranes into our cells. So, if you are taking zinc to prevent or help you overcome COVID-19 infections then you would probably want to ask your healthcare professional about taking quercetin as well. Quercetin has been shown to possibly cause or worsen Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and hypothyroidism, but interfering with thyroid-cell growth, reducing iodide thyroid uptake, decreasing the expression of the thyrotropin receptor, thyroid peroxidase, and the thyroglobulin gene. Quercetin is also a weak proton pump inhibitor so take it in between meals as long as it does not irritate your stomach lining and cause/worsen gastritis. You would not want quercetin to inhibit stomach acid production during meals which you need for proper chemical digestion of food in the stomach. I recommend taking one EMIQ capsule two hours before lunch and another EMIQ capsule two hours before dinner.

Xlear nasal spray

Homeopathic recommendations for Coronaviral prevention from friend Dr. Jon Ritz.

If you are iron burdened and appear to not have any symptoms of the Coronavirus then blood donation may help reduce your body’s iron load and reduce complications of a COVID-19 infection. I also recommend that you research the work of Morley Robbins and his Root Cause Protocol for more information on how to reduce your body’s iron load and how to return homeostasis to iron metabolism.

I do not recommend the usage of colloidal silver as a COVID-19 prophylactic. Colloidal silver is a very potent anti-microbial agent, and long-term use of it orally may lead to dysbiosis. Colloidal silver does not discriminate against probiotic and opportunistic microbes and will kill whatever it comes into contact with. In addition, only micro amounts of silver enter the systemic circulation and have to come into contact with the virions to inactivate them. Finally, most COVID-19 infections begin in the nasal cavity so the use of colloidal silver nasal sprays is what would be used to prevent infection which can disturb the nasal microbiome if used long term.

I do not recommend getting an Influenza shot to prevent a Coronaviral infection. I find it appalling that the medical establishment and the news media are pushing the general public to get their flu shots so hard to “protect” them during the COVID-19 outbreak. I have seen very few giving proper reasoning for getting your flu shot, that you would not want to be dealing with the flu and catch COVID-19 or dealing with a Coronaviral infection and contract the flu. By not mentioning this, they frame it as if the flu shot can protect you from the Coronavirus. However, the flu shot is nowhere near 100% effective and, at best, is 40% effective because they do not always guess the active strains for the year correctly. Practicing the above advice and taking the recommended supplements would also help lessen the chances that you get the flu. Finally, a recent study of Department of Defense personnel shows that getting a flu shot may slightly increase your chances of developing a Coronaviral infection. “The overall results of the study showed little to no evidence supporting the association of virus interference and influenza vaccination. Individual respiratory virus results were mixed, and some rebutted virus interference. Further research is necessary to help character virus interference and validate or refute the validity of the test-negative design for influenza vaccine effectiveness.“

Recommendations if You Are Suffering From a COVID-19 Infection

Discuss all recommendations with your medical healthcare professional first before implementing it! Supplemental dosage recommendations are for people over the age of seventeen and may need to be titrated based on weight, medication usage, and overall health.

I caution the use of a few certain pharmaceutical medications if you are suffering from a COVID-19 active infection. Usage of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications are not being recommended for relieving COVID-19 symptoms because they increase expression of ACE2 and ACE2 receptor sites on cells in animal studies (likely in humans as well), especially with long term use. The increase of the ACE2 enzyme and ACE2 receptor sites on cells may lead to an increase in virulence of COVID-19 because there are more ACE2 receptor sites for the virion to enter the cell. Angiotensin two type-1 receptor blocker medications (losartan is one, for example), which are used in people that have high blood pressure, also increase ACE2 cellular receptor sites and increase COVID-19 virulence with long-term use. Thiazolidinedione medications that are used for diabetes treatment also increase ACE2 cellular receptor sites. I do not recommend that you discontinue these medications without first discussing/implementing alternative medications that can be used your individual health conditions. However, I do recommend researching the usage of angiotensin two type-1 receptor blocker medications including olmesartan and losartan for patients that are dealing with ARDS (and more importantly uncontrolled high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease and severe COVID-19 infection) and have not taken the medications previously for a long time before contracting COVID-19. Angiotensin two type-1 receptor medications may reduce the virulence of COVID-19 by blocking ACE2 cellular receptors, lower blood pressure (crucial in someone suffering from elevated blood pressure), activate VDR receptors within our body, and relieve lung inflammation (preventing or relieving cytokine storms). However, if ACE2 enzyme levels are too elevated a further blocking of ACE2 receptors may worsen Coronaviral symptoms.

Losartan medication insert for your knowledge.

Olmesartan medication insert for your knowledge.

Quinine analogs (chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine) are also being used in COVID-19 treatment with zinc and the antibiotic azithromycin. Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine (less side effects associated with its use than chloroquine) are being used as supposed antiviral medications. The quinine analogs act as zinc ionophores that allow extracellular zinc to enter the cell and inhibit viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, inactivating COVID-19. Azithromycin is a macrolide antibiotic given to prevent secondary bacterial pneumonia, which is seen in many cases of ARDS. Patients are more vulnerable to secondary bacterial dysbiosis of the lungs from mechanical ventilation forcing air (that can contain microbes picked up from the oral cavity for example) into the lungs and from increased gut permeability (from ill health or antibiotics like azithromycin causing or worsening dysbiosis) leaking microbes and toxins into the bloodstream causing increased systemic inflammation (here is an excellent study that goes into more depth about the connections between gut health and ARDS). I recommend eliminating added sugar consumption, using a probiotic like Gutpro, and using a prebiotic like Holigos to try to help prevent or the worsening of dysbiosis from antibiotic usage. Zinc carnosine usage can also help reduce increased gut permeability. Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine have mixed efficacy in different studies and have many side effects associated with their use (see below medication inserts for more in-depth details of side effects). The combination of chloroquine and azithromycin can cause or worsen heart arrhythmia (especially QT prolongation), especially in people predisposed to arrhythmia or people with poor cardiovascular health. In addition, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine medication half-lives are at least one to two months, so side effects caused by these medications and their possibility to interact with other medications can continue long after their discontinuation. Chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, and intravenous vitamin C can cause or worsen hemolytic anemia (red blood cells break down and are unable to carry hemoglobin) in people with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiencies which is mostly caused by genetic G6PD polymorphisms. G6PD deficiencies mainly occur in men (linked to the x chromosome) of African-American (deficiency tends to cause milder symptoms), Africa (deficiency tends to cause milder symptoms), Asia (deficiency tends to cause worse symptoms), or Mediterranean (deficiency tends to cause worse symptoms) ancestry. G6PD blood levels should be tested before given these medications if a deficiency is suspected. Hemolytic anemia would cause or worsen COVID-19 including shortness of breath, hypoxia, arrhythmia, liver damage/failure, and kidney damage/failure. The medication cocktail of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and zinc may have some efficacy against COVID-19 infection, but their use has to be weighed against their side effect profiles individually to whether their use potentially has benefit or if their usage causes more harm. The drug cocktail does not have 100% efficacy in the treatment of COVID-19 and has numerous side effects, no matter what some people might be trying to get you to believe about its use. The Quinism Foundation has done significant research and advocacy on the side effects of quinine analog medications (warning mainly of the medications causing cognitive dysfunction and psychiatric issues), especially during long-term use. Finally, some doctors are recommending substituting the use of azithromycin for doxycycline to try to prevent cardiac side effects associated with the cocktail.

Chloroquine medication insert for your knowledge.

Hydroxychloroquine medication insert for your knowledge.

Azithromycin medication insert for your knowledge.

Doxycycline medication insert for your knowledge.

My recommendations on how to win against a COVID-19 infection vary depending on the state of one’s immune system. Severe COVID-19 infections are thought to trigger ARDS by triggering direct cellular damage of the lungs by the virus, increasing inflammation, and sometimes causing secondary bacterial infections within the lungs. ARDS is severe lung inflammation and, in my opinion, a cytokine storm within the lungs. It is possible that incorrect ventilator settings and usage is what is creating ARDS in COVID-19 patients. Cytokine storms might be occurring in COVID-19 infections from inflammation due to iron overburden and severe anemia, causing increased oxidative stress and hypoxia. There are also case reports of cytokine storms occurring from COVID-19 in other organs and organ systems, including the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, kidneys, and the liver. Cytokines are endogenous immune-modulating agents that cannot enter the cytoplasm of the cell and are essential for cellular signaling. Cytokines modulate your endogenous response to infection, immune responses, inflammation, trauma, sepsis, cancer, and are important for reproduction. Cytokines include interferons, interleukins, and growth factors, that are secreted by immune cells that signal other immune cells or directly affect our cells. Proper cytokine production when your immune system is appropriately balanced modulates the balance between humoral and cell-mediated immune responses. Cytokines also regulate the maturation, growth, and responsiveness of many different cells. Finally, inflammatory cytokines are one of the primary triggers of the inflammatory cascade (and other inflammatory responses can also trigger their release), especially inflammatory cytokines that are produced by T helper cells.

T helper cells (CD4+ cells) are a type of T cell (immune cell) that helps mediate immune responses to pathogens mainly by releasing cytokines. Immature T cells are produced in our bone marrow and then later are developed by our thymus, where they increase and differentiate into the different types of helper cells. T cell increases and differentiation mainly occur before adulthood, where the thymus mostly becomes inactive being replaced by fatty tissue. However, the development of new T cells in the thymus continues at a slower pace, and appropriate T-cell numbers are maintained through the division of mature T cells outside of the central lymphoid organs for the remainder of one’s life. Th1 helper cells (cell-mediated immunity) help you overcome cancer and intracellular bacterial, protozoan, and viral infections. For example, endotoxins produced by Gram-negative bacteria trigger Th1 cell activation or differentiation. Th2 helper cells (humoral immunity) help you overcome extracellular bacterial, yeast, and parasitical infections, and an elevation may occur during pregnancy. For example, histamine produced by histamine producing bacteria triggers Th2 cell activation or differentiation. Th17 helper cells help you overcome extracellular bacterial, yeast, and parasitical infections. There are also T helper cells called tregs (tregs make up five to ten percent of our T helper cells) which are known as T regulatory cells, which produce the cytokines transforming growth factor beta (TGF-B) and interleukin 10 (IL-10) which restrain our immune system, are anti-inflammatory, and help prevent excessive T cell immune responses. The following link is an excellent post by Joe Cohen from Selfhacked about the differences between Th1 and Th2 dominance and how to possibly determine which one you might be if you are ill. A general list of Th1 dominance symptoms includes joint pain, fatigue, brain fog, hypothyroidism, delayed food sensitivities, chronic inflammation, rosacea, lack of headaches, or migraines, and you rarely catch a cold or flu and if you do not have a fever.

Most of the time, when Th1 cell activation or differentiation goes up, Th2 cell activation or differentiation goes down, and vice versa, like a scale. However, you want to increase Th1 cellular activation or differentiation slightly if you are trying to improve immunity to viral infections in your area. During an acute viral infection, Th1 cells activate, or differentiation occurs in the area of the infection or systemically to help your body overcome the viral infection. If Th1 cell activation or differentiation becomes dominant within the body, production/release of Th1 cytokines greatly increases, signaling more Th1 cells to the infected area, which greatly increases inflammatory responses creating a cytokine storm. Increasing treg cell activation or differentiation may relieve cytokine storms by releasing IL-10 and taking supplements that are known to relieve Th1 dominance may also relieve cytokine storms. Cytokine storms create excessive inflammation which causes massive cellular, tissue, and organ damage/scarring and greatly increases your mortality rate. Coronavirus infections can cause cytokine storms, like other viral and bacterial infections, so if your symptoms become severe, you want to reduce Th1 cell activation or differentiation to relieve the cytokine storm. If Coronaviral symptoms quickly worsen, including shortness of breath, frequent dry coughing, hypoxia, compromised cardiovascular function, seizures, cognitive issues, and coma, a cytokine storm might be occurring. Finally, increased ferritin levels, decreased platelet counts, elevated hs-CRP, or increased erythrocyte sedimentation rate are laboratory markers for increased inflammation and possible Th1 dominance.

Certain supplements increase Th1 dominance and may, and I mean may cause or worsen a cytokine storm. Granted Dr. Peter D’Adamo stated that there are no studies indicating that elderberry, for example, which increases Th1 has triggered or worsened a cytokine storm, which I agree. However, I know that when I was Th1 dominant, taking certain supplements that increased Th1 made me feel more inflamed and worse until I stopped them. You might have to reduce your dosage or stop taking the following list of supplements if they make you feel worse:

      • Apolactoferrin
      • Chaga (betulinic acid)
      • Elderberry
      • Echinacea
      • Honey
      • Licorice
      • Zinc

Antiviral Supplement Recommendations

      • Andrographis – one milliliter mixed in juice (to mask the taste of the tincture) with breakfast. You can split the dosage between two meals if needed.
      • Apolactoferrin – two with breakfast and two with dinner. You can increase the dosage to four grams daily if needed.
      • Licorice root – one capsule with lunch and one with dinner. Do not take licorice root if you suffer from high blood pressure, hypokalemia, or edema. Licorice root supplementation can cause high blood pressure, low potassium levels, and edema with consistent use. I recommend not using it for more than two weeks.
      • Lauricidin – start with one half of a teaspoon with breakfast and one half of a teaspoon with dinner. You can increase the dosage if necessary, to two full teaspoons daily.
      • Resveratrol – one with breakfast and one with lunch. Can increase the dosage to four capsules daily if needed.
      • Zinc – read more about zinc in its section on preventive recommendations above.
      • Quercetin – read more about quercetin in its section on preventive recommendations above.
      • N aceytl cysteine

Supplements to Improve Immunity or Relieve Symptoms When Having a COVID-19 Infection

      • Melatonin – read Doris Loh’s excellent blog on melatonin, why it is essential to have in your arsenal against COVID-19, and her dosing recommendations (which I agree with).
      • Ubiquinol and PQQ – Both ubiqiuinol and PQQ improve the health of our mitochondria, kidneys, central nervous system, and our cardiovascular system and can help protect them from increased oxidative stress associated with COVID-19 infection. I extremely recommend the use of ubiquinol and PQQ if you have the following comorbidities and are suffering from COVID-19, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney disease, which have been associated with poorer outcomes if you are ill from the virus. May also limit mitochondrial, cardiovascular, and liver damage associated with the usage of quinine derivatives and azithromycin in the treatment of COVID-19.
      • Vitamin A – read more information about vitamin A usage in its section in preventive recommendations above. However, if you are dealing with a symptomatic COVID-19 infection I recommend that you take one Carlson Vitamin A, 25,000 IU soft gel three times weekly (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for example) with breakfast. Vitamin A also reduces Th1 dominance.
      • Vitamin C – read more about vitamin C usage in its section in preventive recommendations above. You might need to increase vitamin C dosage per tolerance if you have a symptomatic COVID-19 infection per your symptoms. If you can tolerate non-buffered ascorbic acid, then Doctor’s Best Quali C, vitamin C powder, is your best bet for large dosage. If your esophagus or stomach becomes irritated from the non-buffered vitamin C usage then only take it with food. If you need a buffered vitamin C, Nutribiotic sodium ascorbate is your best bet. I recommend 1,000 milligrams every hour or two you are awake as long as you do not get diarrhea from the increased vitamin C ingestion (means the vitamin C is not being absorbed and used by the body and is instead an osmotic laxative in the intestines) if needed depending on the severity of your symptoms. Ask your healthcare professional about the use of buffered intravenous vitamin C if symptoms are severe enough or you are hospitalized with a COVID-19 infection.
      • Vitamin D – read more about vitamin D usage in its section in preventive recommendations above.

Supplements that Reduce Th1 Dominance (Relieving Cytokine Storms)

      • Andrographis – take one with breakfast.
      • CBD oil
      • Curcumin (does not reduce Th1 dominance in colonic cells) – one to four capsules in the morning with your first meal.
      • EGCg – take one with breakfast.
      • Fish oil – I recommend Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega, two to four soft gels with each meal. May reduce your blood pressure, so if you get dizzy then your blood pressure might be too low. Ask your healthcare professional before omega 3 supplementation if you are using any type of blood thinning medication.
      • Melatonin – read Doris Loh’s excellent blog on melatonin, why it is essential to have in your arsenal against COVID-19, and her dosing recommendations (which I agree with).
      • Resveratrol – read more about resveratrol under antiviral supplements above.
      • Vitamin A – read more information about vitamin A usage in above previous recommendations.
      • Vitamin D – read more about vitamin D usage in its section in preventive recommendations above.

Revered herbalist and author Stephen Harrod Buhner’s information and protocol for COVID-19.

Homeopathic recommendations for Coronaviral infection from friend Dr. Jon Ritz.

Protocol If You Are Hospitalized With COVID-19

MATH+ Protocol

In addition to the MATH+ Protocol I would recommend asking your health care professional about following any of the above recommendations that do not interfere with the protocol. I would in addition discuss with your healthcare professional about adding the use of Ivermectin to the protocol. I do not recommend the use of any statin listed in the protocol, hoiwever, if you choose to use it supplement with ubiquinol to protect yourself from the side effects of the statin medication.

No affiliate links were used in the Fix Your Gut Coronavirus blog.

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