Supplementing Your Diet During COVID-19
In order to support our health during the Corona Virus Pandemic, we can make important dietary changes that help our body’s response to infection, their ability to overcome the infection and deflect long term effects of the virus.
Who’s at Greatest Risk
The elderly are at the greatest risk for the Corona Virus. These are individuals over the age of 60. At about the age of 50, our immune system begins to decline. This is normal. The normal decline is accelerated with factors such as smoking, eating the standard American diet, being stationary, being isolated, lacking community, depression, anxiety, recent loss, toxic environment, diabetes, any type of vascular disease, lung disease, obesity, or autoimmune disease.
Individuals with health issues
Elderly people are not the only ones who are at risk of COVID-19. Anyone with health issues are also at an elevated risk of catching COVID-19 and having complications.
Risky Health Issues
- High blood pressure
- Metabolic syndrome
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Heart attack
- Autoimmune disease
- Taking a proton pump inhibitor
- On multiple medications,
- Having a big belly
That is a long list. Why are these individuals at risk? They have unhealthy inflammation in their bodies. It is normal and healthy to have mild inflammation in the body. This is called a pro-inflammatory response. It’s like being on your toes while playing sports; alert and ready to respond immediately. But chronic inflammation is a huge risk factor. We’ve talked about this before.
Supplements Can Help
Supplements that are essential at this time to support your body for COVID, any cold, flu, or other infection are: Vitamin A, D, E, and C. What dose is right for you? Get your healthcare provider to test your levels of the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E) and help you determine what is right. Everyone is different. Your genes and your health are determinants in what and how much you need. Vitamin C is taken to tolerance: 250-500mg every 2 hours until you get diarrhea. Count up the milligrams you took, subtract 250 or 500mg and then take that dose every day. Make sure your supplements are of high quality. If you cannot get a medical-grade supplement from your health care provider, purchase the NOW variety.
SARS virus attacks the endothelium, the lining of vessels. If the endothelium is already damaged from cardiovascular, lung, kidney disease, brain issues, gut issues, or diabetes the damage will likely be greater at the organ where there is a disease. The key nutrients that support the endothelium are vitamins A, D, E, C, and the mineral zinc. They promote T regulatory cells, cells that quiet down the immune response (making it more normal, less reactive), thus preventing the cytokine storm that is seen in those with severe cases of COVID.
Can I eat my vitamins?
Yes! you can eat all of them. Consume organic, whole foods.
Vitamin C: oranges, peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, strawberries, apples, greens, black currents.
Vitamin A: carrots, broccoli, cantaloupe, squash, liver, fish, raw dairy products, orange-colored foods.
Vitamin E: almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, leafy greens(turnip, beet, mustard), spinach, broccoli, wheat germ, sweet red pepper.
Vitamin D: sardines, salmon, herring, mackerel, red meat, liver, egg yolks. SUNSHINE!
Zinc: oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts.
When to take your supplements
Fat-soluble vitamins should be taken with a meal that contains fat. Vitamin D is best taken in the morning. It affects the circadian rhythm because it has an inverse relationship to melatonin, the sleep hormone. (By the way, Vitamin D is not really a vitamin, but a pro-hormone; a precursor to other hormones.) So take your vitamin D in the morning with breakfast. Vitamin E and A also are good in the morning. Vitamin C can be taken anytime. Since it is water-soluble, take it in divided doses 2-3 times a day.
There are several lab companies that offer high-quality testing for fat and water-soluble vitamins. You can learn the intracellular (inside the cell) and extracellular (outside the cell, circulating) volumes available. Doctors Data, Genova, Vibrant America are a few labs that test the specific micronutrients listed above. If you or someone you love is at risk for COVID-19, has a chronic viral or bacterial infection, you might consider getting micronutrient testing. It’s smarter to know exactly what you need, take the best quality and proper amount needed, then to guess.
Not all supplements are equal. Studies have been done to determine what is in the bottle on the shelf. Scientists went shopping at places like Sams, Costco, random grocery stores/pharmacies, as well as high-end pharmacies that sell only medical-grade supplements. Ingredients found in non-medical grade supplements included dirt, glass, plastic, excessive amounts of fillers, and sugar. Medical-grade supplements cost more because every batch is organic ingredients, tested, weighed, verified, and contains the best quality available. The percentage and potency of the herbs are tested every season so there is very little variability from batch to batch. You get what you pay for. How much is your health worth to you?
Supporting your immune system with supplements can be very beneficial. But that change alone is not enough. Alter your diet to suit your desired health goals. The most valuable supplements for COVID-19 are vitamins A, D, E, C, and zinc. All vitamins can be obtained from high-quality food sources. Sugar will decrease the absorption of your vegetables, fruits, and supplements. You can get blood tests to see what and how much you need. Be smart. Get help from an expert well versed in nutrition.
Disclaimer: This information is provided for your general education. Talk to your healthcare provider about your needs and your health. Every person is different. Get tested. Do not take supplements without expert advice. Excessive amounts of supplements, the wrong supplements, can be very dangerous. Too much or too little, poor quality, taking them at the wrong time of day…can be harmful to your health. Just because you can buy them without a prescription doesn’t mean they are without side effects.
I aspire to fully integrate the best of conventional, nutritional & functional medicine with cutting edge coaching and body-mind skills so you can achieve optimal wellbeing.
BS in Nursing | MS in Nursing | Functional Medicine Certified Health and Wellness Coach