We are very aware of the increasing fear and concern surrounding COVID-19.  It seems like everywhere you turn someone is making predictions about the impact of the dreaded virus.  We are taking this virus very seriously and urge everyone to stay calm and not allow the hysteria to get to them. I would like to provide you as much guidance as I can to keep you and your loved ones well.

Facts on COVID – 19

COVID 19 is from the family of viruses called coronavirus which primarily affects the respiratory system.  It is thought to be airborne as with most viruses, meaning it spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when someone coughs or sneezes.  These droplets can end up on surfaces like your hands, railings, counter tops, etc. and then be spread if you come into contact with that contaminated surface.  Once a person contracts the virus, there is often an incubation (time between someone being exposed and starting with symptoms) which is currently believed to be 2-14 days.

This virus seems to be the most harmful in our oldest population with the worst outcomes being in those above 80-years-old.  Additionally those with compromised lungs, heart disease, poorly controlled diabetes or are on immunosuppressant medications are at greater risk as well.  The difference between this and most viruses is that it does not appear to affect our children and pregnant women.  The vast majority of people who contract coronavirus have mild symptoms that resolve without complications.  That being said, one of the greater concerns lies in the idea of people having no symptoms at all and walking around or traveling and spreading the virus without even knowing they are infected.

Currently, the coronavirus is estimated to have at most a 2-3% fatality rate and while that might sound very scary it is important to keep those numbers in perspective.  To date approximately 4,300 people have died from coronavirus.  It is estimated that between 300,000-600,000 people die from the seasonal flu every year across the world. However it appears to be spreading very quickly and my biggest concern is that it is going to overwhelm the hospitals and the healthcare system. I am really worried about our elderly especially those who are in nursing homes, hospitals, and those living independently who are just barely managing.

Protect Yourself and Others

The most effective way to prevent the spread of this virus is straightforward and can go a long way with respect to keeping you and your loved ones safe.

  • WASH YOUR HANDS, often with soap, and do this for at least 20 seconds and get all the surfaces.  For those of you who have tried to buy hand sanitizer but cannot because it has been sold out, do not panic since washing your hands with soap is much more effective.
  • Avoid shaking hands
  • Avoid touching your face especially your eyes since the virus can be transmitted to mucous membranes in your eyes and this is a common vector for the aerosolized virus.
  • Regularly clean and sanitize any frequently touched surfaces at work or home
  • Face masks are not recommended for the general population. N-95 masks need to be reserved for hospitals and health care providers who are highly exposed.   There is no data showing regular masks protect you from getting this virus.  Only if you have the virus wearing a mask helps protect others.
  • If traveling on an airplane spray the air downwards on to you, this can act as a shield to help protect you against air droplet transmission
  • At first, I thought it was crazy to cancel large gatherings, but at the rate this is spreading, it is a very sound measure …remember this is to protect our elderly, immunocompromised and prevent our healthcare system and hospitals from being overwhelmed.

How to Keep Your Immune System Strong

Many of you have heard me talk about the 5 pillars of health; nutrition, fitness, stress management/sleep, supplementation, and reduction of toxins.  All of these areas need to be addressed in maintaining a healthy immune system so that you are less susceptible to disease.

Your immune system requires a significant amount of energy so it relies on adequate sleep to function at full capacity.  Aim for 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.  Please realize that excess alcohol not only affects sleep but also weakens the immune system so try to limit consumption especially if you are waking up poorly rested. Please actively manage your stress on a daily basis.  Unmanaged stress not only increases inflammation but weakens our immune system and gut health.

Exercise and movement is key to allowing lymphatic fluid to pump through our bodies.  Lymphatic fluid is what contains our immune cells and helps us fight disease.  Remember exercise should be a daily nonnegotiable habit!

Your gut health is paramount to fighting off viruses since 80% of the immune system resides in the gut!  Please be mindful of what you are eating and eat healthy balanced meals with real food.  If you have leaky gut/increased intestinal permeability make sure you are following the steps we have recommended to heal your gut.

Specific Supplements to Boost Your Immune System

  • Vitamin D3 –50,000 IU/day, duration of 1-3 weeks at onset of flu-like symptoms
  • Vitamin C– Vitamin C has been shown to reduce the frequency and duration of a cold.  It enhances white blood cell function and increases interferon, a chemical that fights viral infections.  Buffered C Powderthrough Thorne is a good product.
  • Zinc – 15-50mg/day.  Zinc is 1 of the most important micronutrients used by the body to enhance antioxidant defenses.  It is in high demand during infections and may become deficient during conditions that stress the immune system.
  • Probiotics – I often talk about how important your gut health is for your immune system since 80% of your immune system lies in the gut.  There are special probiotics for gut health my favorite being Megaspore biotic and there are also probiotics geared towards protecting you against upper respiratory infections that include Ultra Flora immune.
  • Vitamin A – 15,000 IU/day, duration 1-3 weeks.  Vitamin A is incredibly important for maintaining the barrier of the GI tract and respiratory lining to protect against microorganisms.  Additionally, it is important for antiviral activity.
  • Astragalus – 250 mg/day, duration 1-3 weeks.  This has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant effects and increases interferon levels which help fight against infection.
  • Beta glucans – This is found in products such as Real Mushrooms Immune Defense which you can get on Amazon.  This should be taken more on a preventive basis.  Beta glucans prime the immune system and activate white blood cells.  Dosage for this should be 250 mg per day.
  • Arabinogalactan – This is used to prevent upper respiratory tract infections.  It increases natural killer cell activity and is commonly used as a prebiotic.  Recommended dose includes 85 mg per day.
  • Echinacea – 100 mg/day, duration 1-3 weeks.  This has been shown to have strong antiviral activity.
  • Black Elderberry – This has antiviral activity and is found in 1 of my favorite supplements called Viracid which can be taken for the treatment of viruses and can also be taken on a preventative basis.
  • Colostrum/Immunoglobulins – Colostrum not only contains high quantities of IgG, but several factors have shown that it positively impacts the immune system. Many studies note that the use of bovine colostrum enhances passive immunity that helps prevent immune challenges, especially when entering by way of the gastrointestinal tract.  For those of you who are dairy free, OrthoMolecular makes a bovine derived dairy free product, called SBI Protect, which is similar in effectiveness.
  • Oregano oil – In vitro work done during the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak showed that this herb not only stopped but destroyed the virus.  There have been no clinical studies specifically conducted on this towards COVID-19 but it makes sense to have on hand. Oregacillin from Physician’s Strength is the product that I would recommend.
  • Monolaurin-This is a potent virucidal and bactericidal agent.  Unlike conventional antibiotics it has not been shown to have adverse effects on beneficial intestinal flora.  In addition to acute use it may also be used as a potential preventive measure. Monolaurin-Avail is available through Design’s for Health.
  • Peptides – Peptides are an exciting cutting edge tool that we have introduced to the clinic.  Peptides are chains of amino acids that are generally already found in your body but may be at suboptimal levels due to certain conditions or stressors in the body. There are peptides which can be largely beneficial for immune support. Thymosin alpha-1 is the most recommended peptide for immune stimulation and is incredibly safe.  It is commonly used to treat Influenza as an alternative to Tamiflu.  This comes from a special compounding pharmacy and is injected.
This may be overwhelming for a lot of you and can result in even more pills to take…two products that I recommend that contain a lot of these ingredients include Viracid and Immunotone.  Additionally, I would recommend SBI Protect (OrthoMolecular), Mega Mucosa (Microbiome Labs), or Colostrum (Sovereign laboratories).

Testing for the Coronavirus?

Currently the state has issued guidelines for higher risk and lower risk testing.  See link below…

Higher risk individuals for having contracted the virus should test at the Florida Department of Health Laboratories.

Individuals who may have come in to contact with the virus or persons 65 or older who are immunocompromised and experiencing a cough or shortness of breath should be tested at a commercial lab facility.  Please call us if you need help facilitating the process.

In closing…

We want everyone to take this seriously but realize the hysteria surrounding this outbreak is creating more chaos and overwhelming our society.  Furthermore, the reason we are recommending the precautions, lifestyle habits and supplements that I discussed in this article is to not only help prevent any of you from contracting the disease but to also, and maybe more importantly, prevent the spread of it to a person or group of people who are not equipped, physically, to fight it off.  By doing this we will keep our healthcare system from being overloaded and the disease cases will level off instead of continuing to increase.

We hope the information and recommendations above gives you a guideline for making decisions that protect you and your family and that reduce the risk of this disease continuing to spread.  There is a ton of information out there some true, some not and things continue to evolve or change as we learn more.  Our advice, as it has always been, is to do the things we preach at Masley Optimal Health and to make sure to add in Ways to Protect Yourself and Others and any of the supplements or lifestyle modifications that boost your immune system.  Thank you all and please let us know if you have any questions.

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