Immune Health during “these” times (and all other times)

Note: this is part 3 of our series. You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here

Note#2: this post has been edited to eliminate a particular proper noun because Facebook as well as other sources are limiting it's reach. The name of that certain thing has been replaced with "BeerBug".

Our environment (The Terrain) has vast amounts of control over how well or how poorly we respond to a virus or anything else for that matter. We create a good environment by making sure that our bodies and minds have exactly what they need to function correctly - things like safety, shelter, connection with others, nutrient dense food, clean water, etc. If we consume healthy living food from living soil while also keeping up with the other daily practices that keep our immune systems strong, our bodies will have massive amounts of energy to keep us thriving and in our natural state of health. And, if we do get sick our bodies will be primed and ready with all the ingredients and energy to do what they do - detox, purge, upgrade, and carry on. If you are struggling with your weight or other health conditions or you are reliant on medications and want to rebuild from the inside out, there is no time like NOW to make better health and vitality a reality. There is so much information out there and it can be overwhelming but if you need help with navigation and guidance, I am available to help you.

Good health is a powerful and a wonderful thing. It gives us energy, clarity, and vibrancy! Among other things it gives us superpowers really, allowing us to better handle and respond to stress, it gives us more patience, and of course it bolsters our ability to deal with the occasional cold and flu. Having a better state of health is also something that every single person has to not only acquire but also maintain. Our common understanding of health may not include mental and emotional health but these are as important as nutritional health, proper breathing, movement, and relationships are. Those are all worthy topics of their own articles but the focus of this article is about how to support ourselves nutritionally. A supportive diet is going to be one without loads of sugar, carbs, or artificial ingredients. (Sugar consumption is one of fastest ways to stress the immune system - reducing macrophages by 50% for 5 or more hours!).. A good diet will of course include a large variety of different vegetables, ferments, quality proteins, good fats, some fruits, and herbs - read more about this in Part 1

However, even with a very clean and high energy diet we can be deficient in key nutrients, especially if we eat non-local an conventional foods or regularly indulge in the sugars and/or refined flours. Our exposure to synthetic ingredients and environmental toxins also deplete us... and those chemicals are everywhere! 

Did you know the the US ranks #37th in the world in health?... A pathetic ranking!


So, supplementation can be a great way to make sure you have important key ingredients circulating in your system to ward off infections and improve your overall health. Having a proper diet and supporting your overall health with supplements can also protect you from BeerBug and flu related complications and improve your immune function. Many of the supplements listed below you are probably going to be familiar with but there may also be a few new ones to you. I've done a lot of research on each of the following nutrients as it relates to overall immune function and BeerBug; I present it here to you in a (fairly) concise way, along with dosages so that you can strengthen yourself and your family, and feel more confident in your own body's ability to more effectively handle whatever is thrown at it. This article is so that you know the WHY and the HOW as well as the practical dosing information. Without further adieu, here are my top supplement recommendations for a strong and resilient body.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a very important nutrient that many people are low on. It is estimated that around 75% of teens and adults are deficient in this master vitamin. But a recent study showed that optimizing your vitamin D levels could drop your risk of severe problems from BeerBug by 90% and your overall risk of dying from it by 96%! We need small amounts of sun exposure for optimal wellness but a supplement can also serve us well.

Low vitamin D levels have been correlated with viral replication and the seasonal flu and increasing your levels to the proper range can strengthen your overall immune system within only a few weeks. Proper levels of D have also been shown to slash acute respiratory tract infections in half!

This essential vitamin is complex and is a big part of many jobs in the body, not the least of which is, along with cholesterol, a main hormone precursor. But for the immune system, one thing that it does is it produces proteins called Defensins. These proteins reside on our cell walls and help to defend cells against bacteria and viruses. Less Vitamin D = more ability for viruses and bacteria to infiltrate the inside of the cells.

Food sources: Sunshine is the best source (15-20 min/ day for most people); secondary sources include cod liver oil, herring, catfish, salmon, mackerel, sardines, shrimp, raw cow’s milk, and whole eggs.

Supplement dosage: Adults low on vitamin D can take 5000IU of D3 per day for a month to get their levels up or take a maintenance dose of 1000-2000IU/day if levels are already good. Children can take the same maintenance dose as adults but if a blood tests shows they are low a higher dose could be used (under the guidance of a health care practitioner) for a short while to increase levels. If you don't know where your levels are we can check them with a quick blood test, just send us a message.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C has natural built-in anti-viral properties and is an essential ingredient in the proper functioning of the immune system. This vitamin has a tried and true history of being very valuable to immune health, and is a go to for a lot of people. Just 200 mg per day has been proven to reduce death rate in elderly people with severe pneumonia by 80% while babies with pneumonia show improved oxygen levels within a single day! In fact we have known that Vitamin C protects against viral pneumonia since the 1940’s. A remarkable benefit has been shown for people with acute respiratory illness that take Vitamin C and it has also been shown to reliably reduce the duration of a cold.

Vitamin C is a key ingredient used to eliminate sepsis from the blood and by doing so literally saves lives! It is also an anti-viral and anti-inflammatory (inflammation contributes to the cytokine storms of BeerBug that can be lethal) and it is a free radical scavenger. White blood cells are the immune cells of the body and rely on Vitamin C to perform their job. It is so valuable for the immune system that a company out of the Netherlands donated 50 tons of vitamin C to the city of Wuhan in the beginning of March and the Shanghai Government has officially recommended Vitamin C for BeerBug.

Food sources: Natural forms of vitamin C include minerals, vitamin P, rutin and other analogs and are commonly found in papaya, red bell peppers (raw), the white inside pith of citrus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, buckwheat, strawberries, oranges, cantaloupe, kiwi fruit, cauliflower, kale, parsley, and mustard greens.

Supplement dosage: Adults and children can take 500mg - 1000mg per day as maintenance. Those treated at the first signs of illness with hourly doses of 1 gram (1000mg) per hour of vitamin C for six hours followed by 1 gram three times per day thereafter is shown to provide much better results than those on pain relievers and/or decongestants. When it comes to Vitamin C, more is better... at least to the point of bowel tolerance which varies from person to person and the body's need (stop consuming vitamin c when your stomach starts to gurgle). Typically a person can take much more Vitamin C when feeling ill (because the body needs more) and most people will not have a loosening of the bowels until a dose of at least 5-10 grams is reached. Be sure to get a buffered form of vitamin C and not just straight ascorbic acid. If you want to take doses of vitamin C that would help with severe situations like sepsis, or if you just want to be able to take a very large dose without having loose bowels you want to look into liposomal vitamin C.

Zinc

In the past 50 years there has been quite a bit of mounting evidence that proves zinc to have antiviral activity against many viruses including (SARS) coronavirus, respiratory syncytial virus, HIV, herpes simplex, and Hepatitis C. It is used in the body as a direct antiviral, as well as a stimulant of the immune system's own antiviral activity.

Zinc is well known to play key roles in overall immune response. It is essential for immune cell development, maturation, and general survival. The reverse is also true: zinc deficiencies severely hinder and impair immune responses. Supplementing with zinc is highly effective in helping people recover from severe respiratory infections and it is even shown to reduce mortality rates when used as an adjunctive therapy in the treatment of severe pneumonia!

Zinc is foundational in helping us to support our overall health and immune function.

Food sources of zinc are red meat, oysters, fish, nuts, seeds (especially pumpkin), and ginger. Zinc is also found in calf’s liver, mushrooms (especially crimini), beef tenderloin, lamb loin, sesame seeds, yogurt, green peas, spinach, and shrimp.

Supplement dosage: One of the best forms of zinc in a supplement is as Bisglycinate; dosage in this form is 50-100 mg/day. Children aged 1 - 3 can take 7 mg/day; ages of 4 - 8 can take 12 mg/day; ages 9 - 13 can take 23/mg day. Usually, children's multivitamins will be able to supply the minimal amounts while diet can provide the rest. 

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is one that you don't hear too much about as it relates to immune health, but for the cardiovascular issues that we are seeing show up with BeerBug we need to talk about this great vitamin too. Low vitamin K status is shown to be a factor in more severe cases of BeerBug as well as more unfavorable outcomes. Sufficient Vitamin K status, especially K2, has shown to be a protective nutrient from BeerBug related comorbities.

BeerBug patients in general are significantly more likely to have low Vitamin K levels when compared to those without the disease. Also, it is common for people taking statin drugs to have lower amounts of K2 so supplementation is often important for this group.

What Vitamin K does for us in relation to this disease is that it may positively influence the fibers in our lungs, which are shown to be degraded in severe BeerBug infections. Good blood levels of vitamin K enable healthy blood clotting and proper blood viscosity. Those that are on blood thinners are cautioned against using Vitamin K supplements or even eating foods rich in it so if this is you make sure you talk with your doctor first. 

Foods sources high in Vitamin K include certain fermented foods such as natto, sauerkraut, or vegetables fermented using a starter culture of vitamin K2 producing bacteria. Cheeses such as Brie, Munster, and Gouda are also high in Vitamin K2 as are egg yolks, liver, butter (and raw diary in general). However, keep in mind that all of these foods must be sourced from grass fed animals since sufficient amounts are not found in their conventional (grain fed) counterparts. K2 is a product of green living grasses which then turn a hue of orange or yellow - as in butter; but are also found in kale, collards, spinach, turnipgreens, beet greens, mustard greens, and brussels sprouts - though it is mostly available only after you ferment these foods. 

Supplement dosage: When taking K2 as a supplement make sure to only take the form known as Menaquinone-7 (MK-7); the optimum range from a vitamin K supplement is around 150 mcg (micro-grams) per day. Usually children's multivitamins will be able to supply the minimal amounts while diet can provide the rest. When supplementing, the child's dose is 45-90 mcg/day.

Quercetin

Ah, Quercetin! It has long been known for its antioxidant effects and for brining balance to inflammation. But it is also well known for its ability to stabilize mast cells, which prevent histamine related (mucous) allergy symptoms. Furthermore, it has potential protective effects against cancer and heart disease. Vitamin C can recycle oxidized quercetin, therefor these are very complimentary and even synergistic when taken together. Quercetin also helps modulate the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines (NLRP3) that occur during a cytokine storm.

Quercetin is now being looked at as a potential adjunctive nutrient for BeerBug patients as well as for prevention. It can help us in some key ways right now as it pertains to preventing and handling BeerBug infections. First off we now know that zinc is essential for the immune system but if you want extra protection, add Quercetin, a naturally occurring zinc ionophore. An ionophore helps Zinc (as well as other ions) make their way through cell walls, stopping viral reproduction. But that's not all it does for our immune system! It has a direct regulatory effect on immune cells and is a broad-spectrum antiviral, prevents viral entry into host cells in the first place, and reduces the toxic cytopathic effects of a wide variety of different viruses which include... rhinovirus, poliovirus, and zika. It has even been shown to protect cells from lethal doses of ebola in vitro! Furthemore, it has been demonstrated that quercetin exhibits antiviral activity against SARS-CoV, and preliminary findings suggest that it also inhibits our current favorite coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2! This is certainly a safe go-to supplement for anyone suffering fear or anxiety over whether their body can handle a coronavirus infection.

Food sources: This fantastic little plant flavonoid is commonly found in apples, brassica vegetables, capers, onions, green tea and tomatoes, while also in herbs like Ginkgo, St. John’s Wort, and Elderberry just to name a few. And here is another interesting correlation to the Japanese culture... the highest amount of green tea consumption in the world is in Japan, where as mentioned previously - has been minimally impacted.

Supplement dosage: The optimum range from a supplement is between 500 mg to 1,000 mg of quercetin per day. Children can take half the dose of adults. 

Fermented Foods

One thing that should also be mentioned and that is related to overall health and vitality is the practice of consuming fermented foods. A recent study came out showing that countries where higher amounts of traditionally fermented foods are consumed have lower BeerBug mortality rates. The health of the gut microbiome and it’s connection to general health and the immune “system” cannot be understated. Fermented food and traditional diets could also explain some of the differences in BeerBug mortality rates between countries in Europe. It could also be a reason that Asian countries faired pretty well over the last half year.

The correlation between diet and immune health is well known by many. But most people don’t realize that each mouthful of fermented food can provide TRILLIONS of beneficial bacteria – far more in number and diversity than you can get from any pro-biotic supplement on the market, which will typically provide you with colony-forming units (CFU’s) in the billions. This is quite an amazing fact. It’s like getting an entire bottle’s worth of probiotics in one single serving!

A recent study found an incredible correlation: for each gram per day increase in the average national consumption of fermented vegetables, the risk for BeerBug mortality fell by 35.4%!

“Although this study is only indicative of the role of diet in BeerBug, it is, however, another piece of the hypothesis proposing that traditional fermented foods may be involved in the prevention of severe BeerBug at a country level,” writes the research team. We have to realize that all of our ancestors made it through times much much more difficult than ours and their diet had to have played a major role in that. Fermentation was essential before the industrial age and traditional diets are an important key to longevity and optimal health.

Food sources: fermented pickles (not the ones soaked in distilled vinegar), kimchi, kombucha, apple cider vinegar, miso, sauerkraut

Dosage: Take one tablespoon 1-3 x per day with meals.

Hydrogen Peroxide

I also wanted to give a little information on something that will be unfamiliar to many people, and that is using a nebulizer to administer hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) into the lungs. Now, it is very important that you only use food grade H2O2, that you dilute it with distilled water down to .1%, that you take it at the first signs of symptoms, and that you discontinue using it after the acute treatment. Hydrogen Peroxide from Walmart will not work for this because it is not safe for internal use.

Hydrogen Peroxide is a straightforward molecule consisting of water (H2O) with an extra oxygen atom. Your immune cells actually manufacture it and use it to kill infected cells by breaking down the viral structure. This is a very inexpensive substance with a long history of use in neutralizing many different respiratory viruses and other ailments including scarlet fever, diphtheria, nasal catarrh, acute coryza, whooping cough, asthma hay fever and tonsillitis. It also showed efficacy in treating influenza pneumonia when used in an IV injection during the epidemic following WWI.

The most relevant study of our time, done earlier this year, was published in the Journal of Hospital Infection detailing the use of a .5% hydrogen peroxide. The study found that H2O2 killed human corona viruses, SARS corona viruses, and MERS!

Dosage: The recommended protocol for using this through the nebulizer is to start at the first signs of illness (runny nose, sore throat, etc) and inhale Food Grade H2O2 diluted to 0.1% for 10-15 minutes four times a day until symptoms are relieved.

Conclusion

Getting or staying healthy can be as simple as following a tried and true formula. If you follow the food pyramid, or "my plate" as it is now called, you are right on track to set yourself up for diabetes and chronic inflammatory conditions. I'm sorry if this is the first time you are hearing this information but the government's dietary guidelines are deeply influenced by the Big Ag food industry. The proper diet to nourish the human body and mind is actually quite different from the USDA recommendations and is going to be more in alignment with the lower carb mediterranean diet or a diet that is based off of your own ancestor's diets. The Keto and Paleo versions are popular now and have produced many valuable results for people that are in chronic pain, chronic disease, or obesity. Time-restricted eating (intermittent fasting - which just means only eating about 6 hours each day) has also been proven to be very effective for these same conditions. However, I believe that the best diet for you is the "(insert your name here) diet". Your personalized diet is going to be based on the wisdom of ancestral nutrition but tweaked to fit your own metabolism, preferences, activity levels, and needs. The key to fiding out what diet is right for you is to do some research and experimentation, or get some professional health coaching first. Book a free consult if you are looking for help with your own immune system or health challenges. 

We have assembled an array of these supplements in our online dispensary. Check it out if you're looking for some of the most bio-available sources.