The world is living through an unprecedented time with the pandemic spread of COVID-19. As clinicians, we hope you use this moment to consider the power of preventative healthcare. Functional Medicine is at the forefront of treating  root causes and reducing  severity of symptoms, even in COVID-19.

By piecing together this puzzle, we can help you build a stronger and more resilient system. This in turn helps you to fight off and over come both viruses and chronic disease.

Who is most at risk of COVID-19?

As the virus moved through China, scientists initially believed that it was the elderly who were at the highest risk. Now, as we monitor the virus spread throughout the world, we are witnessing a change. 50% of those infected are between the ages of 18-49. From preliminary findings we see that pre-existing conditions like hypertension, COPD, diabetes, and asthma are associated with a more acute response. So, what are some the driving forces behind these risk factors?

Root cause of the issue:

To answer this question, we need to look at the renin-angiotensin system (RAS).  This is a repair system that plays a key role in blood pressure, electrolyte balance, & cellular growth. It has  enzymes (ACE1 and ACE 2) which act on receptors in the heart, blood vessels, intestinal tract, lungs, and kidneys. Both ACE1 and ACE2 should only be expressed during acute stimuli. However, chronic low-grade inflammation can also increase their expression.

Based on the latest research of COVID-19 it is the ACE2 receptors which appear to be the route of entry into the body and a mechanism for replication. In other words; the more inflammation you have to start with the more COVID-19 virus can enter the body. The key is regulating how much gets in in the first place.

So then: A healthy response to COVID-19 is related to your level of chronic Low-Grade Inflammation

That is right. One of the main origins of systemic inflammation is the gastrointestinal tract. Because our gut barrier serves as a shield to the outside world if you have intestinal permeability then pathogenic bacteria and inflammatory compounds can cross into the bloodstream. This in turn stimulates an inflammatory cascade and immune response.

Furthermore, a recent article in the Journal of Gastroenterology found that 50% of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 presented with digestive symptoms.  COVID-19 patients with digestive symptoms have a worse clinical outcome and higher risk of mortality compared to those without digestive symptoms.

Remember too; inflammation drives the majority of chronic illness so now is a good time to consider its role in your health generally.

Here is how your Naturopath helps: 

By reducing systemic inflammation, we  reduce the number of targets the virus can infect. In other words you do not need to be sick to do something to help. It is better to do it now, and here is how:

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Consume an antioxidant and fibre rich whole food diet. Choose from a variety of brightly coloured fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. Try to build up to 5-10 cups daily. It is a lot but it means you will not be hungry for the sugar by the time you finish eating all those vegetables!
  • Recondition the gut with the specific probiotics that are shown to support the growth and diversification of health-promoting bacteria. If you have IBS then now is the time to trial my gut repair program which acts to strengthen you immunity too – bonus!
  • Reinforce the positive microbial changes with a prebiotic. Many people don’t know that this is more important  than the probiotic.
  • Rebuild the gut barrier and bind bacterial debris to prevent immune system activation and the inflammatory cascade.
  • Consume Fish three times weekly or consider a Fish Oil supplement.
  • Consider Immune boosters your Zinc and Vitamin D levels.

A take home message:
Now is the time to consider what you can do to strengthen you digestion so that your immune system performs when you need it. We can help with quality pro and prebiotics. We can also help if you would like to consider what else you can do to reduce sources of inflammation in your body. This conversation is not just about COVID-19. It is about building resilience and reducing the low grade inflammation that drives distressing conditions like heart disease, neurological conditions, and cancers.

And if all that sounds to complex just phone and I will explain!

Let’s come out of this stronger and healthier, remember it is not about COVID-19 it is about building a healthier stronger you.