Research is pointing to COVID-19 staying with us, globally, for the long term. With no medical solutions available, the aim of the game (for now, with what we currently know, May 11, 2020) is to:
- Maximize Nutrition and Correct Deficiencies
- Correct Insulin Resistance and Diabetes
- Assist Weight Loss
- Decrease Baseline Inflammation
- Optimize Antioxidant Status
- Optimize Blood Vessel Endothelium
- Improve General Cardiovascular Health
*Close attention to the gut microbiome balance is needed to achieve all of the above. Gut microbiome analysis and personalized dietary adjustments (among other tests) could help determine individuals’ optimal diets.
- 1 COVID-19 and Strengthening the Herd
- 2 The COVID-19 Pandemic is Bad, Try To Find Positives
- 3 COVID-19 Prevention and Future Health Precautions
- 4 COVID-19 Supplementation
- 5 COVID-19 Elimination List
- 6 Positive COVID-19 Lifestyle Changes
- 7 What If I Get COVID-19?
- 8 Resources
COVID-19 and Strengthening the Herd
We must support robust ‘herd resistance’ to severe infection via diet, lifestyle, and basic supplementation . Children and younger healthy folks are often asymptomatic of COVID-19 or are not succumbing to the virus. It’s become apparent that we must get the susceptible ‘high risk’ population to more closely resemble their counterparts, physiologically. Attaining this desired result will not be possible for all, but with effort and guidance, improvements can be made.
Support for gut microbial balance is needed, for it plays a major role in:
- Immunity and Inflammation
- Nutrient Absorption
- Mental and Emotional Balance
Poor gut microbial balance and gut integrity are commonly observed in the elderly, diabetic, and obese .
A lack of microbial biodiversity is known to cause or at least contribute to systemic inflammation and immune dysfunction (COVID-19 severity predictors).
The COVID-19 Pandemic is Bad, Try To Find Positives
For many, the COVID-19 pandemic serves as a wake-up call to society. It’s forcing billions to reevaluate their wellness and the methods they use to attain it. We need to take back ownership of our bodies and responsibility for maintaining our own health and immune defense.
Members of society must actively work at cultivating physical and mental robustness. If we continue to normalize the sedentary lifestyles we lead, the poor quality foods we live on, as a species, we will become increasingly susceptible to ANY circulating microbes. Yes, viruses are a microbe.
COVID-19 is just one of many. Generation after generation, our microbiome has become less robust. Our guts are losing beneficial microbe species important for maintaining health due to poor diets.
Maybe if we were collectively healthier and more durable, this pandemic would not even be referred to as a pandemic? The population is rife with diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and other pre-existing conditions. These illnesses are mostly preventable with education, diet changes, and lifestyle support.
COVID-19 Prevention and Future Health Precautions
If you have COVID-19, or suspect you do, please contact your physician immediately. Whether you have the coronavirus or not, there are measures you should take to improve your immune system. They will not only help you fight off severe illness perpetrated by COVID-19, but help you thwart off other potential pathogens, too!
Adequate Protein Intake
Protein is required to produce new immune cells and neurotransmitters. Plus, protein supports lean muscle tissue and proper glucose metabolism. Get enough protein, but remember that more is not better. Don’t go overboard or your microbiome (and your immune system) won’t be happy!
Some of the best protein sources for your gut biome include:
- Free-Range Meat
- Cage-Free Poultry
Choose what works for you. Keep in mind that variety is awesome, as you’ll cover more nutritional bases whilst keeping protein levels optimal.
Slow Carbs and Fiber
Dietary fiber is important as it slows the release of carbs and feeds your immune-supported anti-inflammatory gut microbes. Refined carbohydrates are to be avoided wherever you can. They lack nutrients and will sabotage your metabolism. Ultimately, these are the carbs that contribute to weight gain. Wholefood carbs with their fiber and nutrients still present are what your microbiome craves.
Some of the best complex carbohydrates include:
- Seeds (Chia, Pumpkin, Sunflower)
- Nuts (Brazil Nuts, Macadamia Nuts, Almonds)
- Ancient Grains (Quinoa, Amaranth, Millet)
- Organic Fruits and Vegetables
- Sweet Potatoes
Although, you may want to limit all carb intake if you’re following a weight loss plan like the ketogenic diet or if your blood sugar control needs work.
Levels of inflammation and the function of our cell membranes can be strongly influenced by our fatty acid balance . We need to avoid the types of fats found in baked goods and fast food menu items. They are prepared with hydrogenated oils that are catastrophic to our healthy bacteria.
Fill your body with high-quality fats, such as:
- Organic Fruit Oils (Extra Virgin Olive, Avocado, Coconut)
- Nuts (Macadamia Nuts, Walnuts, Almonds)
- Evening Primrose and Borage Oil
- Oily Fish (Sardines, Mackerel, Tuna)
- Grass-Fed Animal Fats
Fat will not make you fat; the right types of fat can actually help you to lose weight! When you eat too many unhealthy fats, it causes inflammation. Inflammation DOES make you look fat and swollen.
Not to mention, excess weight causes you to feel lethargic and sore. These uncomfortable feelings leave you unable to exercise, and thus, likely to gain fat.
Micronutrients are needed to support our bodies’ antioxidant production, cellular energy metabolism, gut integrity, gut microbiome balance, and immunity. While macronutrients are the primary building blocks and energy providers for our body, all of the crucial yet invisible systems running inside our body require tiny micronutrients as well. Unfortunately, in our modern processed diets, many micronutrients are lacking; thus, many systems break down.
For instance, when your body lacks iron or vitamin B12, red blood cells cannot efficiently carry oxygen around the body. When you’re deficient in things like calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin K, or boron, your bones cannot rebuild and maintain themselves properly. Meanwhile, when zinc is low, many vital enzymes essential for health, healing, and immunity cannot be produced….it goes on.
All of these little elements are precisely why a varied diet, with plenty of seasonal fresh fruits and veggies, is considered optimal.
Remember that everybody is different. What seems to work well for one person may be a terrible diet for the next. Hey, a diet that suits you well now may not be the one that serves you best through all stages of life! Be flexible enough to experiment and change when your body feels like it needs a change.
See a professional if you feel lost. Be present enough to listen to and respect signals from your body. Integrate those mindful messages with what your practitioner suggests. In some instances, you may need a person with nutrition training to help interpret!
With all herbs and supplements, getting a personalized prescription from an experienced naturopath or herbalist is best. There is no singular prescription that will suit everyone! Just know that there are many herbs and supplements to support your health through this period–however long it may last!
With a surge in the interest of natural supplements during COVID-19, doctors are working with or sending patients to naturopaths. If you can’t afford a naturopath, try to find a pharmacy that has one and discuss supplements with them. This conversation is especially important if you are taking medications.
Popular supplements during the COVID-19 crisis include:
- Antiviral Herbs (Andrographis, Cat’s Claw, Elderberry [Preventative Only])
- Immune-Boosting Herbs (Echinacea, Licorice, Astragalus)
- Sleep-Boosting Herbs (Valerian, Hops, Passionflower)
- Adaptogens (Withania, Ginseng, Chaga)
- Cod Liver Oil, Vitamin A, Vitamin D (Respiratory Mucous Membrane Defense)
- Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids (Antioxidants)
- Immune-Boosting Nutrients (Resveratrol, N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC), Quercetin)
- Minerals (Selenium, Copper, Magnesium)
- Leaky Gut Syndrome Supplements (Marshmallow Root, Licorice, Aloe Vera)
- Probiotics and Prebiotics (Thryve Custom Probiotics, Made with Inulin)
COVID-19 Elimination List
The are numerous things you can do to improve your health during the era of social distancing. You need to take the extra time slotted to us during these uncertain times to make some changes for the better. Here are some suggestions.
Don’t Get Hydrated
Quit smoking. It will save your money, and your life. Without this sort of pressure on your lungs, you’ll be healthier to fight off the respiratory symptoms of COVID-19.
This tip doesn’t just apply to athletes. It’s also for someone suddenly launching into a program beyond their ability after being mostly sedentary. It’s best to build gradually to gain the benefits of exercise without stressing your body too much, which leaves you wide open to infection!
Cut Out Trigger Foods
There are just some foods that won’t agree with you. That includes healthy foods! You’d be shocked how many healthy foods may trigger gut issues. Cut down on the usual suspects, such as lactose and gluten. However, you might want to stay clear of lectins, too. That is, if they’re causing you gastrointestinal distress.
No More Drugs and Alcohol
Take your essential medications, but try to cut out the unnecessary meds. Talk to your doctor before any potential changes. Alcohol and recreational drugs can destroy neurotransmitters, stomach bacteria, and healthy immune cells.
Drop Refined Sugars & Carbs
Refined sugars and carbs will encourage the growth of microbes that cause damage to the gut lining, and thus, generate more leaking of reactive substances into the bloodstream. These trigger foods can increase inflammation and create a load on the immune system. That’s why sugar and refined carbs are near the top of the list of foods that cause Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Positive COVID-19 Lifestyle Changes
You don’t want to just dwell on all the things you’re taking out of your routine. Let’s celebrate some stuff you should add.
Here are positive changes you can make to you routine in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Cold Water Exposure
- Regular Yoga, Mediation, or Deep-Breathing (Wim Hoff Method)
- Push Yourself In Exercise
- Study Something New (Language, Musical Instrument, Webinars)
- Read Personal Growth Books
- Relationship Counseling Work
- Connect with Friends, Family, Co-workers
- Spend Time in Nature (Oceans, Parks, Hiking Trails)
- Cuddle and Play with Pets
- Give Back to the Community
These will help you mental and physical state. In turn, your stress levels will drop and antioxidant levels will rise. The mental serves the physical, and both are essential in staying safe from COVID-19.
What If I Get COVID-19?
It could happen – in fact, it probably will. Getting COVID-19 could be tomorrow or sometime in the next year. In the same breath, you could also get cancer, a nasty case of influenza, or be hit by a bus.
Every day you are alive, you could literally die tomorrow. So, there’s no point in stressing about a new possible cause! With COVID-19, just be cautious and get prepared! If you get prepared now, you’ll be much less stressed because you’ll face the bug as healthy as you can!
Get your body and mind into the best shape you can. It’s going to make you feel amazing and likely prevent many other illnesses, too!
By Jeanie McClymont
goodMix Naturopath & Founder
 Sanchez, Dr. Eduardo. “COVID-19 Science: Understanding the Basics of ‘Herd Immunity’.” Www.heart.org, 25 Mar. 2020, www.heart.org/en/news/2020/03/25/covid-19-science-understanding-the-basics-of-herd-immunity.
 Aw, W., & Fukuda, S. (2018). Understanding the role of the gut ecosystem in diabetes mellitus. Journal of diabetes investigation, 9(1), 5–12. https://doi.org/10.1111/jdi.12673.
 Zivkovic, A. M., Telis, N., German, J. B., & Hammock, B. D. (2011). Dietary omega-3 fatty acids aid in the modulation of inflammation and metabolic health. California agriculture, 65(3), 106–111. https://doi.org/10.3733/ca.v065n03p106.